• Fri, May 17 2013

How Would You Feel If Your Ex Told Everyone About Your Abortion?

Jimmy Connors was wrong.

Jimmy Connors was wrong.

In a world of over-sharing, it’s hard to discern what should be private and what’s up for the masses to consume (then judge, of course.) Some argue that if they’re privy to a situation, then they “own” part of that story, and therefore it is theirs for the sharing. As Anne Lamott said, ”You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Some would fiercely disagree with this sentiment.

When the oh-so controversial Hugo Schwyzer wrote about the time he had to dig a tampon out of his ex-wife’s vagina, he was highly criticized for it. Who was he to write such a story of awkward intimacy? Although he had changed his ex’s name, anyone who knows him could probably do the math and figure out exactly which ex about whom he was talking. He may have slightly disguised her identity, but the truth is that anyone, in the world of Google, could have discovered who she is; and honestly, who wants such a moment in their history as part of public knowledge?

In a similar, but yet different vein, we have tennis pro Jimmy Connors revealing in his biography, The Outsider, that his ex-fiancé, fellow tennis pro (actually, she’s more of a tennis great – they both are), Chris Evert had an abortion when the two were together 35 years ago. Or rather, for the sake of argument, he “strongly hints” at this possibility; but then adds that Evert took matters into her own hands and didn’t allow him to have a say, although he was willing to “accept responsibility for what was to come.” What follows, as the Atlantic points out, he “bitterly” writes to Evert in his biography, ”Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have a say in the matter, I guess I am just here to help.” Oh, cry me a river, you backstabbing prick. Yes, this was my initial thought, and continues to be so.

Evert released the following statement in response to Connors obvious betrayal:

In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful. I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public, without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment.

And because Connors is obviously Mr. Sensitive, he’s still making the rounds, promoting his book and basking in the glory that this particular confession has sparked. As my mom literally just snapped, “He’s just hoping for another 15 minutes before everyone officially forgets who he is.” Mamma Chatel is a wise woman, and it appears to be the truth.

As someone who has written about her relationships online for all to see, and also covered my own abortion, I can tell you that when it comes to the personal lives of those I’ve known, there is a line that must never be crossed. While Lamott does make a valid point with her quote, there’s still a level of respect that must be upheld. Yes, there is something quite satisfying in perhaps dragging someones name through the mud, especially if they broke your heart, but then what? Satisfaction only lasts so long, and then you’re known as the douchebag who told the whole Internet your ex had a small dick and was the worst lay of your life. Who wants that on their permanent record?

However, in this case, we’re not looking at revenge. Instead, we’re looking at a man who was once in love with a woman, she had an abortion, and he decided that he had the right to divulge this information in his biography. He may have “bitterly,” written about the topic, and maybe even, at the time, was devastated by Evert’s choice, but what’s very clear is that it was her choice, and he is absolutely wrong to share this information for the sake of book sales or any reason at all. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened. There’s a huge difference between someone writing about how some guy they dated was a huge jerk, and Connors telling the world about Evert’s abortion.

We may live in a world where abortion is becoming a less taboo subject, but the fact remains that, for some women, it’s still a source of shame and regret. I may not regret my abortion, and I may not feel an ounce of shame in it, nor do I think any woman should, but that doesn’t change the reality of how some women struggle with the choice they made every day of their lives.

We don’t know how deeply Evert may or may not be affected by her abortion, nor is it our business to know. Just like it wasn’t Connors’ business to tell anyone, especially in a biography that thousands are likely to read, the private decision of a woman he once loved.

Photo: AP

Share This Post:
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699618735 Cara Crowes

    I wouldn’t blame Chris.. With an goony ex like that, I’D consider abortion as well!

  • Jil

    How sad. It doesn’t matter whether the abortion is a shame to Christ or not. What matters is that he divulged someone else’s very private matter. This is assuming the baby was his, he could have mentioned that an ex had an abortion and how painful it was for him (if true), but he should have never said who it was. Those few words say more about him as a person that the whole book. Connors-Because it was part of your life it doesn’t mean you own the story.

  • Ash

    This is his story too. While it is, ultimately, a woman’s decision whether or not to proceed with a pregnancy, the emotional impact on the father of the child also needs to be considered. If a woman suffers a miscarriage, would you only offer your condolences to her? Or would you also comfort the father of the foetus? Why is an abortion any different? If this man wanted to keep the child, and that opportunity was taken away from him, he has every right to feel pain, and every right to share his story.

    • kai

      But its neither his body nor his burden to carry a child that he may or may not want. Its her’s. Yes, it does impact the father of the child, but not to the extent that it impacts the mother. He was willing to ‘accept responsibility’ but he was not under pressure to make decisions that would impact his life and health from that point forward. She was well within her rights to have an abortion, regardless of his feelings, if she was not ready to have a child. His advertising of HER health history in this way is incredibly invasive and terrible. There are a dozen ways he could have included this part of his life without ‘outing’ Evert however covertly.

      tl;dr – Not your body, not your decision, not your story.

  • RenieFan

    whats funny is that chrissie, as published several times of the years, was bold about comparing the privates of her (many) exes. Sorry don’t know source, and this is more of a funny aside. Supposedly she said “jimmy is like a straw, vitas like a coke bottle”. Vitas was Vitas Gerulaitis is another less famous player (who died tragically at age 40). Even so , they always appeared extremely friendly over the years. During public appearances, pro-ams, ceremonies, they always appeared more than flirty. His pics are all over her facebook, one with him feeling up her boob back in the seventies (very cute pic).. adn that was just posted about six weeks ago….

  • stevesharkman

    the ultimate betrayal is having your baby murdered.
    all abortions should be public knowledge. after all, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
    all this is gonna do is give that skank evert more creditability in the minds of the feminatizies.