SL Letter of the Day: Betrayal and Ball Ache

Comments

1
Wow, LW - way to take absolutely no fucking responsibility for your birth control decisions. "She lied about the time frame of 'being safe?'" Was your Google broken? Were you unable to take even the most basic of interests in figuring out how to prevent yourself from impregnating someone? Are you now unable to afford condoms?

The vasectomy issues suck, no question. It's a medical problem and you definitely should get that taken care of. But you need to do some serious thinking - did your wife intentionally entrap you into a second kid, or were you just too lazy to do your own research? (Or just unlucky? That happens too, you know . . .) If you can't forgive her for what you feel is a terrible deception, then yeah, your marriage is probably over, despite the kids. But if you do some soul-searching and realize that maybe - if you can get your medical problems ironed out and since you're going to be a father to two kids no matter whether you're married or not - you want to actually be there as a family for them, you might want to look into counseling or whatnot and see if there's a chance you and your wife can forgive each other.
2
Divorce does seem inevitable with this much anger and mistrust. But surely most people would research things like 'safe periods' and vasectomy side effects if these are important to them - just to check that nobody is mistaken? There's a whole Internet of information out there. (Here in the UK, the NHS website says the risk of post-vasectomy pain is as much 1 in 10. So my husband won't have one. Fair enough - but roll on the male Pill...)

In future relationships the LW might need to work harder for what he wants at the outset, rather than giving way and ending up with a horrendous situation for everybody, especially the poor kids.
3
Find a good scrotum masseuse..
No. That's a joke. Find an accupunturist, see if they could help.
Your children are here now, please don't project any of this ill will onto them. If you hate your wife, as you say.
Have you guys looked into marriage counselling? Might be the first place to go. Get these issues talked about clearly, with a third person. You do have a family, try to repair these communication problems with your wife.
And maybe find a therapist for yourself. Being snipped should always be the man's choice. You give your wife too much power, it sounds like. Then, like a sulking child, you hate her.
Might be patterns here with how things were in the power dynamic with your mother?
The anger and hating is bad for your body. Find a way to clear it.
Your wife does sound insensitive to your experiences. Though, what is it she can do? Feel guilty all the time, is that what you want?
Maybe a pain management clinic. Some meditation, to help you release the pain, not tense with it.
4
You were dead set against having a second child, so much so that you resorted extreme measures like, uh, the rhythm method to prevent one. Your wife sounds unkind and unpleasant, I'll grant you, but you sound like a whining baby moron/asshole. I hope your pain gets better and I hope the two of you take some parenting classes because your two unfortunate kids deserve better than you idiots can currently offer.
5
Yeah, Dan, I was surprised that there was zero mention of the kids in your advice, and this guy's place in the rolling out of this situation.

Glad to see that your commenters are covering those bases for you.
6
Dear LW, contrary to the Pope and the Catholic Church Natural Family Planning is NOT effective for every couple. Your wife may well have believed she was in the time frame when it was "safe". Secondly YOU have said that YOU only want one child. That says to me that you are, in fact, the one who should take the burden of contraception on yourself. That means condom use every time you have sex or a vasectomy. Refusing to get a vasectomy puts the burden on the person who wants more kids. It also gives the message that you may want more kids, just not with her. It absolutely tells her that you want her to do all the work on making sure you don't have kids.

I do think you need a full medical evaluation to make certain you aren't in the 1-2% of men who do have physical problems after a vasectomy. You also need to decide if you really think your wife is a manipulative bitch who tricked you into getting her pregnant. If that is what you truly believe, then it is time to cut your losses. If you are right, then you deserve better. If you are wrong then she deserves better. A marriage with such mistrust and resentment is not good for you, your wife or your children. At least you won't have to worry about having more than 2 children.
7
@1: Expert victim-blaming, there. Do you go around chiding rape victims for failing to do enough to avoid rapists?

He did take the most basic interest in avoiding impregnation. That step was "trust his wife," which turns out to've been a huge mistake.

LW: Get a divorce. Feel free to skip marriage counseling, because paying money to be told it's your fault because of Mysterious Unutterable Reasons isn't a good use of the funds with which you ought to be paying a good lawyer. Get out, get treatment with a doctor who isn't incompetent, and in the future stay out of relationships with people who don't respect your bodily autonomy.
8
Wow Dan. Surprised by how one-sided and wife-hatey your answer was. This guy seems like a ball of rage,and I suspect that his wife has a slightly different take on the events he recounts. Along with everyone above, I'd like to say "If you only wanted one kid, why didn't you use birth control yourself". Or say, get a vasectomy. Also- she can't MAKE you get a vasectomy. Surprised you didn't challenge him on his lack of taking responsibility.
9
Umm, just a thought, by "time frame of being safe" LW and wife might be referring to the common misconception that as long as a woman is nursing after giving birth, she can't get pregnant again. And if so, and she was nursing, she may have been advised against taking hormonal birth control. IF that's the case, second may have been an "accident", and the cause of the demand for the vasectomy...
10
With due respect, MrE. This man is a father to two children.
Straight to divorce, rather than trying to find new ways he and his wife can communicate- is lazy. His children deserve better. I feel this marriage is stuck, not dead.
11
I really hope these feelings are not manifesting themselves in the way he treats his second kid. It sounds like he's trying to keep it all in, but if he "can't stand to be around" his wife, I'm guessing the kids have picked or will pick up on it in some way. There's a thick line between "accident" and "deceit" here, and we'll never know which it really was.

It does suck that his wife won't take his post-vasectomy pain seriously, just because negative side effects don't happen to everyone. I would guess that her lack of sympathy is a direct by-product of their deteriorated relationship.
12
Just a point...the literature on periods and fertility is very alarmist .

Every contraception piece is like:conception is possible at ANY TIME in a woman's cycle INCLUDING period OMG you guys, don't do the period sex, your sperm will ride the red wave all the way to the ovaries and then camp out til an egg gets there and attack!

Every "trying to conceive" piece is like: the period and days after are literally impossible to conceive. Don't you fucking read? No egg, stupids. What you think your sperm are gonna just hang out and wait for eggs to come along? Not a chance buddy.

Every rhythm piece: ALL THE DAYS ARE SAFE. I mean...not these three over here. But you should probably just have sex anyway, for Jesus.

So not a lot of great info on that topic to be had really...
13
Was this answer a joke? I agree with the first few comments.

Let's see. Tell her that your balls fucking hurt and if she doesn't stick her face down there for 20 minutes you'll find someone who will. Make sure she's happy enough afterward to want to do it the next time you ask.

And grow up, a partner's "I promise it won't make a baby" is not birth control.
14
1. Get a second medical opinion on the nature nad cause of your post-vasectomy pain and options for treating it.

2. Divorce the lying, manipulative, inconsiderate, narcissistic harpy passing as a woman. She's toxic. And she cares nothing for you.

3. Whatever the custody arrangement is, be as good of a father as you can to both kids. Negotiate 50/50 custody.

4. Get some counseling to help you get rid of this simmering resentment, if it persists after divorce, and to help you establish and maintain both better boundaries and better communication in your next relationship, not only so you will be happier in the future, but so you can provide a better model to your children of a healthy adult in a healthy relationship, because with a mom like her (and, frankly, a dad like you, if you don't get yourself on a more even keel), they are going to need all the positive examples they can get.

5. The proper phrase is the "The wife couldn't care less." Make a note of it.
15
Count me among those who found Dan's answer uncharacteristically one-sided and "wife-hatey." I found plenty of clues that LW might be as toxic as the wife, and might have been before child #2. Like unilaterally deciding on only one child, then unilaterally placing all the responsibility for contraception onto her, then blaming her for the second pregnancy without stopping to think how he might have been a contributing party.
16
Lame response, Dan. This guy needs to own himself.
17
@4- DITTO!
18
This is a really strange letter. Is it possible that the wife can't safely be on hormonal BC? And perhaps he doesn't want to use condoms? Hence their reliance on the rhythm method? So, in order to make sure that rage-dude doesn't rage on another kid, she figures as vasectomy is the safest bet?

The pain sucks, no doubt. And he should be believed. But everything leading up to it is just strange.
19
I know a guy who got a vasectomy, and then had his third kid... Operation wasn't 100% effective.

I support Alanmt @14's answer.
20
(Also, confidential to LW: Pulling out before ejaculation is a pretty darn effective way to prevent pregnancy. Not 100%, but then no method is.)
21
Wow, lots of support here for a woman who insists that vasectomies are 100% safe and that her husband's crippling pain is all in his head.

Please google "Natural Birth Control". It's not the same thing as the rhythm method and it's exactly as reliable as the woman who practices it. My wife and I used it for 14 years, both for purposes of getting pregnant and avoiding getting pregnant, before circumstances no longer allowed.

LW - a close friend suffered the same crippling pain after his vasectomy. Hardly even saw him for a year. I can't imagine how awful it was for him (he's reluctant to talk about it), even without a horrible wife dismissing him as crazy. He eventually had his vasectomy reversed, and the pain resolved. Look into it - insurance might even cover it as a medical necessity.

P.S. Thanks, Dan, for tracking down what info you could on vasectomy complications. Strange that the research is so thin.
22
There's a lot of gender-stereotyping sexism against the husband in the comments here, mixed with some victim-blaming. I would have expected better.

The wife is a rotten person who lied to him. Regardless of whether it was prudent for him to rely on her, his is an error of trusting someone he loved who ostensibly loved him in return, while hers is a deliberate perpetuation of fraud and betrayal. These two things are not even close in terms of moral culpability.

Second, she pushed him into a medical procedure he neither wanted nor needed and then when it resulted in significantly unpleasant side effects, alternates between telling him he's lying about it or downplaying its severity entirely. That is also a rotten course of conduct.

The wife-hating seems justified here.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I see that some of you apparently can't conceive of a hetero relationship where the man is more stoic/laid back/appeasing while the woman is the more assertive and dominant personality in the relationship and want to jump all over him for not being as decisive and responsible as a man ought to be. But the conversational tone of this guy's writing might be an important indicator of the kind of guy he is and the kind of relationship he and his wife have.
23
@ 18, it is strange. I don't take hormonal birth control because of bad reactions, and no IUD because of cramping, so we're left with barrier methods, the last ten years it's been condoms which is a pain but you just have to do it. I'm in my mid 40s now but we still take the approach that there is NO "safe period".

Of course there's not much information here but neither of these people sounds like a great catch. They both sound pretty toxic although if he's in pain that probably doesn't help. And the way he seems to change between past and present tense in the first two paragraphs confuses me, but maybe I'm just reading it wrong.
24
LW: Maybe you're in that 1-2% (get a second opinion at least) or maybe you could have gotten the snip after kid #1 and saved yourself and everyone else some pain. It's not like you had no agency here. Take some responsibility for your own actions and either work things out with your wife and forgive her or just DTMFA (DTFMA?) but either way, get your rage dealt with so your kids don't get fucked up by it.
25
Sometimes divorce IS the best option for the kids. My parents' divorce made things better, and their relationship at the end wasn't nearly as toxic as many out there.

I can't say for sure in this case if it is -- I would never rule out marital counseling except when there was dangerous abuse that merited getting out immediately. But it sure sounds like their relationship is toxic (and I'm not necessarily saying she's solely to blame here). Perhaps all four would be better off if LW and his spouse were no longer married.

Also, re-reading it, I'm thinking that @9 is correct, it could have been a situation where they assumed she wasn't ovulating because she was nursing. In any event, absent any other evidence, it sounds like an unplanned pregnancy rather than deliberate entrapment.

But unless LW can get some professional help to get past his anger, divorce may be the best option for the whole family.
26
I hope the letter writer has seen a good urologist who specializes in male health. He needs to get other conditions ruled out, such as varicoceles, torsion, post-surgical infection, etc. A Doppler ultrasound to check blood flow is a decent idea, too.
27
Seen the doctor who said it wasn't his procedure, it was me.

Vasectomy pain isn't about botched procedures, it's about the procedure being inherently problematic for some men.

With closed vasectomies, the vas deferens is snipped and sealed shut, kind of like putting your thumb over a garden hose. That's not how your nutsack was designed, so not especially shocking that it could irritate a nerve ending or two.

With open vasectomies, the vas deferens is left open to spill the sperm into your scrotum where the immune system sometimes reacts unfavorably.

You need to see another doctor, probably a micro-surgeon.
28
Summary from many harsh commenters:

"LW is male? Then he is wrong, or lying, and should take responsibility."

Kind of like a woman who is "asking for it", shouldn't have gone to the party, drunk too much, etc etc. "Grow up and take responsibility." Fuck that BS.

I know it is not exactly the same but close enough.
29
Um, Dan, the wife may well be all you and the writer say, but do you think this is a reliable source? I know hearing one-sided arguments are an occupational hazard, but this guy sounds nuts! Like, ball of rage, violent tantrum, sad-sack nuts. Why run the letter? And seriously, you assume this is a reasonable version of events? He sounds like a fucking psycho! I mean, he should see a better doctor to help the pain, sure - but he needs to get his ass to a shrink before the court mandates it!
30
1) Sounds like the lw needs to consult at least one more doctor. Pain is very rarely all in your head, and if a procedure exists, someone out there exists that has had a negative reaction to it.

2) After consulting the second doctor, the lw should make an appointment with a family law attorney. This marriage sounds beyond salvation. Both parties sound like people who put in a career-amount of work making each other miserable and hating each other.

3) Then he needs to take a parenting class or an anger management class. It's not his poor second child's fault that the kid exists, and the kid doesn't deserve the crappy treatment I somehow have no problem imagining NCNH dishes out.

I'd rather read about people boiling up used underwear and drinking the resulting soup any day over reading bitterness and contempt like this.
31
@29
And why shouldn't he be angry?
You wouldn't tell a woman who was raped to just calm down, accept it, don't get emotional, don't be angry. Of course she'd be angry. She was violated. This guy feels like he was violated.

If it was a woman I suspect you'd acknowledge the violation rather than trying to deny it. What utter BS.
32
Vasectomy risks. Years ago when my partner was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple years after his vasectomy, the attending urologist told us he believed cancer is a small but real risk post-op, from his experience. Fortunately for my ex, his was the more benign, slow-growing sort. With treatment and lifestyle changes I'm happy to report he is cancer free today.

Still, it's something to consider for any of you guys considering getting clipped.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17…

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid…
(old study, but even back then vasectomy was believed to be a risk for prostate cancer)
33
This is a very one-sided account. He has absolutely nothing redeeming to say about his wife. He has painted a picture in which he has been horribly wronged, and is now feeling justified in being bitter and hateful. Maybe the wife is awful. Maybe he was horribly deceived. But he has had that information for a long time now and he's still with her, still seething. That's a pretty deep commitment to misery.
34
And I object to comparing this situation to rape victims, or DV victims. People who fear for their LIVES are in a different category. They do what they do in order to survive. His lack of ability to stand up for himself does not seem rooted in the fear that his wife will KILL him if he does so. His inability to take any level of responsibility for his own choices, including his choice not to leave this woman a long time ago, seem very much to be a factor in the level of rage he feels. He is probably as angry with himself as he is with her, but he isn't owning any of that.
35
@31 - anger in the short term can be both understandable and useful, as it can help motivate us to do things that are hard but necessary (like leaving a bad marriage). Anger in the long term can be deeply corrosive, and lead to a person longer living a life they find enjoyable. I am totally willing to accept the letter writer's version of events at face value, but that includes seeing that the LW will probably need some help with his anger going forward, especially if that anger is spilling over to his kids. I hope he gets that help. And yes, I would have that same reaction if the genders were reversed.
36
I don't see what is victim blaming in telling the person who doesn't want more kids to take every precaution they can to not have a kid. He assumes the wife lied. Many readers are taking him on his word that his wife lied. Some people have said natural family planning worked for them. I pointed out that NFP doesn't work for everyone and there is at least a chance that the wife actually BELIEVED she was in a safe time. Plus, NFP puts the entire burden on the wife. She has to track her temperature. She has to monitor her cervical mucus. She has to keep track of the exact time of her last period. And she's doing this while raising a baby, and the LW didn't come off as a help tons with the kid type.

Yes I'm a woman. When I didn't want kids, I was on contraception. After I had my daughter I made my husband wear a condom. I was nursing so no hormonal contraception and you can't fit a diaphragm until your body returns to normal size after a birth. If you don't want kids, take the steps not to have them. That isn't victim blaming. That's telling him to do what will make him not be a father again.
37
LW and wife sound horrible. So sad for the kids.
38
*no longer* living a life they find enjoyable.
39
Any guy who says "could care less" when he means "couldn't care less" deserves to have achy balls. LW comes across, as has previously been said, as a whiny baby moron.

I don't know what his wife is like, I'd want to hear her side of the story to form an opinion. His one-sided rant doesn't tell me anything about her, just about him.
40
Coming into the world like this, I wish the best to those kids. It gets better, guys.
41
One more thought for the LW, his wife's reaction might be a result of post partum depression.
42
Perhaps the wife actually could care less... and throw him out first.

Angry as he is, I can't see any good come out of this situation for any of them, no matter who's really at fault.
43
I nursed each kid for a year while on hormones (just lower dose than normal).

And notwithstanding my love of the pill, I also support seandr @21's assertion that tracking one's fertility is not that hard and is quite reliable. I used NFP to get pregnant, and found it very satisfying to have all that knowledge about my body.

That said, neither the pill nor NFP will work if the woman wants to get pregnant and is willing to lie to her husband about birth control. Perhaps he should also verify that the kid is his, since his wife doesn't seem to be an honest person.

44
LW, I feel your pain. Literally. Or at least I did. Many years ago I had a scrotal surgery for another reason. The doctors told me I'd have pain for a week or two. They guessed wrong. I was almost completely debilitated for most of a month before it began to diminish. And it sounds a lot like the pain you describe. It eventually did go away, but it took about 6 months, not a couple weeks.

Definitely go see another doctor. See a urologist or a specialist. Sure, some pain can have a mental element, but this sounds like a specific reaction to a specific surgical procedure, not just random mentally induced pain.
45
This is an old story. Usually it starts with a guy saying "don't worry baby, you can't get pregnant the first time" or similar. And if this woman is still ranting about how her asshole husband purposely got her pregnant years later she's called psycho. People make mistakes but you don't stick around hating them for years and letting your children suffer for it if you're sane.

So people are calling him psycho. He doesn't say why he thinks it was a malicious instead of stupid mistake. I can see why it might be best to divorce but then again do you really want them dating other people?
46
@caution&daring: Pssst, wrong analogy.

A better analogy would be a woman who writes in because her husband got her pregnant by poking holes in the condom, badgered her into getting a tubal ligation, and then dismissed her complaints of lasting pain from a surgical procedure she didn't even want.

Pretty sure we'd see a unanimous verdict of "scumbag" in that case.
47
He sounds terrified to have sex and horribly horny. I thought my line was pretty good. If they can learn to love oral, possible pregnancy problem is partly solved too...

But they are cold. What helps?
48
I agree with everyone saying DTMFA. Even if the loophole condition existed and the second baby was accidental on her side too, 'doesn't believe me that I'm in horrible pain' is pretty shitty, and 'I hate her' is pretty shitty for both of them and especially the kids. Divorced parents are better than parents who hate each other.
49
Hey, LW, if YOU were the one who didn't want another kid, perhaps YOU should have done something to prevent it.

Regarding her claims that it was in the "time frame of 'being safe'", did it ever occur to you that she wasn't lying, she was mistaken? I assume you've heard the crack that people who practice natural family planning are frequently called "parents". So you use a condom to prevent pregnancy since YOU'RE the one who doesn't want any more kids. Or you get a vasectomy to reduce the likelihood of these mistakes happening. You're right, it's not without side effects, but nor is female birth control.

I'm sorry you're having trouble post-procedure. I hope you will take yourself first to another urologist for a second opinion and second to a shrink to work through the rage you feel at your wife. It's quite possible something went wrong with the procedure, but I wonder how much of the pain you're feeling is your anger toward your wife.

In committed couples, birth control should be the responsibility of BOTH partners.
50
@percysowner: Plus, NFP puts the entire burden on the wife.

I guess some people are willing to put in a little effort towards their partner's sexual satisfaction, others aren't.
51
I will never understand the men out there who claim that their "wife/ex-wife/long-term GF *MADE* them get a vasectomy." WTF is wrong with you guys?!?! Your body, your choice. If you want one, get one; if not, don't. I say this as a woman who happily got a tubal ligation after my 2nd kid. It never even occurred to me to ask my then husband to go have a vasectomy. I decided the factory was closed; therefore, I shut it down. It's not that big of a deal here in modern times for a woman to be sterilized. It's an outpatient procedure & I got 2 months of Vicodin. Whee!

Yes, this woman sounds unpleasant, but this marriage sounds like it probably had issues before the kids came along. And if he was so adamant about no more kids, then fucking use a condom. But think: what if he used one and the condom broke?!? Would he still be so angry if it resulted in an unwanted pregnancy? This is the chance a heterosexual couple takes when they fuck if neither is infertile.
52
Takeaway:

An individual man is not allowed to be angry because men have been jerks.
53
@52 - I'm not hearing that message from the comments. Many have spoken to the fact that the wife might be a complete jerk. But it is a mark of emotional maturity to look at a situation and figure out your own part in why things went down as they did, and to take care of yourself. LW doesn't exhibit any such maturity. We all feel angry when we've been betrayed and wronged. But why stay for years with someone you know will continue to betray and wrong you, and let yourself be consumed with anger and hatred? When you cannot find one redeeming thing to say about your own spouse, when the anger is that deep and intense, and when you cannot identify one thing you may have done (or not done) differently, then you've lost all sense of perspective.
54
I am always a little surprised at how often a complicated situation comes down to one says vs the other says. Why do we always have to have a winner and a loser. It is always one's fault and the other is not at fault? No way.

We only get one side of these stories in most cases and I personally can't make definite statements without more evidence. But there is a lot of evidence in the narrative given.

I do have some strong opinions on some issues raised:

BIRTH CONTROL IS 100% HER RESPONSIBILITY! AND 100% HIS!!!!!! It's a freaking kid, it's permanent and it's more than a little important.

The evidence presented in the LW's letter is, communication is a major failure for both.

Lack of agreement on number of kids and his lack of involvement mean they should not have been having unprotected sex or penetrative sex until both things were worked out.

Also, as pointed out above, no one can force anyone to do something, so unless his wife had a gun on him, he got the vasectomy.

LW, put on your big boy pants and take ownership of your part in the entire situation.

Having said that, there is no evidence of who is right or wrong in this relationship. The narrative the LW presents, simply does not provide evidence of her lying. No birth control is perfect, and non chemical methods involve very special challenges. Again, if you dont want a baby, then the both of you need to agree in advance about birth control and what happens if it fails.

So again, here I see evidence of a toxic relationship where tough questions are avoided and blaming the other seems to be the best solution.

But what is clear, the LW has a large anger problem. His letter is dripping with it. He is dismissive (go figure). He treats the wife opinion of its all in his head as unfounded when it is what the doctor is saying. (Seen the doctor who said it wasn't his procedure, it was me. Wife says it must be in my head.)

So if at the very least his anger can't be addressed, their joint inability to communicate and decide as equals can't be looked at and mended, then please please please do get a divorce. And she needs to be willing to look at her behavior.

But it will be easier in the long run to work on the relationship honestly and not.

But funny this, BOTH NEED TO DO THE HEAVY LIFTING!
55
Yeah I'm calling bullshit here. The wife doesn't care? Why would she for the asshole who basically refused to take even the tiniest bit of responsibility his life. Nothing that happens is ever his fault or his responsibility. The wife 'tricked' him into having another baby but he sure doesn't seem willing to use any sort of birth control. The wife 'forced' him to get a vasectomy even though he's an adult who gets to make his own medical decisions.

Hell I'm wondering if the push for the vasectomy came because the wife was sick of hearing about how baby #2 ruined this guy's life and how terrible she was.

Hell despite his claims of terrible pain his only action is to whine to his wife and then write a letter to an advice columnist. There's no mention of seeing a doctor or taking any steps to resolve this pain.

So yeah I think he's making it up to get back at his wife.
56
@55 Dang. That should've read 'no mention of getting a second opinion or contacting anyone else for medical advice.'

My screw up.
57
@Double dang there is a mention of a second opinion. My screw up there. Should've double checked.
58
What is with this new "subjects and articles are optional" vogue among a bunch of SLLOTDs lately? Was it announced in Vice? Am I old fashioned if I don't think "I was very clear on my kid want" should be published anywhere anyone can read such a phrase?
59
How easily you guys just go to smashing up a family.. Maybe it's the cold weather, making people a little brittle.
This man talks about his children like they are just things.
However they were conceived, they are his blood
I assume they are small children. And knowing that work, I imagine his wife is snowed under with the needs of these little people. Doesn't excuse her insensitive responses to his pain,it just gives it a context.
60
NY Times: How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down?

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/14/s…

Yes, the wife sounds like a real piece of shit - IFF you believe this very Unreliable Narrator who has acted like a spoiled child the entire time.

But even if he's Mr. Mild Milquetoast rather than Manfred Manleigh, he still has to take responsibility for his own feelings and actions. Birth control is not just the woman's responsibility. If he really didn't want another kid, he should have done more to make sure he didn't have one instead of leaving it all up to his wife. Maybe she really did lie to him as he claims, and maybe it was an honest accident, we have no way of knowing (he doesn't say if she admits it). But anyone who absolutely doesn't want to have a kid and relies solely on calendar-based contraception is an idiot playing Russian Roulette, anecdotal evidence notwithstanding (see link above). And that goes double if their partner is less than 100% committed to the no-more-kids plan AND THEY KNOW THIS.

It's too late to do anything about the pregnancy and too late to do much about the vasectomy (which it turns out he did in fact need, but one kid earlier), other than to get another doctor and see if the pain can be addressed or the operation reversed. The pain is very unfortunate, as is her (alleged) disbelief in it.

I'm more concerned about his seething, passive-aggressive resentment. It's possible his wife pushed for the vasectomy because the second kid was in fact an accident and she saw how poorly he handled it and is trying to avoid more of his radioactive rage. How long has he been sitting on this? Long enough to have had the kid and to be talked into the vasectomy (something else he's taking no responsibility for but blames her for anyway, which is a pretty good indication of how reliable his story is). Which tells us how well he's processing his feelings. He didn't want a vasectomy, didn't want to use condoms, expects his wife to handle all the birth control, still chose to have sex, but blames her for all the consequences - how does that work exactly?

If he's really that mad and really has good cause to be that mad and really can't find a good reason to forgive her, then he has no business being in this marriage and taking it out on her and probably his kids. Leave and pay child support and get some therapy and try to be a good dad. But instead he's just been sitting around blaming her for his problems. Being passive is what got him into this jam.

If she had written in saying that she'd deliberately gotten pregnant, I doubt she'd get much sympathy (and rightly so). But I wouldn't be surprised if in her version of the story it was in fact an accident.
61
@58 The no-articles thing annoys me too. What really drives me bonkers though, for some reason, is people who switch between past and present tense while relating some series of events. It's become common everywhere, but I've noticed a lot of it in SL letters. I'll be sitting there behing my computer screen clutching my hair in my hands and muttering "Just pick a fucking tense and stick to it!!" through gritted teeth.

I have issues.
62
@1, @2, etc: Wow, how victim blamey can you be? Marriage is about trust; he trusted his wife's assurances that she wouldn't be able to conceive. He then did the right thing and got a vasectomy, and the right thing had terrible consequences. He has every right to be angry. He has a kid he didn't want, pain he didn't want, AND a wife he can't trust.

Would the pain go away if the vasectomy were reversed? That may be something worth looking into. Particularly since it appears he and the wife aren't having sex at all anymore.
63
And for all of those people saying "perhaps she wasn't lying, perhaps she was mistaken," when she found out she was pregnant again and her husband actively didn't want it, she could have had an abortion.

I'm female and I believe having 18+ years of parenthood forced upon you against your will is a violation on an equivalent level to rape.
64
@60: Those NY Times data have been shown to be inaccurate: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyo…
65
@63: For what it's worth, I'm sorry I said nasty things to you the other day.

@36: "I don't see what is victim blaming in telling the person who doesn't want more kids to take every precaution they can to not have a kid."

It doesn't matter that you don't see victim-blaming as victim-blaming when you do it. "I don't see how it's victim-blaming in telling the person who doesn't want to be raped to take every precaution they can to not be raped." I assume you can see the error you're making when other people make it.

The logic should look familiar to you, because it's used both for victim-blaming for rape, and for denying abortion rights. After all, if she didn't want to have a kid, she could've held an Aspirin between her legs, amirite? Bad logic doesn't turn into good logic just because this time it lets you attack people you don't like.
66
Kudos to @29 for getting "...nuts!...ball...sack...nuts..." into it. Well played.
67
@65. Your logic is just wow. Can we please stop with the rape analogies? When a person is raped, it is, by definition, against their will. When a man impregnates a woman, it is because he CHOSE to put his penis in her vagina.

Sexual intercourse between two fertile people can ALWAYS result in a pregnancy, no matter how many precautions you take. I'm not sure how the LW knows that his wife got pregnant on purpose. He doesn't say. All I know is that it takes 2 people to make a baby.

I just hope the LW grows up before child number 2 is old enough to understand and internalize his resentment of their very existence.
68
When you hear the words "I promise it won't make a baby" from someone who wants to have sex with you, you shouldn't have sex. For men and women.

Only an idiot would promise it couldn't happen. And only an idiot would believe such a promise. No form of birth control is perfect.
69
I agree that messing with your partner's birth control, or lying about using birth control is awful. Men who leave condoms in the sun or keep them past expiration, or women who miss pills... I think that's more a factor of intelligence than character in general. Maybe I'm wrong.

Unwanted children have always been a nasty side affect of unconsensual sex, but you can't say they are the worst part. I think that reproductive tampering (intentionally taking steps to cause unwanted children) should be its own crime.
70
@65: I accept your apology.
But I also agree with @67 about let's please stop the rape analogies. This is the one time out of the three recent instances that you've cried rape analogy where what was done to the LW without consent is in any way at a similar level. But it's still an apple and an orange, and trotting out "rape! no consent! misandry!" whenever someone has done anything you disagree with isn't winning you any friends here.
71
I think a guy who's balls constantly cause him pain is allowed to be pissed off. Being in near constant pain tends to color one's worldview in a significant manner.
72
@70: Do you know why it's unacceptable to victim-blame in the case of rape? You don't seem to. Bullshit people say about rape victims is not magically transformed into not-bullshit just because you're saying it about someone else. Apparently you think there's something about this "someone else" that makes them not count as a person, since obviously you know it's not okay to do that to people.

All people are people. All of them. It's odd that you think I'm concerned about winning friends who don't agree.

Seandr and Alanmt said it all, but apparently it bears repeating:

"Wow, lots of support here for a woman who insists that vasectomies are 100% safe and that her husband's crippling pain is all in his head."

What's it like not to have a warning bell in your head that says "Wow, I'm being a terrible person?" Anyone who thinks Dan's being mean to the wife: could you tell me more about whatever it is that turns off your ability to feel empathy whenever you think about men?
73
@72: It's possible to say, as I did @62: "That's victim blaming," without bringing rape into the conversation. I suggest you try it sometime.
And that apology only lasted as long as I appeared to agree with you. Hmm.
74
"That's victim blaming," without bringing rape into the conversation. I suggest you try it sometime.

There are a lot of people who think rape victims are the only kind of victims who shouldn't be victim-blamed. I enjoy pointing out to those people what hypocritical sacks of shit they are.

If you do something analogous to rape, expect rape analogies. That's life. If you victim-blame using the same arguments people use to victim-blame rape victims, expect to have it pointed out that you're using arguments that you know are false. Unless you also victim-blame rape victims, in which case you get points for consistency and honesty, but are still a terrible person.

If you agree that someone is doing something identical to blaming rape victims for their rape, why do you have a problem with the rest of us acknowledging that that's happening?

Why is it so hard for everyone here to understand that you should treat other people the way you would want to be treated, and that this does not apply only to how you treat women? If your husband had sabotaged a condom to get you pregnant, then made you get an operation that put you in constant pain, then constantly told you that the pain was all in your head, would you want to be told that you're the one at fault?
75
Seandr - I guess some people are willing to put in a little effort towards their partner's sexual satisfaction, others aren't.
Some people are really good listeners, and really good learners, and really good lovers.

The human body is an amazing thing. Then there is the human mind. I would like to look closely at your brain. I would like to poke and prod you, and see if you taste nice.
76
@74: I'm sorry, but there is VERY little in life that is analogous to rape. That's what YOU don't seem to understand. And that's why YOU seem to see misandry in everyone's comments when they don't think that X activity reaches anywhere near the level of horror of rape. Take for instance your assertion that a girlfriend who bent the rules of her open relationship and soft-pedalled the truth, though she did eventually admit it, had essentially raped her partner. For anyone to claim this shows absolutely zero understanding of what rape is like.

Do you also think that shoplifting a pack of gum should carry the same jail sentence as armed robbery? That's what you seem to be arguing here. Not all wrong things are equally bad. And your insistence that everyone who doesn't think all wrong things are equally bad is anti-man is simply ridiculous.

And, since I'm not the one who's victim-blaming in this particular situation, I'm going to back off now before you really piss me off. Again.
77
@ 74, how is this analogous to rape? I'm not seeing it. And I mean the actual situation, not the response it's evoking.
78
-63 (BiDanFan) "I'm female and I believe having 18+ years of parenthood forced upon you against your will is a violation on an equivalent level to rape. "

-70 (BiDanFan) "But I also agree with @67 about let's please stop the rape analogies. This is the one time out of the three recent instances that you've cried rape analogy where what was done to the LW without consent is in any way at a similar level."

-76 (BiDanFan) "And, since I'm not the one who's victim-blaming in this particular situation, I'm going to back off now before you really piss me off. Again."

Good, because you're not making any sense here. I don't understand why the rape analogy is the focus here. Victim-blaming is bullshit... for rape or anything else. You know, the person you're arguing with knows, and if the genders of the LW's relationship were reversed this thread would look very different.

79
@ 78, the rape analogy is the focus because that's how Eudaemonic framed it, and it's an analogy that should not be made lightly. Buying into a pyramid scheme makes more sense, as it involves falling for lies and longterm deceit, as LW charges his wife. A very different kind if violation.

That said, like someone who buys into a scheme, it's hard to see the LW as a victim, at least the total victim like someone who is raped. He ought to have known better than to rely upon so-called natural birth control if he was dead set against having an additional child and knew his wife had a chance of sabotaging things. It's hard to see him bearing zero responsibility for the situation, and zero resonsibility is what makes someone a victim.

I'm open to persuasion that the LW is a full victim here, but so far I don't see it.
80
@79 Yeah, I understand why the rape analogy bothers people in the broad strokes... I may even be bothered by it myself... but I appreciate your response.

My point was two-fold: firstly, watching person B criticize person A (with whom they already agreed) for something they themselves (person B) had done in the same thread was dumb... had to call it out. Sorry.

Second, I wonder if I took the time to sort through some of other deceit themed letters on here with the genders reversed from this one... would I find the same passion for parsing what percentage of victim the LW represented? I tend to think not. That bothers me, maybe not as much as the rape analogy but it still bothers me. People wonder why male victims stay silent, this thread does a pretty good job at showing why, and this guy was just naive with the person he married. As the husband of a male rape victim, this just hits home some. (NO, that was not to make another rape analogy for the dipstick LW... only to illustrate why I care about male victim-blaming.)

Either way, Matt, thanks for your thoughtful opinion, even if I disagree.
81
@BiDanFan 63

No. To suggest that it is reasonable to expect a woman to get an abortion just because her partner should desire it is at least as unacceptable as would be the expectation that she would keep a pregnancy only because her partner desires it.

One doesn't kill one's baby because the child's father doesn't want it. (While it's not explicitly stated, it sounded to me like the wife wanted this other child, irrespective of whether the second pregnancy was intentional on her part or accidental, which likely means it would feel to her like "killing her baby" instead of "getting an abortion." The same act feels very different for a woman who wants the abortion than for one who does not.)

More to the point, other people do not tell a pregnant woman what to do with her body and/or her baby. "Because someone else wants me to," even if that someone else is the fetus/child's father, is not enough of a reason to get an abortion. Outside parties (even fathers) don't get to decide that a woman keep a pregnancy, and they don't get to say that she end one, either. To suggest she end her pregnancy solely on the grounds that the father doesn't want the child is inappropriate.

You could have suggested "She could choose to give the child for adoption" and my critique would be identical. I get that you are probably trying to remind the general public that this option (abortion) is there, even for married women (contrary to stereotype), but the suggestion is not always fitting, and the fact that she chose otherwise is certainly not anything for which to fault her. (Of course, if she was sabotaging his (nonexistent?) contraceptive efforts (holes in condoms, only pretending to use spermicide, buying fertility drugs on the black market...) that's different, but a separate issue from whether she has some sort of obligation to abort because the other (inadvertent) genetic collaborator wishes it.)

(He could have looked into surrendering parental rights and responsibilities. This is complicated legally and not a sure thing, depending upon circumstances, but if i were a parent married to someone this bitter, i might agree to it without hesitation.)
82
When you get betrayed by someone you trusted, either we believe it's partly your own fault when this happens, or that it's entirely the betrayer's fault. It doesn't matter what form of betrayal they chose.

It also doesn't change based on who has which gender.

@79: "He ought to have known better than to rely upon so-called natural birth control if he was dead set against having an additional child..."

"It's hard to see him bearing zero responsibility for the situation, and zero resonsibility is what makes someone a victim."

"She ought to have known not to trust him not to rape her, and to have taken steps to make it impossible. She went off alone with him, or didn't bother to carry a gun, so she bears some responsibility." That's the same argument you're making. If you think there's a difference, you're a hypocrite.

I might conceivably be open to being convinced that we should blame rape victims more than we currently do, or other kinds of victims less than we do, but not that only one kind of person is responsible for the unforeseen consequences of actions they didn't successfully stop other people from taking.

@76: "Do you also think that shoplifting a pack of gum should carry the same jail sentence as armed robbery?"

I do think that if you say "You must not, ever, under any circumstances, blame the store owner for getting robbed," then the same rules apply to shoplifting. If it's not my fault when someone else robs me, it's also not my fault when someone else shoplifts. Either what other people do is entirely their fault (even if your own actions gave them the opportunity), or it isn't. It's impossible for me to be responsible for other people's shoplifting and not responsible for other people's robbing.

If my actions don't matter when it comes to assigning blame for your actions, fine. If my actions do matter when it comes to assigning blame for your actions, also fine. But pick one; it's disgusting to switch between the two based on your creepily-limited ability to feel empathy.

If it's stupid bullshit when other people say it, it's stupid bullshit when you say it too. Either it's okay to blame someone for someone else's actions, or it isn't.
83
@ 82, the situation IS the difference. If you disagree, explain how the situations are alike. Focusing on the language as you do is taking down a strawman without that.
84
@ 80, and thank you for keeping it respectful, too.
85
@Eudaemonic

I don't see evidence that she deliberately sabotaged his contraception efforts. I think that's the sticking point here. If the pregnancy was an accident, there's no betrayal. I think many of us don't see a betrayal because he just said "she said it was 'safe'", not that she cut

a slit in her diaphragm or something. She was probably wrong, not lying. This happened to me. (And i was the one who didn't want to get pregnant yet, and i was the one who was sooo sure of her fertility status and that we were in the no-baby group of days.)
86
@64: Interesting, although you meant to say "have been argued to be inaccurate", and I think you could have found a better source. I hope the NYT graphs *are* inaccurate, as they're pretty pessimistic, but it wouldn't change the point:

Natural birth control is one of the least reliable methods of birth control (as high as 25% failure rate per year in typical use, even allowing for your critic's arguments). LW hates his wife for not believing he's in the 1-2% who suffer post-vasectomy chronic pain. But there's a good chance - and probably a higher chance - that she got pregnant by accident, and HE doesn't believe HER. So why is he the victim again?
87
@63: At no point does he say "I asked her to get an abortion and the bitch refused". I think he would've mentioned that if he had done so, don't you? Another hole in his victim story. All he accuses her of is deceiving him and then not believing him when he's in pain.
88
@82: You don't have any evidence that she betrayed him, only his word, and he's hardly a credible source. The failure rate of natural birth control is as high as 9% even in "perfect use", assuming it's even possible to know what perfect use is. At any rate, probably higher than the chances of chronic post-op pain in vasectomy patients (given the paucity of reliable data on either). If he gets the benefit of the doubt, so does she.

And yes, please stop with the rape analogies. You're starting to sound like you resent women for being able to "play the rape card" more often than men or something.
89
For anyone who has not attempted natural family planning, it is super involved. You can literally spend hundreds of dollars on temperture trackers connected to software that you can input info about mucus and other shit going on in your body, every day for months and it predicts your ovulation. I did my best with graph paper and 10$ thermometer. Was fun for trying to get pregnant. For avoiding pregnancy when it's crucial to not get pregnant, not ideal. We did it for a few months before I got the iud, but he pulled out way ahead of time and I got him off orally. Coming inside when you are only relying on natural planning is playing with fire, you can not promise anything, Ift sounds like she may have taken advantage, knowing he was clueless and presumably uninterested in how NFP works ( not great if you really want to avoid pregnancy)., but she could well have been in a "safe" time and got preg anyway. I'd have to see her chart. I still have mine, it's good memories for me, the very last one especially
90
Hypothetical wife side of story:

Dear Dan: After our first kid, my husband and I disagreed about whether or not to have another (I wanted to, he didn't). He refused to use condoms and I've had bad reactions to hormonal birth control (heavier periods, bad cramps, headaches, low libido), so we tried using the rhythm method. As it turns out (wish I had known better), it's difficult to accurately time ovulation cycles and I got pregnant. We decided to go ahead and have it (we didn't discuss abortion, but I would have been uncomfortable with the idea), but after I had the baby my husband became increasingly distant, withheld sex and affection, and seemed to have some kind of unexpressed anger towards me. I thought at first it was just normal post-partum stuff and things would eventually return to normal, but instead it got worse. He seemed to resent me for getting pregnant even though it was an accident. I suggested he get a vasectomy, partly in hopes that this would make him feel comfortable having sex with me again (it's been months) and partly because I was afraid of what another accident might do to his mood. But ever since the vasectomy he just rages at me, blames me for "tricking him" (Dan, I don't see how I trapped him since we already had one kid together), and complains that he's having lots of pain because of the operation. He's been to see the doctor and the doctor says there's nothing wrong with him. My father and brother have both had vasectomies with no issues so I don't know what to think. My husband used to be a wonderful loving guy and we used to have great sex, but I can't even get him to talk to me any more and I don't know what to do.

Fits all the same facts as given by LW.
91
Wow, @90: If we're so intent on blaming this guy for his situation and making the wife out to be the REAL victim that we're writing hypothetical strawmen arguments... I think this has run its course. Whether or not you agree with the LW regarding his first issue, the pregnancy, his wife's described actions regarding the vasectomy and after are ABOMINABLE for a spouse. I particularly liked how your hypothetical LW added significantly more "historical detail" than the actual LW so as to make your "comparison" extra-special invalid.

I agree that the rape-analogy people should consider the optics of that. But so should those who have gone out of their way... like WAY out of their way... to make sure the wife is seen as the victim here.
92
@91: I'm not saying this is what happened, I'm saying I don't believe the LW's story. And his wife's callousness towards his pain is pretty shitty - again, if it's actually callousness and not the result of being fed up with him after months of resentment, silent treatment, and withholding sex. All of which we DO know is happening per the KW himself. A mature adult would have owned their feelings and their behavior, even if they were really and truly the victim.

My guess is both parties are immature lying shitheads and they deserve each other. But then, that's usually the safe bet.
93
But if it was an accident - a definite possibility, unless it turns out she confessed to lying - and he's been behaving the way he himself says he's been behaving, then yeah, she's the bigger victim and he's an asshole. Her lack of sympathy in that case would I think be somewhat excusable.
94
looks like the wife got everything she wanted. wymyn power

what do you want LW?
95
@87: I don't see how that's a "hole" in his "victim story". If the balance of negotiating power in the relationship is such that she can browbeat him into a vasectomy he doesn't want, something that should be his decision, he's obviously hardly in a position to have influence over whether she'll have an abortion, something that should be her decision. If she'd wanted an abortion she'd have done it.

We can agree he's not being a mature adult. That doesn't make someone not a victim. It's certainly quite likely the nastiness goes both ways, but that's a possibility with many of the letters Dan posts, and we commentators don't generally spend a lot of time on that possibility.

@80: "I wonder if I took the time to sort through some of other deceit themed letters on here with the genders reversed from this one... would I find the same passion for parsing what percentage of victim the LW represented? I tend to think not." Indeed.

And for all the people saying "he should have used condoms", Planned Parenthood rates the effectiveness of condoms as equivalent to that of "rhythm" based methods of contraception. In other words, one of the least reliable means of contraception. She could easily have gotten pregnant if they'd been using condoms.

But it really doesn't matter to this LW's situation. He's clearly being very passive, and well on the way to being passive-aggressive if he's not there already. He should get out (do something assertive rather than being passive for once!!!) before he does something passive-aggressive that he regrets. If his perception of his wife is accurate, he should leave for his sake. If it is not, he should leave for her sake. Whether his portrayal of her is accurate or not, it is clear that the relationship is extremely toxic. There are no interpretations of this letter that don't lead to the conclusion: LEAVE. NOW.
96
I was absolutely against this scheming bitch until I read these comments lol. Get your shit together, dude. Beta as fuck to get a vasectomy after "she pretty much demanded it." Why would you adhere to demands made by a woman you hate? Have fun losing your house in the divorce though
97
@95 and condoms and vasectomies are basically the only two forms of birth control for men

here's teh list of birth control methods for men from planned parenthood
abstinence, condoms, outercourse, vasectomy, withdrawal

compared to women
Abstinence
Birth Control Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon)
Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra)
Birth Control Pills
Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)
Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)
Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
Breastfeeding as Birth Control
Cervical Cap (FemCap)
Condom
Diaphragm
Female Condom
Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)
IUD
Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
Outercourse
Spermicide
Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization)
Vasectomy
Withdrawal (Pull Out Method)
- See more at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-…

wife demands a vasectomy, LW is just getting walked on
98
I agree with @7, it is not the de-facto assumption in a marriage that both partners should not trust each other about their birth control claims. If he had said he had the vasectomy and it turned out he was lying would she have been a fool for not using two or three other forms of birth control? No, a decent marriage requires trust about many issues, that's why we don't marry people until we test them for reliability for many years. Too bad it was not enough for this guy and fuck you bitches for blaming the victim.
99
Dan, you really laid an egg on this one! First he pushed all the reproductive responsibility on his wife. If he really only wanted ONE child he should have been using a condom as a back up method of birth control! And second, he's now acting all butt-hurt about the fact that he now has a second child, to the point of ruining his relationship. I cannot imagine how shitty a parent he is going to be to the Mistake Baby. He doesn't need medical help for his balls, he needs to see a shrink to learn to grow up and stop acting like a whiny little shit.
100
Ok, I'm completely disappointed with Dan's advice. I completely agree that there are two sides to this story. I think its wrong to trick someone but like others have mentioned that may or may not be the case and like lots of others have mentioned if you were so concerned with it maybe you should have taken initiative. And rhythm method what a joke! Speaking from experience it is not cool to ask the partner that wants more children to take care of the birth control. He or she may comply with the request but deep down they don't want to do it and its a reminder of unfulfilled dreams every time they take that contraception. So the person who doesn't want kids should take responsibility in my opinion. It takes two, and frankly I'm tired of hearing these lazy excuses from men. Women are burdened with this bullshit from puberty, give us a fucking break and take some responsibility. As for side affects!? unfortunately you may be part of the 1-2% and I'm sorry for you but with all birth control there are side affects just join a women's forum you may get some much needed education. So cry me a fucking river....