My partner proposed to me on May 16, 2016, after dating and living together for three years. We had planned a September 2016 wedding. Soon after we got engaged we started trying for a baby. I got pregnant right away. I was shocked and nervous to tell him and his response was, "That's great, that's what we wanted!" On July 18th my partner told me that he wanted to end our engagement and asked me to have an abortion. I was completely blindsided by this. He said he has been ignoring how unhappy he's been and at times feels alone in the relationship. He doesn't want to be with me anymore and thinks there is someone better for him. He is unwilling to work on our relationship, he has moved out, and he doesn't want to participate in the pregnancy. Is this normal?
Dazed And Confused
I've been staring at your letter for days, DAC, and I still don't know what to tell you. Abortion is a deeply personal decision, of course, and it's your choice to make, OF COURSE. So trying to tell you what should do... just feels wrong.
And whether you should or shouldn't terminate this pregnancy isn't the question you asked, even if it's the only thing I can think about. You asked "Is this normal?" And the answer to that question would be...
I sure as fuck hope the fuck not.
It's not unheard of for people to get cold feet—to experience doubt—after making/accepting a marriage proposal, and it's not unheard of for people to experience pangs of "breeders' remorse" after learning their attempts to get pregnant were successful. (Adoptive parents experience this too. On the way home with our son, my husband and I looked at each other and one of us said, "Holy shit, what have we done?") Those commonplace anxieties are normally/hopefully/routinely processed as a couple, and it's normal—or at least I hope it's normal—for these commonplace anxieties to be worked through and overcome. And it's both normal and highly advisable to work through anxieties about a marriage proposal that's been accepted before deciding to make a baby. Because once you've scrambled your DNA together... calling it off is a lot more complicated for all involved.
So, DAC, is what your fiancé doing normal? Again: I sure as fuck hope the fuck not. But that's not the pertinent/pressing question here. The real question is... and it's not the one you asked... so forgive me for weighing in... what the hell should you do?
You could give him some time and hope he comes around and comes back—but do you want him back? Do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering whether he'll bolt at the first sign of serious marital conflict? Or during the first bought of explosive diarrhea after the baby comes? Or the first time someone supposedly "better" crosses his path?
I wouldn't. And speaking of me...
Deciding whether to terminate a pregnancy is so personal, DAC, that I'm sitting here wondering what I would do if I were you. If I had a uterus and my asshole fiancé left me for a "someone better to be named later" shortly after knocking me up.... what would I do? Well, if this wasn't my last chance to get pregnant—you don't mention your age, DAC, but you did mention that getting pregnant was relatively easy for you—I would seriously consider terminating the pregnancy. And if we were talking about my hypothetical uterus and if we were talking about my hypothetical fiancé and if we were talking the baby he led me to believe he wanted and if I had many fertile years ahead of me... I probably wouldn't have to consider terminating the pregnancy for long. I would opt to abort, even if it meant giving my asshole ex-fiancé what he wanted.
Which is easy for me to say, I know, since I don't have a uterus or an asshole fiancé and I will never face the choice you're facing now.
Terminating the pregnancy amounts to giving your asshole ex-fiancé what he wants. That galls. But you can't have a baby to spite your ex-fiancé. And you have to ask yourself whether you want to be shackled to this guy for the next 18+ years. He may not want to "participate in the pregnancy," but he's not going to have any choice about participating in child support payments—and he may decide he wants shared custody or visitation at some point, and that could prevent you from, say, moving to another state for a job. Do you want him in your life for the next two decades? Do you want to see him in court? Or ever again? Do you want to him out of your life? Then you might want to think about terminating.
I'm so sorry you're going through this. Whatever you decide to do, DAC, I hope you have lots of loving supportive family and friends around you. Either way, you're going to need them.
UPDATE: Some bonus advice from a reader...
You overstepped a little on this one, Dan, but it's forgivable, given that your response is out there for everyone to read, not just DAC. And since you opened the door, I want to add my perspective.
You can tell your readers and DAC that if she's waffling about whether to have the abortion, the negative narrative gets far too much weight. I was with a partner who I loved and thought I wanted kids with, but getting accidentally* pregnant put things in perspective about that relationship and I knew I needed out and a clean break.** I was worried that even though I knew it was the right thing for me that I'd be saddled with what-ifs for the rest of my life. It has been five years and my abortion is hands down the best choice I've made for my life and I've never felt regret—only joy and pride in taking care of myself when I didn't know how that was going to work out.
I wish abortion were not so politicized in this country as to make it nearly impossible to share a positive take on the experience.
Adding My Two Cents
* I was using condoms and on hormonal birth control.
** I was in a volatile relationship with a charismatic, manipulative and controlling POS, and I ignored it until I was faced with being tied to him for life.