Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Fiancé Sexted My Daughter. Should I Forgive Him?”

My fiancé, “Craig,” and I have been engaged for five years and have been together for seven and a half. I caught him and my daughter, who is 27 years old and married with four beautiful children (my grandchildren), sexting. How do I get past this? He is amazing to my grandchildren, to my mother, and to my other family members. One month ago my no-good sister was staying in our home working, and she texted Craig and said that I was mean to his daughter. He showed me the text as soon as it was sent to him. I decided I would ask her to move, so she left to go stay in a motel. She had been out about two months when Craig was caught in her motel room. I have pictures for proof. He wasn’t there very long — 20-30 minutes — but he lied to me about it. When I showed him the pictures I received of him, he said he was there to fix a tire for her. This woman slept with my ex-husband (I caught them in the act), so I decided to cut her out of my life but allow Craig to stay. She is poison in many ways, including to her children and all of our family.

Then last Friday night my daughter confronted me, saying that Craig called her again and lied to her, saying I was talking bad about her to my daughter-in-law at lunch. Craig was sitting there and listening to everything she was saying, and he told me to ignore her since she always has drama. So then she texted him and asked him why he called her and lied to her. All my children were involved at this point and he bold-faced lied to me. Then when he got caught, he left. Now my mother just wants me to forget it and reconcile with him. I am crushed. I loved this man with all I had. I feel so torn because I forgave my daughter for sexting him, so I feel I should forgive him, too, but there is more that he’s done and my heart is broken. Please please help give me some advice. — Forgive and Forget?

Craig chronically lies to you, lies to your family, sexts your daughter (!), engages in/ actively stirs up drama among your family, and there’s even more that you haven’t shared here? I don’t know why your mother would suggest you “forget it and reconcile with him,” but that is really horrible advice. If you want to forgive him like you’ve forgiven your daughter, do it only if it makes your heart feel lighter and not because you want to reconcile with him. He’s real bad news and he cannot be trusted. You can’t build a future with him on a foundation that is so substantially shaky. Being heartbroken and crushed isn’t reason enough to stay with someone who will undoubtedly continue breaking your heart and crushing you. It’s time for you to get out of this drama, to start a new chapter free of this energy-suck of a person, and to reclaim your life. And moving forward, love your mama, but take her advice with an enormous grain of salt. Not everyone we care about has the wisdom needed to give appropriate advice.

I am 18 and two years ago I got to know online a guy, “Mark,” who’s also 18. By gradually texting and vibing, we became very good friends. He lives quite far away from me and has a tough family. His mother knows every minute of his schedule and doesn’t usually allow him to go out. (We are Asians and parents here possess authority over us even if we are 18. There are many families who are liberal, but not ours, unfortunately.) One day about a year ago, he came to my school to participate in an event, notifying me about his arrival, and that was the first time we met in real life. Then we both had exam pressures and so on but still used to vibe a lot in social media, and gradually he started giving me hints of his interest in taking our friendship to the next level. I waited to see if he would ask me out, but he did nothing but give me hints. So I asked him out instead, and he agreed and even admitted he has feelings for me.

After that, we enjoyed a “honeymoon phase” for almost six months before we both had to prepare for our college admittance exams. We began contacting each other much less often, like once in a week, and then after the exams we started talking regularly again like before. But lately, for about the past two months, and without giving any reason, he’s not coming online anymore and he doesn’t talk with me. He didn’t even wish me a happy birthday. It’s not like there’s any academic pressure in his life. I know this because we are both in the same grade and during the pandemic there’s much less academic pressure. I don’t know what to do now.

I know this isn’t any fraudulent relationship. I know where he lives, I’ve met with him offline once, and I have his phone number. But we never had a love talk over the phone and we usually used messenger, so I feel very uneasy calling him over the phone since he never once called me. I don’t know why he doesn’t come online. He is not so romantic and very weak at expressing emotions towards me. Also, I was the one who proposed a relationship to him. I’m beginning to think I’m worthless, unloved, and inferior. Please tell me what to do as I’m young. — Feeling Unloved

I promise you, you have value, you are loved, and you are inferior to no one. The problem is that you are measuring your value by the attention a boy gives you — a boy you haven’t even met in person more than one time, have never spoken to on the phone, and have only had minimal online contact with. He doesn’t really know you, and you don’t really know him. To see yourself through the eyes of this person you have so little interaction with is really seeing yourself through your own lens. You’re projecting your own feelings of yourself onto him and are hoping that if he shows positive feelings to you, your self-worth will increase as a result. It doesn’t work that way, especially with someone who has shown he’s no longer interested in developing even a friendship with you.

One of the worst things we can do to our self-esteem is chasing someone who shows little to no sign of wanting to be with us. Mark doesn’t want to be with you, and that choice likely has everything to do with him and his situation and little to nothing to do with you. Remember, he doesn’t even really know you. What you shared may have been a casual online acquaintanceship, and a shared understanding of your familial dynamics and academic responsibilities, but it doesn’t sound like it moved beyond that. One day you’ll have a real relationship and you’ll understand the difference. In the meantime, work on developing companionships – either offline or on – with people who show true interest in getting to know you (and don’t waste time on those who don’t!). Develop and foster hobbies and interests that fill your time and also give you access points to others who may share similar interests.

Soon we’ll move beyond this pandemic and you’ll get to start college, where the promise of new adventures and relationships await. You will find your place in the world. You will become independent of the parents you find too authoritative over you. And you will eventually find someone who shares a mutual desire with you to “move things to the next level.” My hope for you is that it won’t be through that person that you come to the understanding of how awesome you are. My hope is that you will discover your worth before meeting this person and that when he tells you and shows you how much he values you, you won’t have to question his authenticity because you’ll believe it. You will already believe you are amazing and that someone else who is equally so will see and be attracted to the value and qualities you possess. Mark is not that person. It’s time to move on.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

15 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Karebear1813 November 17, 2020, 11:21 am

    LW1 you have a toxic , disturbed family. I think you should go to a therapist. Your sister has slept with your ex husband, you suspect she might have been soliciting sex from your current b/f, and your own daughter was sexting your bf. Why are you so forgiving. I would take a step back away from these people. This isn’t normal. People that love and care about you don’t try sleeping with the person you love and care for. And the person you love and care for doesn’t engage in this sick behavior. This is almost like some weird borderline incest thing … And yes dump the boyfriend.

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    Pheebers November 17, 2020, 12:16 pm

    This could have been a morning quickie.

    “My fiance sexted my daughter. Should I forgive him?”

    “NO.”

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      bondgirl November 17, 2020, 2:11 pm

      Was literally thinking this just from the title alone.

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      Bittergaymark November 17, 2020, 2:29 pm

      WTF?! Pheebers beat me to it! You posted word for word what I was gonna write!

      Bravo!!!

      That said — DON’T start calling yourself NonBitterStraightPheebers and we will be all cool!

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        Pheebers November 18, 2020, 10:12 am

        Agreed!

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      Moneypenny November 17, 2020, 2:42 pm

      My thoughts exactly!
      And yet- there is so much more to this story!

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    anonymousse November 17, 2020, 1:20 pm

    It’s really sad to me that you’ve accepted this much betrayal in your life and continue to degrade yourself in the hopes of what? More betrayal? Even less respect?

    Your mother gives horrible advice, so disregarded her opinions. I wonder how she brought you up- because it seems you’re incapable of standing up for yourself. Why would you let your sister live with you, if she slept with your husband? You allow people to walk all over you, again and again. Please, heed the advice to seek therapy. You don’t have to love like this.

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      anonymousse November 17, 2020, 1:21 pm

      Live* but also- you don’t have to forgive and love people who hurt you.

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    LisforLeslie November 17, 2020, 1:29 pm

    LW _ this is what happens when you place being in ANY romantic relationship above being in a healthy relationship. Your mother, your sister, you and your daughter seem to put having a man or being desirable to a man above everything else including your own self-worth.

    Seriously consider therapy.

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant November 17, 2020, 1:32 pm

    I’m very confused by LW1 – Craig sexted his step daughter but also cheated with his sister in law (who in turn, has also cheated with another one of the LW’s exes)? I had a hard time following.

    LW should definitely free herself from Craig, but he’s not the only problematic person here. The whole family sounds dysfunctional.

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    Bittergaymark November 17, 2020, 2:44 pm

    LW1) I can’t tell who is more fucked up! This guy? Or the REST of your family. You would do well to take a breather from all of the above though…

    Lw2). You are very young. And this relationship has just simply fizzled out. It has nothing to do with you or your worth! The two of you are just not right for each other. That’s all. This once happened to me and Bradley Cooper.

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  • avatar

    FYI November 17, 2020, 2:46 pm

    I guess the family is dysfunctional, but it is a huge mistake to say to this LW — “Dump him! He’s trash! And your family is screwed up!” I say that because if LW doesn’t fix her picker, then the next guy is gonna be just like this one, or worse.

    LW has some seriously messed up attitudes about relationships, likely learned from her mom, and she needs to unwind those if she wants to be content in life. Blaming sister, daughter, boyfriend — none of that is going to work. LW is the one who invited all this crap into her life. It’s hard to imagine a lower low life than her fiancé, yet LW wants to stay. That’s some seriously delusion, and I say that with love. You need therapy, LW.

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  • avatar

    ron November 17, 2020, 5:31 pm

    LW#1 – Yes, you are in a very toxic situation, all around. I don’t understand how you can be engaged to this guy for 5 years. People who are engaged for 5 years have no intention of marrying. Why would you allow a sister who slept with your ex to stay with you? That’s beyond stupid. Everyone seems to sext your bf. Perhaps your mom supports him because she gets off on his sexts.

    Interesting that both your current bf and your ex have slept with your sister. That says as much about you as about her and them.

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  • avatar

    Marie November 17, 2020, 6:07 pm

    LW 1
    I’m sorry for all the chaos you are going through—honestly so chaotic I couldn’t understand the chronology or events. What is clear is that you are allowing others to run your life. You get to treat yourself better by seeing that and calling that. One of your sentences struck me: that this man is good to ___etc—a whole list of people but you didn’t make it onto that list. You deserve better. It feels bad because it’s bad for you. It feels wrong because it is. Don’t allow others’ crazy to be your life. We teach others how to treat us. But more importantly we have to treat ourselves right. That starts with listening to ourselves, not so much to others. I wish you all the best!! Take good care of you!

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  • avatar

    Sea Witch November 18, 2020, 1:43 pm

    Am I the only one who had trouble following that first letter?

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