I met a wonderful guy on OkCupid about 2 months ago… we fell in love… but then he didn’t pull out when I asked him to…

by Ariel Kiley and Simone Kornfeld

Full Question: I met a wonderful guy on OkCupid about 2 months ago. We hit it off right away and fell madly in love! We both talked about romantic things like eloping and many practical things such as who will be in charge of the finances. I felt like I was doing everything right. Then one night after having lots of sex I asked him to pull out because we ran out of condoms. He didn't do it. He said that the well was dry so nothing came out. This concerned me because it seemed so out of character for him. But the next day I woke up angry! I began texting him about what would happen if I did get pregnant and he just did what felt good at the time and wasn't concerned about the effect his actions would have on me and my body. He apologized. But I totally overreacted and said some other things but I apologized as well afterwards. This all happened on Monday and today is Thursday. My once loving boyfriend who would always text me to say hello and how much he loves me has pulled away. I have texted him a few times but have received short, unromantic responses. I think he has decided to break up with me and just doesn't want to tell me yet. Or maybe I am overthinking all of this? How should I proceed with him, with this entire situation? I feel like I really fucked things up. Let’s first take a moment to honor your reaction. It makes all the sense in the world that you were angry! We were livid just reading this! Getting pregnant is a really big deal. And him not listening to your request to pull out is also a big deal. Of course you don’t take your boyfriend’s actions lightly because the stakes of his behavior are very high. It is fantastic that you voiced your feelings and let him know that when you set a boundary it needs to be respected. Your response was right on. You do not need to apologize. He is the one that messed up. What you said had to be said.

Just because he messed up, doesn’t mean your boyfriend is “bad” and you should not be with him. It means that you both now have an opportunity for a real grown-up conversation about how you’d like to handle your family planning. And something like this, at this point in your union, was bound to happen. You’ve crossed the two-month honeymoon phase. It’s inevitable that real and difficult stuff will get stirred up at this point. It is also inevitable that your lovey dovey rose-colored glasses get a couple scratches when the fact that you are both only human arises. It may feel sucky, but it’s simply part of any serious relationship.

However, having a problem is never the real problem. It’s how each partner responds to the problem that determines the future of the relationship. He knows he messed up and probably out of shame is backing out. That’s fine for a moment, but now it’s his responsibility to show up for the conversation and repair the rift between you two. Whether he is able to step up and make that move is yet to be seen, but it is what will determine if you can move forward with this man. You two must be able to face conflicts together, not just eat blueberry pancakes and make out all day. If he has a compulsive need to avoid, give the cold shoulder and “pull out” emotionally, then the relationship will not survive, regardless of the nature of the precipitating event.

All you can do now is continue to open-heartedly offer the chance to discuss and repair (discuss in person, not by text). If he doesn’t hear you and meet you halfway, there’s nothing you can do. You must let him go. It would be a shame, as this relationship seems promising in many ways. But without the presence of conflict resolution abilities, you will have to abort.