Discovering Your Partner Is Pro-Life
There are some things in life that you and your partner just may not agree on. Some may even be political matters, which can be uncomfortable. But the most uncomfortable thing to disagree on is a woman’s right to choose what to do in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. This becomes a particularly delicate subject when it’s your own partner—the one you have sex with—who disagrees with you.
If you’re pro-choice and you meet someone you don’t know too well who is pro-life, you probably know just what you’d say to him. You have your points prepared. You are ready to debate it, all day long. But what happens when you learn, several years into a relationship with someone you love very much that he’s pro-life? First off, it’s one of those humbling moments when you realize, “Oh, I guess I can actually like people with different political views from mine—I literally love one.” That’s what happened to me.
I felt a bit silly when I learned this about my partner because, for so long, I felt certain I could never possibly get along with someone who held those views. It’s as if I’d been tricked. All along, I’d been living with and loving a pro-life individual, right under my roof, and…he’s a wonderful person. Whoops. There go my close-minded views on those with opposing political views from mine. Once the dust settled on that realization, a far more daunting one came up: oh so if we got accidentally pregnant, we’d have a problem on our hands. I take every precaution for that not to happen, but it was always in the back of my mind that if something went wrong, I could have an abortion. Now I know, that may not be so simple. Here’s what it’s like discovering your partner is pro life.
You try not to judge
You have to fight every instinct you have to judge your partner. You’ve had such firmly held views on people who are pro-life. You’ve always imagined them to be…well, a lot of not-nice things. Now your brain is telling you that your partner who you’ve loved for years is those not-nice things. Your brain sort of short circuits because it cannot make sense of the fact that this wonderful person is part of this group that you’ve always been certain is not wonderful.
But it’s hard
For a few days, you feel you’re living with the enemy. It’s always been easy to decide that pro-life individuals are misogynistic and don’t care about women’s rights or feelings. You’ve never had trouble holding that idea in your mind because you weren’t close to any pro-lifers. You got to judge them from a distance…so you thought.
You get better at taking the pill
First thing’s first now that you’ve come to this realization: you need to be militant about taking your pill on time (if that’s your form of birth control). You believe you’ve always been good about it, taking it within the same hour or two every day. But now you’re setting an alarm and taking it at the same minute every day. It’s not like you were lax about it before, and you didn’t consciously see abortion as a backup plan. But this new information just changes things.
Like, you check your pill packet right then
In fact, the second you learn this about your partner, you run over to your pill packet to make sure you did in fact take your pill today. He asks, “What are you doing?” You say, “Nothing!” You can’t let him know you had any doubt over taking your pill, because he’s sort of, um, lectured you about that before (men don’t understand what it’s like to take the pill).
You try to have a discussion about it
You take a deep breath, and decide that maybe you can talk to your partner about this. Maybe you can try to understand where he’s coming from. Maybe you can even change his mind. So you start, delicately, approaching the subject. Maybe you have a rare opportunity on your hands. You’ve tried so many times to change the mind of pro-lifers, and now, one who generally respects you and admires you is right here—all ears.
You realize that may not be a great idea
But it turns out this isn’t the miracle case where you change someone’s mind. In fact, he’d like to change your mind. You back off, because you don’t want to fight. And because you are not currently pregnant, and must pick your battles. Should you ever become pregnant on accident, you’ll have to have the battle that day. But life is too short to have fights you don’t have to have.
You can face some judgment from him
You may even receive some judgment from him. Well, yeah. He has his feelings on the matter and, just like you’re just now learning you have different views, he is also learning that. You see him struggling with all the things you are—his brain is grappling with the fact that somebody he loves is part of a group he’s decidedly not liked for a long time.
You consider buying spermicide
Suddenly, his sperm seems like a real enemy. If that stuff gets in, it wants to stay in. That’s basically what he’s said. You consider purchasing spermicide, and using that in addition to taking the pill. Maybe you guys should go back on condoms, too. Yup: you’re thinking pill, plus condoms, plus spermicide. And, in a way, you feel that this is his punishment for having such conservative views.
Or getting him a vasectomy
Maybe he should get a vasectomy, you think. Hey, if he’s the one whose views would put you two in a very difficult situation if you became accidentally pregnant, then he should be taking every precaution to avoid it, too! In a moment of frustration and perhaps rage, you pick up the phone and tell your partner that you’re scheduling him a vasectomy.
You feel you have a secret
You suddenly feel like you’re filled with secrets that you’re keeping from your partner. Maybe you, yourself, had an abortion when you were younger. Or your good friend did. You’ve marched in many marches, in favor of Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. You were never intentionally keeping these facts from your partner—you just never got around to telling him. But now they feel like secrets.
And you’re hiding his secret
You feel that you have a secret of his. Next time you see your friends—your feminist, pro-choice friends—you feel this new information burning inside of you. You don’t want them to know this about your partner, because you fear they’ll stop liking him. It’s also not really their business, and the subject of abortion doesn’t even come up. But you feel you’re harboring a secret for your partner.
You prepare a hypothetical argument
You find yourself preparing your argument, in case you did accidentally get pregnant. Even though you told yourself not to worry about this right now because you aren’t pregnant, you can’t help it. It’s just where your brain goes. You start getting your whole argument together, passionately thinking of what you’d say to your partner if this really did come up.
You feel weird around sex next time
The next time you two are going to have sex, you feel…weird. You have a moment of hesitation, like you’re sharing your body with a man who doesn’t support your own choices around your body. You also just feel nervous, knowing that if anything went wrong, it would not be as simple as both of you understanding what needed to be done. It would be a fight.
You mentally prepare for motherhood
You actually start mentally preparing yourself for both ways things could go, if you became pregnant. While you are, on the one hand, preparing your passionate speech about this being your body and your choice, you are also starting to visualize yourself as a mother. You almost feel like, learning this information about your partner means that you will one day be a mother when you don’t feel ready to be one.
You settle, take the control you can, and release the rest
Like with many tough situations, your thoughts settle. You realize that you are taking all the control you can, by being responsible about your birth control. Then you realize there are things you cannot entirely control, like someone else’s views and opinions. Maybe one day, you will have to try to change those. But not today, thank goodness.