I am pregnant and I know the people I'm dating will react poorly

I’m in a poly triad with a couple and I just found out I’m pregnant. I was told I was unable to have children and I was on birth control just in case. They made it clear to me that they didn’t want to have children with me, but also that abortion and adoption wouldn’t be an option. I don’t know what to do or how to tell them, and I’m terrified of their reaction. Things have been rocky for a while now and I’m wondering if I should just break up with them before they find out. I’m so lost.

First off, let me say that is such a painful, isolating place to be, and I am so sorry that you’re finding yourself there. Second, it is absolute nonsense that “they made it clear…that abortion and adoption wouldn’t be an option.” It’s your body and your pregnancy, they don’t get to determine what your “options” are. If you want to terminate the pregnancy, you can totally do that. If you want to carry the pregnancy to term and place the child for adoption, you can totally do that. Please check in with your local Planned Parenthood to talk about your options.

When you say that you are “terrified of their reaction,” I want to try and clarify whether you feel like you would be genuinely unsafe, or whether you are dreading an emotionally painful situation. If you fear that they would become physically violent, damage your property, threaten your livelihood, or otherwise be dangerous, please consider what steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Is there someone in your life you can stay with, or ask to be present when you collect your things or share the news? Is this a situation where police involvement would be appropriate? (Sometimes, police can help with issues around theft, stalking, violence, and unlawful eviction. Other times, they can escalate a situation further.)

If the “terror” you are feeling is more emotional - a worry that they will be emotionally unsafe, and attempt to guilt or manipulate you into unhealthy choices, or attempt to cause you psychological pain - then this is less of an emergency but still worth addressing. Letting them know in writing, or bringing a trusted friend into the conversation, or having it in a neutral and public place can help. Setting up an appointment with a therapist, preferably one who helps pregnant people think through their options and relationship implications, can really help. Remember to hold on to who you are and what your truth is; anything they say, anything they accuse you of, or insult you with, is just something they are choosing to say, it’s not something you need to absorb, believe, or engage with. Some people react unpleasantly to things they don’t like; that unpleasantness is not necessarily a threat to your safety and it can’t always be avoided.

It is within your rights to leave them without telling them about the pregnancy, but that’s also a complicated choice. If you worry that they might become dangerous if they do find out, you need to take steps to protect yourself. If you plan to carry the pregnancy to term and you decide to parent the child, know that if you ever require assistance from the state, they can force contact with the biological father by attempting to collect child support, and the biological father may legally seek visitation. If you decide to place the child for adoption, the biological father must be notified of adoption plans. Carrying the pregnancy to term may force you into more contact with this man, so if he is a genuine threat to your safety, livelihood or property, you’ll want to speak with a lawyer and perhaps other professionals about how you can protect yourself. Planned Parenthood will be able to help you find these resources; if you have health insurance or work for a larger company, they often have employee resources that can connect you to legal, financial, and medical professionals.

You deserve support throughout this situation, so please reach out to friends and loved ones who can provide helpful perspectives and back you up in this. The two people you are dating don’t sound like people you should keep dating, regardless, but you’ll need to think through whether your situation is one of “these people are dangerous and abusive and my priority should be protecting myself and minimizing contact” or rather one of “these people are emotionally challenging and my priority should be finding ways to manage this situation in a mature way while respecting my needs and truth.” Check my resources here.