Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Caught My Boyfriend With His Cousin”

About four years ago I met my current boyfriend at college. We were just friends starting out, but then it turned into something more. Things were so good, we moved in together and started working together. Then we lost our jobs and had to stay with relatives, and we only saw each other from time to time until we moved to a new city together.

I am just going to say it: I cheated…like to the extreme!!! He found email messages and text messages to multiple people I claimed were my “cousins.” I even got pregnant by someone else. I know I hurt him, and we went through a stage where it was just him hurting me to get back at me, but we got through it. So the next year I got in some legal trouble and ended up going to jail for about a month or two, and that absolutely broke his heart. When I got out, we tried to pick up things where we left off, except one night he got mad and went out and saw his side girlfriend whom I found out he got pregnant. He apologized and we are somehow making our way through that now as he continues to hide stuff from me.

All this happened in the past two years, but in January of this year I lost my memory. I had a stroke of some sort and everything has been kind of foggy, but he has been doing a great job at taking care of me even though I didn’t know who he was. As I got to know him again, I fell in love with him, but then I walked in on him about to have sex with his first cousin! I was just in the other room still awake. It was like he didn’t even care that I might walk in, and now I cannot get the image out of my head.

He has lots of excuses for what he did and he just wants me to sweep it under the rug like nothing happened, like he said he did for me when I cheated on him. But he never walked in on me with another dude! Anyway, I feel so betrayed and angry. But he makes me feel like it’s my fault. He turns it all around on me and doesn’t help me cope at all. He isn’t sorry — he’s just sorry he got caught. I come to find out they have been doing this for years!! Even when we first started dating, even before I cheated on him. When I try to talk to him about it, he just tells me to leave, but it’s not like I have anywhere to go. My family doesn’t really want to put up with me.

My question to you is: Is he in the right? Should I just shut up and sweep it under the rug like nothing happened? Please give me any insight that you may have. — Lost Soul

Oh, sure, totally sweep it under the rug. And then write a screenplay about your experience — “extreme” cheating!, two oopsie pregnancies!, jail time!, some kind of stroke!, amnesia!, incest! — and try to sell it to Lifetime and then use the money to take a vacation with your boyfriend around the world to help give you both a fresh start and new perspective. It will be like a honeymoon!

Obviously (I hope it’s obvious, anyway), I’m not serious. And I can’t believe you are either when you suggest sweeping all this under the rug. For fuck’s sake, you have to know how toxic this relationship is and always has been. I’m sorry you feel like you have nowhere to go and your family doesn’t want to deal with you and you have some sort of head trauma or medical issue that has made you dependent on someone you can’t trust, but this set-up you have is clearly not working and it’s time to move on.

Do whatever you need to do — call in family for help, apply for government assistance or disability, maybe, I don’t know, get a job, start taking care of yourself — and say good-bye to the toxic boyfriend forever. You are no good for each other and, apparently, he’s content with his first cousin and has asked you to leave. So, leave. And close this chapter for good.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

20 comments… add one
  • Dear Wendy July 20, 2015, 9:57 am

    Comments open now!

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    • Skyblossom July 20, 2015, 9:58 am


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  • bondgirl July 20, 2015, 10:07 am

    Ummmm, wow. Is this a real letter? Definitely sounds like something you’d see in a Lifetime movie marathon…

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    • Skyblossom July 20, 2015, 10:26 am

      There are people who are this messed up. Especially when their lifestyle has caused their family to cut ties. They tend to use people but the only people who associate with them also use people. It’s an everyone for them self mentality and it leaves people trapped without options.

      LW You need to try and get a job if you don’t have one. Then save some money. At some point you will have enough to share an apartment or house with a roommate or roommates. Becoming independent may take time but it is well worth doing.

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      • bondgirl July 20, 2015, 10:30 am

        Well said skyblossom. Wouldn’t surprise me if these same people claim everything’s always happening to them, as opposed to taking ownership in causing their own suffering….

  • Unwanted_Truth July 20, 2015, 10:22 am

    No good for each other? HAH they fucking deserve each other. Can’t believe people like this exist. I really hope this is fake.

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  • girltuesday July 20, 2015, 10:26 am

    Not enough coffee in the morning for this. MOA MOA MOA.

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  • freckles July 20, 2015, 10:46 am

    LW, this is so so so so messed up and toxic. Both of you have done things that are terrible to each other. This relationship is so far gone; it isn’t worth saving. You need to do what Wendy said – get a job if you’re able, apply for government benefits (welfare, food stamps, disability – whatever you qualify for). I’m sure there are free legal services you can take advantage of to help you with that. Find some friends you can stay with if you need to. Reach out to your family.

    Think about how much time you’re wasting worrying about your relationship and your boyfriend, and how much time you’re wasting being unhappy. Starting over is hard, which is why so many people have trouble with it. It’s easier to be moderately unhappy but ultimately comfortable, than to think about hard it will be to be alone, and start a new life. But, you have to remember that starting over pays off in the long term. Hopefully, you will get your life together, realize you never needed that jerk, maybe find someone you fit better with. It’s worth it. Good luck.

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  • Suzy July 20, 2015, 11:00 am

    LW – forget everything going in your life, and get therapy. You sabotaged a relationship that you claim was important to you. You let yourself get pregnant in a bad situation. You choose chaos and drama at every opportunity.

    Get off this toxic merry-go-round. There is another way to live your life, but you have to deal with your past traumas and issues to get there.

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  • FireStar July 20, 2015, 12:34 pm

    Nothing in what you’ve written sounds good. Nothing. You cheated. He cheated. You got pregnant by someone else. He got someone else pregnant. Jail time. He is sleeping with his cousin feet from you. No remorse anywhere and his solution is to tell you to leave. It is not going to get better. So leave. Do what countless other women have done before and pick your self up and start making a life for yourself from scratch. Call your family. Maybe they want nothing to do with you because you are with him. Tell them you need help for 2 months (or whatever set time)to get on your feet. Then get on you feet. If your family can’t help and if that then means social programs then social programs. Maybe call a women’s shelter. If they can’t take you maybe they can point you in the direction of help. But whatever you do don’t stay there and do go back once you’ve left. Don’t date anyone until you have figured out why you would act the way you have and put up with the things you have put up with.

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  • Texas T July 20, 2015, 12:50 pm

    All I read was DRAMA, DRAMA, *

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  • Anonymous July 20, 2015, 12:52 pm

    All I read was, DRAMA, DRAMA, *insert pregnancy here*, DRAMA, DRAMA, *insert pregnancy here*…
    >_< you both are fools who dont need to be in the dating pool. Go get a cat or dog and take a personal development class. A little self esteem can go a long way.

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  • kriskross July 20, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Hmmm.. Just a wild guess that you’re dealing with some substance abuse issues… I say rehab, therapy, behavioral health services. You have a lot of work to do on yourself, and an advice column won’t even scratch the surface of the issues you need to overcome right now. PS. Unless your over the age of 65, a stroke is most definitely NOT normal. You have a serious health condition that is likely to end in further strokes and inability to be independent if you don’t make some major life changes soon. Get educated about your health before it’s too late!

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  • Red_Lady July 20, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Don’t be with someone who purposely hurts you just to get back at you. Seriously, WTF?

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  • Patrick Turner July 20, 2015, 3:09 pm

    I like the column on a daily basis but reading the problems of this lunatic is beyond the pale. Why do you even print crap like that?

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    • Essie July 20, 2015, 5:01 pm

      For the entertainment value. 🙂 Doesn’t it warm your heart to know that however many mistakes you make, you still won’t f up your life as badly as these people have?
      LW, neither of you know how to be in a relationship. In order to do that, there’s a minimum level of caring, compassion, and loyalty that neither of you seem to possess. You’re not committed to each other in any way. You hurt each other for the fun of it. You use sex as a weapon. For Christ’s sake, you conceive children out of revenge. Neither of you even has the basic sense to use birth control while you’re having revenge sex.
      Wendy’s quite right to say that you shouldn’t be dating each other. I’ll go farther and say you shouldn’t be dating anyone, not until you grow the hell up.

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  • Kaluu July 20, 2015, 6:49 pm

    Please dump this person. (Well I guess he’s basically dumped you). I would focus on these things:
    Being kind to people, making friendships that you value, gaining support from the govt if your health issue means you can’t work,finding an affordable place to live, making some goals for the future, being healthy (at least eat well, take walks and no drugs / addictions.)
    If you’d be homeless without him get your sh*t together behind his back while living with him. Be as nice as you can to him , since he seems like a bit of an assh0le, and there’s really no benefit to making him angry with you. Just try to move on to a better life. It is possible.

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  • Rosie July 20, 2015, 6:54 pm

    I’ve been reading Wendy’s columns for awhile, but never commented until now. This is a very sad situation (if it’s not a fake letter) that will take a lot of fixing. I work with low-income folks, and the odds of getting help with housing usually takes years. It’s not a quick process. Social service agencies are overwhelmed and underfunded, and it’s not getting better. Although I understand the reasons for recommending that those in need seek these remedies, the bare truth is that most will not recieve them, or if they do, it really won’t be available at the time they need them. It’s a very sad situation, but those are the unfortunate facts. I really wish it was different, but it’s not, and won’t be for a very long time. 🙁

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    • Skyblossom July 21, 2015, 7:20 am

      I’ve seen that too. People go on a waiting list for housing and wait until they reach the top of the list.

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  • Tanya July 21, 2015, 5:13 am

    This is better than a Lifetime movie. I hope we get to see part 2 🙂

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