It’s not surprising that you feel confused and uneasy about this confession from your boyfriend. Chances are, HE is confused by his sexual history with his cousin, and his feelings towards her, as well. Talking to you about it, while drunk no less, is probably his way of trying to unpack the scenario and make sense of it, and part of that making-sense is likely based on your reaction to the news. Be honest with him about how you’re feeling — that you don’t blame him for it happening or for telling you about it — that you’re grateful he trusts you as much as it seems he does — but that you are surprised by the information and don’t know exactly what to make of it. Ask him what *he* makes of it, and if it’s something he’s ever shared with anyone else or considered discussing with a therapist.
If he hasn’t discussed it with a therapist, I would encourage him to do so, without suggesting he should feel any shame. At 13, he was still a child. You can’t appoint adult-like emotions to decisions made by a child, including feelings of romantic love. There are a host of reasons he had sex with his cousin at 13, and romantic love is not among them. Even sexual or physical attraction is low on the list. Much higher on the list of reasons two 13-year-old cousins would have sex with each other may include traumas that should to be addressed by a professional who can help your boyfriend heal. Even if zero traumas preceded the loss of his virginity to his cousin at 13 years old, it’s likely that he carries some feelings around the sexual interactions for which he’d benefit from some counseling.
Whether or not your boyfriend seeks counseling, you need to decide if this is a relationship you want to continue. Certainly, the information about his past, as well as the way it was shared with you, gives you pause, and you should honor that pause and deeply consider your feelings about your boyfriend and your relationship in general. Some questions to ask yourself: Do you trust him? Do you enjoy his company? So you feel attracted to him? Do you feel you share common values? Do you feel valued and respected by him? Do you value and respect him? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” than you have your answer to whether you continue your relationship with him.
Then (without getting into too many details) I was seriously injured and all of my routines went out the window. Since I’ve completed my physical therapy and worked through most of the mental trauma with professionals, I’m slowly getting back into going to the gym like I used to love doing (I love being back at my yoga and dance cardio classes!). Other areas are harder to get back into though because I used binge-watching tv, eating junk food, and browsing the internet in excess as a coping tool when I couldn’t move. Sadly, I can’t afford going to a therapist anymore to work on this since my insurance changed as soon as the clock struck 2019. Nutritionists and other specialists are no longer covered either and are way out of budget. I asked my support network to help with accountability, but unfortunately they said they can’t help much because they’re struggling too much on their own to pick up better health habits. What do you recommend doing to get back into healthier habits/do you have any resources that can help me with it? — Wanting to Quit Bad Habits
Any time I want to quit bad habits, I set small, attainable goals for myself, often in the form of replacing the bad habit with a good habit. So instead of telling myself to limit screen time to so many minutes a day, I set the goal of reading a book, say, 30 minutes a day. That’s an attainable goal for myself and, in meeting it, I am spending 30 minutes less time scrolling Instagram or whatever. I also look at how I can make bad habits work to my advantage. For example, I spend too much time on my phone because I have a screen addiction, but if I can use some of that phone time reading things that are educational or supportive, I don’t feel so bad about my screen time and I can use the information I’m gathering to better myself.
One way you can apply this idea is by finding an online support system since your offline support isn’t as helpful as you’d like/you need. There are literally thousands of apps, forums, and groups all over the internet and social media dedicated to every kind of nutritional diet or goal, every kind of mental and physical health quandary, and everything in between. For no money at all, you can get meal-planning advice, recipes, tips, and inspiration. You can go to the library and check out cookbooks and self-help books. And you can get and share ideas for replacing the perceived comfort of TV binge-watching and eating junk food with more healthful activities (like walks, phone calls with friends, meditation, etc.).
Getting into a new routine isn’t rocket science. You simply start doing something and you do it regularly enough that eventually it becomes a routine. Pick one thing you want to turn into a routine, find an app that helps support that goal (say couch to 5K, for example), and start using it. I’m not much of an app user, so I will ask readers to help out here: Do you all have a favorite app that has changed your life for the better that you’d recommend to someone needing help getting and staying motivated?
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.