Quickies: “My Boyfriend Had Sex with His Cousin!”

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My boyfriend and I have been dating seriously for about a year. We have a long-distance relationship, and this is the second time we’ve dated (except that he says the first time doesn’t count because of the lack of communication at the end). He recently told me that he had sex with his cousin about a year ago, which I think means that it was probably during our break. I think he lost his virginity to her, which is tragic for me to hear since I’m a virgin. His excuse was that he was seduced, but he still still must know it’s wrong and disgusting to have sex with your cousin. I don’t know if I can forgive him or trust him. — Still A Virgin, Not His Cousin

What was your boyfriend’s point in telling you this information? I’d be almost more concerned about that than about his sleeping with his cousin while you were on break (though, come on, that’s… questionable). Did he want to make you jealous? Give you reason to worry? Motivate you to break up with him because he’s too chicken to do it himself? Seek forgiveness from you because he feels so guilty for losing his virginity to his cousin instead of saving it for you? None of these reasons is good, nor is any other reason I didn’t think of. You don’t trust the guy, you have a history of communication problems, and your boyfriend clearly has an issue with owning responsibility for anything (your first break up “doesn’t count” and sleeping with his cousin doesn’t count either because “he was seduced.” Come on!). I’d MOA if I were you; this guy’s a joke.

I’ve been in love for seventeen years with a man I refer to as a “glorified booty call.” I’ve survived his marrying two other women (the marriages were short because our relationship never fully ended), but now I’m dealing with a new problem: a girl he was with got pregnant and is due in February. He isn’t dating her, but he is planning on financially supporting the baby and has already been part of the mother’s prenatal appointments, setting up a baby registry, etc. He and I still have our sexual relationship as always, but his having a baby is upsetting me terribly. Although I can compete with other girls, I cannot compete with a baby. Also, seven years ago I was also pregnant, but we had an abortion. (This new girl didn’t tell him she was pregnant until it was too late to terminate). Yet I always dreamed that one day he and I would end up together with a baby we’d keep and raise. Even if we do that now, it won’t be the same because a baby with me won’t be his first child. How do people deal with the person they love experiencing this miracle with someone else? — Can’t Survive a Baby

This man doesn’t love you and he’s never going to love you. You two will never be married and never be together in any way other than casual sex partners. Be thankful YOU aren’t the one having a baby with a man who has such a terrible track record with commitment and respecting the women he’s made lifelong vows to.


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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.


  1. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

    WWS x 1000 to both of you ladies.
    LW1- you are presumably young, so seriously, get out of this pseudo relationship. It isnt really anything but a glorified telephone situation, right? Cmon, you deserve better. This guy isnt worth your attention. It isnt Romeo and Juliet, even though Im sure you have built it up on your head like some star-crossed thing. There are much better suited guys out there for you, I promise. Ones that havent slept with their cousin. (Ick, I just shuddered thinking about that.)
    LW2- you are also not stuck in a star-crossed lover situation. At all. If this guy wanted to build a life with you, much less marry you and procreate with you, IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ALREADY. Many Years Ago. Stop being this guy’s side piece and stand up for yourself. Find a guy worthy of you and your efforts. THe sexual attraction? Awesome, I agree- but he is NOT the only man on the planet that you will have that with. Go find it elsewhere. With someone who wants to be IN a relationship with you.

    1. Really? I think this guy is more than worthy of her. What she needs to do is clean up her own act. She has been having a fwb relationship with this guy through two marriages and just sees the two wives as ‘other women to compete with’. She’s an adult, he’s an adult, they can choose to do as they wish, but I’m not assigning any superior value to her moral choices over his. She thinks it’s unfair to have to compete with a baby, but she’s doing that as well.

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I mean, if you’re comparing morality, she does come out on top (only compared to him). He’s the one who cheated on two spouses, and presumably married them knowing he was going to cheat. She helped him, but she didn’t make any promises or break any vows. I’m not defending her actions, I think it’s gross to sleep with someone who’s in a monogamous relationship already. But it doesn’t compare to cheating on a spouse.

      2. I won’t deny that morally she comes out a smidge ahead of him. I object to your immediately going to the “you deserve better than this” line. No, no she doesn’t. They are both devious, don’t care about other people, blow away all societal conventions types. They just strike me as the perfect match. She hasn’t reached below herself at all in her pursuit of this guy. They are both about as selfish as one can imagine.

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Oh, I’m not the one that said that. I agree she’s asked for this type of relationship, by being the kind of person she’s being. She needs to sort herself out first before she’ll “deserve better”.

      4. Sorry, I don’t know why I thought the return post was from Raccoon eyes. Just poor reading comprehension, I guess. We are basically saying the same thing.

      5. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Yep. 🙂

    2. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

      Whoa, guys! Easy on the Hater-ade. I know it goes down smooth, but there’s a real b*tchin’ aftertaste.
      I think maybe I should have said that LW2 needs to act like she is worthy of a relationship where she is NOT a sidepiece. I stand by that she IS worth more than what she is getting from this guy- a guy who has been her primary relationship from a young age (since she is still in baby-makin’ years) and likely has done a real number on her self-worth/self-esteem and her views on a healthy and fulfilling relationship. I dont think being the Morality Police is helpful, and seriously f&*^%ing Living in Glass Houses.

  2. LW2- You survived two marriages!? As in he married a woman and she left him because he wasn’t faithful and rather than enter a relationship with YOU, he dated other woman , got serious enough to marry this woman, all while banging you on the side? This has to be a fake. I’m having a VERY hard time imaging someone who has been a human dick-mat through two marriages and a pregnancy fancying a fairy-tale ending. This can’t be real.

    1. Married by Elvis says:

      Human dickmat!!! I love it!!!!

  3. These letters make me want to go back to bed.

  4. LW1- So he lost his virginity a year ago, before you started dating again? Taking the cousin part out, what is bothering you? Did he represent himself as a virgin? Is that important to you for some reason? Are you upset that he waited a year to tell you? Or is the incest the part that is bothering you? I agree cousin relations are gross and in the US speak to a lack of good sense when there are so many other people, but I don’t think they are unethical the same way a closer incest relationship would be. I think in many cultures, cousins marrying was a historical norm.
    Incest aside, I think Wendy is right. You’ve had two tries with this guy now. It’s still long distance and there is still considerable doubt and lack of common values.

    1. anonymousse says:

      LOL at “incest aside.”

      1. dinoceros says:

        Haha, I loved that.

    2. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Technically I don’t think cousins are close enough to be considered incest. It’s legal to marry your cousin in a lot of places. Still not really socially acceptable though, except I guess in some pockets where it’s still a thing.

  5. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

    LW#1, this is the least of your concerns, but is your boyfriend by chance not American/English/Australian or something else of the sort? There are many cultures where cousin-love is either not a big deal at all or sort of “not ideal but sometimes it happens”. “Wrong and disgusting” is a cultural construct in this case. Now, if he IS within a culture that genuinely considers it “wrong and disgusting” (though I think I myself would put it more on the “ew, weird” end of the scale), that’s a different story. But, again, least of your problems. On the other hand, Wendy, I wouldn’t ignore the possibility that “seduce” is euphemism for “rape”, which would naturally be hard for the guy to admit if true. Is it just me or are these people about fifteen?

    1. I think for those of us who grew up in the US around cousins and thought of them as family members, its disgusting because of our own familiarity with our kin. Personally, I think crossing that familiarity line smacks of power imbalances and potential abuse. But if one didn’t know a cousin well or just met them, I don’t think there is anything inherently gross about an attraction.

      1. anonymousse says:

        Attraction is one thing. Sex is another.

    2. anonymousse says:

      First cousin sex?

      1. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

        Yup. I’ve spent a fair amount of time outside the US. In one culture I got to know pretty well, they didn’t care at all. In another, it was something complicated like if you were cousins on your fathers’ side it was totally forbidden because you were considered like siblings, if it was one paternal and one maternal it was frowned upon, if it was both maternal it was usually not the ideal for anyone but happened often. (The second one, this was all talking about marriage because sex before marriage wasn’t allowed. The first it was either/or.)

    3. I knew a guy that had a threesome with two of his cousins. He wasn’t in the US at the time, and later when he told everyone, he was kind of confused by our reaction. So yeah, cousin sex isn’t a taboo everywhere.

  6. I see the theme of the day is “Pretending that my boyfriend isn’t a lying weasel.”

    LW1, you really think “I was seduced” is an excuse for anything? You really think that men are physically incapable of resisting when a woman comes on to them? You really think he had no say whatsoever in whether they had sex?
    You are very naive. He had sex with his cousin because he wanted to. He chose to. He could have said no. Men do say no, all the time. For heaven’s sake, dump this idiot. He has no respect for you whatsoever if he’s using a line like “I was seduced.”
    LW2: You say you ‘survived’ two marriages. I’d put it another way….you clung to a man who was using you for sex while he had two sham marriages, and fathered a child with some random woman. You, personally, participated in the destruction of two marriages. I cannot imagine having so little self-respect that I would allow myself to be used that way. For seventeen years. You could have been having a real relationship, and a family, with a man who loved you. What an utter waste.

    1. The “men are incapable of resisting a temptress” rhetoric is used in some ultra-religious Christian circles. Given LW1’s concerns about virginity, it’s possible that they are from a religious culture like that. (Can’t think of any that are into cousin sex, though…)
      Virginity is a construct, LW. Someone who has sex is not an unwrapped candy bar or a licked lollipop or whatever other gross “used up” metaphor you might have been taught. Sex is the gift that keeps on giving! (Probably still don’t have sex with this jerk, but not because of when/who/how he lost his virginity)

  7. “WTF” indeed. Some serious MOA required here. And some “Aim Higher” as well.

    All I can think, though, is “We were on a break!”

  8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Oy vey. WTF! WWS, WEES, MOA (what other acronyms can I throw out here?)
    Can we talk about cousin couples? Do you know any? I’m always shocked when I hear about them. But there are a lot of them! OK, I can think of one that I know. A woman I know through work recently got married. When I asked how she met her new husband, she said they were actually cousins. I didn’t get the sense that they were first cousins, but I didn’t ask. But still. Isn’t that an automatic “no” in today’s times? Would any of you consider dating a cousin? A second cousin? An eighth cousin eight times removed?

    1. Wikipedia has a chart of first cousin marriage laws by state. It’s illegal in Illinois unless infertile, so maybe it was a second cousin? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_marriage_law_in_the_United_States_by_state

      I don’t remember the exact wording, but when my husband and I got our marriage license in Texas we had to affirm that we were not related.
      Idk if I would… makes me feel icky. But that’s because I’m thinking of cousins I’ve known my whole life. Maybe if we met as adults and/or were cousins by marriage I’d feel differently.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      My grandparents were fourth cousins and I consider that no big deal. There is very little genetic connection. First cousins share 1/4 of their genes and that is too close for comfort for me. Second cousins share 1/8 of their genes so not nearly as bad but I’d feel uncomfortable. Third cousins share 1/16 of their genes and that wouldn’t bother me. Fourth cousins are out to 1/32 of their genes being shared and that seems irrelevant to me.

    3. Queen Elizabeth and her husband are both great grand children of Queen Victoria. And I think most of royalty in Europe is genetically linked.

    4. I was room-mates with a woman whose parents were first cousins. She was born with a club foot and her brother had several intellectual disabilities so obviously it shouldn’t have happened. Still, it can happen in any mis-matched genetic pairing. I personally think it’s pretty icky because I grew up with all my cousins like siblings, if you never knew them previously it could feel different.

    5. I would not marry a first cousin. I could see this (and second, etc. cousin marriages) happening in the olden days more, when villages were small and there weren’t many options to choose from. Nowadays I see no reason at all to marry a first cousin. Third cousin on, eh, maybe. I’m surprised first cousin marriage is legal in my state (NY) but illegal in the states where people joke about those things actually happening (like Kentucky).

      1. I suspect that’s entirely by design. For example, Utah is a lot harder on polygamists than most states, because Mormons have a history of it and are trying to get away from it. If people already don’t do it, no reason to make a law against it.

      2. Ah, that makes sense!

  9. Juliecatharine says:

    WW&EES. WTF ladies, aim higher. LW 2 get a therapist. LW1, as someone else said, your virginity is special, but not the end all be all. Decide what it means to YOU but seriously, dump this dude, he sounds like an asshole.

  10. WTF is right. Damn letter writers the MOA sign is glaring at you, and you want to stay. Run run as fast as you can, and get away from that man! Lol I rhymed. Oh it’s the little things in life.

  11. Monkeysmommy says:

    LW1- MOA and aim higher. Nothing more to be said. Be glad you are still a virgin and not pregnant by this loser. GTFO before it happens!!
    LW2- … Just wow… I don’t even know… You are quite the special snow flake, huh? Willingly helping destroy two marriages, resenting his child…. I would say there is something really wrong with you. Why the hell would you think there is any hope for you and this man?? He doesn’t love you. He never will. MOA!!! You also say the other woman told him after it was too late to terminate, but I doubt that. Maybe that’s what he told you, to make you feel a little better, but more than likely the new chick had a spine and told him she wasn’t going to terminate just because he told her to. Newsflash- you didn’t HAVE to, either.

  12. wobster109 says:

    LW1: Virginity is no substitute for virtue. Even if your BF were a virgin he’d still be an irresponsible child who refuses to own up to his decisions.
    That said, you were not dating him at that time he had sex, so he can sleep with whoever he chooses. You don’t get any say over someone’s sexual choices when you’re not involved with them.
    LW2: What do you see in this horrible, horrible man? He cheats throughout his relationships and marriages. Why do you want to be with someone who thinks it’s ok to cheat continually? Why do you want someone who makes you “compete” with other women? It’s not you vs other women. It’s this horrible man stringing you all along, playing you off each other like fools, lying through his teeth as he makes empty promises to all of you. In 17 years he hasn’t married you, and he never will.

  13. dinoceros says:

    LW2, why would you want a man who thinks it’s OK to cheat through the entirety of two marriages? What kind of person thinks they have to “compete with a baby”? You need to cut things off with him and have some serious therapy because it’s a big problem that you have been making this poor of decisions for this long and are not able to see how bad your decision-making is.

  14. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW2 You have wasted, totally wasted, 17 years of your life chasing a man who isn’t interested in you for anything other than sex on the side of his more serious relationships. If he wanted to be with you in a more serious way you would be together. It’s not going to happen. If you want a child then dump him and find a guy who wants you for his main or only partner and have a family with him. Choose a man who is available. Choose a man who will be there for you emotionally and who will commit to you. Choose to quit being a man’s affair partner. If you want to be the woman in a man’s life you can’t settle for being the affair. Set your standards higher for both yourself and your chosen partner.

  15. I totally agree with WEES in reference to LW2, but I think we all know that she is far beyond help from internet strangers at this point. Anyone who would do what she’s been doing, for nearly two decades, through multiple spouses and other relationships, will not listen to what we have to say here. Her question wasn’t even what she should do about her joke of a “relationship”, it was how to compete with someone’s infant. She seems to have every intention of wasting the rest of her life on chasing this loser and resenting the baby he has on the way (in addition to any future children he fathers with other women, which he almost certainly will). I envision a response from her along the lines of, “You guys are so mean! You just don’t understand what a Good Man he is, and what a Special Love we have together!”

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I find it telling that she said nothing good about him except that he’s a “glorified booty call.” How anyone could hang in there for 17 years for this guy is beyond me. When she puts those 17 years into the terms of survived his two marriages it is even worse. Survivors are people who have gone through terrible situations. She chose this situation and calls herself a survivor of it. It’s like he sometimes drops some crumbs on the ground for her and she is down there licking them up and hoping some day she’ll get to sit at the table with him. Not going to happen. As long as she takes the crumbs he throws her way he’ll keep having sex with her and as soon as she stops he’ll just have sex with all of the other women he’s been having sex with but he’ll be done with her.

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        She also didn’t say anything about how it’s “glorified”. It doesn’t seem glorified at all to me. Just seems like she’s his fuckbuddy, no glory there.

      2. I think LW2 has severe self esteem issues. She probably thinks she can never get another guy to shag her if she loses the current one.
        So yep, nothing will persuade her to change the situation.

      3. Because it’s almost the New Year, I will allow myself the gleam of hope that she might see the truth of her dead-end situation, stop seeing him, get some therapy and self-worth, and live a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

  16. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW2 You need to set boundaries in your life that block the bad and allow in the good. If you want a committed relationship with a man and to raise a family with that man you need to set a boundary that prevents you spending time with men who won’t meet those goals. If you had a boundary that limited your romantic/sexual involvement to men who weren’t seriously involved with other women you wouldn’t be in this situation. If you had moved on as soon as you found he had a serious relationship with his first wife, before she was a fiance or wife, you wouldn’t be in this relationship. Your personal choices and lack of boundaries has led you to this situation where you feel threatened by a baby to the point of considering a newborn a rival, a competitor. If you had moved on at that point you could have spent a year getting over it and some years meeting other guys and then meeting the one right guy and getting married and having children. If you had moved on two years after meeting booty call guy and then spent three years until you met a great guy and then three years until marriage and another two years before a baby was born you would have a child that was seven. You could have a husband and a child and the life that you want. The thing you need to do is erase booty call guy from the desired image in your mind and keep the rest. Set boundaries that protect you and your life and your time. If you don’t you will end up with nothing. Booty call guy isn’t choosing to make you his partner and even if he did you would end up as divorced as wife 1 and wife 2. He cheated on them because he is a terrible husband not because you are so sexually irresistible. If you were irresistible he would be with you as more than a booty call. You would be his girlfriend/fiance/wife. You would be the mother of his child. The only way you are going to get what you want in life is if you give up the dream of having it with booty guy and move on to having a real life with a great man who isn’t booty guy. The only thing worse than wasting 17 years on this guy is wasting 17+ years on this guy.

    1. Stillrunning says:

      “He cheated on them because he is a terrible husband not because you are so sexually irresistible.”

      This sums it up. You’re deluding yourself if you think there’s a future with this guy.
      Ask yourself why you’ve been his side piece for so long. Understand that it’s all you’ll ever be. Is it really enough?

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