Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Pro-Choice, He's Not. Should We Still Hook Up?
I'm facing a dilemma. I'm a freshman in college, and I've recently started going out with a guy who's great in every respect except for one thing that I recently found out about- he's very, very pro-life. Seeing as this is college, things have escalated pretty fast sexually (which I'm happy about), and we've done pretty much everything under the sun except for PIV sex. When I asked him about abortion he said that while he doesn't object to emergency contraception, he's very strongly pro-life. When we discussed this further, he went on to say that hypothetically speaking, if we were to have sex and in the unlikely chance that I were to get pregnant (despite precautions), he would expect me to keep the child and that if I chose to get an abortion he would never speak to me again out of moral outrage. I've never had sex before, and I want my first time to be with someone I'm comfortable with, and while I am comfortable with this guy, I'm not sure if having sex with him when we have such drastically opposing views on abortion is a good idea. He's had sex before (but he's never pressured me into it), and if we were to go ahead and do it I'd be on the pill and he'd use a condom, so the chances of an unwanted pregnancy are really slim. I feel like I'm physically/emotionally mature for sex, so should I go ahead and sleep with him and hope that our precautions are airtight, or should I consider what happens if the shizz hits the fan and I get pregnant, and basically refuse to have sex with him until he changes his mind?
Because nothing says "emotionally mature and ready for sex" like using it as bait when you're having a disagreement with someone, right?
And seriously, Sparkler: "Change your mind about abortion or I won't have sex with you" is a pretty repulsive sentiment—perhaps almost as repulsive as, "You will have a baby you don't want and can't care for, or I'll never speak to you again." You and your boyfriend might be coming at this issue from opposite ends of the spectrum, but you're certainly both taking your cues out of the same icky little playbook of manipulation and disrespect. It's bad enough that he's already gone down that road; please don't follow him, okay?
And in case it's not already clear, your boyfriend's pro-life position isn't the problem. The problem is that he seems to think that unilateral decision-making and emotional blackmail has any place in a relationship, let alone in an answer to the incredibly complex "what if" of a hypothetical unwanted pregnancy. The way he's responded to you suggests little maturity, even less empathy, and an overall inability to responsibly consider an issue on which even intelligent and reasonable people disagree. Ideological conflicts aside, is this really the sort of person you want to be getting naked with? It's one thing to sleep with someone, knowing that you disagree intellectually on a certain salient issue. It's another to sleep with someone, knowing that if the shizz hits the fan, he'll opt for outrage and ultimatums instead of communication and respect.
Of course, it's your call whether or not this constitutes a dealbreaker. But since it's already bothering you, here's my suggestion: don't rush into sleeping with anyone, in this case or in general, when your intuition is telling you otherwise. Take time to think about why you don't feel entirely comfortable with this conflict. Consider carefully the character of anyone who tries to use ultimatums to take your choices away—whether that ultimatum is "Have my baby or lose me forever," or "I'll break up with you unless you have an abortion." Question the integrity and consistency of a guy who claims that abortion is morally outrageous, but gives himself a pass on having sex that could end up leading to one. And be cautious, always, about sharing your bed with people who get selfish and self-righteous when things get complicated. Because you don't have to agree on everything to have a good relationship, but you do need to agree that the tough stuff gets talked about, openly and with respect, even when you find yourselves at odds.
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