“I Faked a Pregnancy To Scare Off My FWB”

I’m a 36-year-old woman. Early last year, I was going through a horrible breakup. I just could not recover from the betrayal my ex caused (cheating, mostly). I was constantly thinking of ways to get revenge on him for the pain he caused, which I now know was not productive. Three months after the breakup I went online to purposely seek out men in his community to make him jealous (my ex lives over an hour away). I met “Alex” and we hit it off. Even though I was still secretly plotting revenge on my ex, I did enjoy Alex’s company. However, after a few months and the complications from a long-distance relationship, I didn’t really want to see Alex anymore (I was over my ex at that point). So I thought I could scare Alex away rather than tell him the truth, and so I lied and told him I was five months pregnant with my ex’s baby. Surprisingly, this did not scare him at all! He was shocked but wanted to see me still, even though we were mostly just friends with benefits.

Well, fast forward to present and he wants to move to my city in a few months! He thinks I have a 6-month-old baby (I claimed to have given birth last October and even sent fake pics), which of course I don’t! What should I do? I’ve been torn between telling him the truth that I was never pregnant and only trying to scare him away or telling him that I gave the baby over to his dad recently (he would never know). I’ve started to have feelings for Alex now that are stronger than just a FWB, which he mostly was since we started our “relationship” last June. What do I do? – Faked a Baby

Oh my. I mean, what if you actually told Alex that you gave your fake baby to the dad and you two proceeded with a relationship? You’d just… keep up the lie? Pretend you have a child out there you never see and have no relationship with at all? Most people might find that… odd. Alex would probably find that odd. Or, would you create a fake relationship with your fake baby? Maybe even have “phone calls with your ex” to check in on your baby and “visitation” with your fake baby every few months? I guess that could work for a while? But then, what if things get more serious with Alex — you have these strong feelings for him now, after all, and the feeling seems kind of mutual – and he wants to meet your baby? Would you borrow a baby from someone else? Ooh, I know! Maybe you could adopt a baby! It would have to be a baby who is currently six months old, of course. Or at least, looks six months old? Seems doable! I know lots of people are adopting pets right now with the pandemic and all so they have some company during quarantine. A baby is kind of like a pet. It’s great company and, in your case, would help cover your tracks in this lie you’ve gotten yourself all wound up in. Yeah, I think this could totally work out. What with the pandemic, there are probably a lot of babies who need homes right now. It shouldn’t be tooo hard to find one. And then just think of all the cute baby clothes you could buy – fun!

Ok, so, in closing: Definitely adopt a six-month-old baby, tell Alex you can’t wait to see him, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor in a totally fulfilling romantic relationship – a real FWB-turned-serious love story for the ages – AND the companionship of a little quarantine baby for yourself. Win-win. Oh, and I mean, I know you’re over your ex now and everything, but imagine when he finds out that you have a serious boyfriend AND a cute baby and you’re really happy – omg, the jealousy! Even when you’ve gotten over someone, it’s still pretty satisfying and exciting to create a little jealousy, you know what I mean?

I definitely think this is a super healthy scenario and will work out in the best way for everyone, but in case you aren’t quite ready to be a mom yet, you could probably just tell Alex the truth – that you have some very serious unresolved issues that you need to deal with — with the help of a therapist, preferably — and are not anywhere near emotionally available for a relationship with a cat, let alone an actual human adult, but you wish him the best, the end.

Good luck!

Also, P.S. I don’t really advise adopting a baby.

My ex-husband and I have been divorced now for two and a half years. The divorce was bad. There was infidelity on my part, and although he wanted to work on it, I had left him for this other man, “Hank.” To complicate this I was pregnant (baby was my husband’s). We also have a 3-year-old daughter. I moved in with Hank as he had his own house and I couldn’t really afford anywhere on my own while on maternity leave. Additionally, Hank and I fell in love, which happened before I got pregnant by my husband (the baby was not planned). We have now been together for two years and while we have had our ups and downs, I can honestly say I have never been more happy, relationship-wise. However, it’s very hard being divorced and not seeing the kids every day.

I moved an hour away from where my ex-husband lives with the promise that when our daughter starts school, I will move back to that city as it would be in the best interest of the kids for all of us to live near each other. The problem is that Hank hasn’t been willing to agree to this move. I have told him I will move without him because the kids and I need to be closer to my ex as this again is the best option for the kids. Also, my job is in this city and all my friends and family are there. Finally, he has reluctantly agreed to move. He doesn’t view this as best for the kids and he hates this city, but he would rather move with me than be without me, he states.

Now the problem is he makes comments that I am giving him no other options than to move and that he will not live directly in the city but will move to the outside of the city. As a compromise, I had agreed to live within a 20-minute drive of my ex. He also says that the timeline will not work because of his financial issues. I have no debt, but he does. He says he won’t be financially ready to move by the time I want him to, which is in two years when my daughter starts school. Even with two-years notice, he gets immature and defensive every time I mention moving. I’m wondering if I should just move on my own because he will end up resenting me and the kids or being miserable.

There are also a couple other red flags that haven’t come up recently but were within the first year when everything was changing and there was a lot to process. He stated he wished he hadn’t missed out on the single life (he went from a 4-year relationship with another girl to a relationship with me with only six months in between to be single) and that he had had more sexual partners. He also has very low self-esteem and gets jealous easily. He’s never physically abusive, but he drinks more than I like (three to four times a week) which is common for his family but uncommon for mine. He is involved with the kids but definitely not as much as their dad is. He will only get married if I change my name, which I won’t because I want the same name as the kids.

On a side note, I still consider my ex one of my best friends,and although we have had our moments especially at the beginning, he and I co-parent really well. We go for outings and practices together once a week and we always FaceTime the kids to say goodnight. I can’t wait to move back to this city as they all just feel like home to me.

I’m very torn and long distance isn’t an option. — I’m Torn

Yeah, I don’t see a long-term relationship with this man who hates where you want to live, isn’t financially stable, doesn’t want to marry you, and doesn’t seem to share lifestyle preferences with you as one that will work out. The fact that you list “is never physically abusive” as a positive trait suggests that it’s time you raise your standards a little bit. Nothing – literally nothing – about what you’ve described about this scenario sounds promising or like what a mother of two young children should be exposing them to.

Dump Hank, move back to the city where all your family and friends and kids and their other parent live, and continue fostering a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex. Now more than ever, our children need as much stability and attention as we can give them. Living on the edge of the city with a man who is waving as many red flags as Hank is makes about as much sense as faking a pregnancy to get out of a FWB relationship you’re no longer into. There are far less destructive ways to live your life is what I’m saying.

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


  1. LW1: Lies beget more lies. The only way out of this is to come clean. Alex will probably leave you. (I would.) But you wouldn’t have maintain lie after lie after lie and you will be able to focus on yourself. Go to therapy and figure out why you thought making up a fake baby was a better idea than just telling the truth.

  2. LW2 – let me tell you and all them women the secret that I learned, thankfully in my early 20’s. You have to do you in life, be you. If things cannot work with a person, ACCEPT IT.
    If you have to fold yourself like origami to fit into some half-assed role or situation that someone has created for you, things are never going to go well. You have to decide who you are, what you’re doing (and do it) and what you want out of life. Then the right guy rises to the top. But if someone comes up who cannot rise to where you are and you fold (folding = dude drinks too much, has low self esteem, gets jealous easily, etc.) – you’re fucked ever after and you will have to continue to fold, because you didn’t wait for the right person to rise. People need to find other things to do besides “get into a relationship”.
    LW1 – see a counselor to figure out why you’re a pathological liar and behaves like a teenager at the age of 40.

  3. LW1…you’ve gotta be kidding me. (No pun intended) Have you even actually seen this guy in the past 8-9 months? What did you do, stuff a pillow under your shirt? I am flabbergasted that you had a choice between saying “I don’t want to see you anymore” and faking a pregnancy/lying about a baby for almost a YEAR, and picked the latter. If you want to continue seeing this guy, you have to tell him the truth. If not, just do what you should have done last summer and break up with him. Either way, you should consider speaking to a therapist about your almost pathological need to avoid conflict.

    LW2, it is good that you’re putting your kids first in regards to moving nearer to their dad. I wonder how “Hank” otherwise acts with your kids and how healthy it is for them to be living with him. You say he’s jealous and that makes me wonder what kinds of things your kids might have heard him say to you. “Not physically abusive” is not only a low bar for you, but for your children. Your ex must be a pretty stand-up guy, to still be able to be friendly with a woman who left him to move in with another man while pregnant with his child. (Another man who maybe isn’t that nice to his kids.)

  4. anonymousse says:

    LW1- how in the world has it been easier to pretend you’re pregnant than just to break up with the poor guy? Or Jesus, just ghost him. Honestly, it’s sick and twisted that this is the path you e taken at your age. Please seek some mental health.

    LW2- Leave Hank and move closer to your kids.

    1. Right? Like, it takes literally no effort to block a guy’s phone number and avoid him if you really cannot manage to say “I am not in a place for a relationship and don’t think we should see each other any more.” Significantly less than to manufacture a pregnancy! And birth! And actual child! All just to break up with him! I don’t know what kind of void you’ve been trying to fill with this story and “drama”, but for the love of all things holy, please go see a therapist. And tell Alex you don’t have a kid. And, don’t actually have kids for a long damned time because your head is not on straight.

  5. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Look, if you see anything besides telling the truth as a potential option, then you are not ready for a relationship. Everything you’ve done since this breakup is somewhat unhinged, if I’m being honest. Tell this guy the truth and that you’re not in a position to be in a relationship right now and find a therapist.

  6. mellanthe says:

    LW1: What you did was incredibly self centred and manipulative. You only started seeing this guy as a way of getting back at your ex – as if that would.
    Then you invented this story to ‘dump’ him because you were too cowardly to tell him that you didn’t want more. He’s a FWB not a fiance, he would have been fine. It really wasn’t necessary to get tied up in this web of lies.

    You must have felt terrified to have made all this up, but it’s not been a healthy way to cope. Tell him the truth about everything – what you lied about, and your feelings for him. He may leave, but there’s literally nothing else you can do, apart from ghost him. and after all this, he deserves the truth.

    But, and Im not being funny or rude, you need therapy. This was not a normal way to respond to those situations, and if you don’t address what made you pick these actions, you’re going to keep stressing yourself out with panicked actions that lead to this knd of drama. Look after yourself, and address whatever it is that made you do this. You aren’t ready for a relationship until you can be honest even (especially) when it’s hard and scary.

    LW2: WWS.

  7. “Yeah, I don’t see a long-term relationship with this man who hates where you want to live, isn’t financially stable, doesn’t want to marry you, and doesn’t seem to share lifestyle preferences with you as one that will work out. ”

    Don’t forget “dates married women with children.”

  8. This all checks out. Makes complete sense.

  9. Part-time Lurker says:

    Stunned silence. Mouth agape.

  10. Bittergaymark says:

    LW1) Damn, WENDY! My whole sarcastic response to this letter was that she needs to simply adopt a baby STAT and you beat me to it. Sigh…

    LW2). It’s time to give up the ghost. Your relationship is played out. Time to move home and start all over all alone there. Do what’s best for your kids and NOT just for you…

    1. Sea Witch says:

      Hey, babies fix everything!

  11. Sea Witch says:

    LW1: if you can’t find a baby to adopt, try renting one. Or make up a roving pack of dingos that moved into your neighbourhood.

    1. Like X Eleventy Billion

  12. LW1 — Uh, pandemic-era Wendy is def not here for anybody’s bullshit.

    LW2 — I notice when people use the passive voice to describe their behavior: “There was infidelity on my part … ” You mean you cheated, right? And then you moved in with the guy because you didn’t have anywhere else to go? Please just don’t try to get back together with your ex-husband.

  13. I keep thinking of the biggest lie I told and it was stupid and it followed me. In high school, I told people I was an extra in the movie Mallrats. So the movie was filmed at this broken down mall in my town in Minnesota. I did see the set and cameras and stuff like that. But I wasn’t an extra. The thing is, the story kept getting told by other people in my high school so I needed to re-lie. then someone in my high school went to my college and told the lie there. It was an offhand comment like “You was an extra in that movie, right?” Luckily, I am 20 years out of high school and noone cares. Anyone else have a lie that followed them?

    1. Oh god.

      Once in high school I decided my eyebrows came too close to being a unibrow so I plucked them back a bit.
      But they weren’t even, so I plucked a bit more. And then a bit more. And suddenly they looked horrible. I was so embarassed that I told my friends my younger sister had shaved them while I slept as a prank. I figured when they grew back everyone would forget.

      But my best friend didn’t forget. Whenever we reminisced about HS ir when my sister’s name came up, she’d go “remember when your sister shaved your eyebrows?” and I’d have to go “yeah haha that was crazy.” I was sure one day she’d bring it up with my sister, but many parties and all the events surrounding my wedding came and went without it ever coming up. Then one day, after a few drinks, in front of my husband and several of our friends, my best friend said to my sister “hey, remember when you shaved Lucidity’s eyebrows?” My sister went “huh?” and my best friend started explaining: “remember? In high school? While she was sleeping?” and my sister goes “what? I didn’t….” trails off and looks at me, and everyone else looks at me, and I start getting really red, and there’s this long, painful silence in which I saw the truth dawn on people’s faces one by one.

      Thankfully, my angel of a sister changed the subject and no one ever mentioned it again. So. Much. Shame.

      1. exactly! It was just a stupid lie and here I was for YEARS, maintaining a lie that a 14 year old told. At least yours was to save face. Mine was to look cool….by saying I was an extra in an independent movie. Like, the bar to be cool was very low.

  14. “Oh my.” That was the perfect opening line for the response to LW1.

  15. LW1, you ran amok when your ex broke up. You started living in an alternate reality, a fiction where you would have had a child with him. You dissociated. Go find a therapist to treat that wound. And explain that to Alex.
    He might actually be quite relieved to learn that you are not a single mother struggling all alone with a baby from a father who left you.
    Your lie was not so much to end the relationship with Alex, don’t tell him that. This was because the growing relationship with Alex was interfering with your alternate reality, your dream of a life with your ex – the one who dumped you.
    Be honest, show your vulnerabilities. This is your best bet with Alex.
    BUt please, don’t go forward in your lies and pretend you gave the baby back to his father. This is so crazy stupid! You would appear in a worse light than who you are actually: a woman who has mental issues.

  16. Avatar photo Cleopatra_30 says:

    LW 1 this sounds like a great rom-com. I suggest trademarking this story and selling it to a writer or producer. Big bucks for big lies!

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