“My Boyfriend Cheated on Me With a Stripper While I’m Fighting Cancer”

My man recently went with his buddies to a strip club and lied about it. Then about a month later, he went out and sent a message to his buddies saying, “If anyone asks, I was with you.” His buddies response was, “10-4.” So my man is gone ’til 4 am, parks where I can’t see or hear him, and goes to the cabin on the property instead of coming to our bed. I confront him and he’s drunk and doesn’t want to talk. I ask to see his phone and he says it’s up the hill in the car. I go looking for it only to go back by him to call it and realize it’s hidden between his legs.

I get the phone and find a message to the stripper sent at 3:30 am that says, “Thank you…kiss kiss.” So I decided to message her. Point blank, I asked her if they had sex. Her response was that he never mentioned having a girlfriend and it’s a strip club, so duh. What does that even mean? Why did his friends cover for him? Why did he hurt me so much? Why do I deserve this?

I’m depressed and alone, fighting metastatic breast cancer and cervical cancer and he does whatever he did. And to put it as simply as I can, I stay because I don’t want to die alone while, at the same time, I don’t have sex with him since this incident because I’m so afraid I’m going to catch a disease and I just can’t take any more health issues. Please be honest but not too tough on me right now. I’m looking for an understanding response but also an honest one. Thank you for your time. — I Don’t Deserve This

Your man cheated on you, point blank. Bad things happen to people even when they don’t deserve them. Good, kind, and loving people get cheated on. They get cancer. It sucks, life is unfair. Bad things happen to the best of us, and I’m sorry you are really in it right now. I can’t promise you all will be fine, but I can promise that things will be a lot better if you choose to surround yourself with people who genuinely love you and care about you and your well-being, and kick to the curb anyone who doesn’t fit that description, including your lying, cheating dirtbag of a man who isn’t a man at all but a sleazeball who isn’t emotionally and physically capable of giving you the kind of tender care you need and deserve.

Right now you need to summon all the strength you can to fight your cancer. You can’t afford to dispense any of your energy on some cheating loser. Stop focusing on having a body — any body — next to you in case you die, and focus instead on surrounding yourself with all the very best people in your life to continue giving you strength as you fight to live.

I am 20 years old and would like to move out of my mother’s house and move in with my boyfriend of almost 10 months, but my mother does not agree with it. I have been wanting to move out of this house since I was about 16 years old. Let’s just say it hasn’t been the easiest life. I have finally gotten the guts to tell her that I want to move out and she has told me it’s against her wishes and she thinks I’m not ready. But I don’t think it is safe for me to stay in my house because it will affect my school work and my mental health. My boyfriend and I are very financially stable — my mother never has to pay for anything for us. I feel like moving out is the correct choice, but it sucks to have to ruin the relationship with my mother. Do you have any advice for me? I’m looking for some peace in my decision. — Ready to Move Out

If you move in with your boyfriend at 20 years old and after less than a year of dating, the likelihood of things not working out between you are extremely high. I would advise you to wait two years before moving in with him. That time would allow you to mature a little more, continue to get to know each other, and build your relationship. What is most important though is fostering your independence, and you aren’t going to get that moving from your mother’s house directly in with your boyfriend. Why not move into your own apartment? If you’re financially stable enough to afford a studio apartment or a 1-bedroom, go that route. You can still spend loads of time with your boyfriend while maintaining your own space. If things don’t work out with the two of you, it’s so much easier to end things when you don’t have to worry about breaking a lease and moving. If you can’t afford living alone, advertise for a roommate or ask around about a room available in a shared space. Moving out on your own/with a roommate at 20 years old is a totally normal thing to do and will give your mother less to freak out about than if you moved in with your boyfriend of less than a year.

The point is, there are lots of options besides living with your mother or living with your boyfriend, both of which do not help you foster the independence you need to build the most healthy and functional relationships. You’ll know when you’re ready to move in with your boyfriend when you’ve done these 15 things. Until then, slow your roll.


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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. Agree with Wendy all the way on all of these things.

  2. LW1, you should dump him. What a loser.
    LW2, move out and share renting a house with a few friends. You can do it without your mom’s permission. I supported myself after high school and what you do is you work multiple jobs if you have to. You share a cheap place with other people. You ride your bike or take the bus to work if a car, gas, and insurance is too much (that is what I did for a few years). You get clothes from the thrift shop. You use freecycle. You use a cheap phone/phone plan. You use the internet at the library. You don’t blow money on going out to eat and drinking. You work and save. Save a certain percentage every month from what you make. Have your bank automatically put it in a savings account. Save for the down payment on your first house…It took me about 10 years of saving. All my 20-something friends were in the same boat…dirt poor yet we had fun together and helped each other. You don’t ask your parents for money. You just live your life. Visit your mom every once in a while. Move to where jobs are if you need to.

  3. I don’t think it’s the end of the world to ask your parents for money at 20. I mean, if it’s a horrible relationship no but that’s not awful. Plenty of young people, heck even older people, need some help and then. I was independent but my mom paid my car insurance (was 1/3 of the price to have me as an additional on her plan) and phone bill (also made it $20 a month) when i was that age. Plenty of parents are happy to do those small things that take a bit of financial pressure off

  4. LW1 – Your boyfriend is a loser! Nobody deserves to be cheated on (or to have cancer) and I’m sorry you’re going through all of that. It’s a lot. His friends don’t sound like great people, either, if they’re all “in” on it together.

    LW2 – Twenty is a great age to start learning more independence. I’m a very independent person and I do think learning to support yourself on what you make is a life skill everyone needs to learn sooner rather than later. So yeah, I think it’s a good idea for your to move out, but second the suggestion of moving out with roommates instead of your boyfriend. I laughed a little when I read that you’re “very financially stable” because your mom “doesn’t pay for anything.” She pays your freakin’ rent/saves you from paying rent! That is THE biggest expense when you’re financially independent of your family. My parents helped me financially through my college graduation and I distinctly recall when I was 20, I wanted to stay on campus for a summer. My parents didn’t agree, so they refused to help me that summer. I rented an apartment with two friends and even though our rent was pretty cheap and I was working three part-time jobs that summer, I was SO poor. I barely had enough money to cover my last rent payment. It was a great learning experience for me. The leap from living at home to complete financial independence — which you claim to be ready for — is a big one, and I think this will be harder than it seems.

  5. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Have you ever heard the saying that it’s lonelier to be with the wrong person than to actually be alone? I can’t imagine that being with him during this time is actually providing any benefit to you. You don’t indicate whether you have friends or family, but if you do, don’t underestimate their value, especially compared with him. Being single but with friends and family is a lot better than just being with some guy who cheats and lies.

    LW2: If you’re financially stable, then live alone for a while. If you two are going to end up together, then why rush? If not, then you’ll save a lot of hassle when you have to go through “becoming independent, part 2.” It’s nice for young adults to get some experience being on their own. You don’t always have to be dependent on another person.

  6. Bacon Mistress says:

    LW 1- You need good things in your life now to uplift you, inspire you and make you feel comfortable. DONT WASTE TIME ON THIS DICK! Really. That is what he is. He acts like a dick and thinks with his dick= DICK. Gross. He is going to bring you home an STD and you will have ONE MORE THING to worry about. I am so mad on your behalf that I want to kick him in his dick!
    Sending you lots of positive vibes.

  7. anonymousse says:

    He doesn’t respect you at all and did this with all his deplorable buddies in on it. He’s pretty much the lowest type of person. I’m sorry this happened to you. He’s a disgusting lowlife.

    You should just cut contact with him, delete his number and spend time with people who treat you well. You need to take care of yourself right now, and anyone who isn’t actively helping you or offering emotional support isn’t someone you need to spend any shred of attention to. Move on. You have bigger and better things to spend your time on. Don’t let this stress be on your radar. He doesn’t deserve the expenditure of your mental energy. He’s nothing.

  8. CanadaGoose says:

    LW1: Don’t stay in this relationship because you’re worried about dying alone. You’ll likely have less stress and health impacts if you dump him, and he may be on his way to running away anyway so why put up with his crap? Your illness may have nothing to do with his terrible behaviour but unfortunately, studies have shown that some people (and overwhelmingly men) can’t handle supporting a partner through a serious illness, so they leave because they can and will do a bunch of terrible things before they do. It’s selfish for sure, but it happens all the time. I know someone this happened to after two decades of marriage. Before the boom dropped there was lying, cheating, lots of sketchy behaviour as he secretly rerouted assets. Even if your illness has nothing to do with it, it’s his failing and you are lucky to find out now. You are so much better off with good folks by your side or even on your own. If you have family you are close to, please consider calling in the cavalry and tossing this guy to the curb.

    1. CanadaGoose says:

      I should add that there are far more great guys who will support you through anything. Getting rid of this guy who clearly won’t will make room for someone better when you’re ready to think about that again.

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