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My husband implied that our conflicts would end if I got pregnant.

My life companion, a man of 39, and I, a woman of 33, have spent quite a few years together, navigating the storms of marriage. More often than not, we have found ourselves in rough waters rather than calm seas. I am the one who stays at home, looking after our patchwork family of three, his two children and my one. So far, the fruit of our union is yet to be seen.

From the early days of our relationship, we dreamed of having a child together. We started trying a year after our wedding day, but now, after several years, our hopes are still unfulfilled. We have pursued every avenue short of in-vitro fertilization. The struggle has weighed heavily on both of us. He has voiced his fear that he might come to resent me if we’re unable to have a child together, as if the responsibility for our situation rests solely on my shoulders. His words were a red light to me and made me rethink our decision to have a child together. I try to be empathetic and chalk his comment up to frustration, but it continues to sting.

Over the past week, he has been uncharacteristically harsh, dismissive, and passively aggressive, leading to several heated arguments that have left me feeling unresolved. His words have been hurtful, lingering in my mind, making me upset even when I think about them. We attempted to resolve our issues last night, but I could sense that his heart wasn’t in it. I can hide my feelings better than he can, but it’s clear we’re both struggling. During a phone call after he left for work, we attempted a normal conversation, but suddenly, he declared,

“All of this would stop, all the nonsense would end, if you just got pregnant.”

His words felt like a punch to the gut, so much so that I ended the call immediately. The way I interpret it, he seems to be treating me poorly, uttering cruel things, and pushing me to tears because I’m not pregnant yet. It feels like he’s punishing me.

I’m no longer contemplating having a child; instead, I’m on the hunt for employment, wondering how to juggle work, classes, and life single-handedly. I haven’t spoken to him since, and I don’t feel inclined to discuss anything with him at this moment. Even if I did, it probably wouldn’t make much difference. He’s the kind of person who always needs to be right, always justifying his actions.

A small part of me wonders if I’m overreacting, which is part of why I’m sharing this. The majority of me, though, feels on edge, sick to my stomach, stressed, and thinking I need to stop relying on him. I feel like I should brace myself to be a single parent once again, as that’s the direction things seem to be heading.

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