I moved to a new city 6 months ago. I am 2,000 miles away from family and friends with a new job and a new apartment, and a new roommate. I met my next door neighbor when I moved here, and we became close friends. He and I started dating a month later and we fell in love quickly.
After two months of dating he said, "I love you." We do everything together...make dinner, joined the same gym, hiking, movies, reading, sleep in the same bed almost every night. He is my best friend and my boyfriend. He tells me continually that he's never loved anybody as much and he never knew dating could be this fun. He's only had two other serious relationships and it surprised both of us when we fell in love so quickly and easily. Now for the trouble - his roommate is also his cousin. She moved here a few months before I did, so she was still pretty new. My roomie and I invited her to girl's nights out, dinner, and movies. She always said no or cancelled. Then she started leaving the room when I would come to the apartment. My boyfriend noticed her behavior and didn't like it. He would vent his frustrations about her to me. She is older than him (and older than me) and yet she doesn't pay her share of the rent, pays late, doesn't pay bills, her parents pay her car payment, doesn't clean up after herself, and complains to him constantly. She says she's lonely and doesn't have any friends here and that she's miserable. Yet she avoids me and everybody else. Turns out she has some good friends from college here and also her brother. She started spending all of her time at her brother's house, flirting with his roommates. My boyfriend was relieved, because he'd felt like she was getting too attached to him, even flirting.
Then I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago. At first it was horrible... my boyfriend tried to get me to have an abortion. Then he realized that I don't want it and he kept telling me how much he loves me and that he will stand by me through everything. He told me he wants to move in with me in a few months. He told me that anybody who stood between us or didn't support us would be out of his life. Four days ago he decided to tell his roommate. He hadn't told anybody before that. She was the first person he told, because he figured it would affect her the most since she would have to move. She badmouthed me and he let her. Then she told him a sob story of how miserable her life had been recently and how her dad was mad at her for screwing up her life and how broke she is, etc. He came back to me, telling me that he wouldn't kick out his family or "put his family out on the street" just because I'm pregnant. We got into a huge argument about it. He first said he loved me and would help me pay for an apartment and we'd still be together.
By the end of last weekend he told me he wished I wasn't his girlfriend or pregnant and that he didn't want to be with me. All of the promises he made me he broke. Everything he said was the opposite of what it had been before. He left my apartment and left me sobbing on the ground. I cried all day. Two days later I haven't heard anything from him except for an email saying "I will be here for the child and will help you financially. I do care a lot about you. I am truly sorry about the way it worked out and that our relationship was unhealthy and couldn't work." Yesterday his roommate cornered me outside of the apartment building. I had just gotten home from work...she's never been outside at that time before, I don't know if she was waiting for me or not. She threatened me and told me she didn't want me near her apartment, that I better not come near her home. I left a hysterical and crying message for my (ex) boyfriend, and he never called back. And he hasn't come by, and he hasn't emailed. This is the longest we've ever gone without contact, from the day we met. I go through times when I'm ok, mostly when I am at work (because he's never there). But I get nervous when I get home. He is next door, and so is she. I don't have the money to move right now, and I have to stay in this city and at my job until after the baby is born because my insurance is so good.
I've contemplated suicide, and the next day I started looking for a counselor. I just don't understand how he could switch so quickly. We had big, horrible fights for two days straight and he told me I'm irrational. I kept telling him that I was so scared, that I felt abandoned and that I knew this was what his roommate wanted. And yet he didn't listen. I don't know what to do. I can't believe this man who loved me so much, more than anybody, could abandon me and his child and be so cruel.
I don't understand what is going through his mind. I wish I had some idea of what he really felt, and how I could keep him in my life. Should I try to keep him in my life? Or should I walk away and just apply for child support after the birth. Is what he's doing normal? And will he see what his roommate is doing? Am I irrational? I'm afraid. Please help me if you can.
Sadness (26 year-old woman)
You do sound very sad and confused - understandably so, as there is so much going on in your life right now. I'm glad that you went on the Internet looking for help and took the step of writing a letter, because it shows that you are resourceful and that you are willing to reach out for help. One thing you don't mention is whether you have a lot of support from other areas of your life. Are you close with your family and friends, and do you use the phone or e-mail to stay in touch since they are so far away? What about your roommate? Are there people who you can talk to about what you're going through? If not, you may want to think about seeing a counselor to provide you with some emotional support as you sort through everything. It's important that you find people to help you so you are not so isolated with your sadness and confusion.
It's hard to say what's going on with your boyfriend. It may be that even though things appeared to be great prior to your pregnancy, he is not ready for the kind of intimacy that raising a baby together calls for. He is giving you a very clear message with his actions, by not returning your calls and e-mails, about how available he is to you right now. Whenever there's a contradiction between a person's words and their actions (he tells you he'll stick with you no matter what - but then isn't around), you can safely assume that the actions are more truthful than the words. That doesn't mean that he meant to lie to you - he may have meant the words when he said them. He may WANT to stick by you and the baby, as he said. But in reality, so far, he either can't or won't be "there" for you in the way that he promised. As to the roommate - despite all appearances, she is not the problem. The problem is between you and your boyfriend, and she ends up playing a role because she is there. If she were not there, there would be some other way that the same dynamics (of getting close and then backing away) would get played out between you and your boyfriend.
You ask whether you should walk away or try to keep him in your life . . . I can't make that decision for you, because I'm not the one who will have to live with the consequences. I suspect that you already know what you will do. What do your instincts tell you? Listen to your heart, pray if that is a part of your life . . . you know already deep down what the answer to that one is, so go ahead, whatever your choice is! If you and he do get back together, it would be very helpful for the two of you to go to couples counseling. A good counselor can help you to work through your problems - but ONLY if BOTH of you are committed to doing so.
With all that's going on, though, you don't mention how YOU are feeling about the pregnancy. How do you feel about having a baby? About becoming a mother? I'm not sure how far along you are, but whatever stage of the pregnancy you are in, you need to do some thinking and some planning. Have you started prenatal care? Have you told your family about the baby? How much maternity leave will your job allow, and what will your plans for childcare be after that? How will you raise the baby as a single parent? You don't need to have all the answers right now, but you do need to start thinking about the questions. And you need to plan as if you will be alone and make sure that you will be able to manage without any help whatsoever from your boyfriend. If he does follow through with plans to help you, so much the better. But you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario (no help from him) and know that you will be OK if it occurs.
If you don't feel ready to be a parent, you could consider placing the child for adoption. If you're interested, you can call a licensed adoption agency (look in the yellow pages). Some agencies offer free counseling to pregnant women considering adoption, and most will allow you to look through profiles of couples waiting to adopt and choose who you would like to adopt the baby. There are many more options available today for "openness" in adoption; many times the birthmother meets and stays in touch, either through letters and pictures or through phone calls and actual visits, with the adoptive family as the child is growing up.
You said in your letter that you are afraid. What are your worst fears - what's the very worst that could happen from all of this? Often when we're afraid, it helps to look at the worst case scenario and realize that while you wouldn't like it, you probably could survive if the worst were to occur.
Good luck to you. I recognize that this is a very difficult time for you, and I hope that you will continue to look for and take advantage of resources to help you. Take care.
Susan Maroto, LCSW