Advice: He got someone else pregnant

DEMETRIA L. LUCAS
Last updated 12:10 11/04/2013

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I found out someone I am casually dating (we've had a "we're not exclusive" chat) has gotten someone pregnant while also seeing me. I feel like I've been hit by a freight train. I have no clue what to do. I don't want to judge him. I'm far from perfect.

S.U.

(Send your questions to lifeandstyle@stuff.co.nz, and remember to include a nickname if you don't want to be identified.) 

Unfortunately, I've been in your shoes. And surprisingly, a lot of other women have, too. A question about what to do when a guy you're dating -- or your boyfriend or even husband -- gets another woman pregnant is brought to me at an alarming frequency. It's quite scary how much cheating -- though not in your case -- goes on without any thought of a condom.

But back to you. You are casually dating -- i.e., spending time and getting to know each other -- and, most important, are not committed. He was well within his rights to see other women and have sex with them, and though it would have been nice if they had used a condom, they chose not to, for whatever reason, and alas, she's pregnant. Not the ideal situation, but technically, he didn't do anything wrong.

As for what you should do, if you had sex with him, head to your nearest doctor's office or clinic to get tested. It's clear that condoms are optional for him, and who knows what you might have been exposed to.

Now, about you hearing about it. You mention that you "found out" a woman he was also dating is pregnant, which implies that you didn't hear it from him -- which you most certainly should have. When dating, you don't have to spill all your personal business to someone you are getting to know better, but "Hey, I have a child on the way" is something that he should have shared with you.

Maybe he was scared that you would go running for the hills -- which, by the way, you should -- but that he didn't tell you, despite the difficulty of the conversation, says a lot. Either he doesn't believe you're important enough in his life to tell you or he's deceitful. It doesn't really matter which one it is, as neither bodes well for you.

That you heard about it most likely means she's having the baby. And even if she isn't, I'd still advise you to take this as your time to call dating this guy a wrap. I get it, you like him -- hence your devastation at learning the news. But he's nowhere near ready to settle down with you, especially if he has a child with another woman on the way.

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Of course, that's not the end of the world, but it is messy, and frankly, you don't need the drama -- of which there will likely be plenty if you stick around. First, he has demonstrated that he can't be trusted to tell you what you need to know, which we've covered already. And second, in the "best-case" scenario, the pregnant woman is the girlfriend about whom he never bothered to tell you, which would make him a cheater. Or, perhaps worse, she's a random woman he was dating in addition to you, he didn't use a condom and now a woman with whom he barely has a relationship is pregnant. The potential reams of drama to come from either scenario are reason enough to part ways as soon as possible.

You seem to be really concerned about not judging him, and I'm curious why it's a problem for you. Clearly, his actions are outside your boundaries if you feel like you've "been hit by a freight train" upon hearing the news. It's perfectly OK for you to judge his choices, and if the consequences are not acceptable to you, stop seeing him. You don't have to be a perfect person -- none of us is -- to honor your boundaries and call it quits.

- This story has been amended. An earlier version incorrectly suggested that the advice came from Relationships Aotearoa, when it didn't.

- Slate

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