I am a 25-year-old man. I consider myself very nice and caring. I live with a woman I met in February of this year. Things do not seem to be working out. I feel that I have been giving all that I can give. It has not helped that some of my life goals did not happen this year. I wanted to go back and work on a Ph.D. in economics, but I can’t. I am finding it very difficult to leave this relationship because she’s pregnant. I believe that this child deserves two loving parents, but if I am not happy, the best thing for the child is not a marriage. I am an independent type of person. I feel that I have very little private time. I feel that I constantly have to be with her. Lately, I’ve been thinking I should end the relationship. I do want our baby, but I’m not sure about the relationship. I wish I knew earlier what I know now. My best friend says I can’t leave while she’s pregnant. What do you think?
Signed, Not Ready
Hey Not Ready,
I don’t want to use this space to dump on you about being totally selfish, egotistical and abundantly self-absorbed because, in my opinion, you won’t get it, and what’s most important about your circumstances is your new baby.
You’re 25 years old and you live with a woman you met [less than] nine months ago. What is that about? You mentioned wanting to go back and get your Ph.D. This leads me to assume you have acquired the prior degrees necessary to take that next step.
While absorbing all of this, I have come to the conclusion that you have “book smarts” down to a science. What you’re lacking is common sense. When one makes the decision to be in a committed relationship and live with that person, intimacy allows the possibility of a pregnancy. Is your book sense following me so far?
What leads you down the path of partnership is the decision that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person. That’s not what you did. You shacked up, hooked up and now she’s knocked up.
Aha moment here: There’s a reason we put the horse in front of the cart in real life and on a farm. You didn’t do that. You also didn’t mention “love” once in your submission. You said “I” so many times, I lost count. I’d suggest you spend time getting to know the person you decided to live with, who will become the mother of your child. Don’t focus so much on how she’s not the one for you. Learn to like her for who she is and the fact that the two of you will always be connected. I’m sure she has some great qualities; obviously you thought so, too, early on.
It is your responsibility to support her during this time, emotionally and financially. She didn’t do this alone. You were a willing participant who’s now changed his mind. You’ve come to the conclusion that she isn’t the one for you, and that’s fine. But you do owe it to her and your child to have the best friendship the two of you can create.
I agree with your friend: No, you can’t leave right now. You need to do what’s best for all three of you, not just you. Put on your big boy gloves and step up to the plate; prepared for game day. Prepare yourself to be the best father you could ever imagine. If it doesn’t come naturally in the form of common sense, buy a book – Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge by Etan Thomas. It’s a good place to start.