Unplanned pregnancy complicates breakup

Question: I am a college sophomore and have been dating my girlfriend off and on since my junior year of high school. We had a nasty breakup around August of my senior year and got back together the following June.

Question: I am a college sophomore and have been dating my girlfriend off and on since my junior year of high school. We had a nasty breakup around August of my senior year and got back together the following June.

We were happily together for a few months until I started to not feel so strongly for her.

Sometime in October, I decided I would break it off with her. Unfortunately, around the same time I decided I wanted to break up, she found out she was pregnant.

I didn’t want her to feel like I was abandoning her with my unborn child, so I stayed together with her, but at the same time, I feel trapped in a relationship with someone who I no longer have strong feelings for.

I know I don’t want to be with her for the rest of my life, but at the same time I know I will have to be in at least a friendly relationship with her for the sake of the baby. How do I handle this delicate situation without destroying the chance for any sort of relationship with the mother of my unborn child?

Answer: Forget about the rest of your life. Focus on the next six months. Focus on being a caring and supportive partner during this experience. You don’t have to marry her. You don’t have to get engaged. You just need to be there during the pregnancy and birth. Anything else would be selfish, and regrettable.

Do you really want to date anyone else while your girlfriend is eight months pregnant? Talk to a spiritual leader, talk to a therapist, find a relationship counselor. You might not recognize it, but you’re under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure. Becoming a father will do this. Wait until the baby is born to figure out the next step.

When you’re ready to open up, be honest, kind and willing to work with the mother of your child. If you’re consistently caring, honest and supportive, you’ll set a precedent early that will give you the best chance of preserving a healthy relationship with her — whatever that relationship might be.

Write Harlan at harlan@helpmeharlan.com or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan! 2506 N. Clark St., Ste. 223, Chicago, IL 60614.

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