Determining a Way Forward: Complicated Relationship and Pregnant

Relationship Status: It's Complicated

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Unintended Pregnancy in an Unstable Relationship — 5 Tips

  • Expecting a baby in an uncertain relationship is often fraught with fear, doubts, and worry. After all, most women desire to start a family in a safe and stable environment.
  • Perhaps your relationship is tense, or you have only just started going out. Maybe this is a side fling, you are not officially together (yet), or you recently split up… and now: a positive pregnancy test. There are numerous scenarios in which the problematic relationship creates a significant challenge for women experiencing an unintended pregnancy.
  • Pregnancies sometimes unexpectedly become catalysts for relational upheaval — even when they are planned.

This page aims to meet you where you are and guide you through possible options.

⚖️ Wondering whether to have an abortion or not? — Take the Abortion Test!

Hormones Can Put an (Additional) Strain on the Relationship

It may be helpful to know that hormonal changes during early pregnancy can strain your relationship or at least add to the tension. Many women go through emotional turmoil at the beginning of a pregnancy and become more sensitive — especially towards their partners.

📍Note: Hormonal changes can cause feelings of repulsion toward one’s partner. The physical intimacy, which was previously a delight, suddenly feels uncomfortable. This leads many women to feel unsure about their relationship. Knowing these negative emotions are usually replaced with feelings of attraction within a few weeks may be helpful.

Single Motherhood – The Only Option?!

You may be concerned about the possibility of your relationship ending, causing you to become a single mom, if you decide to keep the baby. — This is a valid concern if your relationship is bumpy right now or if his response to the pregnancy was not what you had hoped.

Remember: Relationships constantly undergo ups and downs. It is easy to love the other person and feel loved during good times. The down phases can be dominated by fighting for the relationship. These can be very stressful, especially when they last for a prolonged time...

Does your relationship perhaps still stand a chance? This unexpected situation may have revealed the specific causes of your relational struggles — opening up the opportunity to tackle them.

If you fear that you may become a single mom, bear in mind that there are many ways to co-parent and share financial responsibilities so that you don't have to raise this child on your own.

Some women find it helpful to think through specific parenting scenarios ahead of time to become more sure about their options and desires. Check out the following pages for specifics:

Try This: Mentally Separate Your Pregnancy and the Relationship

Beziehungsstatus kompliziert

You may find it helpful to mentally separate the relationship and the pregnancy to allow your decision to ripen.

Doing this is probably hard and may even seem inconceivable, since these two things are closely intertwined. Still, there are several reasons for making a decision about the pregnancy before considering the possible implications on your relationship.

  • Easing the Pressure:
    Concentrating on one thing may lessen the pressure, because you can focus on one thing at a time, rather than trying to unravel the entire tangle of life decisions at once.
  • Make the Best Use of Your Time:
    The decision on how to proceed with your pregnancy is primary, because you are given legal time limits. Use the time you are given wisely so that you can make a decision you feel at peace about.
  • Give Him Space:
    Many men are initially overwhelmed by the news of the pregnancy. Expecting him to make a decision about the relationship at that point will most likely not end well. Give him space to process the whole situation before making any requests.
  • Create a Basis for the Relationship:
    Before you can have a sustainable relationship — with the child's father or a new partner — you need to know who you are and what you want. Therefore, it is essential for you to make a decision regarding the pregnancy that you can feel good about. Only then does it make sense to consider the relationship.

Note: A decision to keep the baby does not automatically imply that you must move forward with the relationship. You have the freedom to decide what you want to do about the relationship — moving toward each other or seeking distance (for now).

👤 What is your pregnancy personality? Take the test!

Surprise Pregnancy in a Difficult Relationship — 5 Tips

1. Take Time to Yourself! 🕰

Give yourself the time you need to sort through all your questions, thoughts, and emotions. You don't have to make this immense decision on the spot. Instead, take your time and choose to do something calming and rejuvenating. In retrospect, many women recognize that doing so was a helpful step in making a good decision.

2. Dare to Think Outside the Box! 🤔

Experiencing a pregnancy in an unstable relationship makes you feel like you have lost your footing — either because you already have a clear picture of what the perfect family is supposed to look like (consciously or subconsciously) or because it is just how we are made.

Let’s do a mental exercise: Could you imagine life with a child? What could your path look like — not the perfect storybook life — but yours? How could your parents or family provide support? Consider sharing an apartment with one or several other single mothers. Would the child's father want to be involved, even if you are no longer together? There are so many more possibilities...

… Allow yourself to think of them — there is no risk in following a thought.

3. Do Something Rejuvenating! 🛋

Some situations can completely overpower us. They make us ask, “Why me?” We wonder how we will ever manage and how we can possibly go on.

What are some things that have helped you get through hard times in the past? What was your source of strength? Draw on these now! Concentrate on the things that nurture and strengthen you.

4. Stay True to Your Convictions! 👩

"Remain true to yourself!” could be a helpful motto for this situation. If you are at peace with yourself, you will have the strength to walk your chosen path.

Your innermost longings, coupled with your values and convictions, serve as a good compass in this situation. Your heart’s cry may not always lead you down the easiest path, but it will set your life trajectory in the direction that aligns with who you are.

5. Who Is There For You? 👥

Can you entrust yourself to your parents, relatives, a friend, or a co-worker? The support of someone who knows you well and recognizes your strengths is priceless!

You may not want any interaction while allowing your decision to mature. Even then, you don't have to stay alone in this situation! Take advantage of any support you find helpful. You are worth it because your life matters.

We Are Here for You!

You are not alone! We would love to be part of your journey and have created unbiased resources that allow you to discern the path that is right for you:

  • Abortion or Keep the Baby?

    Decision Coaching: 7 Sessions via Email

Our Top Picks for You:

Authors & Sources


Maria Nagele,
Social Worker

Kerstin Dörbecker

Reviewed by:

Team of Psychologists & Social Pedagogical Team


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