The ex, the baby and me
My boyfriend and I have dated for three years. It’s been intense, rocky at times, but we really love each other. We broke up halfway through our relationship. During that time, he got another girl pregnant. She had the baby but did not want my boyfriend to be a part of their lives. She got married, and it lasted three months. Now, she is calling my boyfriend and insisting that he participate in his daughter’s life. I am afraid that they will get back together and that I will lose my boyfriend. He has only been allowed to see his daughter three times, but he really loves her. He seems afraid of his ex-girlfriend. I don’t know if it’s because he still has feelings for her or because she is so controlling and volatile. What should I do?
Encourage your boyfriend to have a paternity test so he knows whether he is truly the father of this baby. If he is, you must support him in securing legal custody and being an active part of his daughter’s life. That’s his responsibility. You want to be in relationship with a man who is accountable, right?
Your fears of being left behind are understandable. However, you are an adult, so you are capable of confronting those concerns and releasing them. Remind yourself that if your relationship ends, it is completed. Clinging to a desire for a different ending guarantees your suffering. Who needs that drama?
The dark side of your situation is that if she is his daughter and you become controlling and volatile about their relationship, he will resent you. You’ll lose him emotionally, which means that your relationship with him will be over. If you love your boyfriend, you will not want his daughter to grow up feeling that she has been left behind or that she must compete with you for his affection. Remember, she is not a threat to you; she is an asset to his life. And yours.
I went to a party at the home of my boyfriend’s boss. Two of my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends were there (one works at the company, and the other is a sales rep). They were both totally hot. When we first began dating, my boyfriend and I came clean about our past relationships. He explained why things didn’t work out, but he never told me that his exes were gorgeous. Now I’m feeling totally insecure.
In The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology, Solomon Schimmel writes, “From childhood … our value as individuals is measured by how much dumber or smarter, uglier or more beautiful, weaker or stronger, poorer or richer we are than our peers. In our more rational moments we may reject these criteria of worth as unfair and irrational. However, they have been so deeply engrained in us by family and society that we automatically react with painful envy when we believe that others surpass us in these attributes.”
Here’s the antidote: Allow those women to be their beautiful selves without comparing yourself to them. Instead, ponder whether you are as beautiful on the inside as you want to be. As Schimmel writes, “In contrast to secular values, Judaism and Christianity teach that our worth is not measured by things that are external to us, but only by our moral and spiritual virtues. We should compare ourselves with others only on these, and if we find ourselves wanting, rather than envy the other, we should work on improving ourselves.” So, when envy arises in you, it’s a signal that you’re due for a session of spiritual self-reflection. Try Byron Katie’s process “The Work” at www.thework.com for freedom from insecurity. In the meantime, remember: Your boyfriend chooses to be with you.