She's Pregnant with Your Kid
January 26, 2004 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I been going out with a girl for 5 years off and on. She's a about a month pregnant with my kid. for the last couple months she been acting like a complete bitch. I try to talk to her about it but she don't want to listen.
Also i'm going to iraq for 8 months. I get this funny feeling that i want to leave her, but she's pregnant with my kid. It's weird she completly changed. We hardly ever talk on the phone anymore. She recently lost some close relatives. To make things worse she lives in Hawaii and i'm stationed in California.
I know its my kid because she came down to visit me for a month and thats around the time she got pregnant. I don't know what to do.
Can you please give me some advice.
I hear how fed up you are with your girlfriend's behavior. The last thing you want to do is act upon your annoyance by dumping her. There's a baby involved and that child needs a mother and father.
Obviously having both of his/her parents together would be ideal for your child, so it would be good to give this relationship every chance of survival. I urge you to not bail out so fast. You can always end the relationship down the line if there is no other choice.
Meanwhile, I'd like to help you approach your girlfriend in a way that I believe will bring you closer together. The first step in that direction, is for you to understand her better. My sense is that your girlfriend is depressed and hormonally imbalanced due to her pregnancy. Depression and hormone imbalances often cause irritability. You need to see that your girlfriend is ill.
I also think that you guys are caught in a vicious cycle. The more you try to tell her that she's behaving like a bitch, the more hurt and insulted she gets, and, you guessed it, the bitchier she becomes. You try to tell her that she's acting like a bitch, but she isn't hearing what you're saying because the way you are talking to her is getting her back up.
When she feels attacked and criticised, she shuts down and refuses to hear you. To break this cycle you need to approach her in a different way. Approach her from a loving place and with the intention of bringing the two of you together.
Think about saying only things that you know will be helpful to her and to your relationship. I bet that the words you choose will sound very different from the words you've been using so far.
If you speak from this angle you would sound like this:'I know that you've been having a rough time lately, having lost so many relatives and dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. I don't really know exactly how you are feeling and I want to understand. . .'
If you can get her to open up and tell you how she's feeling, reflect back what you hear her say so that she knows that really are listening and understanding her. When she feels truly heard and understood by you, she will feel emotionally fed, which is a potent anti-depressant. Then when she is feeling held by you, she will be more receptive to your own presentation of what is bothering you.
Before you tell her what's upsetting you about her behavior, ask her if she is ready to hear how you are feeling. When she says yes, then use my X, Y Formula. Start out with the Disclaimer (the positive support statement that lets her know that you're on her side, then state your problem using my X, Y Formula, which consists of describing what she is doing or saying and how you feel about it. Finish by adding your Suggestion for the Future.
A few points to keep in mind: Since your girlfriend seems fragile, avoid using the word 'you' when you present your problem. In other words, instead of saying, I am upset when YOU act bitchy toward me. . . you would reword the sentence so that the word YOU isn't used at all. For example, you might say, 'I feel upset when I am yelled at. . .'
Let's put the Disclaimer, X, Y Formula and Suggestion for the Future together and see how it might sound. You would say: You know how much I care for you (or you know how much I want to be with you or whatever other positive statement you can make that is true to your feelings) but when I am snapped at I feel angry and like running away. In the future, rather than snapping, I would feel so much closer to you if you would simply tell me exactly what I am doing to get under your skin and what I could do that would feel better.
If you notice, the above formula provides her with a model for properly communicating her discontent to you, so that she doesn't need to resort to bitchy outbursts. If you both master the above formula and put it into practice your relationship will soar.
Believe me, I've helped so many other couples like you, with divorce pens in hand, restore the love they thought was long lost. You can rekindle the connection with her. The key to doing so is to properly handle your negative feelings and to communicate them in a way that brings you closer together not farther apart.
I encourage you to read my book, which will go into far greater detail on how to transform negative feelings into relationship supportive communications. After you've put my plan into practice, let me know how you make out.
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