I can’t stop making my girlfriend take pregnancy tests

Having a pregnancy scare at a young age can be overwhelming. If it happens to you, it makes sense to have a conversation with your partner about pregnancy tests. The problem only comes when the idea of unplanned pregnancy starts to take over your relationship. This is Aaron’s story.

A young couple are sitting on a sofa. They are thinking about taking a pregnancy test. This is a full-body image.

My girlfriend showed me the results of the pregnancy test. Again. It was negative. Again. “Can you take another one?” She sighed, but agreed. She’d had her period. We hadn’t had unprotected sex in months. Still, I’d made her take countless pregnancy tests – all of them negative. No matter how many negative sticks I saw, I couldn’t stop myself thinking ‘help, my girlfriend is pregnant’.

How it began

We’d had unprotected sex once. Afterwards, I immediately realised how stupid we’d been and asked my girlfriend to get the morning after pill. We hadn’t been together long and the thought of having a baby terrified me. I was a student; I wasn’t ready to be a dad.

Then my girlfriend was late and the real panic set in. Every single day that passed without her period was more anxiety-inducing than the last. I spent hours obsessively searching Google to get reassurance. “How effective is the morning after pill?” “How does it work?” “Has it failed?” “When to take a pregnancy test” “How reliable are pregnancy tests?” “I came in my girlfriend before her period”. But I knew the only way to quell all of those fears was to get my girlfriend to take a test.

Making my girlfriend test for pregnancy repeatedly

One test wasn’t enough, though. I asked her to do one three days before her period was due, four days after it was late, then at eleven days late, and finally eighteen days. I also got her to take tests at sexual health clinics to eliminate the risk of us not doing the home kit properly. All four tests were negative, but her period still didn’t come. What was going on? I didn’t trust the urine tests the clinic was doing, so I asked my girlfriend to do a blood test as well. She agreed, but we had to wait for that result.

The night before the result, we had sex again. I learned my lesson and used a condom. Before we started I checked thoroughly for splits or holes; I even filled it with water. Then I frantically started Googling condoms “How effective are condoms?” “How are they made?” “How do they fail?” Something was happening to me; I was like a madman, possessed. To my horror, I realised I hadn’t been putting them on properly. No one had ever told me to pinch the top before pulling it down. They’re only 99% effective if you use them correctly. And that percentage goes down massively if you’re not. I couldn’t find a split, but I was still convinced I must’ve got her pregnant… if she wasn’t pregnant already.

The blood test came back negative, and my girlfriend finally got her period. You’d think this would satisfy me, but it didn’t. I thought maybe her bleeding was ‘implantation of pregnancy bleeding’ (Thanks again Google) and began madly researching ‘help, my girlfriend is pregnant’ once again. After that, to nobody’s surprise, I asked her to do another pregnancy test.

Descending into an obsession 

You guessed it, it was negative. A month later my girlfriend got her period again, on time. But I still had a feeling she might be pregnant. I asked her to do another test, and she did. Again, it was negative. She even went on the pill to help put my mind at rest, but I was always too scared to have sex with her. She came off the pill halfway through the pack, so I started looking up how long it would take for her period to come back. Even after she had a third period, I needed her to test again.

This time the nurse asked me about my anxiety, rather than about the pregnancy. She reassured me there “wasn’t a smidgen” of a chance she could be pregnant, even if I came in my girlfriend before her period. But I couldn’t relax. I kept telling my girlfriend “this is the last test”, but it never was. I started asking myself Where’s the cut off point? But honestly, I didn’t think there was one. Doing the test had become a ritual; it was the only way to make me feel better.

Pregnancy, or anxiety?

I know what you’re thinking, and I think the same. I don’t know how my girlfriend puts up with all this and still finds me attractive. I’m not sure I’d do the same if the roles were reversed. This whole situation makes me feel like the relationship is made out of glass. We’re still together, but I’m worried it’s more out of comfort than choice. She’s done so much for me, I wouldn’t even know how to end it. 

I’ve identified that I need to talk about my anxiety so I’ve started ringing MIND regularly. They’ve been amazing, and helped me to get counselling. I now know there’s no need to relentlessly look on the internet for information. The main thing I’ve learned so far is that Google just magnifies each and every problem rather than actually helping. Through counselling, I’ve realised that the key to disarming my anxiety is not to respond to my urges, and I hope I get there one day.

A message from The Mix: Check out our article ‘is anxiety affecting your relationship’ here, or reach out to the community on our discussion boards for support. Mind also offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393.

Next Steps

  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 18-Dec-2021