A guy's interested in me, but I'm pregnant. How should I respond?
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Dear Miss Info,
I'm a pregnant college student, and I've decided to place the baby for adoption. I'm going through a reputable agency and have already started interviewing potential couples. Right now, I'm at fifteen weeks and beginning to show.
Recently, a good guy friend of mine has made his interest in me known. He knows that I'm pregnant and planning to place the baby for adoption. I've started thinking about him romantically, and my interest is piqued. But this seems like bad timing — in a colossal way. My pregnancy is only going to become more uncomfortable/noticeable. I also think I should focus on keeping myself healthy and taking classes. My hormones are already all over the map, so I'm leery of getting into a relationship when I am (or at least feel) biologically incapable of making a decent, logical decision. But because my hormones are all over the map, I want to be with him even more!
I am really stuck here and am leaning towards telling him that I am consumed with classes and pregnancy right now. But when I think about that conversation it makes me profoundly sad, because I can't expect him to wait around for the next six months.
I'm having a hard time making heads or tails of my emotions while pregnant and I'm unsure what the best decision will be for me. Help!
— Pregnant and Dating
Dear Pregnant and Dating,
Hormones! Those great little neurosis-inducing bastards. Does it help if I tell you that your emotions' heads and tails seem to be exactly where they belong? You should definitely be putting your health and stability first here — which may mean embracing those mood swings without having to worry about a shellshocked boyfriend. This is nine months of your life where self-absorption is not only encouraged, but mandated. Order extra donuts.
If you look at the next six months of sensible choices and whimper, though, just remember that pregnancy is finite. Any decision you make now vis-a-vis kissing a boy will only have to be temporary. Remaining unattached until you give birth is a much less daunting prospect than, say, "remaining unattached until I get my grades up" or "until I stop crying during Home Depot commercials;" at least pregnancy has an end date. You shouldn't feel like this moment is your one and only shot, or that you have to catch this guy before he slips away. If that turns out to be the case, then he wasn't worth it to begin with.
More importantly, deciding you need to focus on yourself right now doesn't mean cutting off all contact with this guy. If he's been your friend for a while, and he is supportive of you during this pregnancy, then he should understand where you are coming from. You can still grow your relationship with him without taking it in a sexual direction yet. Use the time to really get to know each other. Maybe he'll become a source of support and fantastic relationship material; maybe he'll flame out and nothing will come of it. Either way, you won't compromise your stability finding out.
Dear Miss Information,
For six months, I've been "seeing" this guy who doesn't want to fully commit to me. When we met, neither of us were looking for a relationship. But we've gotten along so well from the beginning, and we have such incredible sex, that a few months into it, I began to realize that I wanted more from the guy.
After three months, I broke it off with him. I told him that I respected what he wanted — i.e., to be untethered — but that I couldn't ignore the fact that I wanted to be exclusively with him, and that it hurt to continue this way. He contacted me two weeks later via an incredibly lengthy email telling me how much he missed me, and how badly he wanted me back in his life. We decided to be "exclusive" after that. He told me, though, that he didn't want to use the terms boyfriend and girlfriend, because they "gave him the heebie jeebies." I kind of assumed this would last a little while, and that eventually we'd end up being together in that way, even if we avoided the terminology.
So over the last three months, we have had a great time, and everything is nearly perfect. But he still introduces me to people as his "friend." Seriously, everything else about our relationship is great — we get along with each other's friends! We make each other CDs! We share our writing! But it's hard to enjoy all of this and take it seriously when I know we are not completely "together."
I recently brought up my trust issues, because my ex-boyfriend, who I'd been with for three-and-a-half years, cheated on me with four different women (and they weren't just hookups — the guy had actual relationships with these ladies). I told the dude I'm seeing now that I worry often that I'm going to get hurt in this "relationship," and that I'm being naive, because I was deceived so badly by my ex. This upset him; and he eventually told me that he doesn't consider himself a guy worth trusting, confessing that he had cheated on his ex-girlfriends habitually. He also still doesn't want to fully commit to me (because he's made it clear that, to him, there is still a difference between us "dating" and "going out;" the amount of gray area in our relationship is frankly ridiculous). I took the hint. I told him that "staying together" as whatever we were probably didn't make sense, but I'd want to stay friends.
His response was that imagining his life without me in it seemed unendurable, so he would want to stay friends. But also? He told me he loved me. And that he'd wanted to tell me for a while. But to him, loving me doesn't come with "conditions," like commitment. Now I'm not sure what's going on. I guess we're friends, but I don't know what to do with the knowledge that he (thinks he) loves me. I'm crazy about this dude and I just want to be with him, but it's clear that he's not ready for a real relationship where cheating is a no-go. And still, neither of us wants to let go. Am I not progressive enough; should I just try to be cool with a non-monogamous thing? Or should I dump the dude altogether and cry into my wine for a couple of weeks?
— Loved and Lost
Dear Loved and Lost,
Whoa now, let's hold our horses! Non-monogamy is not some form of "advanced" relationship behavior that only the most progressive and open-minded have access to. It works for some people, but it most certainly does not work for all. Strike that from the options list: it doesn't sound like you're cut from that cloth, and that is absolutely fine.
The fact that your guy "doesn't consider himself trustworthy" is the most bedazzled of all red flags. It's particularly bad because he phrases it like he himself is the biggest victim of his own actions, like he has absolutely no control over the things he does. ("But baby, I really did spill coffee on that girl's shirt and then have to get totally naked in the process of cleaning it up!") Unless his name is Dr. Jekyll, he has no business disavowing responsibility for his actions. Until he can learn to weigh his own desires over people he may hurt, he will be a terrible partner.
He ultimately has to decide which it is: does he love you and want to be with you (with the knowledge that he'll have to be extra-careful with his coffee)? Or does he want to remain unaccountable to anyone, least of all himself? Spoiler for your boyfriend: the latter is impossible, and that attitude will collapse on him like a condemned building. Maybe he'll have to learn that for himself. The point is, he can't have it both ways.
You seem to have a clear idea of what you want and need, and he lacks the ability (or, likely, capacity) to provide that. Move on. He may be able to pull himself together and become what you need, but the fact remains that at this moment, he is not that person.
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