Why exactly is your ex-girlfriend (of several months) upset-to-the-point-of-needing-the-emotional-support-her about this particular miscarriage?

Because she wants affirmation that the ex still wants her. This is the healthiest LW we've had in quite a while. Stay that way, JEB!

Yup! Not much else to say to her, and that's from a woman who's sort of been there, so no guilt JEB, don't let your ex make you feel any guilt for that.
IUDs are about as close to 100% foolproof as anything can be, safer even, than getting your tube tied.
She should to to her girlfriends for support from now on, now you know and have said your piece.
He may be the only one she feels she can talk it out with. Certainly not the new guy and maybe friends and family aren't appropriate for some reason.

But I can't help thinking that this is important enough to her that she is bringing it up a while since they broke up. I suspect that this is something that needs the perspective of someone who understands the process of grieving for a lost pregancy - even an unwanted one. Surely Dan you could get a second opinion from one of your contacts at planned parenthood?
Also: a miscarriage can fuck with a woman's hormones, cause depression.

Maybe she's still working through that.
Oh be kind Sloggers, baby stuff can be emotion-making even if you don't want them, and look she almost kinda made the beginnings of a baby with you dear letter writer. We ARE talking about the human capacity to create life, after all. So you're right to express compassion while seeking boundaries. Maybe just ask if she's been thinking about larger issues lately and note in the generic sense that such soul searching happens to everyone sometimes.
What a thoughtful letter...
First comment is the right response. It's not about the miscarriage, it's about her need to validate that she is still an important part of his life. Hormones, may contribute to feeling sad, empty, unwanted etc. That does not however explain the shady judgement and impulse to create an awkward moment by putting her ex in a rock and a hard place; to be nice is to welcome the awkward conversation and to be a jerk is to call it for what it is, an immature approach to searching for validation. The reason this man is so conflicted is because his ex was being passive aggressive. It's her way of saying, "you did this to me so deal with it!"
If anything, this interaction is a validation for him that his ex girlfriend was not the one. Kudos for being a gentleman!
@1 is probably right about her motives.

It *is* possible to get pregnant with an IUD, happened to a friend of mine. Understandable that she might be emotional about it, but it happened months ago. She should talk to one of her girlfriends if she doesn't feel comfortable talking to her new partner (which she might not if it's bringing up regrets about the ex). If she contacts him again JEB can just say "I'm sorry that happened; was there some reason you wanted to talk to me about it?"
@7: Yup. Best way to deal with passive-aggressiveness is to just ask about it, rather than give them what they want.
First comment is the right response. It's not about the miscarriage, it's about her need to validate that she is still an important part of his life. Hormones, may contribute to feeling sad, empty, unwanted etc. That does not however explain the shady judgement and impulse to create an awkward moment by putting her ex in a rock and a hard place; to be nice is to welcome the awkward conversation and to be a jerk is to call it for what it is, an immature approach to search for validation. The reason this man is so conflicted is because his ex was being passive aggressive. It's her way of saying, "you did this to me so deal with it!"
If anything, this interaction is a validation for him that his ex girlfriend was not the one. Kudos for being a compassionate gentleman.
Yeah, you boys would really understand.
LW, don't look for an ulterior motive here. And don't look to understand your ex's emotional response. I think she may need to grieve a lost child, with his/ her father.
"How do I be a caring human being on this issue and still set a firm boundary about me not being the one that can provide her with emotional support?"

That you're asking it this way means you're doing pretty well. #8 is on the money. Sadly, so is #10. It's okay to move on. You don't need anyone else's permission, even if they think you do.
I second @4 and @5. She might just be feeling a lot of emotions. JEB, don't follow up, but if she reaches out to you again, you could be appreciative that she kept you informed (if you haven't done so already and I guess feel that way), and gently express you don't feel you can be a good support person in this situation and ask if she has girlfriends or a therapist to unpack this with. Basically, state your boundary, but try to be nice about it. Pregnancy hormones are no joke. They will make things just feel worse than you would have thought before you had them. Not on pregnancy hormones *stubs toe*: ow! Grumble. On pregnancy hormones *stubs toe*: aaagh, god why am I weeping it doesn't even hurt that bad fml *cries for five minutes*
Wouldn't hurt to go out for beers and try to cheer her up. It's an awkward situation, so best to figure out what you'll say ahead of time...

"Dodged a bullet, didn't we?"

"On the bright side, no dream-crushing unplanned child to care for."

"I always thought we'd produce hideous children anyway."

"It's better this way, you'd have made a horrible mother."
Yeah, I was sort of thinking that too; you don't really need to understand in order to be there for her. Just listen in sort of a neutral way and she'll either figure things out for herself or tell you what's on her mind. I know you want to figure things out and problem-solve right now, but she really just needs you to listen. Also, yes to the hormone stuff.
@15, was for @11.
I think asking, "So who else have you talked about this with?" is reasonable. If she says "No one," is that because of taboos around sex and contraception? Anyway, gently encourage enlargement of the listening team.
Alternatively, follow the example of the principal in Ferris Bueller and demand to see the fetus corpse befire getting roped into any more conversations.
@11: "I think she may need to grieve a lost child, with his/her father"]

She's being massively unreasonable. If "a lost child" is the way she sees it, then she's trying to get him to grieve with her over the "child" that she herself would have killed, had the miscarriage not solved things for her. She told him that herself. You can't have it both ways.

I suggest she find a counselor to work this out with. Dragging him into it at this late date is fucking with the heads of everyone in the situation, especially the two new relationship partners.
People are unreasonable sometimes, it's okay. It's not the LW's job to psychoanalyze her here, just express sympathy, which it sounds like he probably did fine at, and say that he can't be her outlet to discuss this at more length, if that becomes the question. He doesn't need to justify why.

I think it was Miss Manners who said that repeating "it's just not possible" would resolve any sticky conversation.
If you have a suspicion she's not really over you, then your job is to get out gently but as firmly and quickly as possible. Otherwise, you can use your judgement whether she's really isolated and you are in a relation where you want to stick your oar in for her finding a therapist. But err on the side of letting her deal, except under unusual circumstances.

In no case is it helpful to go into explanation of why you're not in a good position to be her counselor friend. If she doesn't already know why, then she's just going to argue with the reasons you give -- bad for everybody.
I'm more interested in why a long time reader writing in to Mr Savage would choose that particular handle.
Avast@19. Not unreasonable at all.
She lost a baby, her body had already started doing its come to mamma routine. You have no idea.
LW, sometimes a ritual can aid in letting the foetus go. Ask her how she would like you to help her deal with it.
I'm with Avast here. What happened is sad but it's not the LW's problem. I would just either block her or point that I'm not the person to help and maybe direct her toward PP or someone who can.

The LW is not obligated to be the therapist for an even that happened months ago. And I wonder if this isn't a way to fuck up his relationship than something she needs to talk about.

I think he 'owed' her one sympathetic listen, which he gave, and to me that's about as much as she can expect. Lose-Lose, roughly where would you draw your "as much as she can reasonably expect" line?

This is harder for her than it might have been in some different circumstances, but... this is where they are right now. And she can get through this talking to someone else. I mean, I hope she can.

I lost the child of my ex at 12 weeks pregnant. I did know I was pregnant (the charmer broke up with me when I told him) and I did want the baby so I realise this is a slightly different context. But, after it happened I was such a mess, hormones crashing brought on serious depression, that I felt he SHOULD be in pain too, or failing that at least be made to think about it. So, on a day I had been crying non-stop for several hours I called him up. Was it the right thing, no, probably not, did it help, probably not especially in the long run. But it was what I needed at that time. I don't think everything can be read into her saying she would have aborted, maybe she thinks that is what she should say or ought to have done. I knew I wanted my baby but I still looked into it as single motherhood is scary! She may never reach out to him again, especially if she has a new relationship (getting together 6 months later with my now husband helped me enormously) but if she does he should be a good person about it and if she is still having a lot of problems, counselling was very helping to me in getting my head together.
It may also be the polite cough that proceeds a request that you chip in for medical bills. Miscarriages, depending upon type, ain't cheap, LW. If she gives you a legitimate medical invoice, please consider assisting in payment, especially if you didn't help pay for the IUD. The smart decent chap pays the hospital/ care provider directly.
(1) She got knocked up with an IUD?
(2) And suddenly wants support several months after the alleged miscarriage happened?
(3) And is planning ahead for a second phone call when she knows you're both attached?

That just hit my triple cherry BULL$HIT jackpot.

Don't let your desire to be a nice guy let you get used and manipulated. Read Dan's advice to WDID here. Less NyQuil, more blunt.
Sigh, I'm going to be charitable here, and assume that most of you haven't ever been pregnant or had a miscarriage or an abortion. Just because this woman would have gotten an abortion does not mean that she should or could have shrugged off a miscarriage as if it was nothing. Women get abortions when they've determined after A GREAT DEAL of (possibly painful) consideration, that it would be the best choice for both themselves AND their would-be offspring. It isn't a decision taken lightly, nor is it pain free, even if they've never wanted children in the first place. There's always some grief (however small) for what might have been, were they different people or at a different stage in their lives.

LW says they haven't talked for several months, so either the pregnancy was past the first trimester before the miscarriage, or his ex hasn't been able to get over it quickly. If the ex is heavy set or was under a lot of stress, it's very possible that she could have been quite far along in her pregnancy without knowing she was pregnant, and perhaps had the miscarriage at home. This could be quite traumatic. She probably called him because she thought he would more likely to feel as she does than anyone else.

Since the LW contributed to the pregnancy, he should make some acknowledgment that this was a significant thing that happened. Probably this is all that she needed to hear. He can be honest, and tell her that while he can't feel as she does, because his body wasn't changed by the experience, he understands that she is sad. That might be all she needs, to have her feelings validated. LW can also suggest and help pay for a few counseling sessions to help her get over her grief. It's the responsible and decent thing to do. If he doesn't want to do this, then just be honest and say he isn't the one she should talk to, because they are no longer anything to each other. Then he should make sure to be responsible for birth control whenever he has sex going forward, and not just rely on/expect his partner(s) to take care of it.

Something really similar happened to me. I didn't know I was pregnant until I miscarried. My boyfriend had broken up with me just a month prior. I didn't tell him for almost 18 months. We were both seeing other people by the time I told him. It wasn't some attempt to get him back or cause him pain. I was battling pretty severe depression, and I just couldn't hold on to that secret anymore.

There are some notable differences between LW's ex and me. While my pregnancy was unplanned, it would have been very much wanted. Also, my ex and I were on friendly speaking terms. To complicate things even further, my niece was born the same month that my child would have been born.

It still hurts, over 5 years later. I thought that if he grieved with me, it wouldn't hurt so badly. I was wrong. He didn't grieve much, and I felt even more alone. It didn't help that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and couldn't tell my partner about it. And I couldn't tell my family without "ruining" the joy of my sister's pregnancy. (Or so my depressed brain convinced me what would happen.)

Given my own experience, I really don't think LW's ex has ulterior motives. I think she just desperately wants someone to acknowledge her pain. Counseling might be helpful for her. I know it's helping me.
So she had the miscarriage while they were dating, and it affected her deeply, but she didn't even mention it to him at the time? At all? It's only months later after they've broken up and are seeing other people that her momma hormones compelled her to bring it up? That seems odd to me.

XiaoGui17@29: Your link doesn't work, seems to be missing the URL.
No Chase, she got pregnant while they were dating. Obvious really. I assume the miscarriage came some time after they broke up.
She may just need him to acknowledge it happened. If it becomes some sort of ongoing thing, then yes, he needs to pull the plug on her.
Can't see him meeting with her at least once, is such a problem.
By now it's probably a mental attachment, her body should have calmed down after a couple of months.
Why such surprise from people, mainly male people? Without the hormones to attach to a growing foetus, how many women you think would voluntarily go thru pregnancy?
He says "During the phone call, she told me that she had a miscarriage from a pregnancy that happened while we were dating." It's not clear if she had the miscarriage while they were dating or shortly after they broke up, but reading it again maybe he meant the latter.

He did acknowledge that it happened and tried to be "as supportive as possible". Hormones or no hormones, I don't see any reason why he's responsible for doing more than that, unless there's a medical bill (which he should help pay), but she doesn't appear to have mentioned one.
Guys - I'm not usually so reductionist, but unless you've had a miscarriage or (wanted or unwanted) abortion yourself, there's a core to this problem you are unlikely to understand, and your comments reflect this.
I'm with others above who think LW owed the ex one polite and supportive listening session, and not much else. If they were still a couple, the situation would call for something far, far different, but absent a current relationship, and beyond the initial expression of compassion, the LW is under no obligation to provide anything else to the ex.

The ex needs to see a professional therapist if she needs to talk this through and work out her feelings further. LW has moved on from the relationship and so has the ex (supposedly). LW owes her nothing beyond what he's already done. He gave her a sympathetic ear when presented with the facts, but their relationship is over so take it to a pro it you need to work it out.

It's totally valid for the ex to have that need to work this out, but LW doesn't have that same need.
Yes Sam, he doesn't have the same need, because the pregnancy didn't occur in his body. His sperm was involved, and the foetus was also his child.
If she rings again, LW, meet her and just try to feel the loss of your own child as you acknowledge her loss.
If you meet her emotionally, then that might be enough.
I've never been pregnant nor wanted to, but even I have the empathy to realise that a miscarriage can be really traumatic, and it's indeed possible that she didn't want to trouble JEB with it at the time (possibly the relationship was on the rocks anyway) but now it's coming back to trouble her. Why now? JEB will have to ask her. Maybe she and New Partner are talking about having children, and she feels guilty that she never shared her secret with JEB. (Remember: JEB's letter doesn't specify when the miscarriage occured, it just says they haven't spoken in months. This could be several years ago.) Maybe she's discovered that she can't have children, and that one pregnancy being her only chance is hitting her like a ton of bricks. Maybe her best friend has announced a pregnancy. Maybe her new boyfriend refuses to talk about it. Maybe @1 is right, but it seems unlikely, given all the other more plausible possibilities.

I think JEB did fine, and I agree that he should kindly tell her he can't offer anything else and that counseling or a close female friend would be a more appropriate outlet for her to work through this.
Thank you @30 and @31 for your stories. The heartless bastards @1, @19, @24 and @29 should spend the rest of today repeatedly copying your posts verbatim onto a blackboard, like the old days.
Why Fan? Why should she work it thru with someone else. It is with him, that she wants to work thru this experience.
And another male leaving the contraception up to the female to sort. Then has the hide to imply she might be lying about the IUD failing. Geez.
Let's see here. LW sounds like a normal, compassionate person. He says their break up was amicable. They're both dating other people. So what's more likely here:
1) she is ALSO a normal, compassionate person who has gone through something traumatic and is reaching out to the one person who she thinks is reasonable to share it with (they are both normal conmpassionate people afterall, who presumably had a healthy relationship where they shared things with each other) OR
2) she's a manipulative bitch who is playing games with her ex because bitches be crazy amirite??

It's sad that so many commenters think it's the second one.
Lava @41: She should work it through with someone else because JEB has given all he can, and wants to, give. She can't take him on this journey against his will.
I didn't see any implication that she might be lying about the IUD failing. More that he briefly considered she was making up a pregnancy story and quickly decided she wasn't. I think that sadly, enough women lie about pregnancies that it's something men do consider.
@36: Everyone claiming to have relevant experience mentions that they did want the baby, which means their experience has nothing at all in common with the ex's and they have no insight whatsoever into the LW's situation.

Also, there is no support anywhere for "momma hormones" spontaneously appearing months after a miscarriage and months of no contact. Coupled with the IUD, there are a lot of highly unlikely things happening in the ex's account. The LW chose to believe her, but I'd give it at least a 75% that he was wrong.

@41: "It is with him, that she wants to work thru this experience. "

He doesn't want to "work thru" it with her. And he's not obligated to. End of story. What she wants him to do is irrelevant; they're not in a relationship. When the relationship ends, you no longer get a vote in what your ex does.

Not one of you would be having this problem if the genders were reversed. What your exes want you to do does not matter, because they are not the boss of you.

The less-enlightened parts of this thread, as well as the ex herself, reek of the popular cultural belief that if a woman has sex with you, she owns you forever. Reality check: You don't own other people. There are no exceptions. Gender and past sexual activity don't change that, because there are no exceptions.

Once the relationship is over, you don't get a say in how your exes spend their time. They are not your property; they don't work for you.

...I mean, unless they actually do work for you, but that's the kind of thing you should check with HR about.
Read the letter again, Fan. He errs on the side of believing her cause that makes him a great guy. Big of him.
Doesn't sound to me like he's given her anything emotionally. He may have said all the right words, I don't get that he recognized it was his behaviour that contributed to her pregnancy. It was the miscarriage that has lead to her distress.
And it was his potential child, that died. Don't men feel anything when they own that link? Or it's just better to put up all the barricades, as this LW is doing.
She is asking for some emotional confort, to help her grieve the lost foetus. From the only other person involved in creating it. Why is that so hard for people to see as a very valid request.
Lava @45: It's not that I don't see her desire to work through this with her ex as valid. In @39 I listed several potential, very valid reasons behind it. But I see his desire to let sleeping dogs lie also as valid. What's better for her -- to continue to push for something he can't give, or to get the resolution she needs elsewhere? If they were still a couple and he reacted this way, he'd be an asshole. But they've, presumably, both moved on from the relationship and her issues are no longer his responsibility. I'd take a dim view of an ex who never brought something up during a relationship but then wanted to hash and re-hash it, months or years after the fact, as well.
Ha, isn't that funny, you've now got me taking the dude's side. Actually I am on both of their sides. No one is in the wrong here.
I've had an abortion (that I couldn't discuss for seven years without crying so I don't discuss it.) My now husband also knocked me up after 10 months of dating. After a wild emotional ride telling him etc, I promptly lost the pregnancy in a whirl of blood, cramps, and clots. Not all miscarriages end that way - but the visceral impact of watching that all go down the toilet (literally) was soul shaking to me. And it was an unwanted pregancy.

So I don't read a lot of malice or manipulation or ownership in the ex's actions. I could very much see her having a hang over from the event and needing some one to speak with. And who can she talk to? It was only when I started to speak of my own experience that other women shared theirs. This something rarely discussed, actually. People always think it only happened to them.

Until ths moment, lw has not identified any action which would display his ex as manipulative, interfering, jealous, or crazy. Their break up was amicable. She is dating someone else. She has left lw entirely alone.

Likely she does feel like LW is the only one she can speak with on this issue.

That said, I think LW (bravo LW) has done all he can do thus far. He has discharged his duties under the good behavior to ex's rule. The truth is, if she is still wobbling so many months later, she should find a support group to discuss her feelings with people who understand and have been there. Because even compassionate people say stupid things. My husband said to me, kindly, it's nature's way, and I wanted to stick a fork in his eye. The thing is? I would have said the exact same thing to comfort someone had it not happened to me.

Peace out LW. You've done what you can and ought. If she calls about this subject again, say it's a minefield, you care about her and don't want to step on one, and send her to a support group.
Lady is working her way through some bad times and she felt the LW was a good enough person to confide in. That's largely a good thing and if the LW can handle it they should be supportive until they find they can't be any more.
This sounds like a judgement call to me, and the question is, "Was your ex a 1) generally level-headed sort who seems like she needs a little extra talk-through with the one person who helped create this situation or 2) a manipulative sort who might have ulterior motives?" If it's #1, be the good guy you seem to want to be and listen to her. If you haven't figured this out yet, women like to talk about stuff. Men generally want to problem-solve, but she probably just needs you to listen to her. Give her a sympathetic shoulder, but don't let it go any further than that. This is not a situation that calls for a reconciliation. If it's #2, you've already listened to her once, politely but firmly refuse further engagement/drama.
@47: "She has left lw entirely alone. "

That's like saying George W Bush "kept us safe." One or two really noticeable exceptions spring to mind, don't they?
It sounds like the LW's ex is sad. Maybe she became depressed after the miscarriage and hasn't come out of it yet. Maybe she's seeing a therapist who suggested that she contact the LW for some kind of closure.

No bad guys.

LW doesn't have to talk to her if he doesn't want to, but now he knows what pregnancy can do to a sexual partner. If the hormones are going to make her depressed and ruin her life for months even if there's never any baby, it's a bigger deal than he'd thought. Now he knows, and so does she.

@ 50.
1. One swallow does not make a summer. No one is perfectly rational all time. LW doesn't consider her crazy or manipulative and he seems like a level headed guy, so I will go with him. He slept with her and broke up with her.

2. Re "keeping us safe." I don't blame bush for 911 anymore than I blame Obama for san bernidino. Unless one wishes to live behind an iron curtain, "keeping us safe" is not mutually exclusive with a terrorist attack happening on us soil.

I dont expect perfection in people or governments.
@49, There you go. Perfect explanation, said much more articulately than I did.
@ 45 - "Don't men feel anything when they own that link? "

Short answer: no. Or more precisely, very rarely.

Men produce zillions of spermatozoa (most of which end up in a kleenex or some such place). Emotional attachment to one of them is not normal male behaviour, and it would really be unrealistic to ask that of men.

Also, they don't carry the baby, they don't give birth, they don't breastfeed it, and, too often, they don't really take care of it.

Doesn't that tell you everything you need to know on the subject?
@52 ""One swallow does not make a summer" Ha! Literary reference referring to the bird, of course, but in this column, a whole new meaning.
@52: "1. One swallow does not make a summer."

Well, that depends on what you're drinking...

But claiming "I never had a drink" when you did is kind of... not true?

Similarly, if a terrorist attack happened and thousands of people died, then "kept us safe" is not what anyone did. Whether you expected them to has nothing to do with it. People who have been killed are not "safe," and if a bunch of people died violently, claiming to have kept them safe is lying. Those dead people? Not very safe.

The guy getting called by someone he doesn't want to talk to, who's trying to leverage him into more contact? "Left entirely alone" is not what he is. That's actually the opposite: Left entirely alone is what he would be if she wasn't calling him.

If you'd said "left mostly alone," or anything that was compatible with a universe in which she was calling him (instead of leaving him alone), we wouldn't be having this conversation. Similarly, if she actually had left him entirely alone, we wouldn't be having this conversation either, because the letter wouldn't exist. See the difference?
Has anyone been in the position of LW's new partner?
"I would have gotten an abortion anyways" ≠ "I would have shrugged off an abortion and went on my merry way."

She might have had feelings from an abortion too, and might rightly have expected a little support from ex in dealing with the planned end of pregnancy.
Yes, Euda, I see the difference in our thought processes. One of us engages in debates over semantics that have no relevance to real life and the other recognizes that we exist in a world of grey.

If you want to live your world in absolutes and dispose of people like LW's ex as evil or bad because they did not respond exactly as you would have them respond all the time forever in everything, go for it. I will keep my opinion with LW, who knew the girl personally.

And I am not going any further with you here, witty sexual play on the word Swallow or not.
@57, by "position" if you mean "partner's ex back in the picture", when I was young and (not stupid - inexperienced) my fiance dumped me a week after I gave her a ring & went back to the old boyfriend which at the time shattered my heart. Now I think, "Thank god I dodged that bullet" and since they have been married for 40 years, I guess that's the way it was meant to be. Not quite the same, though, since it turns out my GF's old boyfriend was never completely out of the picture and she was lying to me the whole time. Still – never hurts to keep your eyes open.
No, you clearly have no idea what my thought processes are like. Which is weird, since I don't exactly hide most of mine.

I was just struck by the parallel between "She left him entirely alone" when she didn't, and "He kept us safe" when he didn't. The only reason we're having this conversation is because she did not leave him entirely alone.
I've been in LW's position. Surprising no one, my ex was lying about the miscarriage, and made it up as soon as she found out I was dating someone else. That'd be my guess for what's happening here, too, but it's far from a certainty--the letter doesn't include any prior suspicions, and I had plenty.
Excuse me but I think you dialed the wrong number. You probably meant to call your current boyfriend. Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors anyway. Goodbye.
Question 1: Having never been pregnant myself, but stil having heavy (but less painful now, yay!) periods in my fifties, how does one know one is having a miscarriage and not just a heavy period if one doesn't know one is pregnant?

Queston 2: Eudaemonic, how did you find out your ex was lying about the miscarriage?
@57 Yes, when I was 20. And a mutual friend informed me that she had said the same thing to her previous boyfriend when they broke up, which made it awful because I have no way of knowing if this really happened, and challenging her on it if it did would be beyond fucked up. So I tried to be compassionate but refused to meet with her because that just seemed like a terrible idea that wouldn't help anyone.

As for the LW's situation, I think @30 and @31's stories should serve as a warning to anyone willing o easily dismiss this, but I think you go a bit far @biDanFan in calling @1 a heartless bastard. The experience might have been traumatic for his gf, but it doesn't change the fact that it's not very appropriate for him to be her support person in this. Expecting him to be as upset about it as she is will only lead to disappointment and they have each moved on. She needs to have an emotional support system that doesn't involve him. Calling him about it and then saying she wanted to talk more about it later with him is a huge billowing red flag here. If she's struggling with this, stirring up old feelings with her ex is the last thing she needs to do. LW should be sympathetic but enforce some healthy boundaries here.
@biDanFan sorry I read @1's comment again and I take it back - it's pretty damn heartless actually.
I think LW did the right thing, listened to her, gave sympathy and ended the call nicely.

But now I think he does need to "blow her off" for her own good. Whatever the whammy it put on her, steeping in it over and over again with the ex is not really a healthy way to move on for either of them. If she has unresolved issues it may be time to talk to her family, friends, new boyfriend, or a therapist if she wants to keep it confidential.

If she contacts him again I'd suggest the LW be cordial but stern saying something like "I'm sorry this happened but I'm not interested in going over it again" and let her go.
Two medical facts, followed by an opinion.

Fact 1: An IUD is not effective at preventing an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than in the uterus (usually in a Fallopian tube). An ectopic pregnancy ends in either miscarriage or emergency medical treatment to end the pregnancy, as it threatens the mother's life and there is no way the implanted egg can grow to viability outside the uterus. Some medical studies have indicated that an IUD may actually increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, but that has not been firmly established.

Fact 2: It is rare but quite possible to have a fertilized egg implant in the uterus of a woman using an IUD. However, her risk of miscarriage is increased by approximately 50 percent. In fact, most doctors advise against removing the device if the woman decides to continue the pregnancy, due to the very high risk of miscarriage. Full-term IUD pregnancies are well-documented in medical literature, including a few stories of babies who were born clutching the IUD. More often it emerges with the placenta.

Opinion: The ex wasn't lying, she did suffer a miscarriage, and LW was right to follow his kind instincts and try to be supportive. And even though it came as an unexpected and unwanted surprise, it was perfectly normal for her to want to call him and share the bittersweet fact of their lost pregnancy. (Let's face it, her current partner is probably not too keen to help her process the loss of another man's baby.) Now that they have had that important conversation, I think it's perfectly OK to gently discourage the ex from any further contact. If she does call back, it's not ass-holish for LW to remind her that he is neither her current lover nor a professional counselor. She'll get the picture.

@33: Sorry, here's that link. Dan's response to WDID, I think is applicable here.…
@30: It's maddening to me when people go around insisting when any woman has an abortion, it must be an agonizing decision, and she must feel depressed afterwards.

I had an abortion. It was a simple, matter-of-fact, straightforward decision for me. No regrets, no grief, no pain.

Posts that purport to speak for all women who have had abortions are offensive because they deny my experience as legitimate or make me out to be some sort of monster for not feeling what "all women" are supposed to feel under the same circumstances.

They also fuel the pro-life garbage that claims abortions should be avoided because they are universally traumatizing. I refuse to flagellate myself in shame in order to appease that crowd.

@40: For every woman I know who has experienced a genuine miscarriage, I've seen three fake ones as an excuse to get extended attention from an ex, especially once he found a new girlfriend. Add in the IUD, and I don't think it's at all unreasonable to question her account. Sorry, not sorry.

Calling someone a "heartless bastard" for questioning a fishy story is exactly what enables lies about this kind of thing. The fact that the LW errs on the side of believing her in order to be a "nice guy" indicates to me that he's taking her at her word precisely because it's taboo to question whether someone really had a miscarriage--which is exactly why manipulative women pick it as their con.

@42: What's more likely here? Consider that the odds of getting knocked up with an IUD are very, very, very low. That makes the odds that she's lying much, much higher. It isn't sexism to acknowledge that there are manipulative people who tell horrible lies, that some of them are female, and that the unlikelihood of her story makes it worth considering the very real possibility that she may be one of them.
@64: Both good questions, I guess. I don't have any idea about the first one, which is why it's such a good point. The answer to the second one is that (much later) it came up in conversation with the person she claimed had been taking her to the doctor about the pregnancy, and it turned out none of that ever happened.
@XiaoGui17: Thank you. It's nice to hear from the sane people now and then, and your ratio is about the same as mine, so far as I know, and that's a conservative estimate.

There's an odd point about the "Women Never Lie" crowd that they don't seem to get, which is that to say women don't lie is to say that women aren't human. But they are. All people are people; no exceptions. People lie.
Xiao @71: Wow, you sure do know a lot of women having real and fake miscarriages. But let's assume that your anecdotal evidence holds statistical validity, and there are three lying, manipulative bitches out there faking it for every woman who's struggling with the real thing. Even so, why not err on the side of kindness and assume that LW's ex happens to be the one in four, especially when she was using a form of birth control that is known for its high miscarriage rate when pregnancy occurs? Unlike the previous SL column you cited, the ex has not (yet) indicated her desire for anything more than talking, she's not pushing to have him pay for stuff or resume the relationship where they left off, she just wanted to let him know what happened since it was his child too. I happen to agree with you that further contact should be discouraged. But I can't fault LW for taking the high road in believing her and offering his emotional support, and I really don't get why you're so angry about it.
@30, @35, etc.

I'm not heartless. It's just, i've experienced a decent amount of life and have seen that the insides of most peoples souls are much darker that we'd like to believe. I've had the exes, observed other peoples exes, and been the ex myself that periodically likes to scrape the scab of an old relationship just to see if the blood is still red. It's not a nice thing to do, it's a controlling type of behavior. When someone has made clear they've moved on from you, it's at best an act of reckless disregard to continue contacting them.

The time for the ex to use LW as a support structure was when she learned she was pregnant and had had a miscarriage. Was that a painful time for her? Did she feel guilt, shame, and any number of other negative emotions that made it difficult to talk about? I'm sure she did. That's normal behavior. But, as with many opportunities in life, she just missed the boat when they broke up, and broke off all contact. Life is frequently like that - you only get one shot to do something and oftentimes it passes you by without you even knowing it. There are times when the only option available to you is painful and you aren't ready for it (most situations in life, really)
@ 70 - Thank you for that post.
@74 I'll have to add in, although i think it's immaterial if the ex in this case had a miscarriage or not, I've also known about more fake miscarriages and the real ones.
Okay, I'll provide my take on this.
Whenever I want to discuss something of major importance to me, Mr. Q will listen, but will want to be done with the conversation sooner than I want to.
Maybe it's just a case of differing communication styles. Maybe she needs to rehash this for longer than a 10 minute conversation, that is, until she feels she has said her piece.
Those of you attributing nefarious reasons to LW's ex seem not to understand that it takes some people longer to feel heard than others. And I agree with those who remind us that the experience of pregnancy is different for each woman. I never mourned my abortion, but ten years later, I did experience a twinge of "what could have been." So maybe we could cut this woman some slack?
Q: "Dan, my ex-girlfriend is apparently settled into her next relationship and want to create some more drama in her life. So she called me out of the blue to discuss a minor event that was totally resolved back when we were still dating. What should I do?"

My answer: don't take the next call. You've both moved on, and there's no need to reengage her over a non-issue.
I've had four miscarriages. None of them were made up. The first pregnancy was definitely unwanted. It was still devastating. The emotional agony went on for months. Hearing people tell me things like "you didn't want it anyway" or "you're better off without" was not helpful. In fact, it was quite the opposite of comforting.
After reading all of the comments, I wonder why nobody has stopped to ask themselves how the woman's current partner would feel if asked to listen to her go on about something that happened before they were together. If her current partner is as compassionate as the people that I had to deal with after my loss, he will probably tell her that she needs to get over it. He might -- like so many readers -- also think she is hung up on her ex.
Not everyone goes to a counselor as a first line of defense. Maybe she thought that the father of her lost child would share similar feelings, and that they could talk through it. He would know better than anyone what was happening during that time in their lives. And maybe the reason this shit is coming up for her now is that she has a NEW partner, and is having sex again with somebody NEW, and is afraid that the same thing will happen again, since she had taken precautions in the first place, and still was unable to prevent this traumatic event from happening.
When a woman is in a position where she is not afforded control of her own body, it's scary as hell. An unwanted pregnancy that happened WITH contraception was the first loss of control. Then, the miscarriage was another loss of control. Does she really want to talk to a new partner about all of this heavy stuff? Is dating someone new the same as being in a committed LTR?
Props to those of you who recognize the need for compassion here. While I personally have never met a woman who has lied about a pregnancy or miscarriage, I sure do hear a lot of stories about them, so I assume they must happen. It's possible that the LW is just a really nice guy who thinks that one conversation is the same as being supportive, but I thought the whole thing sounded very cold. No, he does not owe her anything, but I don't think he deserves a cookie for saying "I did the bare minimum to earn the Decent Person card. Am I off the hook yet?" The letter is missing entirely too much information for us to be passing judgement about whether he is a nice guy or she is creating drama. The bottom line is that pain sucks, and being in pain doesn't mean she still wants his dick. Geez!
@79; WTF? She says it is an issue for her. And he contributed to her getting to this point.
For gods sake, you guys. Take responsibility for your cocks and what comes out of them.
I know that women can become pregnant with an IUD in place: my mother did, in 1978. My understanding is that today's IUDs are better and that the likelihood of pregnancy is very, very low. About 0.3% per year, meaning no more than a 0.025% chance of becoming pregnant in the month before they broke up, or 1/4,000. Then halve that to estimate how likely it was that she became pregnant the month before they broke up and then miscarried: 1/8,000. It's not zero, but it's not high.

Yes, the LW is behaving correctly by being awkwardly sympathetic but drawing a clear boundary. She might have been pregnant and then miscarried, so there's no reason to be a cad. However, she might have been making up a story to connect with him, so there's good reason to decline to be drawn in.

For there to be even odds that it was a story we only have to believe that 1/8,000 girlfriends would reach out to an ex with this kind of hook. Now, none of us know 8,000 women. But we probably all know at least one woman who we suspect would be capable of telling a story in a bid for connection. So that she was doing that is well within the realm of possibility.

*** *** ***
And yes, thank you XiaoGui17 @70.
Wow, @79 must be a caring and emotionally supportive partner, what with dismissing a miscarriage as a 'minor event' and a 'non-issue' despite LW clearly describing his ex's feelings on the matter as the opposite of 'totally resolved'. I wish I had more friends like you.
@81: I'm disinclined to believe exes, particularly when weighed against other evidence. The miscarriage supposedly occurred while they were dating. If it was such a big deal to her, why is this the first he's hearing about it?

@83: LW isn't her partner or even her friend. He's her EX-partner, one he hadn't heard from in months. Even if she needs support, she should get it from someone who is actually in her life.
IUDs have a very high success rate however when they fail, it is very likely to be an ectopic pregnancy. These are not a typical miscarriage - they are often legitimate medical emergencies requiring emergency surgery and sometimes the loss of a Fallopian tube which would limit her future fertility. Even a "normal" miscarriage can cause huge amounts of bleeding and clots. I was terrified that I was dying when I had a loss at 9 weeks and the it dragged on for weeks afterwards and resulted in surgery. While some women may be able to just shrug that off it is not unreasonable that some women can not and might want to lean on the father of the child.

And for everyone saying they know more fake miscarriages than real ones - you know far more women who have had miscarriages than you will ever know. Almost every woman in my life, with the exception of my mother, has been through one. They simply never talked about it until I was open about mine.
All this guy has to do is listen to her express her feelings. How is that a hook?
I sure hope the person she is with now, uses condoms. That she has learnt her lesson.
@86 I mean, that's as hooky as hooks get, right? Having supportive conversations about deep emotional issues? People have gotten married/catfished over less.
Good advice is advice that doesn't require confidence in your ability to read the mind of a third party. Because no matter how much life you've seen, and how good you are at reading people, you're not in a position to make strong claims about somebody you've only heard about in a letter from somebody you don't know either. You're being silly if you think you are.

It doesn't actually matter. JEB should be sympathetic and be done. There is not even any achievement unlocked if JEB is successfully unsympathetic to someone who's lying. So what's the point of trying?

JEB, I think I missed one thing -- do read over people's accounts of their miscarriages, here and elsewhere. Assess whether you think you were truly sympathetic or you tried but you didn't really get it enough to engage. Odds are you will encounter another miscarriage.
'I'm disinclined to believe exes"

Wow. That must suck, I'm sorry.
You guys are so fucking ignorant.
She wants to talk about how she felt, when she had a miscarriage. Big romantic hook there.
More like a reality shot of what many women probably go thru by themselves, not wanting to even check if the man might be able to support and listen to her, because chances are he won't be available for that.
Fucking bunch of cowards with cocks they should keep to themselves.
@ 80, thank you, ofcookiesandrhetoric, for your post. Well said.

LavaGirl, I am totally with you in all that you've said. I am saddened by the lack of sensitivity that seems to make up the default position of so many posters here. And Dan too... Just no concept of what it means to carry life inside you, wanted or not.
@ 91 - "Just no concept of what it means to carry life inside you"

That's the whole point. Men will never understand that. Women should tailor their expectations of men according to this inescapable fact: it will never be as big a deal for the man as it is for the woman. Never. Expecting that a man will or even can provide the level of empathy that women need in such situations is just foolish.

Please note that I'm not saying men's indifference is a good thing - it just is.
Ricardo, another apologist.
A man knows how to listen, doesn't he? He knows how to offer comfort to another human in pain? That is what is needed.

LavaGirl, I'm with you too. How can anyone say it's a non issue is beyond me.
She's not a bad guy for reaching out - it's possible that he might have been more willing to talk about it than he is, and having a sudden urge for reconnection months after a breakup is not unusual or terrible, hormones or not. And I'm not inclined to assume she's lying, she could in fact just be very unlucky. But regardless, if she attempts to continue the conversation, he has no obligation to accommodate her.

Her hormones do not trump his boundaries. Reverse the genders. Imagine she had a miscarriage or an abortion and didn't tell him because she felt fine about it. Months after they've broken up he suddenly re-contacts her and says he found out about it from a mutual friend and he needs emotional closure. She's not interested in discussing it further, but he insists. How okay would that be?
Oh Chase. Of course I would agree with the man having the right to express his feelings to her, and I would expect her to listen.
A foetus is the creation of two people. He wouldn't have the right to stop her having an abotion, as it is happening in her body.
I do believe he'd have the right to express grief, if that is his response, and she needs to listen to him, and offer him comfort.
" he has no obligation to accomodate her".
" her hormones do not trump his boundaries".
It is not her hormones, Chase.
It was / is her experience. What she went thru, when she had a miscarriage. She wants him to hear of that experience. No, he can't go thru it directly.. He can listen and find some emotion in himself, maybe something like regret, that he didn't take the sharing of his sperm a bit more seriously.
As well as being an adult man, and giving her an hour of his time and a cuddle for support; he may, just may, in the future, take s bit more care when planting his seed.
IHSN @84: "If it was such a big deal to her, why is this the first he's hearing about it?
Some possibilities are listed @39.

"@83: LW isn't her partner or even her friend. He's her EX-partner.."
Masque wasn't talking about LW being a good partner or friend. They were talking about YOU. File under: heartless bastard.

Alison @82 gets it exactly right: "She might have been pregnant and then miscarried, so there's no reason to be a cad. However, she might have been making up a story to connect with him, so there's good reason to decline to be drawn in." There's no downside to kindness.

Kennedar @85: "And for everyone saying they know more fake miscarriages than real ones - you know far more women who have had miscarriages than you will ever know. " Absolutely this. No one comes into work announcing they had a miscarriage over the weekend, do they?

Ricardo and Lava: You are both right. Men can't ever understand. Just like you, Lava, can't ever understand why someone would want to have gender reassignment surgery. But men can and should be expected to understand that, while they can't fathom it, it's hugely important to the women they love, or once loved, or at least fucked, so they owe it to them to listen and sympathise as best they can. And LW did that, in this case. He did listen and sympathise to the best of his ability. He didn't blow her off, and he's wondering how to go about being a good person while maintaining his own boundaries. Again, no bad guys here.
You have misrepresented me, Fan.
I do understand why people want gender reassignment surgery. My position has always been that the body is an intricate mechanism. Any surgery will compromise its integrity.

And yes.. This guy didn't blow her off, on the phone. She wants a face to face meeting.
You bringing up
Trans* issues here, is a total red herring,Fan. And if you had read my posts in one of the threads last week, I have changed my understanding.

Let's just rehash the issue here. There was a child conceived, he , like her, was a parent.
He, like her, lost a potential child.
He is Involved here. While his body has no record of this experience, his mind knows it happened.
@89: I guess? To clarify: exes that transitioned to being friends do not make me wary. It's the ones that pop up out of the blue, seeking immediate emotional intimacy (as opposed to "let's catch up"), that are trouble. I thought that experience universal, but responses @83 and @98 suggest otherwise.
Lava @99: Apologies for misconstruing your position on trans* issues. I thought it was a good example of how a person might not have a visceral "understanding" of something, but could still offer empathy and support. I guess a better example would be me summoning congratulatory words on someone's pregnancy, despite not being able to understand how in the world anyone could see such a thing as positive.

But you've added a detail to the letter that isn't there. JEB never said his ex wanted a face-to-face meeting. He said, "She has expressed interest in talking about all of it again in the future and is really upset about it."

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