Caroline West-Meads: ‘Why did she terminate our baby?’

ask caroline

Q. A few months ago, my partner and I began a whirlwind relationship that surprised us both by the depth of our feelings. We discussed children right from the outset because she hadn’t become a parent yet and, for her, a long-term relationship would need to include children. While I am nearly 20 years older and have children already, I was thrilled by the opportunity to be a father again.

When we discovered that she was pregnant we were both shocked at how quickly it had happened but elated. She moved in with me so I could look after her. However, within a week she announced that she wanted a termination. She said that she suddenly realised it was a huge mistake. She thought she wanted to be a mother but now didn’t because it meant too much sacrifice. I assumed that I, too, would be removed from her life, but no – she wanted to focus on ‘us’ and having a rich, unencumbered relationship without children. Though I tried desperately to convince her that she might regret an abortion more deeply than she could imagine, last week she went ahead with the termination.

I am heartbroken and feel almost numb with shock and anger. The only feelings of regret she has expressed were for the physical pain she suffered. She seems almost gleeful about the future and has not asked me how I am. Now I’m not sure how I feel about her and am wondering if she is the person I thought she was.

A. I understand your heartbreak. Sometimes, women are offered a lot of support after an abortion while men may be given less consideration. But it can be just as devastating for men, especially as this was not your choice, so please get help for dealing with this loss. The clinic that arranged the abortion should be able to guide you towards support, or you could find a counsellor through bacp.co.uk or psychotherapy.org.uk.

Sadly, it is not surprising that you are now questioning how you feel about your partner. She said that she wanted to abort the baby so that she can just enjoy her life with you. However, her decision might have the opposite effect, as you may find you’re not able to forgive her. It does sound, too, as though perhaps, no, she is not the person you thought she was. She hasn’t asked you how you are feeling, which seems very selfish and uncaring.

Unfortunately, whirlwind relationships are not always the best foundation for a lasting one (added to which it is a very big age gap), because when the passion has burnt out, you can find you have little in common. If your relationship does disintegrate, this will sadly mean a double loss for you – that of the baby you were so thrilled about, as well as the love you thought you had found. So do please get that help – and also make sure you give plenty of time and love to your existing children, which will comfort you.

‘My ex keeps asking me for money’

Q. I split up with my boyfriend six months ago. We were together for three years and he is a nice person – kind and funny – but lacked drive or ambition and couldn’t keep a job. I have a good career, yet he is in his mid-30s and still bouncing around from job to job, mostly working in pubs. I’m 32 and I really want to have children but I could see that if we did, I’d end up doing everything as well as being the breadwinner.

I had fallen out of love with him. He was really upset, but we have managed to remain friends. However, he has now asked me if I can still lend him money. I used to support him quite a bit financially. I feel really sorry for him, but I know I would never get it back. What should I do?

A. It is harder to break up with a nice person who you are fond of than someone who has fewer good qualities. But I suspect pity and (unfounded) guilt are behind you wanting to ‘lend’ him money – you feel bad for breaking his heart. It’s lovely that you have remained friends and understandable you want to help, but if you keep bailing him out he won’t learn to be self-sufficient.

If you do decide to help him with money do so for one last time – but stress that it can’t continue. Also encourage him to contact citizensadvice.org.uk or call its advice line on 0800 144 8848 for help in managing his finances. You might also suggest that he explores the possibility that he has ADHD (see adhduk.co.uk). It might be preventing him from getting his life on track and explain why he finds it difficult to keep a job or manage money. Getting help could make life a lot easier.

Find more of Caroline’s advice here