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 Post subject: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:52 pm 
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I am working on radically accepting this situation:

My boyfriend and I have been on/off for about 2 years. We broke up for two weeks in February then got back together and have been together since. This past Saturday, a friend called him to say that she is pregnant and it is most likely his baby. Apparently, while we were separated for those two weeks, he and this friend went out for some drinks, got together a couple of times, and....slept together. And she is keeping the baby.

It makes me want to throw up. But I love him too much and I have too much invested in this relationship to run away now. I can not leave him for something that *might* happen six months from now.

My anger (mostly toward this woman for unilaterally deciding to permanently impact the lives of three people by bringing this baby into the world) is so great that I am constantly struggling with it. The idea of my boyfriend being a daddy. Having a "baby mama" in our lives.

Ok, so the steps of radical acceptance...let's work through them together here...
1. I accept that reality is what it is. There is a pregnant woman. My boyfriend may be involved. He wants to be involved in the child's life if it is his child. I want to be with him, so I will have this woman and her child in my life as well.
2. The situation causing me pain has a cause. This situation exists because of a long chain of events that occurred in the past. My boyfriend and I broke up. He met up with a friend. They both got their physical needs met. She either lied about being on protection or was careless or the protection failed. Both of them had poor judgment and made a bad decision. The girl missed her period, took a test, and decided she wanted to have the baby. She called my boyfriend and he told me. I can not change any of those events. They are in the past.
3. I accept that my life can be worth living even with this painful situation in it. I can help raise the child if it is his. I can become friendly with this girl. I can watch my boyfriend raise a child and see the joy it brings into his life.

(for more on how I came upon these skills, see http://www.dbtselfhelp.com - the transcript of Marsha Linehan's instructional videos.)

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:58 pm 
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Wow, that is just an amazing example of radical acceptance of a stressful situation. Be sure to self-validate your strong feelings rather than fight them. Sometimes just saying to yourself, "Of course I'm angry and upset," can help the feelings ease, while fighting them can make them more powerful. In other words, radically accepting the feelings (which you may be doing already).

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Hmmm...let's try it...

1. I am angry.
I have been placed in a difficult situation which I have little control over.

2. This anger has a cause.
A series of events has occurred which negatively impacts my life, thus causing me to be angry.

3. My life can be worth living even with this anger in it.
Anger is a temporary emotion. I will not be angry forever.

That's a tough one - radically accepting the emotions. Not sure I fully grasp it. But I just made the connection between anger and "HALT" so maybe the five steps would be a better way to work on the anger.

1. I am Angry.
2. The problem: a stranger may be pregnant with my boyfriend's baby.
3. Three courses of action: (1) threaten her and demand that she think again about having that f*!@#* baby (excuse my french); (2) leave my boyfriend so I don't have to deal with the situation; (3) stay with my boyfriend and see what happens six months from now when this baby is born
4. Which one is best for now: Well, I was really leaning toward #1 for a while, but I have already decided on #3. I can't predict the future. It may not be his baby. It may not be born at all (again, evil mind at play here - so I am going to rot in hell oh well). It may be born and be his and I may actually enjoy having this kid in our lives. It may be born, be his and change our relationship in such a way that we are (a) closer or (b) realize that we are not meant to be together. Either way, I can't know until it actually happens.
5. Do it! Well, I am working on that. Still plan on moving in with him at the end of June...

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 2:38 pm 
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Now this is a hard one! I am wondering if totally radical has to mean that we should accept whatever? What would a non-BPD person do? Do we have to work harder than a "normal" person? Do we have to radically accept more? Are we allowed to ask some questions about someone else's behavior? This is not so much about you feeling angry/sad/doubtful but rather about the shitty choices these two made. Physical needs back and forth, protection should be used by both and during a 2week break-up shouldn't the BF spend his time thinking about the relationship? If you are o.k. with the situation, kudos to you, I could not and would not allow myself to add to the pain I am already feeling. But maybe the pregnancy is a false alarm or your BF is not the one. I am just playing the scenario in my head and do not want to criticize or offend you.


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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 2:46 pm 
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No offense taken dramaqueen :) I have played and re-played all the same thoughts in my own head!!! I agree re: two week break up by the way - that is one of the things that bothers me most - that he could have "gotten over" me that quickly. But we are back together and he has shown sincere regret and guilt over what happened. And I did walk out on HIM to cause that break up and I did break his heart.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:28 pm 
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This is a lot to accept for anyone, even someone without BPD.

I'll start by expressing these are my personal feelings, and please understand I'm not judging you in any way. I admire you for recognizing, naming and accepting your anger. And for using the five steps successfully in the middle of this whirlwind. That's not easy! I am also touched at your hopeful intention to be kind to this girl. She has the right to enjoy the baby she will be having.

What strikes me as odd (again, no judgment): it seems to me that you have put a lot of energy into imagining what would happen if you #1 remained angry with the girl, or #3 moved in with your boyfriend. Forgive me for asking, but of the three courses of action you have contemplated, what is it about #2 - ending the relationship - that makes it not an option for you? When you stay with him, what exactly are you ready to accept? (at this point)? Or do you secretly hope this will all go away?


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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:43 pm 
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It sounds like he made a foolish choice during a time when he may have been feeling a lot of strong, painful emotions. This doesn't excuse it, but might explain it. This isn't the first time I've heard a story of a two week breakup where one person went right out and had sex with somebody else. This may be something he would never choose to do when calm and thinking straight.

It's very brave of you, NAM, to keep working through this in such a mature fashion. I am happy that you were able to work through your desire to take course of action #1 without actually attempting it. There could be as many unforeseen consequences to that as to course #3.

The part where you radically accept the anger is good work.

Dramaqueen, radical acceptance is DBT talk for complete acceptance of reality as it is right now, even if we don't like it or approve of it. Suffering comes from refusal to accept reality.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:21 pm 
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Oh, I get what it is. What we do with it might be another matter. Once I have accepted reality, I will stop trying to change it, ignore/deny it etc. When one reaches that point, one has to decide how to move on to greener pastures. I have struggled with codependency for many years and even though I know in my head that "it is what it is" have still twisted the acceptance into endless suffering simply because I didn't know that there are consequences attached to it. I am just afraid that the fact that there will be a child included in the relationship for many years to come, the suffering will continue if the existence of this child will not lead to the acceptance of what this will mean in real life for everyone involved.


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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:48 pm 
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dramaqueen wrote:
I am just afraid that the fact that there will be a child included in the relationship for many years to come, the suffering will continue if the existence of this child will not lead to the acceptance of what this will mean in real life for everyone involved.


Can you re-word this? I think what you are saying is that the kid will be a reminder to everyone involved (the mother, my BF and myself) of this bad period of time. Is that what you are getting at? Because I kind of feel that way too. Like, right now I can "accept" the situation because I can not change anything right now. All I can do is hope for the best. That I will still have a strong relationship with my BF. That maybe the child will not be his. That even if it is his, my relationship with him will not be affected by it. But I can accept the fact that what's done is done and things are going to change. And I can plan for how I will deal with those changes when they happen. The thing that I struggle with the most right now is the idea of this other woman being in our lives... I don't even want her to call him while she is pregnant. I had a bit of a backslide on Friday about this whole thing. I am slowly gaining my composure back but it was tough.

Anyway, dramaqueen, I am interested in what you have to say. Please try to clarify the above quote for me - I'm not sure I understood it. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:52 am 
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Ok, here's how I really feel (draft letter just for my own use, not going to send to her):

Dear M*****:



My name is C****. R**** and I have been dating for over a year, and we are truly in love. We will be living together soon and are both looking forward to building a happy life together. Our relationship has been through some rocky periods, and during one of those periods, R**** met up with you. He recently told me that you called him to inform him that you are pregnant and you believe that he is the one who impregnated you. You also told him that you had decided to have the baby.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this news came as quite a shock to me. R***** and I plan on staying together for a long time and I will support him in every way I can. I understand that he wishes to take responsibility for the child, if it is his child. Since I am going to be in his life, I feel that it is important for you and I to establish some sort of relationship as well. When you have this child, we will request a paternity test. If the test proves that R****** is the baby’s father, he will of course contribute to the upbringing of the child. I will also help support the child if it is his child.

M*****, I know that going through an unplanned pregnancy must be difficult for you. But I wonder if you have considered the impact your decision is having on the other people involved in this situation? By deciding to have this child, you are adversely affecting at least four lives: the child’s, your own, R****’s and mine. The child will be born to a single, unwed mother. Besides the financial burden raising a child will place on you, your social life may also suffer. It will be harder for you to go out and meet a future partner. The child will be shuffled back and forth between its mother’s house and its father’s house. As a paralegal at a divorce law firm, I know how difficult it can be for kids to be living between two households. Additionally, R***** and I will have you and this child in our lives for at least the next 18 years, just as we are trying to build a life together. Do you really think any of that is fair? Why would you bring a child into this situation?

I do not mean you or the unborn child any harm. I just pray that you please take a good look at the whole picture and really think about what you are doing and what the future holds for all involved.

If I have to deal with a stepchild, I will. I will not harm the child. I will do my best to love the child if it is R****’s as he will love it as well. But I really think it would be incredibly unfair and selfish of you to have this child, M*****.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:13 am 
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NAM, I'm glad you aren't going to send that letter! I understand it's for you to express your feelings for yourself. It's very articulate and expresses well how it feels to be in your shoes.

One thing I see that I'm familiar with myself is that it might be easier to get angry at this woman than to really accept your BF's responsibility in this matter. He had sex with a woman and now she's pregnant.

I wonder what it's like to be in her shoes, to have been a casual hookup after a few drinks with a guy who was not interested in a serious relationship, a guy who returned to his previous GF, and then to find out she's pregnant. Her whole life is changing forever in some pretty serious ways. She knows abortion is an option, yet she has her own reasons not to choose it. She is probably aware of the social and financial ramifications. She seems to be behaving reasonably: she made one phone call to let your BF know that she's pregnant, but there hasn't been any harrassment, threats, or hysteria. It could be that she's doing the best she can with a bad situation. It could be that the condom failed and she never intended this, and now there's another life involved.

I would be careful about seeing her decision as the main problem. I say this because the object of DBT is to help you regulate your emotions, and if you see her decision to have the child as the main problem you wish you could control, then you might have more trouble with your emotions. I see one line in your letter that shows reality acceptance: "If I have to deal with a stepchild, I will." How would it feel to just sit with that?

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:30 am 
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Ann wrote:
I wonder what it's like to be in her shoes, to have been a casual hookup after a few drinks with a guy who was not interested in a serious relationship, a guy who returned to his previous GF, and then to find out she's pregnant. Her whole life is changing forever in some pretty serious ways. She knows abortion is an option, yet she has her own reasons not to choose it. She is probably aware of the social and financial ramifications. She seems to be behaving reasonably: she made one phone call to let your BF know that she's pregnant, but there hasn't been any harrassment, threats, or hysteria. It could be that she's doing the best she can with a bad situation. It could be that the condom failed and she never intended this, and now there's another life involved.


Unfortunately, his view is that she chose to keep the baby because she wants attention. From what I understand, she told him that she was on the pill. I think she actually wants to have a relationship with him. According to him, she doesn't have many friends, moved here from another state, lives with her parents, etc. etc. She has called him since that first phone call and I told him I would really rather she leave us alone for the next six months.

Quote:
I would be careful about seeing her decision as the main problem. I say this because the object of DBT is to help you regulate your emotions, and if you see her decision to have the child as the main problem you wish you could control, then you might have more trouble with your emotions. I see one line in your letter that shows reality acceptance: "If I have to deal with a stepchild, I will." How would it feel to just sit with that?


Of course neither of them intended for this to happen. He has expressed his regret and feelings of guilt to me. She doesn't seem to acknowledge anyone else's feelings. You know, it's funny. I have accepted the fact that he messed up and he is sorry for it. I have accepted the fact that he wants to be involved in the child's life if it is his child. I have thought of myself in the "stepmother" role. But what I just can't get past is the idea of this other woman deciding to change my life for me. This other woman carrying around a part of my boyfriend inside of her. Unilaterally deciding to add difficulty to my future life with my BF. I say unilaterally because she never got my input and he never had a chance to tell her if he thought she should keep the baby or not.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:18 am 
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I see what you mean. It does sound like it's easy to judge her situation, and maybe you and your BF are right about her.

Now, I'm talking to you about DBT, because I think you can handle it. I get a sense of you stoking bitterness towards this woman, and this will not increase the quality of your life. The way this world works is that a pregnant woman gets to have the final say on whether her baby is born or not, even if you believe that all her reasons are bad ones. She does not technically owe you anything. Being a father is a consequence of your BF's choice.

When you say things to yourself like, "She is unilaterally deciding to add difficulty to my future life with my BF," you are telling yourself words that will amplify your negative emotions. She may not thinking about your life at all...she may have enough to deal with regarding her own life right now. Your words paint this image of her scheming to ruin your life. Now this is the part that's taken me a long time to grasp: even if that's true, you can choose an interpretation of events that will help dampen negative emotions rather than escalate them.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:25 am 
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I think one of the Four Agreements applies here.

Can you see which one?

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:14 pm 
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EllenKMR wrote:
I think one of the Four Agreements applies here.

Can you see which one?



#3 - Don't make assumptions.

I know. I can't assume that she is trying to ruin my life/my BF's life. I can't even assume that my life WILL be ruined by this child being born. I am projecting my anger onto her and blaming her when I really don't know what she is thinking or feeling. That is why I really really want to meet her and talk to her and get a sense of what is going on with her.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Ann wrote:
When you say things to yourself like, "She is unilaterally deciding to add difficulty to my future life with my BF," you are telling yourself words that will amplify your negative emotions. She may not thinking about your life at all...she may have enough to deal with regarding her own life right now.[/i]


Ann, I am really enjoying this exchange with you.
You are right. Holding this bitterness is not accepting reality and not accepting reality will only lead to more suffering.

Quote:
Now this is the part that's taken me a long time to grasp: [i]even if that's true, you can choose an interpretation of events that will help dampen negative emotions rather than escalate them.


I guess this means radically accepting the situation rather than wishing it did not exist. I was practicing this and I did feel better. I told myself that this situation had a cause, I could not change the past, I could only control how I handle the present... I came up with a plan for how I would deal with the "worst case scenario" (having this woman and child in my life) and I just back slided when I got to thinking about the whole idea of her with him. It is almost like I feel violated. I don't necessarily want to have children but it feels like she has something that should be mine. I am also terrible about dealing with other women in his life. Even female friends. I get so over-protective and suspicious and I can't handle it.

What I really need to do, and I had decided to do but still struggle with implementing, is TRUST my BF to deal with the situation in a way that does not make me feel left out or pushed aside. Trust him to not let this woman interfere with our relationship and to make time for me and to take my needs and feelings into consideration. I keep trying to take matters into my own hands... keep wanting to call her, write to her, talk to her, but I have to leave it up to him. Guess that is the "control freak" in me. I have a problem with completely letting go of control over something and trusting someone else to handle things.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Okay, maybe more than one. :)

I was thinking:

Quote:
DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

Nothing others do is because of you.


In this case, on the more simple level of that: Often, when others make their descisions, they aren't thinking about me at all. The world doesn't revolve around me.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:37 pm 
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EllenKMR wrote:
Okay, maybe more than one. :)

I was thinking:

Quote:
DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

Nothing others do is because of you.


In this case, on the more simple level of that: Often, when others make their descisions, they aren't thinking about me at all. The world doesn't revolve around me.


Right - that one applies too. She didn't even know I existed when she made the decision to keep the baby so obviously I can't take that decision personally. But if she wants to have the baby despite knowing what it will do to me... that is why I want to talk to her. I want to say "hey, what about me?"

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:53 pm 
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Quote:
But if she wants to have the baby despite knowing what it will do to me... that is why I want to talk to her. I want to say "hey, what about me?"

Why should she base her decision on whether to have the baby or have an abortion be based on how it will affect you?

If she's decided to keep the baby, how will it help her to know how inconvenient that will be for you?

If you can convince her to have an abortion that she does not currently want, will you feel good about that?

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:04 pm 
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Ann wrote:
Quote:
But if she wants to have the baby despite knowing what it will do to me... that is why I want to talk to her. I want to say "hey, what about me?"

Why should she base her decision on whether to have the baby or have an abortion be based on how it will affect you?

If she's decided to keep the baby, how will it help her to know how inconvenient that will be for you?

If you can convince her to have an abortion that she does not currently want, will you feel good about that?


I know. I'm not being rational. I really wish this whole situation did not exist at all. But I can't do magic or turn back time so I guess I will have to learn to live with it. I don't know why I have been going so far off the deep end the past few days... When he first told me, I acted much more rationally than I am now. I told him I wanted to be with him, and if that meant dealing with baby mama and kid, then I would accept that. I guess I need to just focus on the present and deal with things as they happen, rather than wishing I could change the past or shape the future.

I guess I am the one being selfish, really. Not wanting to "share" my BF with this other woman and child. That could be my lack of trust in him to make me a priority. We have had some history that would make me feel that way. A few things have happened that made me question his "loyalty" to me. Maybe that is why I feel "threatened" by this woman. Not that he would leave me for her, but that she would take away some of the attention that I so crave.... What do you think? I really want to get to the heart of this because, like I said, it is not the situation itself that is eating at me, as I have come up with a plan to deal with a child in his life - it's her.....

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:09 pm 
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NAM, he made a baby with somebody. That innocent life should not take a back seat to your desire for his undivided attention. The cruel, hard fact is that if he's a man worth his salt, his attention WILL be divided -- he will have a child to help raise. Can you be his woman through that? One who will support him in raising his child, and accept that it will mean not being the center of his world? If not, maybe you are better suited to a man who does not have any children. jim

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:22 pm 
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mobilene wrote:
NAM, he made a baby with somebody. That innocent life should not take a back seat to your desire for his undivided attention. The cruel, hard fact is that if he's a man worth his salt, his attention WILL be divided -- he will have a child to help raise. Can you be his woman through that? One who will support him in raising his child, and accept that it will mean not being the center of his world? If not, maybe you are better suited to a man who does not have any children. jim


OUCH. Harsh, but true Jim. I would feel differently if he had this child from a previous relationship but this was a stupid decision two people made, they are not going to have an intimate relationship, and it doesn't seem fair to bring this "innocent life" into that situation. As to the question of "can I be his woman through that," I can not say right now how I will act in the future. I know that my intention is to stick by him and accept the fact that he has other responsibilities. But I don't want to be forgotten. And he knows that so I really think we will be OK.

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:32 pm 
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creature wrote:
When you stay with him, what exactly are you ready to accept? (at this point)? Or do you secretly hope this will all go away?


I secretly hope this will all go away...

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:41 pm 
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NotAMonster wrote:
I would feel differently if he had this child from a previous relationship but this was a stupid decision two people made, they are not going to have an intimate relationship, and it doesn't seem fair to bring this "innocent life" into that situation.


And since the person who gets to make that decision is neither you nor your boyfriend, you're stuck. It's not fair that part of a tree fell on my roof in a storm Friday night and put two holes in it, either. Like you, I had no part in what happened, but I have to deal with it.

If you really love this man, then you need to support him in raising his child. This is how you will REALLY love him. If you can't do that, I think you need to look long and hard at whether you two are really a match.

Peace,
jim

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 Post subject: Re: It is so hard
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:27 pm 
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NotAMonster wrote:
I guess I am the one being selfish, really.

I'm impressed by that insight!

This is an unpleasant situation for you. I support any need you might have to talk about it and/or your relationship here. I can't support any plans to in any way try to affect this woman's choice regarding her baby.

I agree completely with Jim, FWIW.

I can tell that this week is an emotional roller coaster for you. (((NAM)))

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