Oops We Did It Again…And Now She’s Preggo

Dear Eliza,

It seems I’ve found myself placed directly between that “rock and a hard place” I’ve heard so much about.

Several months ago I joined my family in Utah for our annual ski trip. What I didn’t realize, until I got there, was that my sister thought it would be fun to bring my ex-girlfriend. She and I were together off and on for about five years before I finally broke it off and shortly after that happened I accepted a job halfway across the country. That was almost a year ago. My ex and I remained on good terms and although I knew she’d remained in contact with my family I wasn’t aware that they remained this close.

She and I ended up sharing a room on the trip and of course, one thing led to another and that’s all I’m going to say about that. But about three weeks after I got home she calls to tell me she’s pregnant.

My parents have been on me for years when it comes to settling down and getting married (I’m not even 30 yet) and they’ve always wanted me to get back together with my ex. At this point I’ve started looking for houses (I was in the market to buy anyway) and think I found one that’s in a good school district. My ex and I have decided we’re going to get married and we’re going to have her move out here after the baby is born.

Do you think I’m doing the right thing or do you think this is moving too fast?

–Shotgun Groom

Dear Groom,

Hoo boy, where do I start? Perhaps with some questions for you, not so I can use your answers to devise my response, but for you to mull over before you make any major decisions.

First: Why did were you and your ex “off and on” in the first place? What about her kept drawing you back in, and—more importantly—what kept driving you away? Was there affection but not enough compatibility, compatibility but not enough affection? Was she a psycho? Were you a commitment-phobe? Were you both just lonely and unlucky in love elsewhere and comfortable like a pair of old sweats?

The reason I ask is because, obviously, why did you “decide” to get married? Do you actually want this woman to be your wife? Can you actually see yourself in a loving, supportive, fulfilling relationship with her for the rest of your life? Or is it just for the sake of the child? I’m guessing it is, otherwise you’d be too busy enjoying the “fairytale” twist your life just took to bother writing to me.

You do realize what year it is, right? Accidental pregnancies are still a thing in 2015 but the choices available to deal with them have expanded in the last few decades. Shotgun weddings are no longer required, or even typical. Unshackled couples are raising children all over the place, and as long as those children are loved and cared for, does their parents’ relationship status really matter?

So if you don’t want to marry this woman, guess what? YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Don’t want to buy a house with her? YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Don’t want to be in a serious relationship with her? You see where this is going…

I do commend you for wanting to be involved in your child’s upbringing, and having your ex move to your area is a great idea—but you don’t have to live together. You can buy a house while helping her rent something nearby. Or if you’re determined to see your child every day, you can buy a house big enough (ideally with dual master suites) for the two of you to live together but maintain your autonomy. Sure this might lead to casual hookups and maybe even another stab at a relationship, but separate rooms convey a strong sense of boundaries, with which you clearly have a problem maintaining.

Considering your history, I can see why you’d want to at least try to commit to the mother of your unborn child. You probably figure that your relationship’s chances of “sticking” this time are 50-50, so why not?

Sorry to break it to you, but if she’s not “the one” for you, then every day you spend with her is a day you aren’t out there trying to find who you really want to be with. The same goes for her—she’s depriving herself of a loving, fulfilling relationship by settling for you. And maybe she’s okay with that—maybe being with the father of her child is enough. But it won’t be for long, and the gradual realization of her terrible mistake will translate into bitterness and spite and misery for you both.

Taking your own happiness into consideration might seem selfish when an innocent baby is involved, but miserable parents make miserable children. Arguments and fighting and divorce and suddenly-split homes are the stuff therapy practices are made of, so why not nip all that misery in the bud? Marriage and mortgages are not decisions that anyone should make for you, no matter how much pressure you get. Do what your feel is right, deep down in your gut, for you and your child. And based on the fact that you wrote in, I’m guessing your gut is freaking the fuck out right now.

Something else to ponder before making a decision you’ll probably regret: have you considered the possibility that this pregnancy wasn’t so accidental? You didn’t give too much details but I wouldn’t be surprised if your ex and family were in cahoots during that fateful ski trip. It seems highly unlikely that your family just “happened” to invite her and you “happened” to share a room and she “happened” to get knocked up. If this is the case, be prepared for an absolute shit-storm if you decide to call off the engagement. Bu if that’s the choice your gut is happy with, don’t let anyone guilt-trip you out of it. Because even if all this is a crazy coincidence, they WILL guilt-trip the hell out of you.

But you know what? It’s not their life—it’s yours. So don’t ask me if you’re doing the right thing. In fact, don’t ask anyone. Only one person’s opinion on this matters. And luckily he just so happens to be reading this right now.

With justice and pleasure for all,

Eliza Lane

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