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I'm dating an immigrant and there are many issues with our relationship due to her immigration status. Over the last month I have slowly started to suspect that she wants to get pregnant, to keep me as her boyfriend and/or to benefit herself in her quest to become a citizen.

First, when we first began having sex I was reluctant. I'm not a virgin, but I feel like the less you do it the better are the chances that your girlfriend won't get pregnant. Also, other activities can be just as fun in my opinion. She was visibly mad about this and said she really liked intercourse. However, it's not just intercourse she likes, she wants to "orgasm with me at the same time". I think this might have been code for "I want you to ejaculate inside me even if you have a condom". Yes, I wore a condom, but I still feel better not finishing inside her.

Next, when we had an unrelated argument I said something along the lines of "I'd do anything for you". After the argument she got on me and said "you'd do anything for me? Well I want a baby". I got quiet and felt cold. She knew I was scared and after about 2-3 minutes she laughed it off as a joke. My mind was racing about the possibility it wasn't a joke.

Finally, she started eating odd foods, things that someone pregnant might eat. She joked that she could be pregnant, then joked again that she's pregnant only if she could get pregnant from my finger. I interjected and said that condoms don't work with 100% reliability and she replied that they are "pretty much" 100% reliable. She said that if she did gets pregnant with my child, she'd keep it because I'm such a good guy.

My thoughts are that if she gets pregnant, I would deal with the situation responsibly, but I really don't want a baby right now. I think she either actively wants a baby or just thinks that if it happens it happens. My question is how can I ask her if she actually wants a baby, while having the best chance of getting an honest answer?

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    Can't you just ask her if she wants to have a baby and tell her that you don't want that now? – Gabriel Diego Jan 15 at 22:34
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    @GabrielDiego the key term is in the question title: "secretly". OP suspects that the girlfriend is trying to get OP to get her pregnant for personal gain. It is kind of a "plot", not a wish. Asking directly probably won't help the OP. – Crazy Cucumber Jan 15 at 22:37
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I've been on the "baby crazy" train before, and your situation is nowhere near that. To be fair, I can't conclusively disprove anything, since any observation maybe be wrong and could just be an even better kept secret. However, I do think that you have some hangups about babies yourself, which is impacting your observations.

I'll address both you and her separately, because I think this is more a matter of two people with different outlooks, rather than you having a secretly baby crazy girlfriend who's trying to entrap you.


You

This is not an attack on you. It's an honest observation of what you've told us, because I want to highlight that any hangups from your side are going to skew your perception of what's normal, and therefore how your girlfriend's behavior is not normal.

My reasons for suspecting you may have some hangups:

  1. First, when we first began having sex I was reluctant. I'm not a virgin, but I feel like the less you do it the better are the chances that your girlfriend won't get pregnant

You don't mention any suspicious behavior on her part; but you were already considering limiting sex to avoid possible pregnancies. Without any mention of suspicious behavior on your part, I can only assume this thought originated from you, not from her.

  1. she wants to "orgasm with me at the same time". I think this might have been code for "I want you to ejaculate inside me even if you have a condom"

You're equating two very different things. While, yes, male orgasms involve ejaculation, and yes, she's presumably asking you to have an orgasm while inside her; she's not asking you to impregnate her.

Secondly, "this might have been code for" is something that sounds like you're reaching for ulterior motives. Not only are you suggesting it means something else ("code"), you're not even sure that it did ("might").
This phrasing is often used to inject spurious claims into an separate conversation ("Maybe John did some drugs as a teenager, I don't know"). I'm not accusing you of intentionally doing it, but it does seem like you're actively looking for hidden meanings.

  1. Yes, I wore a condom, but I still feel better not finishing inside her.

I'm going to approach this very carefully. Yes, no contraceptive is failsafe. Yes, you're of course allowed to be apprehensive of pregnancy when you're not ready for it.

But your assumption that protected sex will lead to pregnany is blowing it out of proportion. You are very close to essentially wanting to abstain from (penetrative) sex until you're ready to try for children.

If you are that apprehensive of pregnancies that you wish to limit sexual encounters and would rather pull out from unprotected sex or focus on "other activities" instead of penetrative sex; I do wonder why you're having sex?
After all, if you take such an apprehensive stance, wouldn't it then logically follow that you should also heed the warning that you can get pregant from having sex once?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not shaming you or telling you you're wrong. Your opinion and feelings matter. But I'm trying to get you to see that you are more-than-averagely apprehensive of pregnancies to a point of detracting from a (non-baby-oriented) sex life. And that's okay.

It would, however, be beneficial in settling this dispute between you and your girlfriend if you acknowledge your own feelings and agree that it's likely that your interpretation/approach is not guaranteed to be perfect for her.

  1. Finally, she started eating odd foods, things that someone pregnant might eat.

This again sounds like you're trying to justify a pre-existing assumption that she is or wants to be pregnant.

Most people have some sort of "crazy" food combination that they really like even though it sounds (or even tastes) horrible to others. That is nothing unusual.

On top of that, you describe her as an immigrant. If she's from a different culture, it's massively more likely that you and her have some differing culinary preferences.

  1. I interjected and said that condoms don't work with 100% reliability and she replied that they are "pretty much" 100% reliable.

You're both right. I'm not correcting either of you here. What I do find interesting, is your addition of the "finger quotes". You're suggesting (to the reader) that she said something suspicious or at least remarkably inaccurate.

You're both correct, but I think you interpreted her reply differently from what she intended to convey. I think you heard this:

"Condoms don't work with 100% reliability"
"Don't worry about the times they don't work."

But it seems much more likely that she was conveying something closer to:

"Condoms don't work with 100% reliability"
"It's not 100% safe but the margin of failure is not as big as you're thinking it is."

I agree with your girflfriends assertion that they are pretty much safe. That is to say, the margins of failure are incredibly small (but indeed not non-existant) and your apprehension of having sex when using a condom seems disproportionate to the actual risk factor.

  1. My mind was racing about the possibility it wasn't a joke.

Sure and I'll address her side (it maybe not being a joke) in a moment. However, I just want to stress that any joke could be interpreted as being a "secret truth". You could say that about literally anything.

I'm not saying your interpretation is wrong (or right). I'm just trying to stress that "it's possible she wasn't joking" is not actual proof of her secretly wanting a baby. It would only be proof if you conclusively know that she wasn't joking.


Your girlfriend

"you'd do anything for me? Well I want a baby". I got quiet and felt cold. She knew I was scared and after about 2-3 minutes she laughed it off as a joke. My mind was racing about the possibility it wasn't a joke.

2-3 minutes does seem like a long time to let a joke linger. However, as you are the one telling the story and you were feeling uncomfortable, it's not impossible that is was a much shorter time but it felt much longer to you.

Here's the part I can't judge. I can't read her intonation, or the full context of the story.

  • Maybe she did mean it as a joke, but simply let it drag out too long to a point where it wasn't funny anymore.
  • Maybe she didn't mean it as a joke and wanted to make you really consider what you'd do if she was pregnant.
  • Maybe it started as a joke, but seeing your cold response made her curious to see how you'd eventually respond to it and thus she kept it up longer than she initially intended to.
  • Maybe she actually is pregnant and wanted to gauge your response.

I can't know, and neither can you. Only she can answer that question. But if you're already at the stage of suspecting that she's lying to you or secretly trying to get you to impregnate her, you're liable to dismiss any explanation of hers as a willful lie. This may be subconscious on your part.

She joked that she could be pregnant, then joked again that she's pregnant only if she could get pregnant from my finger.

This is a joke just like the other one, but there's an interesting facet here: the joke centers itself around you mostly having non-penetrative sex ("your finger"). We again run into a list of possibilities:

  • Maybe she was just making a joke and referenced the fact that you guys often have non-penetrative sex.
  • Maybe she's (sub)consciously bringing this up because she wants to address the lack of penetrative sex. You said she said she really likes intercourse.
  • Maybe she's derisively bringing it up because it really bothers her.
  • Maybe she's ridiculing you for thinking how likely it is to get pregnant from what are considered saf sex options.

The latter options are of course very extreme cases and by no means likely! I only mentioned them because I want to showcase how widely varied your interpretation of her statement can be, even if she only intended it as a harmless joke and maybe unintentionally crossed a line about what you find funny.


As the other answers have suggested, the pregnancy jokes may be a step too far from her side. While it seems I haven't really attributed much blame to your girlfriend; I do think that she did not pick the right time/phrasing/person to make this joke with.
However, I'm not ready to conclude that her bad joke is an indication of secret plans; as opposed to simply being a bad joke.

One of the issues here is that your apprehension of pregnancy may actually be triggering her to joke about it (innocently or not; I don't want to get into the varied psychological reasons for this).
This becomes a feedback loop: Your apprehension leads to her jokes, which leads to more apprehension from you, which leads to her joking about that, and so on...

You also haven't mention much about your girlfriend other than the things that worry you. This makes it hard to see whether this is a predominant behavior of hers or whether you've (subconsciously) cherrypicked a few rare occasions where her phrasing left something open for interpretation.

Is she perhaps prone to joking all the time, or are these the only jokes she makes? Does she tend to push boundaries (comedic or otherwise) or not? Does she have a pushy nature to get you to do what she wants or not? All of these character traits can have a vast impact on how you should interpret her (alleged) joke attempts, and this information is (understandably) missing from the problem description.


Bringing it all together

I want to summarize here, both in observations and how I suggest you approach the issue with her. These are roughly ordered by importance.

  1. Any relationship where you assume malice or subterfuge from your partner is unhealthy and doomed to fail. You have the idea that you're being lied to and are (in my opinion) actively looking for justifications to enable that line of thinking; which is going to cause problems in your relationship eventually. If you cannot shake the feeling that she's conning you into a pregnancy, I urge you to really consider if you guys are right for each other if you can't learn to trust each other to have the other's best interest at heart.
  2. Have an open discussion with her about having children. Ask he if she (eventually) wants children, how many, and when she'd like to have children. Even if she says she wants children now, don't get defensive, she's merely answering your question honestly. Talk to her about your plans and goals for children. Try to find a compromise that makes you both happy. At no point should one partner force the decision on the other. If you cannot find any compromise that keeps you both happy, not even a compromise where one partner voluntarily agrees to the other partner's wishes; then I would question whether the two of you are right for each other.
  3. Acknowledge your own hangups. I don't want to use this answer to label you. I'm not judging nor shaming you with any of the observations I noted. I just hope that you can agree that you are quite sensitive to remote possibilities of pregnancy. Because when you acknowledge this, then you can have an open discussion about it with your partner so she can understand your side better and account for it. But if you're in denial about it, it becomes a taboo which precludes you and your partner having an open discussion about it.
  4. If the pregnancy jokes are too uncomfortable for you or you don't find them funny, you can always ask her to stop making those jokes. However, ask kindly, as she may have intended no harm and thus will be (justifiably) upset if you angrily ask/tell her to stop making those jokes. To her, your anger or frustration will come seemingly out of nowhere.

I'm apprehensive of adding a few phrasings here, because these are very sensitive topics and it's very important that you represent your own genuine feelings. If any suggestion I make is only 90% accurate of how you feel, that missing 10% may have long term consequences to her interpretation of your feelings.

If you want to, there is nothing wrong with taking the time to write down your thoughts and reading from the piece of paper during your open discussion. If you need this to clearly communicate your side, then that is of course allowed. The most important part is that the words are genuinely yours, regardless of how long you took to compose them.

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    While I know there's a policy of "be nice" here, I think this question is severely hampered by the lengths you are going to avoid telling the OP he's paranoid. When you sugarcoat so extremely a reasoning the meaning gets buried beneath so much tonnes of honey that it is unlikely he's going to get it. – Rekesoft Jan 16 at 15:38
  • @Rekesoft: I get what you mean but I needed to account for my own subjective interpretation as well. OP is entitled to their opinion, all they really need to do is understand that their opinion is just that and that he's not objectively more correct than his girlfriend. I avoided harsher language because it puts OP on the defensive, exactly the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve. Shaking someone who is already rattled isn't the best approach. – Flater Jan 16 at 17:36
  • @WendyG: I think Rekesoft was more focusing on the paranoia regarding OP expecting his girlfriend to try and secretly entrap him. If OP's girlfriend genuinely considers only using a condom as safe (regardless of whether that is in fact correct), she's clearly not trying to entrap him. – Flater Jan 17 at 12:30
  • Whether or not condoms are 100% safe is irrelevant to the question if OP's girlfriend is trying to entrap him. The only reason I brought it up is to reframe OP's implicit assumption that doing anything less than what's he's currently doing to prevent a pregnancy would be reckless. – Flater Jan 17 at 12:36
  • Comments are only for requesting/suggesting improvements, not for chatting. – Ælis Jan 17 at 13:33
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My question is how can I ask her if she actually wants a baby, while having the best chance of getting an honest answer?

It sounds like you and your girlfriend ought to sit down and discuss what the future of your relationship is. From what you've said, it sounds like she is interested in having a baby, and you are at least not interested right now, and you need to determine how you as a couple want to handle that.

I feel the need to point out that it's entirely possible she brings these things up in order to have a discussion about your future, and not because she absolutely wants a baby right now. It could be that she just wants to be sure that's a direction your relationship is headed in; you won't know unless you communicate with each other.

People often don't like to have these kinds of discussions because if you find out that what you want is drastically different, then it often leads to the end of the relationship; IMO, you will be happier in a relationship with similar goals and honest discussion of priorities, and both you and your partner will be happier if you don't invest years in each other when it's very unlikely that what you want will ever converge.

The way you can have this kind of conversation is simple. You say something like:

I'd like to discuss our future and what we both want out of this relationship. Can we spend a little bit of time thinking about our future and have that discussion soon?

This may immediately lead to having that discussion, but if someone has just had a bad day, has other things on their mind, etc. it can be useful to just get it in their mind and not force the discussion immediately.

Whenever you do have the discussion, listen to her and what she hopes for your relationship, and honestly tell her what you hope to get out of it and where you are in life, and then take the time to process and see if you understand each other.

Last, I'd like to note that unless there's some information you didn't post, there isn't any specific reason to believe that she wants to get pregnant just to resolve an immigration concern. It's probably best not to bring that up with her or assume it, because it would probably hurt her a lot. It may suggest to her that you think she's just using you and would also use a baby just to resolve her own immigration status. It's pretty unlikely that she wants to have a baby with you simply for those reasons, even though it is possible.

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