Q: I'm 20 and have been with my boyfriend for about seven months. It's been getting pretty serious: we decided to get married when I graduate college in two years. However, a few months ago, my boyfriend found out that this girl that he dated for a short time is pregnant with his child. This has made things difficult between us, to say the least. He promised me that nothing will change between us, that he loves and wants to be with me, and that I would never have to worry about her. She is due in a couple months, and about two weeks ago he told me that he doesn't know if we should be together right now. He said that there's a lot of stuff he has to go through and he thinks it would be easier to go through it alone. He still insists he wants to be with me for the rest of his life but he just needs to be alone now, and that it has nothing to do with the pregnant girl or anyone else. We have gotten into many fights about this. Am I wrong for not trusting that he does not have feelings for the pregnant girl? -- Sara
Dr. Susan: Why would you expect him not to have "feelings" for the woman who is carrying his child? I expect those feelings are very confused right now. It's extremely disconcerting to find out, as a surprise, that you're about to be a father, especially when you've already hooked up emotionally with another woman. I don't for a moment doubt that your boyfriend needs time to work this out. He may be planning to stay in communication with his ex until after the birth, waiting to see how he feels (or they both feel) at that point. What concerns me most is that he isn't able or willing to include you in all this. Either he doesn't trust you to share the emotional burden with him, or he simply has no experience in sharing heavy issues with another person. This is a holdover from before he met you, and he has to work it out, one way or another. But realize that he will be a father soon, and he will very likely remain in contact with his ex for many years to come. In other words, he's not exactly the same person you fell in love with. Give him and the situation time to sort themselves out. All three of you have a lot to adjust to.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.