If you’ve ever navigated an unexpected pregnancy with a boyfriend (or find yourself in this situation now), you likely understand how much stress this can place on a relationship. A pregnant person and her partner are sure to have their own complex feelings and desires concerning their circumstances. That’s natural! Perhaps your boyfriend feels strongly about which pregnancy outcome (abortion, adoption, or parenting) would be your best option. You may be on the same page. But what if you’re not? Maybe you’ve pushed back a little, or simply been hesitant to follow the path he wants. Have you noticed that your partner sometimes says things that leave you feeling troubled or even ashamed when your interests don’t align completely with his? If so, now would be a good time to examine the communication patterns within your relationship.
Unexpected pregnancy news can be difficult to take, and few (if any) boyfriends respond in a way that’s flawlessly loving and unselfish. But some behaviors are just not okay. Whether your partner supports your leanings for this pregnancy or not, he should support you. That means valuing your perspective, considering your feelings, making your well-being a top priority, and accepting your autonomy. Comments like the one mentioned in the title of this blog seem to tell a different story.
Our expert staff at Avenue Women’s Center understands how challenging it can be to navigate an unexpected pregnancy with a boyfriend. It’s our goal to empower you with reliable information about your pregnancy, helpful resources, and caring support, so you feel equipped to find your own best outcome. If you need help beginning that process while managing tension in your relationship, we’re here for you!
Learn more about Avenue Women’s Center and the free, confidential early pregnancy services we offer!
Does your partner say things like, “If you loved me, you’d get an abortion”? If so, this is an attempt to manipulate you and your pregnancy decision. An article from Verywell Mind defines manipulation as, “a tactic someone uses in order to gain control over another person, usually in an attempt to get what they want, and often at the other person’s expense.” The particular comment we’re addressing in this blog is a perfect example of guilt-tripping or shaming. Maybe your partner sometimes implies that a certain action (or inaction) on your part would dictate whether or not you love him. It’s a real possibility that he’s trying to take advantage of you emotionally, especially if there’s no obvious connection between your alleged feelings (your love for him or lack thereof) and what he wants (an abortion). It’s a form of bullying- no matter his end goal. A comment like, “If you loved me, you’d choose to parent” would be equally manipulative.
Signs to Look Out For
Manipulative partners may use a variety of techniques to gain power over your pregnancy choice and other decisions you’re facing. Verwell Mind highlights several of these strategies:
- Gaslighting. When someone invalidates your experience or causes you to question your reality. A gaslighting partner may use deception, blame you, or minimize your emotions.
- Being passive-aggressive. This is the opposite of communicating clearly and directly. A passive-aggressive partner may avoid particular subjects, use sarcasm, or make theatrical sounds and gestures to draw notice instead of saying how he really feels.
- Deceiving and blaming. When someone lies or makes accusations to sidestep taking responsibility.
- Threats and strong-arming. Intimidating someone by threatening an undesirable outcome (like a breakup, for example) to control the situation or get something.
- Pulling back. Examples of this may include giving someone “the silent treatment” or withholding things like information or affection to reach a particular outcome.
- Isolating. A partner who uses this method may cut off your communication with supportive people in your life.
A manipulative person’s behaviors and intentions are usually implied, not explicit, making them often difficult to identify. He or she may be skilled at using another person’s vulnerabilities to achieve a desired result, disregarding how the other person may be affected. If you think your partner may be manipulative, consider how you feel after interacting with him. Does he say things that cause you to doubt yourself? To feel drained or uneasy? If so, look for signs of manipulative behavior (like the ones mentioned above) and consider taking firm steps to address this.
Whether or not your loved ones are in your corner right now, our compassionate team at Avenue is here to partner with you on your pregnancy journey. We provide first-step pregnancy services like lab-quality pregnancy tests, limited medical ultrasounds, and options consultations at no cost! And we offer a safe, confidential space to process your circumstances and figure out your next steps.
In When Your Boyfriend Says, “If You Loved Me, You’d Get an Abortion” Part 2, we’ll further explore how all this relates to an unexpected pregnancy and consider how to deal with manipulative behavior.
Schedule an appointment at Avenue Women’s Center today! We provide virtual consultations and in-person appointments at our six locations in Chicagoland, Illinois.
Verywell Mind. (2022, October). 6 Signs of Manipulation in Relationships. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/manipulation-in-marriage-2302245#toc-why-manipulators-act-the-way-they-do
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.