I'm 18 and after a few drinks with my mates, I ended up in bed with a girl whose name I didn't know. We were both pretty drunk. We exchanged names and numbers in the morning, but never got in touch. Now she's rung to say she's pregnant. I don't remember much about the night, but do distinctly remember her saying she was on the Pill. I feel my life's ruined because of one night. I haven't told my parents, as I'm sure they'd be furious. I suggested I pay for an abortion – I'd find the money somehow – and she put the phone down on me. What can I do? Yours sincerely, Jack

Virginia says... For me, this story doesn't have the ring of truth. No, it's not your story I'm talking about, Jack. It's hers. I have a feeling that you've been so overwhelmed with guilt and horror at the idea that you've got this girl pregnant that you've, quite understandably, forgotten to wonder if her claim is really true or not.

Girls who are pregnant don't just ring up and then, when an abortion's suggested, put the phone down and that's that. She might have screamed at you, or suggested you meet to talk about it, but the fact that she's simply withdrawn makes me feel that this was some kind of ghastly hoax. I can imagine her ringing you for a laugh, with a friend. And she put the phone down because they were both giggling so much. Or it could be that she was very hurt that you didn't ring her after your one-night stand, and wanted to get her own back and give you a big fright – which she has. Or it could be that she's not pregnant but wants money out of you... but if that was the case, why put the phone down?

Before you start scaring your parents to death with the prospect on an unwanted child, I'd wait a bit. It's agonising, I know, but it's possible you'll never hear from her again. If she does get in touch, suggest that you meet. I suspect she'll backtrack right away, saying she thought she was pregnant but now finds she isn't. But if she still claims she is pregnant, then I'd say that as the possible father (and don't admit anything about it being yours for certain – remember you don't yet know if it exists at all) you want to come with her to see the doctor. Call her bluff.

Again, I suspect that she won't let you come, but if she does, and she clearly is pregnant, then you must suggest an abortion again, in front of the doctor, and then, if this seems hopeless, talk about the various ways of establishing paternity when the baby's born. In other words, first make absolutely certain there's a baby at all and then find out how you can establish – if she goes ahead with the birth – its paternity.

At some point during all this – preferably during the next couple of months – if it gets this far, then you'll have to tell your parents, but in the meantime let this be a dire warning to you. Never have sex with anyone when so drunk you can barely remember what happened the day after. And never, however drunk you are, have sex without using a condom.


Readers say...

Learn from this

I'm afraid you will have to face the consequences of your actions. You need to ring her back and arrange to meet her. If she decides to have a termination, then that is her decision and not something you should be forcing her to do. If she decides to go ahead with the pregnancy, then you will have to decide whether you want to be a part of the child's life or not. If you walk away now, you might regret this decision in the future.

Whatever you decide, I hope you learn from this, and think carefully before you have unprotected sex.

Shereen By email


Face up to it

Take your courage in both hands and tell your parents. They will be upset, even angry, but when that settles they will help you. Assuming she really is pregnant and you are the father, you have responsibilities to discharge and simply offering to pay for an abortion is not enough – she may want to continue her pregnancy and it is no surprise she put the phone down on you.

Peter Glover By email


Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, I am convinced that my 65-year-old husband has something wrong with him. He used to be so intelligent but now he's forgetful and muddled. He write paranoid letters to neighbours, and is obsessed by one, who he's convinced is spying on him. He also spends hours on the computer on the David Icke website. He agrees he's got more peculiar but blames it on our neighbours' pesticides. He used to write and paint, but now just gardens all day. Our friends say there's nothing wrong and it's me who's paranoid. What can I do? Yours sincerely, Emma

What would you advise Emma to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas @independent.co.uk, or go to independent.co.uk/dilemmas. Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers (finewinesellers.co.uk)