Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

In Other Words: “My Fiancé’s Niece Is His Love Child”

This letter is from a recent Dear Prudence column. It makes yesterday’s column from the woman whose young lover knocked up another woman seem mild.:

My mind is still reeling. My fiancé confessed to me last week that his younger niece is actually his child. He had a short affair with his brother’s wife, who conceived the month her husband was away. They ended things just before finding out she was pregnant, and she lied about the dates to cover it up. My fiancé knew all this and said nothing because he didn’t want to break up their family. My fiancé’s brother is a good guy and I genuinely like him. I’ve never seen a man so devoted to his wife and children. I don’t know if I can spend the rest of my life being a part of this lie. My future in-laws are a close-knit family and everyone frequently gets together. They actually had a family dinner a few days ago which I’ve avoided because I don’t know how I can look at either my fiancé’s brother or his wife in the eye. I also have complex feelings about the “niece”—biologically speaking, she will be my stepchild! I love my fiancé so much but how can I marry into his family knowing what I know now?

What would you do?

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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.

40 comments… add one
  • MiMi October 18, 2012, 3:06 pm

    I’ve seen this before….. where?

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    • Caris October 18, 2012, 3:07 pm

      “This letter is from a recent Dear Prudence column. It makes yesterday’s column from the woman whose young lover knocked up another woman seem mild.:”

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      • MiMi October 18, 2012, 9:35 pm

        ha ha! I go right for the colored box. Who needs preambles? or instructions, for that matter : – )

  • Caris October 18, 2012, 3:11 pm

    I’d break up with him. I don’t think I would be able to be with someone who betrayed his own brother like that. I don’t know, I think a lot of trust issues would start cropping up.

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  • theattack October 18, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Clearly this LW isn’t comfortable with the situation, so the best thing (and really the only thing) for her to do is to move on. I couldn’t deal with it either.

    Sidenote: Who wants to go where their brother has been? Seriously. Gross.

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    • FireStar October 18, 2012, 3:45 pm

      I don’t find it odd – or gross – as siblings are sometimes very similar and would share the characteristics someone would find attractive. I’ve read lots of stories of people having relationships with the sibling of a former partner. Usually happens when the first sibling passes away and the two people come together over the loss. The cheating thing though? Over the line.

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      • theattack October 18, 2012, 4:04 pm

        Interesting. I just assumed it was some sort of society rule. I’ve heard several guys say they wouldnt’ want to get with someone their brother had been with. Personal story: I once kissed a guy I only sort of liked to later meet his much hotter, much more awesome brother who was really disappointed when he found out I had kissed his brother before because it meant we couldn’t hook up or date.

        Your explanation makes sense though.

      • Fabelle October 18, 2012, 4:55 pm

        Some siblings are definitely weirded out by it– others, not so much. I’ve hooked up with twins & the one was who technically getting “sloppy seconds” ( I hate that phrase) was totally cool with it while the original one was pissed. Depends on the circumstances & the personalities involved.

        This situation is definitely fucked up though, no question! ha

      • bittergaymark October 18, 2012, 6:35 pm

        Twins… Oh, man… That’s a story I’d like to hear all about….

      • tbrucemom October 19, 2012, 1:13 pm

        Obscure Austin Powers reference – Twins, Basil, twins….

      • EttaKit October 18, 2012, 9:29 pm

        I had a random hook up with a twin and a few years later ended up dating the other one. THey were fine with it in the long run, but I think it was a little weird at first. It’s true that a lot of siblings are alike and find the same things attractive in a partner. And since I have a type and these two both met it, so I went for it. Other people find it weirder than I do.

  • lemongrass October 18, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Train wreck just waiting to happen…

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  • Fabelle October 18, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Yeah, I would run far, far away from this clusterfuck of a situation. And in regard to the advice itself– I don’t know if I really agree, but I do always love-hate Prudie’s dismissive stance on genetics & also her commitment to never doing anything that might “break up” a family.

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    • CG October 18, 2012, 3:37 pm

      I don’t agree with the advice either, but I do agree with Prudie that at least the fiance told the LW and didn’t keep it a secret. But yeah, if I were the LW, I don’t think my fiance coming clean about “she’s my niece *and* my daughter!” would be enough to make me stick around.

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    • Meg October 19, 2012, 11:19 am

      Her view on the genetics thing has always been interesting for me as well! On one hand I LOVE the fact that she’s such a huge proponent of family being what you make it and not biology. As someone who was raised by and considers her stepfather her real dad, I think this is awesome. At the same time, sometimes her attitude on genetics ends up trivializing how LWs feel about situations like this, as though their feelings aren’t valid. If I were in this situation I too would feel super uncomfortable knowing that my fiance had a biological child out there (with his brother’s wife, no less!), even if he didn’t raise it as his own.

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  • j2 October 18, 2012, 3:29 pm

    My first reaction is why marry a person who has already demonstrated that he does not respect the vows of marriage?

    Still, it might help to know about the circumstances surrounding the affair. For example, did the woman pursue the LW’s fiance? It might also help to know the circumstance around the confession. For example, was the guy broken up about it, and it has been haunting him?

    Naw, I’m sticking with my first reaction. Like lemongrass, the trains are already on the tracks. Why tie oneself onto the rails?

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    • lemongrass October 18, 2012, 5:11 pm

      I don’t think that there is any circumstances where it would be okay in my book to cheat with your brother’s wife. Even if she came on to the guy he still has the ability to say hells no. No woman is that irresistible.

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  • kf October 18, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Dear Prudence is great. What a freak show.

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  • artsygirl October 18, 2012, 3:41 pm


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  • ktfran October 18, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Where the fuck do these people come from? Seriously. I don’t get it. At all.

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  • bagge72 October 18, 2012, 4:03 pm

    I think she should marry him, and then have a baby with his brother.

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    • SarahKat October 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

      I just snorted in my office. Like a potbellied pig.

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    • anonymous October 18, 2012, 6:09 pm

      Not fair. I laughed so hard that I remembered I need a bladder tack…

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    • MsMisery October 19, 2012, 1:36 pm

      HAHA! Yesss. You should have your own twisted advice column.

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  • katie October 18, 2012, 4:08 pm

    i would tell. i believe people have a right to know things. that brother has a right to know his wife is a cheater and his daughter is not his daughter. thats seriously fucked up.

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    • katie October 18, 2012, 5:45 pm

      actually, i would demand that HE tell the brother what he did. if he refused, it would be over, and when his family asked why we didnt work out, id tell them the truth.

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  • Julia October 18, 2012, 4:36 pm

    This is a poorly kept secret that is going to eventually find its way into the ear of the LW’s cuckolded B-i-L. I would advise her to be prepared for that, and imagine what it’s going to be like when it comes to everyone’s attention that her husband has let his brother raise his daughter after sexing up his brother’s wife. Is she strong enough to defend him and his decision? Is she able to stand by her man?

    The poop WILL hit the fan, it is only a matter of time. She has to proceed with that knowledge.

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  • JK October 18, 2012, 4:39 pm

    I´m so glad you poted this Wendy! I was planning to send it to you when I red it, but I forgot. 🙁

    I think Prudie totally dropped the ball here, and the LW should run for the hills. I feel sorry for the poor brother being played for an idiot by 2 of the people that should love him the most.

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    • JK October 18, 2012, 5:26 pm

      ugh. READ it. Stupid typos.

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  • Kate B. October 18, 2012, 4:42 pm

    I’d MOA. Too much drama for me.

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  • va-in-ny October 18, 2012, 5:11 pm

    After reading the title, I was relieved that this wasn’t a “my fiance had a baby with his sister” type of thing.

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  • bittergaymark October 18, 2012, 6:34 pm

    I do love how the LW is making this all about her… “She will be MY stepchild?” Huh? Say what? Don’t be absurd… She will be no such thing. That said, I don’t know why the fiance’ even told her. As I don’t see how many people would ever want to know such a thing… His actions here are beyond fucked up. Sometimes, you just let sleeping dogs lie, I say. This is a secret that should have best stayed buried.

    Since the LW seems to unable to handle this, she only has two options.

    1) She can LEARN to handle/live with this the best she can and that means pretending like it never ever happened. That she never learned this knowledge to begin with… And be prepared to live the lie so to speak.

    or 2) She can end things now. Dream up some non-explosive reason for not getting married and simply bow out graciously…

    But the subtext here about how she thinks she should be the catalyst to bring all this out into the open is NOT to be encouraged. Maybe I’m totally off base here that she is even thinking this… But the step daughter line has stuck in my head… Is she even thinking about entertaining this option? I so hope not… Talk about a disaster…

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  • Lindsay October 18, 2012, 7:23 pm

    I don’t think I could stay with him. I’d prefer to be with someone honest who doesn’t sleep with married women, specifically his wife’s brother. Just shows a lack of respect, honesty, self-control, you name it. It would make me wonder what he was lying to me about.

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    • kf October 18, 2012, 11:49 pm

      If he had also slept with his wife’s brother, this would have been the greatest letter ever.

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      • Lindsay October 19, 2012, 12:06 am

        Ahahaha. Yes. It would.

  • Witchmom3 October 18, 2012, 10:17 pm

    This is so screwed, TLC will probably put this on their spring line up!

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  • James Turner October 18, 2012, 9:51 pm

    I wonder why the guy told his fiance? If he was prepared to keep a secret from his brother for the rest of his life why has he complicated things and told her about it? I am not supporting the guy btw just trying to get inside his head. He has just told his future wife that he is completely untrustworthy.

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  • The Validationer October 19, 2012, 1:15 am

    Dear Person Who Wrote to Dear Prudence,

    Things could be worse. At least your fiancé is not actually a twin who lives with his brother and is involved in twincest.

    The Validationer

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  • tbrucemom October 19, 2012, 1:23 pm

    When, not if, this secret is found out it will destroy the family so the LW needs to be prepared for that. I also couldn’t be with a man who would do that to his own brother not to mention his total disregard for marriage vows. I think there needs to be a paternity test done too. I know she supposedly conceived during the month her husband was away, but depending on where she was in her cycle and assuming she had sex with her husband when he returned, there’s always a chance she could be the husband’s and was a little premature.

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  • E October 21, 2012, 3:29 pm

    Some people are living in a soap opera. Personally, I don’t think I could stick around and deal with that situation. It’s suspicious that he told her AFTER they were engaged…I have a feeling he knew if he told her before the engagement, she’d run for the hills. Also, it’s his BROTHER’S wife. Ugh. I understand that sometimes people majorly fuck up and cheat…but to do it with your best friend’s spouse or sibling’s spouse…whole other level of messed up, in my opinion. Plus, it really could be the brother’s baby…I wonder why the women never got a paternity test.

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