Moment I realised my partner’s betrayal
Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au's weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred. This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a man who has been tricked into having a baby with his partner, a woman being ghosted by her best friend and a woman feeling nervous after a long sex drought.
MY PARTNER TRICKED ME INTO HAVING A BABY
QUESTION: I would love your advice on how to handle a situation. My partner and I have been in a relationship for just over two and a half years. We moved in with each other eight months ago and have had a lot of problems.
She has two children and I have one of my own full-time. We constantly have issues with how we both parent our children and we have been on the brink of ending the relationship. Around three weeks ago I heard her tell a friend that she had gone off contraception and instantly I was furious as she is well aware that I am in no way ready to bring another child into the world and especially into an unhappy household.
The next thing is she tells me that she's pregnant and she is going to have the baby. I feel like I need out and I can't stay just because of a child but I feel like a prick and now an emotional wreck. She was well aware that I would not have sex with her if I knew she was off the pill, not without other protection anyway, and so she chose not to inform me. I feel betrayed. What do I do?
ANSWER: I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. This is a major betrayal.
There's absolutely no excuse for her lack of honesty around something as important as birth control. You have every right to be fully informed. It sounds like this was intentional deceit, rather than an accident.
My question is: What do you really want? Start there. Start by being honest with yourself.
In your message you say that you want out and don't feel like you can stay just because of a child. That's a perfectly valid decision to make.
There were already problems and now there has been a significant betrayal. You don't need to feel guilty or ashamed about making the decision to leave, (though I know you likely will anyway). You're not being a prick. You're doing what's right for you.
This is her mistake. Not yours.
I'm sure you're already a great dad and will be to this child too, whether or not you stay with your partner.
Yes, having a child in a split family will have an impact on you, but you staying in a toxic environment will have an impact on your mental health and your entire family too.
The truth is, your relationship might not survive long term anyway, but sometimes, these things need to play themselves out.
Your relationship is likely to continue to be toxic, dishonest and unhappy unless you're willing to look at the major issues at play here such as trust, communication and parenting.
If you do somehow choose to stay, I suggest you insist that she go to counselling with you. She needs to understand that she has a responsibility for her actions.
This is a huge issue to be dealing with and I'm not surprised you feel like an emotional wreck. There's a lot of emotional pressure here for you. You might want to consider speaking to a counsellor yourself, or at least opening up to some good friends about this.
Sharing how we feel doesn't always solve the problem, but it really can help to lift some of the burden and make things easier. You don't need to get through this alone.
I feel for you. I hope you find a way forward.
MY BEST FRIEND IS GHOSTING ME
QUESTION: My best friend is increasingly distant from me, often taking days to reply to my texts or not replying at all. She also frequently cancels our planned catch-ups. We haven't had a fight. How can I bring this up without pushing her further away?
ANSWER: We're always so worried about pushing people away but I think we need to do much more questioning of whether they're the kind of relationships we want keep anyway.
She's acting strangely and not being a good friend right now. You have a right to be concerned and want to talk about it.
It's possible that something is going on for her personally or that something is going on with your relationship that she isn't voicing.
Start by telling her what you notice - that she's taking much longer than usual to reply to your messages. Tell her the emotion that you feel when this happens. I'm guessing it's a mixture of sadness and concern. Then ask her (without blame or defence) what's going on for her, then take it from there.
I'M NERVOUS ABOUT BEDDING MY NEW BEAU
QUESTION: I've got a new partner and it's all going well, but I'm nervous about getting intimate because it's been a long time since I have had sex. How do I give myself a bit of a confidence boost?
ANSWER: It's totally normal to feel nervous when it's been a long time between drinks. We all feel it to some degree.
You said the new relationship is going well. That's great news. It sounds like this person is with you for you. They're into you, which means they're going to be excited to take things to the next level with you.
Remind yourself of all the great things you have to offer. Keep your mind focused on these. When you feel the nervousness rising, take deep breaths to help you stay calm and present.
Remember that there's always a process of learning about a new lover, so take the pressure off yourself.
Isiah McKimmie is a couples therapist, sex therapist and sexologist. For more expert advice follow her on Instagram
If you have a question for Isiah, email firstname.lastname@example.org