Ask Stavroula: On Marriage and Truth

Dear Stavroula,

I am 29 years old and recently engaged. My fiancé is Greek-American and raised with very strict principles from his family. I’m Greek – I live in Athens and we met in the village where we both come from.

Before getting to know my fiancé, I had a relationship with a man who treated me terribly. We were together for two years, from the first year I started working after college. He was about ten years older, very charming, with a lot of experience with women and unfortunately married. When he told me he was married, I had already fallen in love with him, and I stayed in the relationship which was disastrous for me. He left me when I became pregnant, and never concerned himself about what I would do with the baby. I didn’t keep the baby. I couldn’t do that to my parents, who live in the village in Greece. My choice proved costly. I had a complication and my doctor told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again.

I haven’t told my fiancé nor have I told him anything about my previous relationship that was so devastating, nor about the pregnancy. When I met him I was very closed and I didn’t trust anyone. After we bonded and I fell in love with him, I couldn’t bear to tell him. He is an angel, a gentle man, sensitive but very strict in his morals. I was afraid of losing him, He is very involved with Church and I was afraid he could not accept everything I had done.

And now, when I should be dancing with joy as my wedding approaches, I feel increasingly unhappy. I don’t know what to do anymore. I want to tell him the truth, but how? How can I hurt him like that? How can I tell him that he is getting married to a woman who may not be able to give him the family of his dreams?

A.

 

Dear A,

It’s not easy to be in the position you are in, wondering if you should talk to your fiancé. You are afraid that he will not be able to bear your truth, that you will lose him if he learns about the mistakes you made in the past.

But how easy is it to start a new life with such a huge secret hidden inside? And I don’t mean your devastating relationship, or your pregnancy. These are your personal issues and you have every right to share them or not with your man, and in a mature relationship you should have the right to share what hurts you, when and only when you feel ready.

But hiding from your fiancé the fact that you might not be able to have children is something different. This is something that concerns him directly, and has an impact on his own life. You write to me that he dreams of having his own family, having his own children with you. Is it that by concealing the truth about whether you can become pregnant, you deprive him of the right to choose what he wants for his life? How would you feel if things were the opposite? If you could have children, and he could not? If you hoped constantly for a baby and he hid the fact that he couldn’t give you one? And how would you feel if you suddenly learned the truth?

Because no matter how well you hide the truth, you can never be sure that it will not be revealed. Can you rule out the fact that together you will go to a doctor when your husband realizes that you are having a difficult time getting pregnant? What will you do if the truth is revealed then? Would you add another lie on top of the first, that you didn’t know it at all? Can a loving relationship based on lies blossom?

What I would advise you is to tell him the truth about the difficulty you may have in getting pregnant. Talk to him honestly, tell him why you hid the truth from him and ask him to forgive you. If he is a man of principles and close to the Church, I am sure he will know the importance of forgiveness. If you don’t want to talk to him about everything in your past, tell him so and ask him to respect that and let you talk to him when you feel you can.

And then let your man decide for himself if he wants to be with you, from the moment he learns you can’t have children. I know many people whose love and relationship were much stronger after they discovered the fact that they could not have children.

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