Hi, my name is Beth. I'm an adoptee and am 22 years old. About 2 1/2 years ago, I was waitressing at a restaurant. A few weeks into the job, my boss (25 years old at the time), showed a big interest in me. The feeling was mutual. After the first time we went out, we started going out more often. Things were getting more serious. People at work soon found out what was going on.
I have always had difficulty with relationships. I used to believe that I shouldn't ever get close to anyone, because if I do, the higher the chances I have of getting hurt. I've always portrayed myself as being strong and independent. I've had several relationships based mainly on sex. There are only 2 relationships I have been in that have been serious. My boss was my 2nd serious relationship.
When we were together, I had a hard time getting close to him. I know much of it had to do with my abandonment issues. I was fearful that he would leave me. I tried pushing him away several times by being as cold hearted as I could, but it never worked. There were so many times when I wondered how he could want to be with me, especially after the way I treated him. He would always tell me it was because of how much he loves me. But, somehow I couldn't believe it no matter how much he would tell me.
About a year ago, he encouraged me to meet my biological parents for the first time. After contemplating the idea, I finally decided to go for it. This was a time we were the closest we've ever been. After spending 20 days on the other side of the world with my biological parents, I came back feeling very mixed. Not many days after meeting my biological parents, my ex-boyfriend proposed to me, but I said no. I have a huge phobia of getting married. This wasn't the 1st time I had been proposed to. We started drifting apart. I told him I needed space and time to work on my issues. He didn't want to, but he granted me my wish. A few months later, we sort of got back together.
In August of 1999, I found out that I was pregnant, by him. I told him. I hadn't realized how far along I was. When I found out, I was 10 weeks pregnant. I was in a lot of shock and confused about what to do. I didn't want to tell my parents about my pregnancy, because of their religious beliefs. My ex-boyfriend and I talked about the different options. Adoption was not one of them, because of my strong feelings against it, because of all the stuff it's put me through. I thought abortion would be the solution to everything. It would allow me to finish school (in my last year), my parents wouldn't know, and I wouldn't be getting married out of obligation. My ex-boyfriend tried talking me into keeping the baby and getting married to him. A huge part of me wanted to, but again, I was too scared to make that commitment. After much frustration and contemplation, I decided to have an abortion. He was fine with it.
About 3 weeks ago I had the procedure done. My ex-boyfriend/friend went with me. But, after the abortion, I felt him distancing himself from me. About 2 weeks later, he emailed me to tell me that he's been seeing someone from work. He's been seeing her for a few weeks. This surprised me so much. I also felt a little hurt and confused. This does not seem like him at all.
What I really can't understand is how he could move on so quickly. I can't even begin to think about moving on. I've been so affected by this abortion that I've been having a hard time with just about everything. How can he move on so quickly? Why is it that when I had the abortion done, he didn't want to have a relationship with me anymore?
Thanks for sharing your touching story with me. You were so honest about how being adopted really affected you and I admire that. You have many things going on here. The main issue I see is the fact that you have feared abandonment your entire life --- rightly so. Being given up for adoption is almost impossible to understand or accept for most adoptees.
You were waiting for the other shoe to drop with your now ex-boyfriend and it eventually did. It is really hard for adoptees who have been through what you have to trust others. When they inevitably leave your life, it reminds you of the original abandonment. It is okay for you to feel devastated. You have the right to be sad and confused and heart broken. However, I can't stress enough that your ex-boyfriend's "leaving you" after your abortion has nothing to do with you and the decision you made. He has his own issues and fears to contend with and he probably couldn't deal with fact that you didn't want to marry him. Good for you for not marrying him when you weren't sure. It is one thing to be afraid of marriage and thus avoid it because you don't want to deal with it, and knowing in your heart that he was not the right man for you in the long run. Your history is typical and therefore you are not alone.
What I can tell you is that you no longer have to have relationships built on sex, you no longer have to feel abandoned at every turn, you no longer have to treat others badly because you are so afraid of getting close to them.
I don't have an easy answer to any of this. Only my own experience --- which is that I had to take risks in my personal and professional life. I had to trust that I was going to be okay, no matter who entered and exited my life. The truth is that people come and go out of our lives. That is a fact of life.
The problem is that adoptees take these "abandonments" to the core and feel like the pain will never go away. Amazingly, the pain does go away with time and a lot of hard work. And you become stronger as a result. Each time you let someone into your life, the easier it becomes.
When you asked how your ex-boyfriend could move on so fast, my first reaction is that he probably wasn't moving on. He rushed into another relationship. That is not moving on, that sounds more like a rebound relationship to me. And if what I know is true, people do not "get over" previous relationships by immediately getting involved with another person. You are going to be the more mature person in this scenario by dealing with your emotions, realizing that you feel pain deeper than most, and accepting yourself for who you are and the decisions you have made.
As far as the secrecy is concerned regarding the abortion --- that is a dilemma. I am not going to tell you what to do. But I can say that honesty is the best policy. You stated that you have a good relationship with your adoptive parents, so they would probably be there for you, see your pain, and help you through it. You are in counseling as well. Maybe you should consult with your counselor before moving forward. On the other hand, this is your life, you can be a private person if that is what you choose to be. You don't have to explain yourself to anybody. You do not owe anybody anything. You only owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself. You are the most important person in your life --- don't ever forget that. Family members, boyfriends, and acquaintances should be second fiddle to how you feel about and treat yourself. Yes, it is better to treat others with kindness --- the way you would like to be treated. I realize that it is hard for adoptees to not want to sabotage the good in their lives. But you can change the way you react to others. It is up to you, no one else can do it for you.
Try to remember all the miracles in your life. You have a loving relationship with your adoptive parents, you are embarking on a blossoming relationship with your biological family, and you are on your way to becoming a professional in the field of psychology. You are ahead of the game compared to many adoptees that live like hermits, isolate their entire lives. People need people and the more you take emotional risks and embrace life with all it has to offer, you will come out a winner.
My heart goes out to you. Let me know how it's going.
This question was answered by Kasey Hamner. Kasey Hamner has a Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology, a Masters of Science degree in Counseling, a Pupil Personnel Services Credential authorizing her services as a School Psychologist, and is a Licensed Educational Psychologist. She specializes in adoption related issues including search and reunion, abandonment, self-esteem, substance abuse, depression, and relationship difficulties. Also amongst her specialties are children's issues including adoption, abandonment, ADD, special education and so on. Her approach is eclectic and is adapted to suit the individual's needs.
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