On-Again, Off-Again

Q: I am 24 and pregnant with the man I love. We've been together since we were young. We broke up and got back together many times. Suddenly he wanted a baby, and though I wasn't ready yet, he convinced me otherwise. But what's bugging me is now that I'm pregnant, he doesn't pay attention to me like he used to, he doesn't send me all those sweet messages. Everything is changed. I often ask him if he still wants to be with me and he says yes. I also told him that he must not be scared to tell me if he's fed up with me, that I won't have a problem with it.

His friends tell me that even if he goes out at night he only spends time with his friends, that there aren't any girls around him and that he's excited about the baby. Sometimes I decide not to call him anymore. When he does call me, he tells me that he misses me, like he wants to make love to me. So I wonder if he still loves me or not, is he just using me, or is it just because I am pregnant now so he decided to give me space. Because even if I dump him, he won't let me break up with him. I want to know also if it's possible for a man to make love to his woman if he doesn't love her anymore. -- Lorrie, 24

Dr. Susan: You've gotten yourself into a fine mess, Lorrie. One thing a woman should never let herself get convinced about against her better judgment is to have a baby. A lifetime commitment! And one that will be much more your burden than your boyfriend's, judging by his unpredictable behavior. But here you are, pregnant and confused. Among the possibilities for your lover's changed behavior is that he has found other women to play around with, in spite of what his friends tell you. Remember, they are HIS friends, not necessarily yours, and they may be protecting him from your anger. Because it's not believable that you "won't have a problem with" his being fed up with you. You'll be furious, like most women would be in this situation.

He may be excited about the baby, because that's something new and different in his life. You are no longer so new by now. This is a man who can't be depended upon. And yes, Lorrie, it's very possible for a man to have sex with a woman he doesn't love. It happens every day of the year, all over the world. You can't judge his love and interest, and certainly not his commitment, by the fact that he'd still like to make love to you. Yes, he could be using you. I'm not sure what you mean that he won't let you break up with him even if you want to. Will he hurt you physically? You need to get some help facing the facts of your life and ensuring the safety of yourself and your child. Stop letting yourself get pushed around and do what's best for you.

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