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September 28, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I went out with a guy for 4 years. Two years into it, when I was 24, I found out I was pregnant. Pretty bad timing since I was about to move to another city and he was about to go on tour with his band. We were both broke. We hadn't really decided to break up, but he had insisted he wasn't interested in maintaining a long-distance relationship (although it turned out we did, a sloppy on and off one). We knew that I was pregnant for a week before I had my abortion. In that time, we didn't discuss it very much. Although I wasn't entirely against having a child, I couldn't picture ourselves together. I've always been pro-choice, so although it was a painful decision, I felt at the time it was the right one. I was pretty sure I would have to do it alone, and I didn't think I could be a good mother in those circumstances.

He and I have been apart now for about 4 years. I, for some unknown reason, am still very attached to him. He lives on the other side of the country and just became engaged to someone else. I am with someone else too who I enjoy a lot, but am not in love with. Me and the long-distant ex- had been talking on the phone, in the hopes that we could build a friendship that could continue after his marriage. During our last conversation, he asked me why I had had an abortion since he had been ready to have a child. I am pretty sure that he never told me that back when we had an option. We might not have discussed it as much as we should have, but then again, we never discussed anything enough which is probably one of the reasons the relationship didn't work out.

It turns out that the woman he is engaged to is pro-life and he is starting to think that he is, too. Part of me can see that he is sidestepping his involvement in my abortion. But the other part of me is devastated. Did I make a horrible decision? Is my unhappiness now somehow a result of a decision that can't be undone? I don't know what to do. I've never felt quite this disjointed before. How can I make myself be at peace with my decision? Is it unrealistic to maintain a friendship with an ex like this?

-- Maria

Dear Maria,

My take on it is this: he went along with your abortion, but he never fully dealt with it himself. Now all his unresolved feelings about it are being brought to the surface and stirred up -- not to mention clouded -- by his fiancee. None of which, actually, has anything to do with you. Really. But of course, that stirring-up effect comes full circle right back to you.

So I will tell you this: from the way you describe your reasoning at the time, you did not make a horrible decision. And from the way you describe your ex's confusion right now, it might be unrealistic to be friends with him -- for the next while, anyway. If I were you, I'd find a trained, sympathetic ear and talk about how to make peace with the past and stand firm in the present.

Breakup Girl



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