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How to Discuss an Unplanned Pregnancy With a Boyfriend

By Sheryl Faber ; Updated April 18, 2017
An unexpected pregnancy can cause stress to a relationship.

You're single and have just discovered you are pregnant. Shocked and scared, you know you must share this fact with your boyfriend, who may or may not be ready for this new and unplanned addition to your relationship. Handling such a delicate matter takes tact, love and open communication.

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Confirm the pregnancy. Make an appointment with your doctor and get the test results from his office. Home pregnancy tests are fairly accurate, but it is best to be sure before breaking the news to your boyfriend. Find out when you are due and discuss all your options with your doctor.

Practice what you are going to say. Choosing the right words at the right time can make all the difference. Eliminate any negative phrases or wording, such as "bad news" or "you're going to be mad" from your dialogue. Use pronouns such as "we" and "us" rather than "I" or "me" -- to emphasize the fact that you did not get pregnant by yourself and that the decisions pertaining to the situation will be made by both of you.

Choose the right time and location to tell him. Don't wait until he is ready to dash out the door to work or is in the middle of a major football game on television. Wait until he is calm and relaxed and tell him over a quiet dinner or picnic. If you think he is going to react poorly, it may be best not to break the news in a public location.

Remain calm even if he doesn't. There are many ways he can respond -- he may be happy, upset, excited, worried or totally overwhelmed. Be prepared for a variety of emotions to come through during your discussion. He may be surprised and make unkind and thoughtless comments, such as "Are you sure it is mine?" Be aware you have just blindsided him with this information, and remain calm and focused on the situation at hand.

Give him the facts -- how and when it happened, when you are due and what the doctor says about the pregnancy. It is his right as the father to know all the pregnancy details and times and dates of upcoming appointments. Give him the options that your doctor gave you and that are available in your particular situation. Allow him time to think things over and absorb this new and unexpected information.

Make the decision about what to do about the pregnancy as a couple. If you plan on telling your parents, decide to make the announcement to each side of the family together to show your unity and commitment. If terminating the pregnancy or giving the baby up for adoption is the only option, it should be handled with tact and discretion. Keeping the infant will involve huge responsibilities for both parents, and plans should be discussed to help prepare for this new arrival.

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