If you've got a difficult relationship question and a need for second opinions, the Guyspeak/Girlspeak is for you! Over at Guyspeak, girls write in and ask real guys real questions. Together, a Guyspeak guy and I pick one of the questions and each answer it the only way we know how ... correctly. Sometimes we agree, usually we don't, but either way you get two sets of advice for the price of one. This week's question:
This week Cary and Emily tackle this very sensitive subject. Regardless of how your personal feelings about pregnancy termination, does the man have a right to know, or is it OK for her to not involve him when they're not yet to the point of making big decisions as a couple?
I don't know if it's terrible not to tell him, but personally, I think you should. I say that conditionally, though, and not with the kind of judgmental male superiority you hear from politicians and clergy and others who like to prattle on about abortion when we all know damn well that if men could get pregnant, legal abortion wouldn't even be an issue.
No, I can see how easy and drama-free it would be just to handle the pregnancy on your own. I also get that it is your body and your business, since you are the one who's pregnant and all he did was provide the sperm. But to me, providing the sperm is enough to warrant at least knowledge of what's going on.
Like it or not, your boyfriend has a stake in this pregnancy, regardless of how long you've been dating, regardless of how you think he'll react, regardless of whether or not it will harm your relationship. If you chose to give birth, he would have a legal responsibility to you and the child, so to exclude him from involvement because you choose to terminate strikes me as a double standard. As a biological contributor to the pregnancy, he deserves to know about it. It's not your problem alone.
I'm not saying you have to solicit or defer to his opinion. I think most guys in his situation are no more ready to be a parent than you are, so I doubt you'll get much pushback. If you did, though, if he wanted to insist that you see the pregnancy through and deliver a baby, then you could play the "my body, my decision" argument and be within your right to do so. He can't make choices for you that will affect your life significantly more than they affect his just because he likes the idea of being a dad.
What I do think you owe him is the truth about the pregnancy -- a courtesy notification, if you will. You're telling him that you are pregnant and have chosen a course of action that you believe is in everyone's best interest, and you hope he agrees. If he doesn't, you're sorry, but you aren't ready to be his baby mama just yet.
If it were me, I'd want to know. I doubt I would try to stop you, but I'd at least want to be able to offer you support, even if you don't need it.
Telling him is the right thing to do.
This is a very delicate situation, and while Cary is completely and totally justified in his opinion that your new boyfriend should know about your pregnancy, I don't think you're a terrible person for not telling him. I understand the desire to want to just take care of things and let the relationship play out without drama this early on.
Your reproductive health is yours and yours alone. Any man, whether a stranger or a husband, can enter into a sexual relationship with you. But as the person with the womb, you're the one, ultimately, who decides what to do with it. This puts women in the position of making difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching decisions -- and in making those decisions, we sometimes isolate ourselves, even though going it alone isn't always the best approach.
My biggest concern with your question is the sense I get that somehow your "condition" could upset the relationship or inconvenience your new boyfriend. You didn't make a mistake that you now need to cover up before anyone finds out; this pregnancy is a result of consensual sex. Though you could soldier through this alone, why would you? Why would you deny yourself the support through a potentially difficult time and carry all of this on your own?
If you are already having concerns about how this man will react to stressful situations, this may not be the best relationship for you. How many other things will you keep to yourself in order to protect him? How long before you allow him to support you emotionally in a difficult time?
The decision to terminate this pregnancy may be a tough one for you, but it's one I'm sure you felt was the best decision at this time. Not telling your boyfriend may make things easier on your relationship, but I would encourage you not to sacrifice your own needs for the comfort of others.
What do you think?
Does the new boyfriend in this situation have a right to know, or is it just easier for everyone if the woman keeps it to herself? Have you been in a similar predicament? We're curious about your thoughts on this very inflammatory issue. Leave your comments below, and if you have a question you want both genders to take a shot at answering, head over to Guyspeak
and ask -- it might end up back here!