Shortcuts: “My Boyfriend Maybe Slept With His Sister”

​It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend Alex for a year. His brother told me that Alex had sex with their sister, but his brother likes me so I brushed it off after my boyfriend told me it wasn’t true and that maybe his brother wanted me and my boyfriend to break up. When I’m at Alex’s house, he leaves the room for thirty minutes to an hour and he isn’t in the living room or the kitchen, which I find odd because I’ve never been with a guy that leaves the room for so long to go talk to his family while I’m over and then doesn’t even tell me what he’s doing. I also read texts between him and his sister, and I saw a text with him asking her to go to the movies with him, a text telling her to “come here alone because I have to ask you something,” a text with him telling her “bring my shorts, underwear, and towel,” and a text with her saying, “Hurry up before your girl gets back” along with his reply, “I’m trying.” (None of these texts were on the same day.) Am I being paranoid because of what his brother told me, or would you worry too? — Worried About the Sister Thing

Just the fact that his brother would say such a disturbing thing and that Alex pretty much brushed it off and didn’t do anything to reassure you or validate your relationship is concerning. Instead, you say he ignored you and behaves in a way that might give the disturbing comment by his brother some merit. And that you even think there’s a chance there may be truth to the bombshell that Alex slept with his sister is telling in itself. A healthy relationship can’t be built on this foundation, regardless of what the truth is. MOA.

My boyfriend, whom I have been with off and on because he goes back and forth between me and his ex, has a baby on the way next month with the ex. We already have two kids together. We live together, but I am wondering if it makes sense for me to stay. He has made it clear to her that he is in a relationship with me, but she is the type who doesn’t care. On top of it all, his family loves her because they have seven or more years’ history with her while they don’t care for me because I am twelve years his senior. — Twelve Years His Senior

Oh, honey, no. Kick him out, sue him for child support, focus on raising your kids and creating a stable co-parenting relationship with their father, and avoid two-timing men who don’t know how to use a condom.

I’ve been with my fiancé for three years. He has a 14-year-old daughter who does not live with him although he does get her every weekend. But his daughter isn’t the issue; my issue is that my fiancé and I are going to move in together in a few weeks and, although it’s not often, his daughter’s mother does sometimes text or call after 10 p.m. I asked him to please ask her not to call or text after 10 p.m. unless it’s an emergency pertaining to their daughter, and he got very upset. Am I wrong for asking him to do this? — Stepmom to Be

Have you asked that no one else call or text after 10 p.m. or just her? I think the key here is to make it a universal request — don’t answer calls or texts, from anyone, after 10 unless it’s an emergency. And the same has to go for you. If you make this solely about her and you don’t follow the same rules for yourself, then it’s totally unfair and makes you look jealous. If you have a legit reason to be jealous — like, if you suspect their relationship goes beyond co-parenting and that some feelings linger between them, then perhaps you shouldn’t be planning to move in with him and marry him…


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@dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1: why would you want any part of this family? Your boyfriend maybe sleeping with his sister, and his brother doesn’t give a fuck about him, because he’s trying to get with you. Sounds like a fun time…

    LW2: You couldn’t have reread your own letter, and think that sounded ok, could you have? You blame it all on her saying she isn’t the type that cares, but if he actually cared about your relationship it wouldn’t even matter, they wouldn’t be having a kid together.

    LW3: WWS, unless you do it for everyone, you just sound jealous. And that’s if. Maybe you do have that rule for everyone, and in that case Wendy’s last sentence for sure.

  2. Oh, good grief. My brain just cannot process LW1 and LW2 today. It’s been a week. LW3, WWS said.

    Also, am I just old or something because unless I’m out at night, I never send or answer calls or texts after 10 pm or before 8 am and…I don’t really get them, either?

    1. The only rule I remember is no calling before 10am on the weekend. 🙂

    2. dinoceros says:

      I have a wider time frame for sending texts (and some people are in different time zones), but everyone I know keeps their phone on do not disturb or silent at night, so they can read it at their leisure without being disrupted.

  3. artsygirl says:

    LW1 – God what a mess of a family, I think I would move out of state since either they have a weird incestuous relationship, an insane level of disloyalty, or both

    LW2- “but she is the type who doesn’t care” neither is your boyfriend

    LW3 – WWS

  4. SpaceySteph says:

    LW3– you can also investigate the do not disturb feature (some phones have it embedded, and some third party apps will do it too.) There are some where the texts are silenced and calls only come through if the same person calls twice, to allow you to be reachable in an emergency. My mom uses that and so we know if we need her in an emergency we just need to call back and it’ll go through. This is better than granting certain people exceptions, too, because what if your phone is broken and you borrow a friend’s or a stranger’s.

    Instead of making this about the ex wife, which as Wendy says makes you come across as jealous, make it about protecting your private time and have it be something that you both enable on your phones.

    1. When it comes to the jealousy of the ex, I think it’s more than ‘makes it seem like’, LW is definitely jealous and her bf has picked up on that vibe loud and clear. This is the sort of foolishness that kills relationships, even those which otherwise would have made it.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Idk I mean its possible that nobody else texts him after 10pm. If I said to my husband “can you tell [friend] not to text after 10” or “can you tell your mom not to text after 10” it wouldn’t sound jealous, but there’s no point in saying “can you tell everyone you’ve ever met not to text after 10” if its only one particular person who’s doing it.
        And since they do share a kid, he might be reluctant not to read her texts because they might pertain to kid where he might be willing to ignore a random friend who did did the same.
        Maybe she is jealous, maybe she isn’t. The perception is the same, regardless of intent, which is why I gave the advice to make it blanket and for both of them, even if the exwife is the only one who actually does it.

      2. dinoceros says:

        People have different attitudes towards exes than moms and friends, so I can see how saying it about an ex might sound more jealous than random other people. One is a former romantic partner and the others aren’t.

        I don’t know any couples where one partner gets upset if the other one reads a text after 10 p.m. I could see if the phone was ringing late, but they could easily put the phone on silent. Since he either won’t do it or it still bothers her, it does sound like there’s a little more to it than just the disruption.

  5. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

    Wendy, you get a disturbing amount of incest letters. Like, it’s not often, but that’s still too much.

    #1: You think this has merit so the relationship’s over.
    #2: Girl….Look, you say you’ve started to question whether this is worth it. Consider this to be your wake-up call and get out.
    #3: Is she the only person who does this consistently? Because I understand making the request specifically to her, if only she does this regularly. Like, if most people only call after 10 maybe once a month, and she’s doing it every week, she’s then the only problem. Anyway, the alternative is to get your bf to call every night before 10 to say goodnight to his daughter, and then your bf can ask that she talk to him then. Better relationship with his daughter, and you’re not asking him to limit contact, and he’s going to find it super annoying all on his own if she calls after that.

  6. Why does it matter what time she calls? If someone told me I couldn’t take a phone call at a certain hour I would laugh in their face. Controlling much?

  7. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Do you realize that it’s so not normal for a sibling to tell his sibling’s girlfriend he slept with their sister? Like that’s REALLY weird. Either he is really messed up or your boyfriend is. I’m concerned that you seem to think that’s just a normal thing a person who likes you would say. But in the end, if you hear that and legitimately think it might be possible, then you either have that little trust in your boyfriend or he’s so sketchy that it seems feasible, or both. Move on. Do you know anybody who tells the story of how they met and it includes accusations of incest? The best case scenario seems to be that she is aware of maybe some negative feelings he has about your relationship to the point where he tries to avoid you.

    LW2: Have some self-respect. Who agrees to basically share their boyfriend with another woman? Teach your kids to have some standards rather than scrounging around for whatever crumbs they can get from someone.

    LW3: I assume his issue was that it’s not your place to tell his ex to follow rules you’ve set. That’s his role. But do you not have the “do not disturb” function? Can you not answer? If it’s an emergency, you can read it on the text. This is such a non problem.

  8. Ok this isn’t the eighties where a phone call after 10 wakes up the whole house. Is his ringer that loud that it wakes you up? Ever heard of vibrate? Do not disturb? There are so many wonderful technological solutions to your problem UNLESS your a jealous woman who thinks cheaters only send texts after ten, in which case get your head out of your ass and fess up to what the real problem is.

  9. LW3, If your fiance’s ex is calling late night only once or twice a month, you need to let it go. If she is calling 20 out of 30 days a month, you need to let go of this guy. That is very intrusive and obviously the guy is still involved with his ex.

  10. TonsOBeef says:

    @stepmom to be
    Are you fucking kidding me? Based on wht you said you haven’t found any insidious messages or any clues that they are talking intimately or have thoughts of doing something romantic together or you would have mentioned that. If the mother of his children works and gets home and gives him a call later just to talk about a kid or something in general! Than that is perfectly acceptable, if you don’t trust him to talk on a phone to her that is your problem. Get a grip you sound like the crazy wife who doesn’t believe a word anyone says and everyone is always up to no good. He is a grown man and he can talk on the phone with anyone he wants about any subject matter as long as it doesn’t involve him cheating emotionally or physically. FUCK YOU FOR TELLING HIM THAT PLUS WHAT IF HE DOESNT CALL HER WHAT IS HE GUNNA IGNORE THE MOTHER OF HIS KIDS?! WHAT IF SOMETHING IS GOING ON?
    FUCK YOU!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *