By Alma Gill
Dear Alma: I am a 25-year-old man. I consider myself very nice and caring. I live with a woman I met in February of this year. Things do not seem to be working out. I feel that I have been giving all that I can give. It has not helped that some of my life goals did not happen this year. I wanted to go back and work on a Ph.D. in economics, but I can’t. I am
finding it very difficult to leave this relationship because she’s pregnant. I believe that this child deserves two loving parents, but if I am not happy, the best thing for the child is not a marriage. I am an independent type of person. I feel that I have very little private time. I feel that I constantly have to be with her. Lately, I’ve been thinking I should end the relationship. I do want our baby, but I’m not sure about the relationship. I wish I knew earlier what I know now. My best friend says I can’t leave while she’s pregnant. What do you think?–Signed, Not Ready
Hey, Not Ready: I don’t want to use this space to dump on you about being totally selfish, egotistical and abundantly self-absorbed because, in my opinion, you won’t get it, and what’s most important about your circumstances is your new baby.
You’re 25 years old and you live with a woman you met nine months ago. What is that about? You mentioned wanting to go back and get your Ph.D. This leads me to assume you have acquired the prior degrees necessary to take that next step.
While absorbing all of this, I have come to the conclusion that you have “book smarts” down to a science. What you’re lacking is common sense. When one makes the decision to be in a committed relationship and live with that person, intimacy allows the possibility of a pregnancy. Is your book sense following me so far?
What leads you down the path of partnership is the decision that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person. That’s not what you did. You shacked up, hooked up and now she’s knocked up.
Aha moment here: There’s a reason we put the horse in front of the cart in real life and on a farm. You didn’t do that. You also didn’t mention “love” once in your submission. You said “I” so many times, I lost count. I’d suggest you spend time getting to know the person you decided to live with, who will become the mother of your child. Don’t focus so much on how she’s not the one for you. Learn to like her for who she is and the fact that the two of you will always be connected. I’m sure she has some great qualities; obviously you thought so, too, early on.
It is your responsibility to support her during this time, emotionally and financially. She didn’t do this alone. You were a willing participant who’s now changed his mind. You’ve come to the conclusion that she isn’t the one for you, and that’s fine. But you do owe it to her and your child to have the best friendship the two of you can create.
I agree with your friend: No, you can’t leave right now. You need to do what’s best for all three of you, not just you. Put on your big boy gloves and step up to the plate; prepared for game day. Prepare yourself to be the best father you could ever imagine. If it doesn’t come naturally in the form of common sense, buy a book–“Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge” by Etan Thomas is a good place to start.-Alma
Mother-in-law cautious over previous death of child
Dear Alma: My mother-in-law is highly anxious. She frequently tells my husband and me (late 20s) to be careful, and she begs us never to do anything that will bring us harm. She recently emailed my husband’s best friend to be careful during a party, begging him not to let anything happen because my husband is all she has left. She experienced the loss of her daughter 11 years ago. I don’t know how to prevent her anxiety from affecting my life, and I’m becoming resentful. My husband’s approach is, “That is just how mama is.” I want to set some boundaries. What should I say?-R.B., Atlanta
Dear R.B: “Claudy, have mercy, Girl, please!” Your mother-in-law lost a daughter. Boundaries? Are you kidding me? Where is your compassion? I pray that you never experience the death of a child. That’s simply your mother in-law’s way of saying, “I love you, and I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you, too.”
Just say, “Ok, Mama,” or “I will, Mama,” and call it a day. She’s not at your house picking out your husband’s socks each morning. Now that would be a problem. That, my sistah, is a boundary.
You’ve got to pick your battles when you’re married, especially with in-laws. You want to fix her, and you want her to be over her grief. That will never happen. What should you say, you ask? Absolutely nothing.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans over 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to:firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.