SL Letter of the Day: Betrayal and Ball Ache

Comments

101
So you should never trust a woman when she says that she's taking care of birth control? Is that the gist of the comments here? because every time someone says the LW is an idiot and should have known better, that's the impression I get. If you can't trust your own SPOUSE to honor an agreement to not *intentionally* reproduce, then you need to DTMFA.

If a woman wrote in and said that her husband promised to pull out every time, and now she's sitting here pregnant, would everyone be calling her a moron for not taking the pill? Or would everyone be providing alternate storylines that make the spouse look like an innocent victim in this?

Can anyone defending the wife really, honestly, say that they would say the same thing if it was a woman writing in instead?
102
So you should never trust a woman when she says that she's taking care of birth control? Is that the gist of the comments here? because every time someone says the LW is an idiot and should have known better, that's the impression I get. If you can't trust your own SPOUSE to honor an agreement to not *intentionally* reproduce, then you need to DTMFA.
If a woman wrote in and said that her husband promised to pull out every time, and now she's sitting here pregnant, would everyone be calling her a moron for not taking the pill? Or would everyone be providing alternate storylines that make the spouse look like an innocent victim in this?
Can anyone defending the wife really, honestly, say that they would say the same thing if it was a woman writing in instead?
103
OldCrow @95 I think it's funny how we are supposed to take this particular LW at his word and not try to read between the lines when commenters here do it ALL the damn time. A couple days ago with the ShitStain letter, MrE was rating BOTH parties to the couple on a DTMFA scale by assuming facts not in evidence - or at least not in the letter. It's what we do.

The (majority of?) men on here could be right. Maybe she is a conniving sack of shit with no empathy for her suffering and trusting husband. Or maybe Chase @90 is closer to the truth.

I think we all bring our personal biases to the table when we read these letters. That's what the comments are for. Different perspectives.

With that in mind, I have a question. Let's assume that the couple has another 15 or so years of fertility left and that the husband wrote to Dan before the second child was conceived.

Dear Dan,

My wife and I have one child. I don't want any more children, but my wife wants at least two. My wife is suggesting that we use Natural Family Planning to prevent another pregnancy. I'm thinking of going along with that. Did I mention that I REALLY don't want anymore kids? What should I do?
104
On the pain specifically, because I have a lot of experience with neuropathic pain in general and scrotal neuropathic pain in particular: The standard prescription is for Gapapentin, which is an incredibly safe drug to take. It's not an NSAID or an opiate so it doesn't come with the problems associated with those classes of drugs. Gabapentin works wonders for some people with chronic neuropathic pain. The secondary recommendation is generally to take 440 mg of Naproxen Sodium (2 Aleve) twice per day. Honestly, between the 3600 mg of Gabapentin I used to take, and the 880 mg of Aleve, the Aleve worked better, and I eventually ditched the prescription Gabapentin because of the cost. But if you take that much Aleve every day, you need to watch your alcohol consumption, and it would be a good idea to get an annual liver function panel, just to monitor how your little liver buddy is doing.
105
@101 (and 102) Yes, we absofuckinglutely would be telling the woman that she should have used another method.
106
@62; we don't have the whole picture, Fan. This guys anger is so blinding of his rational, compassionate mind- he can't see the whole picture.
107
@7 He ejaculated into the vagina of a woman who was of proven fertility and not on birth control, without a condom. He blames her for getting pregnant. I'm pretty sure she would not have gotten pregnant had he not placed his ejaculate inside her vagina, which is something he chose to do.
108
If I were to guess, I would say that his wife probably demanded he get the vasectomy so that she wouldn't get blamed for any future children. Because it sounds as if this man is placing all of their problems together squarely on his shoulders. Obviously, nobody should attempt to force someone to get a medical procedure they don't want, but it isn't his wife's fault that it went poorly.
109
@7 You also do know that ovulation can vary from month to month? It's normal to not occur on the same day. And sperm can live up to 7 days. So basically, there is no such thing as a safe time. Which everyone knows.
110
@43 That might be appropriate for a couple who is open to having an oops baby, but if you were 100% against having another kid, then NFP alone is a bad idea. Anything alone is a bad idea if you don't want to get pregnant - the pill, condoms, etc. If you absolutely do not want to get pregnant/have another kid, you use two methods of birth control - hormonal and barrier usually, NFP plus barrier would be ok too. Even if you used two methods with lower efficacy - NFP (24% failure rate on average, numbers from Planned Parenthood) and withdrawal (27% failure rate on average, 4% with perfect use, let's say the husband was perfect for this case) for instance, you'd only have a (.24*.04 = 0.96%) 1% chance of preganancy/year, same as the pill. So the husbands inability to pull out accurately means that he upped their chances of getting pregnant from 1% to 27%.

Of course, if she can feel when she ovulates, the odds are much better, but he did not state that. And even if she had, he could reduce that chance to 4% merely by pulling out perfectly, and still wouldn't have to use the condoms he clearly does not wish to use.
111
What a mess. I think Dan told him to DTMF because no matter if the second child was an accident or on purpose, this man HATES his wife. My husband has suffered from chronic pain before and it changed his personality. He was more irritable, more self centered, and just more of a jerk. Pain that never goes away is exhausting and for a partner so to blow it off is cruel. She may just be so overwhelmed from taking care of two little kids. We don't know the actual facts or conversations. However, no children should ever be exposed to this level of hatred, blaming, and rage in their home. For Dan, the keep the marriage together for the children, to recommend a divorce this quickly means he can also see the red flashing alarm lights in the letter. Please LW go to several more doctors and move out. Try to be a good dad to both children and I hope your life gets better. If you are still so angry, then the true issue is you.
112
@63 Perhaps he can legally disown the second child. That ought to be fun.
113
@95: if he suggested the possibility of an abortion and she refused, it's likely that he would have used this fact against her. Since he doesn't even mention it I'm willing to bet he didn't suggest it to her either. Yes, it would and should still be her decision*, but again, he's not without agency.

*though unlike the reverse scenario, he should get some say in it, since he'll be supporting the kid. His investment is lower than hers, but after 18 years that 9 month difference isn't so big.
114
@101 It is absolutely mindboggling to me that anyone trusts anyone else about birth control ever. Men should not trust someone else to handle it especially because they don't even have the recourse of abortion. It's insane that a guy would ever be ok with having penetrative ejaculative sex with someone merely on the pill. It's totally bonkers.
115
@101/102: Yes.

Dear Dan, I really don't want any more kids but my husband does. We were using the withdrawal method of birth control and he "accidentally" came inside me and now I'm pregnant. Is he an asshole or am I an idiot?

SLOG: YES TO BOTH.
116
@133 Probably because if he had brought it up and she had done it, she would have divorced him. End of relationship.
117
What is this victim blaming? I don't blame" the victim", because I don't see a victim.
A marriage is a dynamic between two people and then their kids. Trying to help this guy unpack his situation, so he can see it, thru the pain, a bit clearer.
And yes, I can only imagine the pain he might be in. And I feel empathy for him. He needs to address the pain and insist his wife take his pain seriously.
118
Ah, yes, LavaGirl and the other usual feminist suspects immediately finding a way to blame the man.

"My husband lied to me about using contraception after changing his mind about how many kids he wanted, and now we have more kids than I want. Then, he insisted I get a hysterectomy, which has left me in constant pain that he ignores and claims is all in my head. I feel hurt and angry."

LavaGirl: DTMFA!!
119
@90; Chase. A convincing " wife said" post. Good one.
120
@118 I think the charge you're making is misandry. Feminism =/= misandry, and a misandrist can no more be a feminist than a misogynist.
121
@120: Fair enough -- I should've put "feminist" in quotes. I am a feminist. There is nothing that men have that I don't want women to have in this whole world (not even anatomically, because not all women were born with those parts).

LavaGirl's posts are just garden variety SJW horseshit, the kind of thing that happens frequently in the name of feminism but, as you say, is anything but.
122
@118: " Usual Feminist Suspects", ? What a great name for a band.
Geez. Great reading and comprehension skills.
I'm not " blaming" the man. Not " blaming" anyone.
This guy is telling us this story from his anger. I don't trust his perceptions are really accurate, while he sits in his pool of self justified rage.
I could tell you a story bout the 3 extra kids I bore after my husband got snipped, but it's too long( he didn't want to go back and have it checked, and I wasn't forceful enough to insist).
And of course, 3 children more, means I wasn't on the ball too well at all. I never " blamed" him, though I did notice his neglect of having it checked, led to me doing a lotta extra work.
Now though, those 3 children are just about adults and I couldn't imagine my life without them.. A comedy of errors-
Adults have a serious job to do, when a child comes along. Those resentments, need to be dealt with in some couple therapy sessions, then dropped. Then he needs to get on with his work, being a dad. Being a good dad.
The pain, he needs to find a way to deal with. His wife should take care of him a bit here. If he lets her. If he's not a bristle of raging nerve endings..
If, after calming down, dealing with his pain, and talking his feelings thru with his wife in front of a therapist, he can't move on from his resentments, then maybe this relationship may not be able to go forward.
It's the children's needs and safety I'm focusing on. Not the woman's. Not the man's.
If this man is beyond finding any love again in his heart for his wife, then he has to follow his truth.
Just leave the kids out of resentments and anger.

123
Ah, now we're getting down to what defines " a Feminist". ?
Your counter argument forgets to present the extra weight of the facts that if the woman is tricked into getting pregnant, it is her body that does the baby making work. And she can have an abortion.
My Feminism, is my business. And doesn't have to pAss some test that you, or anyone else sets for me.
Not offended. Too beautiful a sunny Saturday morning for that.
124
The fact that some people are defending vehemently that this victim-blaming cannot possibly be in any way remotely like victim-blaming of rape victims is quite telling. It's telling in two ways: 1. that levels of critical thinking get shut down when someone brings up rape, and 2. that rape victims are still considered to be wholly broken, fragile creatures who cannot possibly recover and therefore we must never in any possible way make rape seem like anything else, except maybe murder, though murder seems to still be preferential.
125
Guess I should explain my snip story.
Husband got snipped a few months or so after our second child. Then , look at that, I'm pregnant( and no, I don't do abortions).
Checked with Dr, who says ( after I'm pregnant), oh, yes, sometimes live sperm can stiff be around for a few weeks or so. Is that even true? So I'm pregnant with a two year old and a six month old. Fun times.
Still, husband didn't go have his sperm checked. Still, I didn't insist.
Two yrs later- oh, what's this again?- finally the penny drops. The snip didn't work.
By then, I was 40 yrs old. Then, we started to use condoms. Pill never went well in my body. Tried a coil. Had to have that taken out.
Fast forward 7 yrs. I'm 47 yrs old. Get a bit slack with prevention. Eggs gotta be dried up . That was my theory. Wrong!
Even the Dr laughed at me, when I td him I thought I was pregnant. Said it no doubt was The Change happening. Wrong! Surely tempted with that one to get an abortion.
Now, that boy I had at 47 yrs old, is a lovely, creative smart arse 17 yr old.
126
Go jerk off next time if you're relying on no birth control at all but to blame bad results on anyone else. Why do you think there are do many accidental babies born around the world? And if you were so resentful about baby no. 2 why would anyone have to force you to get a vasectomy. Geesh, what a whiny bitch.
127
well.....if you were adamant about not wanting more than one kid, you should have taken steps yourself to make sure there wasn't a second one. he/she who doesn't want the kid should be responsible for the birth control. that said, your wife is a horrible woman. first of all, it's not right to force motherhood on someone who doesn't want it, why do we think it's ok to force fatherhood on someone? second, once she decided it was important enough to not have any more kids - because SHE didn't want any more, and HER opinion is the only one that mattered - she should have had a tubal, instead of insisting on you having surgery so SHE could have what she wanted. but what the fuck, man, you have no balls at all, seeing as how you couldn't take responsibility for your birth control before the second kid showed up and had surgery you didn't want because she demanded it, and now actually stay with a woman who clearly doesn't care about anything you want or feel or any problems you have. grow some balls, then they might stop hurting.
128
"I don't want a kid, but I want to have sex and come inside you and I don't want to wear a condom or get a vasectomy. Instead, I want to rely on a notoriously unreliable form of birth control that is a great deal of work for you, that is easy to get wrong and sometimes doesn't work even if you get it all right, and if you do get pregnant I will hate you for it."
Of course, to be fair, a guy with this attitude would certainly never get me pregnant, so maybe he's onto something,
129
maybe the wife is allergic to latex and polyurethane. maybe LW is allergic to latex and polyurethane. that leaves another condom material, a vasectomy, pulling out, abstinence, or relying on ones partner for birth control. lets remember that the wife was a-ok with their former method of birth control, and probably suggested it in the first place. i don't know any guy that would bring up ovulation times and time frames of 'being safe' as a method of birth control. that's simply not an option for men.

LW seems very inexperienced with hard situations with relationships and people, which is, perhaps, why he is writing in to get advice in the first place.
130
129 cont. the wife talked LW to get a vasectomy, i can easily see wife talking LW into using the rhythm method and convincing him it's effective.
131
I'm sorry his balls hurt. Really.

At least one of these folks is nuts. My bet is on him. Why? Because he presents himself as an agency-less baby.

The dude seems to think birth control is something he should never have to think about. Despite that whole part where having another child would make him go cry in the corner.

Poor baby, she MADE him get a vasectomy when HE DID NOT WANT MORE CHILDREN.

Poor baby, she was not right about her fertility window when HE DID NOT WANT MORE CHILDREN and apparently took no interest in figuring out what was up with her lady parts.

Poor baby, she probably makes him look like a dick in front of his kids/makes him drink excessively/kept him from following his dream of becoming a bigtime Hollywood screenwriter.
132
And what exactly does "making" someone get a vasectomy look like anyways? I'm willing to bet it could look something like this:

"Honey, remember the last time we relied on a form of birth control that wasn't 99.9999% effective and then lo and behold, we got pregnant? And it pretty much ruined our marriage? Yeah, I'm not risking that."

This is the first time I've ever really wanted Dan to post a revision. That response misses the mark by a mile. Even if she DID trick him into baby #2 (and I think that's a pretty big if -- she may have even gotten sloppy, but a lot of babies are conceived on sloppiness rather than outright deceit), that whole "making" him get a vasectomy thing?

As lame as a dude complaining about being "made" to wear condoms.
133
@131 i don't get your attitude

if LW is a baby, wife is an ice queen. the only method of birth control that she was willing to practice was rhythm method, when she wanted 2 kids. now that she has 2 kids, and doesn't want to get pregnant again, the only method of birth control she's willing to practice is demanding her husband get a vasectomy, who had concerns about side effects, which he is suffering from and wife doesn't care about. 'it's all in his head'... and you conclude LW is nuts. LW is a pushover and stupid for trusting his wife and not using condoms but not nuts.

"And what exactly does "making" someone get a vasectomy look like anyways?"

have you not dealt with people that tray and make your life hell if they don't get what they want?

i think Dan hit the nail on the head. LW needs to get away from wife, she doesn't care about him
134
I'll toss my two cents worth in, not that it makes much difference. Wifey sounds like a psycho bitch from Hell from hubby's description. Is she or isn't she? Doesn't matter because it's _his_ perception. Again, he says he is in chronic pain. Wifey shouldn't say "it doesn't exist" because she does not know, it's his body.

My recommendations: Find a second doctor willing to give him a thorough exam. It's possible it's physical, it's possible it's psychosomatic, but until he gets an _understanding_ doctor to check him out, he won't know. I had a doctor tell me it was impossible for me to feel pain after my gallbladder surgery, that everything was all right. It wasn't. Anyway, find a way to treat the pain and hopefully it will change his mood.

Second recommendation: Go to counseling, either with Wifey or without Wifey. Hubby needs to figure out why he allowed himself to be forced into a vasectomy he did not want. He needs to suss out his resentment towards Wifey so it doesn't spillover to the kids. They are here now, so he's got to own being a dad and try to do the best for those kids. At counseling, he may be able to find a way to make the marriage work. Or maybe he won't. But he can't divorce his kids and he will have to interact with Wifey, so he better learn a way to do that.

Third: Birth control and responsibility. All birth control has a risk for failure. Whether Wifey planned or it was an accident, the kid is here now. I have a 33 year old son that never was supposed to have happened due to various physical problems. I didn't trick the ex into the second kid, (despite what he may think) my birth control method failed. Apparently, my second son was determined to be born. (BTW, the ex fussed & cussed carried on, no more kids...his second wife had 2 more kids by him, so apparently it _was_me ;) )

Fourth: Everything does not equal rape/domestic violence. The woman is a psycho bitch, plain and simple. If it was a man that kept impregnating his wife/girlfriend, people would call him abusive and a ton of other things. He would be the extremely bad guy. Why can't anybody see that the wifey, as described by the hubby, is the extremely bad guy?

I'm off the soapbox now.
135
NCNH's first responsibility must be towards keeping himself and his kids alive and sane. Don't stop after this second opinion if you get a bad feeling, schedule a third. Learn how to find good online sources or perhaps forums and ask your doctor about trying some of the treatments that you think may work.

Thanks Chase, Nate & Matt for being cool guys and trying to move the conversation on.

@134 Robina - Cool post. Except I disagree with the psycho bitch part. Not sure why you say this is not domestic violence but she is a horrible person. I think "Wife says it must be in my head. " was abusive. But how he describes making his second child is downright scary. It's like he can't google for himself. It doesn't seem like she lied about getting her period or something that she was obviously doing on purpose... he would have noticed her period right?
136
The wife is wrong for not taking his complaints of pain seriously. That sucks and is unfair to him. However, I don't see any scenario where the wife lied about the _timing_ of it being safe that doesn't involve him being irresponsible about birth control. The timing is an odd phrase to use. He doesn't say she lied about being on birth control or what method they were using. Any method that involves timing should involve potential failures without her lying, and I don't see how he could possibly know she lied. Also, any such method should involve clear information he has access to while living with her. If you're using a birth control method, it is your responsibility to research it. Both partners should research any method being used - even if they trust each other, it increases the odds of important information being caught and remembered and applied properly. And both partners should take responsibility for making sure the method is used properly.

This isn't comparable to a scenario where a partner deliberately sabotages a method, such as poking holes in a condom that the other has no way to notice. Nor lying about applying the method, such as not pulling out. I'd like somebody who believes the wife lied to explain a plausible scenario where that makes any sense with the wording he used and where he would actually be able to know after the fact that she lied, but didn't know at the time.
137
@uncreative, I figured that she stopped charting, and started just guessing about her fertile days. After she got pregnant he asked to see her charts ("how did this happen?") and she admitted she had no recent charts to show him. If she had promised to chart and report her fertile days to the best of her information, then her stopping charting and pretending to have that information is roughly the same as poking secret holes in a condom.
138
@136 i can't say the wife lied outright, but from the picture LW paints, i could see the wife demanding birth control based around her cycle knowing it was a less effective form of birth control so she could get pregnant again. she did demand surgery for LW as he says, demanding surgery is a little bigger step imo. any way with any birth control you have to rely on the other person properly using methods. condoms are easiest to check, it's either on or not, other factors involved but basically on/off. pills need to be taken regularly but you have to trust they're being taken, again other factors but basically if it's taken it's effective.

LW can google about a womans menstrual cycle all he wants he still needs information from his wife about her cycle, and from how she is acting about his scrotal pain it seems likely to me she would act the same way about LWs feelings only wanting one child, ignore him. of course she couldve made a mistake but maybe she was planning on a mistake. why he didn't use condoms, who knows? but he had to realize his balls were always loaded, no misfires on his part, they already had one kid so this wasn't his first rodeo. why she didn't use some more effective form of birth control? maybe other methods didn't jive with her, maybe so she could have the second child she wanted?

it takes two to tango, but who is leading this dance? based on LW it seems like the wife is. but can never really get the full picture from one limited point of view.
139
@137 True. Although I'd question an arrangement where she does all the charting. I don't think it's wrong for a couple to agree to it. But it is careless for a couple to agree to it, especially if one of them adamantly does not want a child. I come from an especially fertile family, so I wouldn't consider this to be a viable method anyway (breastfeeding on-demand definitely is insufficient to prevent fertility and anyone in my family who I've known to try to get pregnant has tended to do so very quickly rather than the usual it can take up to a year). But if you're willing to accept the risks and use only one method, then it still seems careless to not have anyone double-checking the data. I've done enough labs to know that good, responsible people still make mistakes, even if they are well-educated and know what they should be doing. Things get misread or something gets jotted down wrong.This is normal, responsible human behavior. So, I'd be really confused as to why he wasn't participating in the charting. It just seems very irresponsible to me.

However, if she in fact said she was charting and then was not, I would agree she was in the wrong. I just doubt this actually happened, because his wording is really suspicious. I also have trouble understanding an attitude where you opt-out of all of the work involved with birth control. I've never been in a relationship where both parties didn't take responsibility and put in part of the effort. And I find it really unsettling that he would do this.
140
@138 Trust them, yes. But also you can ask questions like, "Did you remember to take your pills regularly this cycle?" And you should research the method even if you're not the one using it. Know which form of birth control pills your partner is on (they do not all have the same degree of effectiveness), know which interactions or health issues can affect their effectiveness, and know what time of day your partner takes a pill so you can help and be a reminder if you are together. I consider that the minimal responsibility of any person relying on pills, whether or not they are taking them. When your partner gets sick and needs antibiotics or has recently thrown up or so forth they may not be best able to remember that that compromises the birth control effectiveness, but they still may want to have sex. If you are relying on your partner's pills and don't know that basic info, then I do consider you partly responsible. It's less true if you aren't living together, where you are less likely to have access to the info like your partner's recent illness, but if you're a couple and living together, I expect both people involved to take responsibility for education and awareness. However, lies are totally not okay. If you say, "Yes, I took the pill" and you didn't, then blame is clear. Trusting your partner not to lie is reasonable, and it's just horrible when that basic trust is betrayed.

I also expect both partners to research the effectiveness of the methods they use and to accept the risks or not engage in the activity. If someone wants you to use an insufficiently effective method for your tastes, then you don't. Although if this happens within the context of an abusive relationship, I do understand why an abused partner might give in. It's possible the wife is regularly abusing the husband and this was part of the pattern. It's a legit reading of the info. I just don't find it that likely, because the letter writer doesn't sound like most abuse victims do. His responses to what happened just don't come across as someone who has been being abused. They sound a lot more like an abuser than an abuse victim, so if there is abuse happening, it just doesn't seem likely he was actually the victim. And there's no clear evidence of abuse, which again leads to the issue where has must take responsibility for using a less effective method if they agreed to. As to trust, I still don't see why he needed much. I've never done a rhythm or natural family planning method. I'd only be willing to do such a thing if I were really okay with a potential pregnancy, and if that were the case, I'd probably be aiming to get pregnant not to avoid it. But it sounds like it involves things like checking mucous and taking temperatures, and I don't see why he can't be involved in that. It'd be a whole lot safer for them both to be, since it's very easy to take a temperature wrong. Always best to have double-checking of readings if the results are really important. I've always come at birth control as a joint issue of the people involved where regardless of the method used, the effort and responsibility should be shared. So, I'm having real problems wrapping my head around his situation where somehow he didn't seem to take any care in being a part of making sure there wasn't a pregnancy.
141
My comment after the jump.

..

Whether your pain is you, your doctor or emotions manifesting from your shitty-ass wife, your shitty-ass doctor should take your pain, and you, more seriously.
142
@140

Please don't ever sit on a jury. Your ability to be empathetic and understand a situation even slightly outside your experience is so minimal that injustice would certainly result.

TL/DR version: You're a dumbass.

Even though you probably have a reasonably high IQ.

"his wording is really suspicious."
"the letter writer doesn't sound like most abuse victims do. His responses to what happened just don't come across as someone who has been being abused. They sound a lot more like an abuser than an abuse victim,"

What the letter writer sounds like is a somewhat inarticulate blue-collar guy who doesn't write much and when he does write, as in this letter, he writes conversationally, i.e. just as he would speak. This letter may the longest thing he's written in a while. And the content of his words reveals that his wife was the dominant personality, that he did cede power over the birth control process to her, because that's the type of person he is and that's the type of relationship they had. And she betrayed him. And now she disbelieves and mocks him.

This guy was fucked over by his wife, and then by nature in the form of exhibiting a relatively rare side effect. He doesn't need to be fucked over by you in this comment thread.

So fuck you for not understanding that not everyone has an IQ above 120, that some men are mild and passive, that it's okay for such men to trust their more assertive/intelligent/sophisticated wives until they have reason not to, and that not everyone is equipped by nature or education to got through the detailed risk analysis and communication you set forth in your responses with your multisyllabic words and elitist expectations and for your inability to wrap your head around a situation and relationship dynamic that are different from how you believe they ought to be.
143
@Philosophile: I guess you'd have to first immobilize me so you can poke, prod, grope, taste, and do whatever else your diabolical experiments require...
144
@139 "I'd be really confused as to why he wasn't participating in the charting. It just seems very irresponsible to me...I also have trouble understanding an attitude where you opt-out of all of the work involved with birth control. I've never been in a relationship where both parties didn't take responsibility and put in part of the effort."

I have been in one 4-year relationship, and one 20-year marriage, and in neither case did my partners take any responsibility whatsoever for birth control, unless you count discussing our views on abortion. I was on the pill, and they did not ever remind me to take my pills or check that I took them. It is true that they knew I was open to abortion. Is that what you mean by "putting in part of the effort"? Checking that your partner will abort if the primary birth control method fails?

@140 "I do understand why an abused partner might give in...[But] the letter writer doesn't sound like most abuse victims do."

How much experience do you have with male abuse victims? Since it's humiliating for a man to be in that position, I would not be surprised by an over-compensating aggressive demeanor, as if to say "of course I'm not abused." When hyper intelligent & articulate women are abuse victims, they also don't look the way we expect abuse victims to look.
145
@140 also I'm pretty sure that if a husband demanded to check his wife's temperature, cervical fluids and cervical position every day, to verify that she wasn't screwing up the charting -- most people would see that as crazy controlling. He doesn't get to supervise her body.

If he doesn't trust her, he gets to use male forms of birth control (such as condoms or vasectomy), or he can leave the relationship.
146
For those of you dudes who have never been a parent and thus don't know the details about post-pregnancy fertility:

After a woman has a baby, she can't have sex for six weeks without risk of injury. Then for as long as she's breastfeeding, she can't use ANY hormonal birth control other than the progesterone-only pill, which is significantly less effective and many women can't take anyway. Breastfeeding does lower the chances of conception, but not to zero - and it's not an "on or off" thing. By the time the baby is eight or nine months old, you're usually only feeding them once a day - but you still can't use better birth control, even though the natural defenses against pregnancy are lessened. Once the woman stops breastfeeding entirely, she can go back on hormonal birth control (which takes another few weeks to kick in fully).

My guess is they weren't doing the rhythm method or whatnot - she was probably breastfeeding (with or without being on the progesterone pill) and they were counting on that to be reliable birth control. It's not. Now, if she lied about THAT - skipping pills, etc. - then yes, she's being an asshole. But if the husband just assumed that "50-90% reliability" was enough and didn't do his research, it's his own fault for not bothering to use a condom like every other new parent for the several months before regular birth control methods can be resumed.
147
@uncreative: I also have trouble understanding an attitude where you opt-out of all of the work involved with birth control

We do a lot of dividing and conquering in our household. I'm primarily responsible for paying the bills, and soccer on weekends, for example. Wife primarily cooks, manages the household, cleaners, nanny, milkman, pool boy, and her personal house boy (total waste of money, still can't figure out he does).

Anyhoo, there's nothing strange about dividing and conquering with birth control, if that makes sense for the relationship, as long as things generally feel balanced.
148
seandr, when your wife's done with the pool boy and the house boy, tell her she can send them over here. That is, if they need to make a little overtime.
149
When your partner gets sick and needs antibiotics or has recently thrown up or so forth they may not be best able to remember that that compromises the birth control effectiveness, but they still may want to have sex. If you are relying on your partner's pills and don't know that basic info, then I do consider you partly responsible.

@140 gah! i can see that conversation

woman "remember when i took those antibiotics"

man "yeah"

woman "they made my birth control less effective"

man "i didn't know that, why didn't you tell me?"

woman "you should have known, the pills i take and the knowledge of their side effects and interactions are partly your responsibility."

man "what? i'm writing to Dan Savage to get some advice"
150
145 shit yeah. what kind of comments would be here if LW wrote that letter? "i;ve been meticulously monitoring my wifes body and she still got pregnant, i'm pissed, what do i do now?"

@146 ahh that's new insight on why the wife might not have been using hormonal birth control. and that's the kind of information i wouldn't expect men to know, even new fathers, unless their partner or a healthcare professional informed them. and then knowledge retention would come into play "she can't get pregnant when she's breast feeding, it's that easy"

151
@nocutename: Ok, but I can't attest to his pool cleaning skills since we don't have a pool.
152
Hey Dan, this guy's pain problem sounds very familiar. In short, he can get this fixed, but solving it takes some work. He needs to start researching post-vasectomy pain himself and find a quality specialist to fix it.

I did not have a vasectomy, but I did have a unusual type of hernia that pressed on a nerve and caused me to deal with this exact same pain for most of 2013. As someone who used to be a cbt enthusiast, I can tell you it's real and it's quite bad.

I eventually had to go find a hernia specialist out of state to get my problem fixed. Before that I went to a GP, the ER, urologist, urologist, GP, internist, spine specialist, GP, physical therapist, sports injury specialist. I went through exams, scans, treatments for infections, muscle injuries, back injuries. It was ridiculous, expensive, and not helping.

I started reading. I read a lot. I read journal articles and health forum threads (there are a lot of vasectomy pain threads on these). I still remember a lot of the info. There could be several things causing his pain: the nerve that goes to the testicle (ilio-inguinal) could be inflamed, damaged, or compressed. There could be excess fluid built up in the epididymis, vas deferens, testicle, or scrotum. Certain types of hernias, back problems, muscle injuries can also sometimes cause similar pain.

One problem I found through my experience is medical tunnel-vision. I experienced and read account after account where urologists only try to fix things they know about, regardless of whether a neighboring part of the body could be the problem. While the AUA might say 1–2% experience pain after a vasectomy, I think this may be under-reported.

Why bother sharing all this? Because it took me months to figure all this out. I was in near-constant pain, missing work, couldn't sit for very long, couldn't exercise, lost a BF, and was racking up a high 4-digit medical debt despite insurance without getting better.

It's worth it to look for a specialist that believes you when you say you're in pain and is willing to try to pinpoint the exact cause and fix it. In the meantime, NCNH could try home remedies that relieve swelling (ibuprofen, ice, heating pads, etc.) and supporters or compression shorts also help.

Oh, and he should dump that terrible wife. She obviously doesn't have any respect or compassion for him. Maybe he should seek some solo counseling to help with his resentment, too.
153
@seandr: That's okay; neither do I.
154
@142: disagree. Re the handing over to others' part, for one's life decisions. Everybody has unconscious stuff going on, that is acted out all the time.
Trust another , of course. That's what love is based on. Giving over one's own critical mind to another. No.
155
@146 Slartbartifast - I also thought they were likely using breastfeeding 'method'. A quick google is the least he could do, and take equal responsibility for timing, and his choice to forgo pulling out and condoms it seems. But I've got to pipe up...
After a woman has a baby, she can't have sex for six weeks without risk of injury.
External is fine when the new mother feels ready. Also this is pretty conservative even for internal sex; 3 weeks is another popular number.

Also think someone else mentioned that chronic pain can make you act crazy. If his resentful attitude toward making his second child really started after ball pain, then hopefully that lights another fire under his ass to get it fixed fast. And ultimatum and leave if his wife won't help with his balls etc (in return he should start caring for her junk again too). I think he should show lots of care for his kids then give his wife a chance to keep the new attitude if she helps with his balls before he leaves her.
156
@Seandr - I think I could be very creative about restraining you. Very knotty. Although nothing beats the scent of fresh cut steel. A metal and leather mix... With your permission.
157
If she (your wife) tricked you into having another kid (e.g. lied to you about the "safe time"), it is considered rape. Even if sexual intercourse has already happened, she raped you. You didn't want another child, and that's great, but she lied and conned you into thinking that the both of you having sex wouldn't produce the outcome of having the second child. Legally, it's called "Rape by Deception".
158
@Philophile: I love surprises, so just assume you have permission until I use the safe word.

So there I am, helpless to escape, wondering what your agenda is as you circle around me, my gaze slowly tracing the seam of your stocking as it rises to your upper thigh.

Well I'm certainly not going to let that happen without putting up an ineffective, half-hearted fight. Best to go with something sturdy like metal and leather, as I've been known to turn the tables when security gets lax.
159
Oh Seandr you are fun.
So there I am, helpless to escape
And you would be. I've underestimated you once. You surprised me, and I'd like to return the favor.

wondering what your agenda is as you circle around me
I close quickly. I've written my agenda to learn you in neon lights on the wall. You can mourn your clothing as it's sheared away. No part of your body is safe. I'm content to observe your brain second hand, chart the encoded reflexes, test the depth and connections. I promise not to get Nightmare before Christmas or Hannibal with your brain. But if an MRI were handy...

I've been known to turn the tables when security gets lax.
I know a few parts of you already. I am equally fascinated with the process of freeing you. Once my curiosity has been fully satisfied.
160
A thriller. Love thrillers..
161
Both the husband AND the wife sound like toxic people who need therapy and need to learn to communicate better. I had a change of heart after getting pregnant with a second child (on purpose on BOTH our parts) when the dad was what I perceived as incredibly insensitive to my AWFUL morning sickness. I am still working thriving those feelings, but I also recognize I made a choice. It is as much my responsibility as it is his.

BOTH LW AND WIFE made a choice to have sex. They BOTH need to own that, and frankly, yes, all adults make their own choices. Also, for an adult to insist on a vasectomy and not get sterilized herself to prevent future pregnancies is a fuck-up on her part, too. BOTH people fucked up. Now their kids will suffer for it unless they resolve their issues which led to this nasty situation.

It's shitty for everyone, and EVERYONE - most importantly the innocent children who actually are the true victims here, if we are splitting hairs about victimhood - needs some therapy for assistance in asserting themselves, communicating openly while taking responsibility for their own actions, and good god, let's please mature together if staying married or go your separate ways to (I hope) mature individually.

What a mess.
162
Both the husband AND the wife sound like toxic people who need therapy and need to learn to communicate better. I had a change of heart after getting pregnant with a second child (on purpose on BOTH our parts) when the dad was what I perceived as incredibly insensitive to my AWFUL morning sickness. I am still working thriving those feelings, but I also recognize I made a choice. It is as much my responsibility as it is his.

BOTH LW AND WIFE made a choice to have sex. They BOTH need to own that, and frankly, yes, all adults make their own choices. Also, for an adult to insist on a vasectomy and not get sterilized herself to prevent future pregnancies is a fuck-up on her part, too. BOTH people fucked up. Now their kids will suffer for it unless they resolve their issues which led to this nasty situation.

It's shitty for everyone, and EVERYONE will suffer for it unless both parties can work out their toxicity. I consider the innocent children the true victims here, if we are splitting hairs about victimhood. It sounds like LW needs some therapy for assistance in asserting himself, communicating openly while taking responsibility for his own actions, and good god, let's please mature together if staying married or go your separate ways to (I hope) mature individually.

What a mess.
163
@142: The "somewhat inarticulate blue-collar guy" you describe also may be completely unaware that his wife could have gotten pregnant by accident.
164
@43 EricaP "I also support seandr @21's assertion that tracking one's fertility is not that hard and is quite reliable."

It depends of the woman. Some women have an easily trackable fertility. Some don't. The ones who know they don't should tell their partners and insist on condoms every time if they don't want children.

I hate it when a male yells he was violated when he penetrated a woman without a condom and it resulted in a child. That's not even his body that's carrying and giving birth to the child !

Have some respect for the wives of the fanatical religious the world over, who don't want any more children but end up getting more and more of them because religion and less physical strength than the male. That really is a violation that can be likened to rape.
165
The victim blaming in these comments is disgusting. Considering that his wife is a cunt, I wouldn't be surprised if it was her idea to use the rhythm method and not his. Hell, maybe they used both the rhythm method and condoms and she poked a bunch of holes in the condoms. And put hot sauce on the condom. Or maybe this letter made it all up and none of these people exist. Who fucking knows?
166
Weird how it's natural birth control or nothing when they're busy making kids but then it's got to be a big vasectomy? That operation is not natural.

It doesn't sound like either one of them take responsibility for much. Why not stay together and work on growing up as a team? Better than attaching themselves to new unsuspecting mates.
167
@TheNotLastComment: there are lots of reasons to believe that this guy is not the victim he's making himself out to be.

1) He doesn't provide any evidence that his wife "lied" about when her "safe times" were. He had no business relying on "safe times" for birth control anyway, and he certainly has no business getting angry when such an ineffective form of birth control doesn't work.



2) When he decided that he absolutely did not want kids, he should have taken responsibility for making that happen -- either by getting a vasectomy or by scrupulously using condoms each and every time. He's not owning even the tiniest bit of his responsibility for that lapse.

3) Nobody can "make" another person undergo a surgical procedure. Unless his wife was abusing him to the point where he was afraid of her, or isolating him to the point where he could no longer make independent decisions, he chose to get a vasectomy. If he truly didn't want it, he had options: a) no sex with the wife anymore; b) divorce. He didn't want those options, so he chose option c) vasectomy, but that was his choice. Hell, in a good relationship where they're truly done having kids, vasectomy is the best choice and far, far less risky and painful than a tubal ligation.

I'm surprised that Dan didn't take LW to task for not owning up to any of his part on this, and for not telling dude that he'd better get counseling to keep his toxic stew of victimhood/wife hatred from poisoning his relationship with his kids.
168
gatoverde @167, a vasectomy is easier, cheaper and less invasive than a tubal ligation.

However, a tubal ligation appears to be less risky than a vasectomy at least in some metrics. I have *never* heard of a woman suffering years of crippling post-tubal-ligation pain. When a doctor chooses tubal ligation for herself because she thinks the risks of post-vasectomy pain are too high, I pay attention.
169
I don't understand how he's not a real victim. He's following her commands even though he clearly doesn't want to. That's evidence enough that emotional abuse is happening. Not to mention the fact that she is so callous about his chronic pain, which is definitely evidence that emotional abuse is happening.

If the genders were reversed and a woman was told to get an abortion she didn't want, would you guys be scolding her for not owning up to her responsibility in being a victim? I doubt it.
170
@Chase: Please provide some evidence that you demand "evidence" when it's a woman talking about her abuse.

I think we're done here.
171
Only children and the mentally ill are not held responsible for their actions.

If a woman blamed her abortion on her partner, she'd be called an idiot. If she hated her partner for asking her to keep the baby, she'd be called psycho (for raising a baby with that kind of mentality).
172
Mr E @170. You seem to have a very short memory. Remember the ShitStain letter when you spent all of your commenting energy speculating whether Bar Creep was The Male Friend Fiance Demanded She Dump? Unfortunately there is no way a short letter to Dan can possibly account for all of the actions and emotions of the parties involved in a situation, or address all of our unanswered questions. For that reason, most people, including you, look for "evidence" in all of the letters posted to SLOG.

Some people on this thread have a different interpretation of the situation based on the tone and content of the letter. Unfortunately we are missing a lot of relevant information -

What birth control method were they using?
Whose idea was it to use that method?
Why wasn't he wearing a condom? (I assume he wasn't based on his "safe" comment.)
How does he know that she got pregnant on purpose?
Why did the wife insist on vasectomy?

For anyone suggesting tubal ligation, keep in mind that the wife is open to having more kids. Based on the toxic state of this relationship, it is far better that she keep her tubes untied in the event her next husband wants a lot of kids.

173
@170: Here are three previous instances where I took the position that the female LW was an irresponsible idiot, being unreasonable, or out of line:

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Savag…

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…

Let's see you do the same in reverse. Or are we done NOW? Because your rabid crusade to defend men, all men, against the evils of feminism is not only tedious but incredibly counterproductive. In fact, as someone who was actually in a relationship with a crazy, abusive woman, I would like to ask you to stop advocating on my behalf, because you are terrible at it.
174
It could be that his wife is just sick and tired of putting up with his shit. He seems like a selfish prick -- probably doesn't want to wear a condom, and thinks birth control, like dishes, laundry, and taking care of babies, is women's work. It was his jiz, yet he blames her for kid #2, just like he blames her for his painful balls and probably for the 1987 film Ishtar, starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.

Leaving, and never darkening their doorstep with anything larger than a child support check, might be the best thing he could do for her and for the kids. Being an asshole isn't inherited, it is learned, so the sooner he leaves, the better the chance is this kids grow up to be decent human beings.

175
Does feminism mean men need to be fully "responsible" for birth control, and does that mean they need to get any medical procedure their wife orders? Because if feminism means it's ok to tell men what to do with their bodies, I guess I can't be feminist.
176
174 your conclusions seem irrational. do your balls hurt?
177
@174 She had the choice to leave instead of stay, just as he did. She needs to take responsibility for her behavior too.
178
@175 It means they need to be equally responsible for birth control - i.e. if they don't want a kid, they need to use a method of birth control themselves. Anyone who isn't a damn fool would insist on at least two methods of birth control if they didn't want to have a kid. That's how they teach it in high school, and the guy seems to be a grown adult. He didn't have to go get a vasectomy, he chose to. Then he blamed her for it. Which is childish.
179
@165 It obviously was his idea. He could have chosen to 1) wear condoms (what, she's going to tear them off him?) or 2) withdrawal or 3) no vaginal penetration. He chose to ejaculate in a women he knew to be fertile. He's a moron.
180
@161 She probably wants more kids, he's the one who doesn't. And the vasectomy is a far easier procedure. You don't need both adults sterilized. One of the reasons they don't do sterilization in adults is when in the consult, they ask if the person wants more kids (in the event that their spouse dies, their kids die, etc.). If they do, they won't do the sterilization. Only the husband could have passed this test.
181
@117 He could do that by the simple expedient of going to a doctor and getting a second or third opinion. Going back to the original doctor to ask about pain is unlikely to be successful, for obvious reasons. Or he could Google it and show her info from a reputable medical source. Once he has medical proof that his pain is possible and even likely, her odds of believing him go up. He sounds like a whiner in his letter. He is probably whinier in person. If the doctor said the pain was all in his head, and I were married to this prize, I'd believe the doctor was right too.
182
The doctor is unlikely to have said “it’s all in your head.” More likely, the doctor said something like, “I can’t see any gross abnormalities” and possibly “we can do more testing but it’ll cost ya.” Which if you are a pissed-off passive-aggressive victim you will hear as “there’s nothing wrong” and “it’s all in your head” and “I don’t care about you.”

If you are optimistic and see your doctor positively as a collaborator rather than a sordid instrument of your wife’s malevolent will, you will go on to have a What Now? conversation with your doctor. Or maybe not, if the doc is a total dick.

Even if you are pissed-off and passive-aggressive a *good* doctor should be able to communicate What Now? effectively. If the LW’s current doctor was unable to have a productive discussion about next steps, he should totally move on to find a doctor who can and will.
183
Everything this LW says is a little off. I don't believe at all that a Dr. said what he claims the Dr. said. And the way he describes the conception of his second child is pretty suspicious, especially given the tone and victimhood of the rest of his letter. He claims his wife lied about when the "safe time" was. But it is possible (I am going to say likely) that they just got pregnant during an unlikely part of the cycle and he is blaming her (she must have lied!). If he were that anti-second-child, he could have used a better birth control method. And if he was so against having a second child and thought the rhythm method was good enough, he should have been invested enough in his own family planning to know where she was without having to ask her if today was ok. And then, right after tricking him into getting pregnant, she demands he get a vasectomy? I don't buy it.

I think it is much more likely that they got accidently pregnant, he blamed her, and she said if he didn't want to risk an accidental pregnancy again (and she didn't want to risk the blame and resentment again) they needed a more effective method of birth control. If I were her and my husband blamed an accidental pregnancy like that on me, I wouldn't want to have sex with them until the risk the risk of that happening again was eliminated.