A freak-out (and poll)

My husband casually mentioned that he was talking with his dad about me going off birth control.

Um, whaaaa?

So I freaked out.  He was nice and apologetic; I was dumb-founded and wordless.  I asked for five minutes of silence; he granted it.

But now I’m wondering, was my reaction unusual?

My side: decisions about very personal things like MY BODY and OUR SEX LIFE and OUR FAMILY are to be discussed between us before bringing in the parental unit.

His side: he wanted someone to talk to about it all.

Fair point.

And I do talk with all of you and my best friend, sure, but not my mom. Somehow, that seemed over the line.  On the other hand, my brother reads this blog.

So now I want to know: what are your marital boundaries on topics like birth control and procreating?

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13 thoughts on “A freak-out (and poll)

  1. I don’t see it as that big of a deal, at all. He brought it up under the context of potentially starting a family, so although the news he shared had implications about your sex life and your body, I doubt he told his dad BECAUSE of it. If anything, he’s going about mentally preparing for a child by talking with someone he knows well and trusts that has personal experience with raising a child.

    I know that a majority of the readers of your site are women, but keep in mind that guys, as a general rule, look to their fathers as a source of advice and frank talk less delicately than women do with their mothers.

  2. at least your hubby has one person to talk to! my mister talks to both his parents on speaker phone (so that I can chime in) at least once a week. They talk about -everything- which is kinda awkward sometimes. I think his dad is his best friend too.

    while we were home durring Passover each family threw us a party. I had a bridal shower and the dude’s family had an engagement party for us. At each party people we’re not super close to started asking us about procreation; do we plan on having kids, have we had any genetic testing done, what is our baby making timeline, etc. It was kinda awkward, but we’re both really open people who are willing to talk about almost anything with almost anyone. It was odd to know that other people cared though.

  3. my husband is a privacy freak– so I don’t really worry about him saying anything to anyone on his end, but I do worry about him not saying anything. For instance– with something like having kids– I think it does help to talk through complicated feelings/fears with someone on the outside of the marriage. but it’s weird because while I might be working out my feelings on such a topic with a close friend, he is only talking about it if he’s talking to me. What I’m saying is– I’d be grateful for my husband to choose one trusted confidant, even if it were his dad. i think it’s healthier.

    That said– I think when there’s a difference between what’s consider fair game for outside the relationship conversations, it needs to be discussed up front. for instance, you have this blog and I would imagine you and your husband discussed what’s ok to post about– I think the same goes for your husband and his dad– talk it through. You can’t assume that you each have the same standard of privacy. I think this definitely goes with all pregnancy-related talks too– what is going on with your body may not be “sharable” for you– but I think you need to brainstorm hypotheticals and make a commitment to run things by the other partner before sharing.

  4. I don’t think I’d be upset but I can see where you could be. It’s nice that he can talk to his dad but to me it seems like telling the immediate family (when they are usually the ones who really want a new baby) may be awkward down the road. What if your road is longer than they’d hope it to be (for whatever reason)? Maybe this is more a mom thing than a dad thing, though. I’m not sure.

    I do know that it’s easier to tell you (and your readers) that we’re getting ready to start trying. No one knows me. I’ve had a lot of friends lately who have had trouble trying to conceive. If that happens for us, I don’t want to be in a position to have to explain it to tons of people. I’d hate for potential grandparents to get their hopes up. Yesterday, I mentioned to my SIL that my fingernails have gotten really strong on these new (prenatal) vitamins. My MIL asked if I was taking some new vitamin. “Yes.” No elaboration. It just feels premature to tell her. I know, I’m rambling. 🙂

  5. I’m with you on this one. Although he meant nothing by it, I’d have a minor freak-out, my fiancee and his dad are super close so I see this happening to us but whatif it takes us forever to conceive I don’t want everyone to know. We just realized I have a semen allergy and while I’d like someone to talk to it about I don’t really want his family to know. I don’t know immediate family seems to cross the line. It crosses the line and I’m a pretty private person. Its a personal thing and I want to keep it between my future hubby and I.

    Background info that would be useful: My fiancee and I have been together since 2004 and are getting married next summer (June 2011). We’ve lived together since 2005 so I’m at the point that I think marriage is just a continuation of where we’re at. By next summer he’ll be finished with his masters and we’ll both be licensed engineers, I (we) want to TTC as soon as we get married. I’ll be 25 when we get married and the boy will be 30, I’ve had the baby bug for years and finally had to beg a timeline out of him because otherwise he’d have to deal with me obsessing until he decides he’s ready lol.

  6. I would have freaked out too.
    But! This is because we’ve talked about not telling anyone when we decide to take these steps. Some people would want support, but I want privacy to do our thing however quickly (or maybe for some reason not very quickly) it takes. The second someone else in our family knew we were ‘trying’ would mean instant pressure and talk of nothing else until it happened, which is pretty much the opposite of what I’m hoping for.
    Now, my husband has slipped up telling private information to his parents about me. We’re all very open and relaxed so I have to cut him slack in slipping up with things we haven’t really discussed keeping private.

  7. I would freak out.

    I think it’s extra tough to be a guy in this situation. The family planning decisions affect you both, but mostly and especially at first they affect the woman. I’m not comfortable discussing with my parents when we might have a child and what we’re doing in the meantime to make sure we don’t.

    Now I wonder if he talks about these things with his parents… I have also been debating our choice of bc and he asked if I’d discussed it with my mom. Um, no. I told him (and it’s true) that both our moms would say to stop the pills because they’re okay with a grandbaby whenever it comes.

  8. This is an interesting topic to me, because my hubby and I had a bit of a heated discussion this morning about him not discussing something that occurred this weekend with his dad. While not child or birth control related…knowing how close he & his dad are it wouldn’t surprise me if they discussed that as well. After the air cleared a bit, we both stepped back and realized we needed some clear boundaries of things that stayed between us, be that something he found slightly comical(and I cried over for hours) or our plans for conceiving(or in our case…not). I think the discussion of where that line is was actually one of the most difficult we’ve had thus far. Sigh….growing up is hard. 🙂

  9. I overshare ALL THE TIME and my husband gets squeamish about it. Certain things, especially sex things, he likes to keep very private. I am way too open about a lot of stuff, and to me talking about birth control is the same as talking about blood pressure meds or anxiety or allergies. My husband? Not as much. He’s okay talking about birth control and potential kids in front of family, but if I mention actually having sex or the word orgasm or anything like that he totally gets freaked out.

    And I’m the kind of girl to say the word orgasm. Or masturbate. Or vibrator. Like I said, I usually OVERSHARE. Yeah. A lot.

  10. My husband told his mom that we were trying and I could have smacked him. Now, she is constantly asking “are you pregnant yet?” I finally just told her that if I am I’m going to lie to her because I want to tell her a certain way – basically, STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!

    In other words, I would have freaked out as well. Because I did.

  11. My fiance talks to his family more in hypothetical and general terms, not usually about specifics when it comes to big things like making babies. I’m the one he talks to about everything.
    However, I talk to his brother’s fiance, my sister and my step mom about all sorts of things. For us it works.

  12. Because my husband is generally very quiet and private, this wouldn’t really bother me because I know he would only be talking about such a personal topic with someone who was really a personal confidant. And I have those too. This is one those “my experience/his experience” kind of situations where you will both have a lot of feelings and perspective-shaping going on and you both have (in my humble opinion) every right to discuss the transition with your most trusted people who help you stay sane (including each other). Generally, I treat misunderstandings like this as boundary-clarifying opportunities.

  13. Oh HECK no. No No NO. I would have fuh-reaked out.

    I was considering thinking about attending further grad school a while ago, and had chatted with the hubs about the possibility. Well, he had dinner with his parents a few weeks after that discussion and, after a couple of beers, mentioned it to them. When I found out about THAT I wanted to strangle him, because he didn’t realize what I knew I would have to live with for years:

    “WHEN are you going to X school? You’ve already applied, right? Have you heard from them? Are you going full-time? Are you going somewhere local, or moving?” And on and on. This, from them, EVERY TIME we have seen them since then. So what was a hypothetical and PRIVATE discussion between the two of us turned in to an absolute certainty in the minds of my extended in-laws – the whole clan knows about it and asks me about it.

    I mean, I get it: they care about us and they’re very supportive, etc. I love them. But now I feel all this pressure that I did not want at all – and what if I change my mind? It was just an idea. If we ever get to the point of considering kids (and oh, how my in-laws want grandbabies!) I will have a very frank discussion with him about how neither of our families (except maybe my sister, with whom I am close, especially about lady-matters) will know ANYTHING until the second trimester.

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