March 7, 2012 in Features

He’s adjusting to baby news, slowly

Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: “Mike” and I met online in December 2010. He is a 40-something, divorced, childless physician and educator. I am a 30-something project manager. I also share custody of a 6-year-old son with my ex-husband.

This fall I got pregnant. We were both in shock.

I have come to rejoice in my new reality. He is still not quite comfortable with the prospect of a child, and he said last night that he was not even ready to move in together. Not even when the baby is born. He is not saying he won’t be ready later.

Maybe I should add that my son can be a handful. But, Mike is so good with him. Very attentive, thoughtful, affectionate and sweet. He says he is not going anywhere but could picture us raising the baby in separate households. I feel that if he truly loved me he would find a way to accept this inconvenience.

How can I make a decision that I won’t regret later? I am afraid waiting will only make an eventual separation and disappointment more painful. – K.

The more you make this about you, the less you’ll understand that this is about him.

He’s attentive and thoughtful with your son, he’s honest with you, he’s planning to raise his child, he shows signs of aversion to change. Meanwhile, you’ve known each other a year, and making a baby doesn’t convey instant readiness to head a happy family together.

The combination points to a cautious man, one who barely managed to wedge you into his independent ways, facing a baby. It has temporarily flooded his system.

This would be a huge indictment if he fled, but he hasn’t. He’s staying, and trying. Of course you’d prefer rejoicing, house-hunting and declarations of love, but he’s not that guy. He can only adjust his way, and at his speed – which is to baby-step (sorry) into it and to narrate each step for you, to make sure you know where he stands.

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