I can’t stop making my girlfriend take pregnancy tests

When Aaron’s girlfriend’s period was late, he thought a simple pregnancy test would help put his fears at bay. But soon he found himself in an obsessive spiral of panic and anxiety.

True Stories

boy and girl

"It's become a ritual to make me feel better."

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’d not had unprotected sex in months. I’d made her take countless pregnancy tests – all of them negative. But I was still convinced she was pregnant.

How it began

We’d had unprotected sex once. 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’s period was late and the real worry set in. As each day went past, the seed of fear in me grew. 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?” But I knew the only way to relieve my anxiety was to get my girlfriend to take a test.

Taking pregnancy tests

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, 11 days after it was late, then 18 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 were doing, so I asked my girlfriend to do a blood test, too. 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. However, afterwards I thoroughly checked it for splits or holes; I even filled it with water. I frantically started Googling condoms “How effective are condoms?” “How are they made?” “How do they fail?” I was like a madman, possessed. To my horror, I realised I hadn’t been putting them on properly, as no one had ever told me to pinch the top before pulling it down. They’re only 99% effective if you use them correctly. 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 would think this would satisfy me, but it didn’t. I thought maybe her bleeding was ‘implantation of pregnancy bleeding’ and began madly researching again. I asked her to do another pregnancy test.

Descending into 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 put my mind at rest, but I was too scared to have sex with her. She came off the pill halfway through the pack, so I started researching how long it would take for her period to come back. Even after she had a third period, I asked her to take another test.

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, but I couldn’t relax. I kept telling my girlfriend “this is the last test”, but it never is. What’s the cut off point? I don’t know. Doing the test had become a ritual, and 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 put up with it if it was the other way round. I feel like the relationship is made out of glass. We’re still together, but I’m worried it’s more out of habit than choice. She’s done so much for me, how would I end it?

I’ve identified I need to talk about my anxiety and I’ve started to ring MIND. They’ve been amazing, and I’ve started to get counselling. I know there’s no need to look on the internet like a mad psycho for information. And the one thing I’ve learned so far is that Google magnifies each and every problem rather than helping. I know the key to disarming my anxiety is not to respond to my urges, and I hope I get there one day.

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
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Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Photo posed by model and from Shutterstock