Q: I'm a 25-year-old male stationed overseas in the Navy for about a year. Before I left, I was in a great relationship with a girl who I could see myself settling down with. We thought it would be best to allow each other to see other people while I was gone. In the course of a year I have had small flings here and there, nothing serious, but she went out and got a serious boyfriend.
While she was with him, we thought maybe we could try a long-distance relationship and see each other every time I came home on leave, but at the same time I didn't know about the boyfriend. She told me she loved me, but then she started to drift away and told me about him. Now they have broken up and she wants to start over with us. Should I try to start over again, or am I setting myself up for heartbreak? Not to forget, she is three months along with his child. She said that he is out of her life. Should I move on from her?
A: Here's a little insight into my work habits: Once an advice question comes in, I copy it to a blank document as a work in progress and assign it a very specific title. Your question, for instance, is saved as "navy man overseas wondering if he should work it out with his GF who is pregnant by someone else he didn't know about" so as not to be confused with any other columns I've written about men who are neglecting to use logic in making major decisions.
It's kind of a toss-up as to which part of this situation has the most potential to screw up your life. On one hand, you're contemplating rekindling a relationship with a woman who thought it was perfectly fine to withhold from you that she had another boyfriend. You can't fault her for starting something up, since that was the agreement, but you were under the impression that you were the only one. It stands to reason that she is both insecure and selfish for keeping not one but two men in a holding pattern while she decides who will benefit her most. She's also a liar; you can be sure the other guy was as clueless about your existence as you were about his.
Let's not forget about the baby on the way. An instant family may appeal to you now because you still love and miss this girl, but a harsh reality awaits you at home. While the two of you work on the issue of her being untruthful, another man's child will be staring you in the face every day -- a screaming, kicking reminder that your woman betrayed you once and could do it again.
Humans are fallible creatures; a romantic dalliance can be forgivable under certain circumstances. However, she has a history with this man. Since they made a child together, chances are he'll be a fixture in her future. As long as you stay with her, he'll be a part of your life, too.
The only question now is how fast and how far you can get away from this woman. Protecting yourself from heartbreak is your own responsibility. You won't get to play the victim, because you had a great opportunity to get away from the situation. You also had knowledge of her capacity to withhold important information and potentially hurt others for her own benefit.
Maybe I'm way off, and this girl is a saint. Let's say you're destined to be together and she's the best thing that ever happened to you. If you're sure that's the case, then wait it out. What's the point in rushing back into a relationship? Come home and enjoy some time to yourself. Reconnect with your family and friends. She'll be a busy new mother, dealing with a lifestyle change that you can't even comprehend. Tell her you both need some space and see how she responds. I'm not guaranteeing she'll get back together with her baby daddy (or find some other hapless dude), but if she does, I wouldn't be surprised.