Carolyn Hax: her “paranoid” boyfriend follows his period every month

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Caroline: My boyfriend and I have been together for about six months, and he’s a great, loving, generous, fun, caring guy, but he’s so paranoid that I’m going to get pregnant it’s driving me crazy. When we got together he told me he wasn’t safe for kids and he certainly wasn’t ready now. It’s okay with me; I’m 24, six years younger than him, new to a competitive field, and I’m not even totally sure about kids yet either. I take reliable birth control and have had it since I was 18 with no problems. He also wears a condom, which is fine with me as well.

On top of that, he follows my rules, and on the day I should have him, he’ll text me until I assure him I got him. I feel like he doesn’t trust me or support me so I finally talked to him and he said he went through a pregnancy with a girlfriend when he was younger, and although the woman ended up having an abortion, it was all horrible.

I’m finishing something important at work, something that’s decisive for the next stage of my career, and as always when I’m super stressed, I got my period at the end of last month. I explained this to him, but he still insisted that I take a pregnancy test, which I did. Of course, it was negative. He still didn’t relax until I got him. He asked if the same could happen this month, and I said probably or I might not even understand, and he’s completely freaked out, but he also asks me to be patient and not to break up.

I think I might like this guy, but I also wonder if he’s worth the stress.

He didn’t ask me, but here’s my advice: Start working with a therapist on the trauma from the previous experience as soon as possible. If the anxiety doesn’t begin to subside soon, talk to your doctor about sperm banking and vasectomy.

He’s 30 years old, and unless you’ve forgotten something, he’s self-sufficient, reasonably mature, and has no significant health issues. If a reasonably mature, healthy 30-year-old man is so maniacally opposed to raising a child, even a whoops, then he must take full responsibility for 100% effective birth control, which means surgery or celibacy. .

My advice to you is to decide if you see this as a potentially lifelong relationship. Obviously it’s early, but you probably have an idea. If you think there’s something lasting here, under contraception-cray-cray, then it’s time to let her know that you won’t be living, hustling, talking/texting/testing at the service about his trauma and that you would like him to get professional help.

Approach him nicely with this, but don’t mince words.

How he reacts to this – to the line itself and to the fact that you’re drawing one – will tell you a lot about his willingness to face tough things, which in turn is the most useful predictor of whether people are able to hold out until the end of a long-term commitment, to you or someone else.

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