A guy I’ve been seeing on and off for almost two years recently told me he had a dream that I got pregnant. When telling me this, he used the word “trapped.” Clearly, I was pissed. He doesn’t understand why using that particular word would imply that he thinks lowly or negatively of me. We’re now not talking. Is this a wrap? —Anonymous
Um, I don’t know if it’s over. You’ve described your “relationship” with this man as “on and off for almost two years.” Surely there have been plenty of times before where you two have argued, one of you said it was over, but somehow you both found yourselves back in each other’s life romantically. Is the pattern over-over? You tell me. You’ll have to make that call.
Oh, and just a word about the back-and-forth situations, from someone who spent years during her 20s in one: There’s obviously a strong attraction at play here, hence the “on.” But something really dysfunctional is also going on, too, hence the repeated “off.” Maybe it’s bad communication, maybe one of you isn’t completely available or one of you doesn’t want to commit. Maybe your wants and needs are just not compatible. Whatever it is, you will keep going back and forth for eternity until you both solve whatever the core problem is, or one or both of you decide that enough is enough and exit each other’s life. One or both of you have to make the choice, or this could go on for decades.
So about this dream: He can’t be held accountable for what he dreamed about. Maybe he has a fear of you getting pregnant? I don’t know. There are countless interpretations of dreams. But what he is accountable for are his feelings about you being pregnant, which he clearly wouldn’t be happy about. You’re exactly right. “Trapped” absolutely implies that he would not be excited about having a child with you and he’s also not thinking of building a future with you.
This seems to come as a surprise to you, and I’m unsure why. After almost two years spent with this man, you’re not in a relationship with him. And whatever situation that you two are in is rocky. So why would you think that he would want to bring a child into whatever it is that you two are doing? Do you think that would be a good idea? I don’t.
But beyond the baby, this man has just made it pretty clear that he doesn’t see a future with you. “Trapped” implies that he would rather be elsewhere and that you’ve done something to keep him where he doesn’t want to be. You’re clearly into him, since you’re hurt by what he said and would want him to be excited about the idea of being in your life forever. But that’s not where his head is. Since neither of you has been able to break the merry-go-round cycle of this relationship for the last “almost two years,” let this be the catalyst for you to say “enough is enough.”
One more thing: There’s a certain type of guy who thinks that a woman “traps” him with a child. Despite having consensual sex with a woman and despite probably not using a condom while doing so, he faults the woman solely for getting pregnant as if he weren’t there to participate in the act. The guy who would rather shift the blame onto someone else than take responsibility for his own actions isn’t the type of guy you want to date anyway. Shifting the blame doesn’t only show up when it comes to sex; it permeates the relationship. This type of guy is a horrible partner without a child. A child with him just makes matters worse.
Your feelings may be hurt, but when you’re done licking your wounds, I hope you realize how thankful you should be that he showed you what he really thinks of you. You don’t have to be attached to someone like him for life. “Almost two years” has been long enough.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “You Must Be Honest if You Don’t Want to Raise Your Boyfriend’s Kids”