I recently discovered that my girlfriend of two years is pregnant. We are both 23 and have jobs. I was planning to go to Australia to work, but now I don’t know what to do. My girlfriend wants me to stay with her, but if I do I will lose my dream to live and work overseas. Also, her family are richer than mine and so I’m afraid that they will not accept me. What should I do?

TT, Thimphu 

Well, TT, you need to realize that you will soon become a father and that from now on your dreams are not only about you, but about three people. Basically, you have a shared future, and you need to accept that fact.

In reality, life has many twists and turns and you have to keep a flexible mind to accommodate the changes that you will encounter. Clinging to the unrealistic expectation that everything should go according to our plans is a main cause of our suffering. In this respect, you should always remember that nothing is permanent and everything changes.

In your case, you were expecting to go overseas but the situation changed and now you need to adapt your plans accordingly. Basically, you should forget about going overseas and accept that you will be a father and that your partner and baby need you.

Furthermore, it sounds as if you are only focusing on the negative aspects of the situation. Instead, try to think of the positives. Although it is demanding, being a father can be a very rewarding experience. You will make mistakes, but still you should aspire to be an inspiring father who will be a lifelong role model for your child.

This part of the reply is to your partner’s parents. As your daughter is the person who will have to spend the rest of her life with the guy, she should have the final say regarding whether she wants to marry him or not. Of course, as her parents you should advise her and be very much involved in her life, but last word on the matter should be hers.

Furthermore, it quite disturbing to find that many parents these days discriminate against their son or daughter’s choice of partner purely because they are from a humble background. Of course, money can provide certain material benefits, but being wealthy offers no guarantee that a person will be a good partner or caring parent. Personally, I feel that parents who pressurize their children to marry someone from a wealthy background should honestly ask themselves whether they do so because they genuinely believe that rich people make better partners and fathers or is it because they want to boost their own social standing. Only the parents themselves can answer this question.

As a bottom line, I believe that as parents you should consider whether your potential son-in-law has a genuine concern for the well-being of your daughter and whether he will be a committed and good father. These are the traits that you should look for, not money. In reality, being wealthy does not mean that he will treat your daughter well.

So, to return to your question, you have to face up to the reality of the situation, and you cannot just walk away from your responsibility. From now on you have a shared future and shared dreams and so you should forget about going overseas and fully accept your situation. However, don’t take your responsibility as chore and enter into parenthood with a long face, but think of the positive sides of being a father. Basically, don’t focus in what you are losing but think about on what you are gaining.