Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend Wasn’t There When I Had An Abortion”
I am 20-years-old and got pregnant in August by my boyfriend of nine years. We started dating in middle school, and I have supported him through everything. The pregnancy was unplanned and my family life at home is very unhealthy, but my boyfriend wanted to keep the baby. I disagreed. I know in my heart that I couldn’t have given this baby the life right now that he or she deserved. I wasn’t ready and feel very stupid for getting myself in this position. In the end, my boyfriend was going to leave me if I had the abortion. He’s been my best friend since I was 11 and I didn’t want to lose him, so I lied and said the pregnancy test was a false positive and had the abortion.
Shortly after the procedure, I began to harbor some bad feelings towards him. I needed him to be there with me and he wasn’t. I had to take myself home on the public bus after my abortion. I was alone, scared, surrounded by kids, and very drugged. I needed him! He was the only one that knew about the pregnancy and was going to leave me if I terminated it. I broke up with him shortly after, partially due the lack of support and also because he was too busy to spend time with me. He is one of those men who is too busy and always has an excuse.
I am hurt, confused, and alone. I don’t regret my decision to abort but I need some support. I need some help. I need something. I can’t talk to anyone in my family about the procedure. It’s been less than two months and my ex-boyfriend of nine years has already replaced me. He’s posting cute pictures of himself with new his girlfriend on Facebook and introducing her to his family. He treats this woman that he just met 100 times better than he ever treated me. I feel like I got the short end of the stick. I’m alone and very depressed. What can I do to heal from this? My heart is broken and my life is in ruins. Please help me! — Relationship Terminated
Let’s deal with the first part of your issue: you need support. It’s wonderful that you’re able to articulate that need and to ask for it, even if the person you’re asking is an advice columnist. What you really need is support from someone who can look you in the eyes while listening to you. A little hand-holding and a hug or two wouldn’t hurt either. Obviously, your ex-boyfriend is not the person to give you the support you need. If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone in your family, do you have a close friend or two you can trust and count on? You can also call the clinic where you had the abortion and ask if they can recommend a post-procedure counselor you can speak to. If you happen to be in college, make an appointment with your campus mental health and wellness office. (If none of these resources are available to you, check out the website Exhale for resources that can help you heal and move on.)
As for that ex-boyfriend of yours, as much as it hurts you to think he’s replaced you so quickly, understand that he’s most likely hurting, too. You two were best friends since childhood and suddenly you broke up with him. You had a good reason — you didn’t feel supported by him — but he didn’t know the whole story. He didn’t know you had an abortion. You lied to him about that. You were as guilty as he was, really, in the breakdown of your relationship. Honest, open communication is the number one thing in a relationship, and you didn’t have that. Instead of telling him the truth and dealing with the repercussions, you lied, and chances are, he sensed you lying. Chances are, he’s hurting a great deal from losing you and he’s confused about why things ended. Don’t mistake cutesy photos on Facebook with happiness. For all you know, he’s using his new girlfriend to mask his pain.
And if he’s not? Then you dodged a bullet, my dear. Anyone who can move on from a nine-year friendship/relationship that spanned such a formative period in a blink of an eye doesn’t have the kind of emotional maturity and depth required to maintain a fulfilling, adult relationship. And if you, a person he was close to for so long, couldn’t count on him when you needed him most, what makes you think anyonecan? You say he’s treating his new girlfriend “100 times better” than he ever treated you, which leads me to believe he treated you like crap, because you can’t truly know how he treats someone else — especially if you’re going by rumors or photos on Facebook — but you 100% know how he treated you. And if he treated you poorly all those years, then good riddance! It’s time you broke free of that and made yourself available for someone who can treat you the way you want to be treated.