I have been in a long-term relationship for just over 3 years now. We went on a “break” for about a month a year ago after I got pregnant and had to go through an abortion which was very difficult for both of us and we needed time apart as I wasn’t able to handle anything and we both needed proper support. We met back up and spoke and decided to stay together. During the break neither of us were with anyone else it was more about recovery.
The only issues we have had in the relationship is to do with myself having a past of relationships and seeing people and I have had sexual relationships in the past whereas my partner has only ever had sex with me, he holds this resentment towards me sometimes but this hasn’t been an issue since about a year ago.
So to the present day. I am now 21 weeks pregnant.
I found out at 13 weeks along that I was pregnant and this came as a shock to both of us because we have always used protection religiously after last year and I was on the injection/implant.
We have tried to be open about our feelings but it’s hard to get a straight answer from him most of the time, he doesn’t like to talk about his emotions so I asked him for a set time each month for us to talk because it was something I needed (he agreed and we’ve done it the last 2 months). However I still don’t know what he wants.
He said he is scared he won’t love or bond with the baby, he always talks as if he will be helping from afar (we have lived together for 2 years) and not being overly involved, I asked him if he will be willing to hold the baby for bonding time and is he willing to try and his reaction was surprise that he even had to hold the baby.
He said that he doesn’t want to break up with me but just the things he says about the support he’s okay with offering and how he should be okay staying at people’s houses and stuff… I’m just scared he will run off and not tell me about it.
He said he wants to try but I don’t want to be handling a break up and a newborn baby all at once! I would like it if he was just honest with me on whether he wants to be with me or not and really need some advice. I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone.
I have changed and learned so much while I’ve been with him and I’m just scared I’m more committed than he is.
Do you have any advice? Should I assume he will leave and give him an ultimatum to make the decision more sudden or hold out hope that he will bond with the baby and be a father and my partner.
Your email pains me, Caitlin.
To be fair, most of my email is just another version of your question: “I have a boyfriend. He doesn’t make me feel safe, heard and understood. Instead, I feel anxious and fearful that he’s going to leave, and I’ve felt this way for years. But I love him and don’t want to let him go because I’m afraid I can’t do better. How can I make him stay and love me the way I want to be loved?”
My answer is always the same: you can’t.
Here’s a fact that supports my seemingly rigid stance on this situation:
I’ve been coaching for 17 years.
I have NEVER spoken to a woman who called me to complain about her boyfriend who actually ENDED up happily married to that boyfriend.
EVERY SINGLE TIME a woman with a partner has hired me, she THOUGHT she was asking me to put her fragile relationship back together again.
In fact, she was hiring me to give her the courage to let go of these relationships and move on with her life.
women in HAPPY relationships NEVER contact dating coaches!
Put another way: women in HAPPY relationships NEVER contact dating coaches!
I simply don’t get emails from random women to tell me how wonderful things are.
I ONLY hear from women whose relationship – which is supposed to be a replenishing source of joy – is actually a draining source of anxiety.
Which brings us back to you. You’re anxious that you have a live-in boyfriend who has gotten you pregnant twice, is weeks away from being a father and still acts like this:
“It’s hard to get a straight answer from him most of the time, he doesn’t like to talk about his emotions.”
“I still don’t know what he wants.”
“He is scared he won’t love or bond with the baby.”
“He always talks as if he will be helping from afar (we have lived together for 2 years) and not being overly involved.”
“His reaction was surprise that he even had to hold the baby.”
“He should be okay staying at people’s houses and stuff…”
“I’m just scared he will run off and not tell me about it.”
Put it this way: your instincts are right.
He is not cut out to be a husband.
He is not cut out to be a father.
You’ve made the choice to bring this baby into the world and I’m sure you’re going to be a wonderful mother.
Just do not expect ANYTHING from this man.
He’s already told you as much.
All you have to do is pay attention and plan a life without him – starting now.
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