[Two Pronged] An on-and-off relationship with my girlfriend – who's pregnant by another man
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I’m a lesbian and was in a 3-year live-in, committed relationship with a bisexual.
I was her first lesbian relationship. I ended our relationship because she’d always wanted a child. She mentioned that when we were just dating. My ex is the “I want what I want NOW” type. She said I loved and did everything I could for her. We fought; I was not the person she needed or would complete her.
Being her rebound, she hid that she met her ex for “closure.” She wasn’t over him when we dated. I genuinely believed she loved me. I ended our relationship because of some unlikeable characteristics I could accept only when not so stressed. I immediately regretted ending it and wanted her back.
On and off, she also dated her co-worker; she couldn’t make up her mind, still scared I would leave her again.
She got pregnant and emailed me; we weren’t speaking. She said that if I would still accept her, she’d have the baby with me. I felt sick everything about her character. But I loved her. I tried to keep my distance but finally told her I love her unconditionally, and that I would accept her and the baby.
But guilt came when the baby daddy told her she broke what would be their family. She dropped me, tried with the baby daddy. She came from a broken family and didn’t want that for her baby. I stopped talking to her, ignored her, tried accepting that we would never be. I failed. I couldn’t stand not talking to her. So here we go again.
We’re live in again after ECQ. Should I go back? I’m scared to go through the same cycle — letting her go and not trying again because I might really lose her forever. She can’t stand to be single, needs someone with her constantly. If we don’t work this out soon, she will force it with the baby daddy. I know with all my heart I can accept the baby. She won’t deny rights to the baby daddy, so they will always have a connection. That scares me. I can be jealous and unsure about trusting her.
Thank you for your email.
You seem to have enjoyed a rollercoaster relationship with your girlfriend (let’s call her Dee). You were her first same sex partner, she hid her continuing contact with her former boyfriend, having a child became a red line issue between you, she then started dating a co-worker, became pregnant, asked you if you were open to continuing the relationship and has been ricocheting back and forth between the child’s father and you ever since.
For your part, you were against a child, you broke up with Dee and then immediately regretted it, and when she got pregnant you declared unconditional love. Now you want to be with Dee but are worried about potential jealousy towards the child’s father.
People’s expectations of marriage/relationships differ wildly and the spectrum stretches from the predictable to the volatile. For those favoring predictability the smallest deviation from their routine can be very unsettling while those who favor volatility may abhor the very notion of the routine and mundane.
So in answer to your question as to whether you should get back on the rollercoaster with Dee, the child and its dad, the voice of reason suggests that it won’t be long before another crisis rears its ugly head and you will then find yourself back exactly where you are now. Dee is not the last woman on earth, you never wanted a child and the father may well compete for both Dee’s and the child’s attention. Walk away and get on with your life.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter.
It seems Dee is addicted to these stressful situations and to always feeling wanted/desired by more than one person and when things threaten to stabilize off she goes again with another drama.
As Mr Baer says: “For those favoring predictability the smallest deviation from their routine can be very unsettling while those who favor volatility may abhor the very notion of the routine and mundane.”
It seems Dee gets bored by non-volatility and the stability that a truly one-on-one relationship (and no one else) brings. It is unfair of me to psychologize her as I have only your description, but my excuse is that you seem to describe yourself, her and the situation accurately. Or try to.
Please read about co-dependence and addiction over google, etc. I ordinarily wouldn’t say that, but first, it is lockdown and you have the time. More important, your intelligence shines through and you can be rational and decide based not only on the immediate but also on future consequences…with the exception of your relationship with Dee.
You seem addicted because your behavior (accepting her again and again) reduces your anxiety, resulting in a positive “high” similar to substance intoxication. “A comparison of craving and emotional states between pathological gamblers and alcoholics.” Addict Behav. 2007;32(8)
The most important thing about addiction is that there is a theory that your brain changes when addicted not only to substances, but also to behavior, like Dee’s and, more importantly to us, yours—your constantly accepting her, knowing full well this stability of her staying with you won’t last — the reason you’ve said: “here we go again!”
The biological basis of addiction helps to explain why people need much more than good intentions or willpower to break their addictions.
Addiction is not a choice or moral problem, and even being told by the almost-always spot on Two Pronged duo ☺ will NOT stop you. The brain might possibly actually change with even behavioral addictions.
Health campaigns that promote the total elimination of risk (like your not seeing Dee cold turkey) are usually a missed opportunity to support lower-risk behaviors that are more sustainable in the long term. One needs a nuanced approach to risk, and your having less and less to do with Dee over time is probably easier than a complete break.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email email@example.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.