April 4, 2012 in Features

What is beau’s obligation to you?

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: How much am I obligated to my boyfriend to try to find treatment for medical problems that make it impossible for me to have children?

The invasive tests and the doctor’s fees are taking a huge toll on my emotional health and my pocketbook.

My boyfriend wants me to keep trying everything and anything. I want to stop for now. What should I do? – Anonymous

Stop for now, of course.

“It’s your body” is the last word – well, phrase – on this subject.

If you two were established life partners, then I still might defend your taking a break, but the potential daddy’s hand would be stronger. I’d also see his point more if you were surrendering for good.

Instead you have a fertility issue versus a life-and-death issue, a boyfriend versus a life partner, and a desire to take a break versus quit.

Add those up, and what I get is a pressing concern about his motives. Which is more important to him, you or your uterus? Your whole letter is a cry for help; is he somehow not hearing it?

Maybe he believes you’re the one who wants this. Maybe he thinks you’ll regret it if you quit in despair while there’s still legitimate medical hope. Maybe he’s trying to be strong for you both, while already seeing you as his life partner, chipping in for the bills and making preliminary inquiries on adoption, surrogacy and foster parenting.

If you don’t know whose back he has, yours or his own, then I suggest you find out. Try framing it this way: How obligated is he to support you emotionally and follow your lead on seeking (or declining) treatment for medical problems that keep you from bearing his children?

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m.each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.


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