He had a baby with his ex

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am 25 years old and I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year and a half now. We met at work and we spend almost every day together. For the most part, our relationship is very healthy — we balance each other out very well. He brings out the character in my personality and we both help each other think critically. He makes me laugh a lot and we’re always there to support each other — he’s a great companion. We argue about once a month (the time of the month for me) over silly issues but we’re generally very good about solving them.

Ever since I started dating my boyfriend, I was always curious about why him and his ex broke up since he had many good things to say about her. About a few months into our relationship, he finally told me that he was cheated on by her. I was very upset because the night before, I had met her at a party and was very nice and civil with her — not knowing what she had done to him. I’ve learned to get over it because it was in the past however, their past seems to haunt our relationship from time to time because in the past — a few of our arguments revolved around him and her and why he was dishonest with me about her cheating on him — but we’ve both gotten past that.

One thing that always bothered me however was that I never understood their entire past. I didn’t want to ask questions about it because I was afraid to pry into my boyfriend’s past since it was irrelevant. However, not one day would go by where for some reason, I wouldn’t have a brief moment to think about him and his ex. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I always felt that he was hiding something from me about his past with his ex but I couldn’t figure out what. It was a feeling and it made me very uncomfortable.

So when we do get into heated arguments, I would say a really low comment about him and his ex — “if you don’t like how I treat you then why don’t you just get back with your ex, the one that cheated on you!” — and that would really upset him. Nothing else made him more upset than those types of comments.

During the latest argument we had, I made a similar comment and this time it did not rub him the right way at all — he knocked things over, he yelled at me and he cried. I didn’t understand why he would get so hurt every time I made those comments — I knew his weak spots and that’s why I did that.

Finally, when we both calmed down — I said sorry to him and I told him I’ll never make those comments again since I see how much it hurts him. Then when he calmed down he told me he had something to tell me…

He said that his ex in the past got pregnant and it was their baby… then I asked him did you guys get an abortion? And he said no… I was shocked… I couldn’t believe it…

Then I asked him, where is the baby now??? And he told me that she had the baby but it only survived for 3 days.

I started to cry hysterically — I didn’t know what to think.

Now, my mind is lost — I love my boyfriend very much — he’s been a great guy and I don’t want to use his past against him. Him and his gf have both been able to move on from the experience — they went through 9 months in college without no one knowing that she was even pregnant. It’s been a big secret and it still is.

I need advice because I feel really sad right now — suddenly, all the sunshine and happiness in my life just seemed to vanish — all of my excitement and everything and I don’t know why.

I told my boyfriend that I was proud of his courage to tell me because he said it killed him inside everyday that he couldn’t tell me since he was afraid of losing me. He also said that in our arguments whenever I brought up his past, he cried because he wanted me to understand that it’s not his ex he was crying about — he understood why she cheated on him — that after being 9 months pregnant and hiding it, she just wanted to enjoy college — do drugs and party hard– he knew it was a bad decision but for a young girl at that age, it was a decision she made and he finally understood and accepted what had happend to him. He’s been forgetting about the past and has learned to move on and it hurt him every time I brought it up — he just wanted me to leave it in the past. He’s gone through a lot of pain in the past and just wanted to leave it there. He no longer gets sad about it — just sad when I’m upset and I say crazy things to him.

So now, I finally have closure with their relationship — that unsettling feeling of him hiding something from me is no longer there — however, what’s replaced it are these huge knots on my chest that I can’t seem to get rid of. I keep thinking of the fact that the both of them had a baby together and that the baby’s brain didn’t fully develop — as though the baby was never alive — it just had a heart beat and reflexes but no feelings or thoughts.

I keep thinking of why they didn’t take good care of the baby while she was in the stomach. My boyfriend mentioned that by the time his ex found out she was pregnant, it was too late to get an abortion. He was frustrated that she didn’t tell him soon but he said she was afraid to get an abortion. I feel that later in the pregnancy, his ex might have not taken good care of herself on purpose so that she could stay small and discrete about not having the baby. there are so many questions I have in my head as to why did they let this happen — what were their lives like but I also think that I should leave it in the past.

How do I move on from this? How do I get rid of the thought that my boyfriend and his ex had a baby together?

A: Three years ago, your boyfriend and his ex were maybe 20 or 21. They made some poor decisions when they were very young and suffered a tragedy together. It’s now part of the fabric of who they are. Nothing you can do is going to change that. Your boyfriend has done his grieving for the baby and for what might have been and moved on as best he can. But as with all important griefs, when it is put in front of him, some of the intense feelings still come over him. Of course he cries. That’s normal and appropriate. It only shows that he is a good, caring man who has had a loss. You wouldn’t want him to be anything less.

Loving him means appreciating that and understanding that his past is, of course, always going to be a part of your life as well as his. If you do make a future with him and decide to have children, your pregnancy will not be his first. He will have memories of another. He will probably be extra concerned about you during your pregnancy and extra worried about whether your baby is okay. The birth of his first child with you will be inevitably colored with feelings from the loss of the other child. He will probably love the children you have together all the more because he understands as most of us don’t just how precious life is.

The problem with dating grownups is that they have lived a life before you met them. So have you. Each of us is the sum of our experiences (both good and bad), including our experiences with others. If you can’t tolerate these ideas, then you shouldn’t be with someone who has been with anyone before you. As you get older, that will become more and more of a challenge though. For that reason, I do think it would be helpful for you to think about doing a little therapy. You have what you say is a wonderful relationship with a caring man who loves you enough to put up with your really low comments and accusations when you fight. At this point, it’s your insecurities that may sink this relationship, not his past. You risk throwing away a perfectly fine relationship because you are preoccupied with things you can’t change or accept. You need to figure out what that is about and resolve it if you are ever to have a happy and relaxed relationship with any partner. I hope you agree that you owe that to yourself.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). He had a baby with his ex. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/16/he-had-a-baby-with-his-ex/