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Woman shares saga of stepsister dating her ex; 'My family says to forgive her because of the cancer.' AITA? UPDATED 7X

Woman shares saga of stepsister dating her ex; 'My family says to forgive her because of the cancer.' AITA? UPDATED 7X


When this woman is furious with her stepsister, she asks the internet:

"AITA for not accepting my sister's relationship with my ex despite her having cancer?"

My (25F) father married my step-sister's (23F) mother when I was 4 and she was 3. We've lived together most of our lives and are a family. She and I were extremely close.

She developed cancer when she was 14 and was sick for about 2 years. She's since made a full recovery. During that time, my parents became understandably over-protective.

They also asked a lot of me. I quit my extracurriculars so I could get a job (the money went towards her medical bills) and so I could drive her to appointments. I didn't go to dances and any fun activities I did needed to include her.

I did almost all of this willingly, the exception being having to quit my high school volleyball team - I did throw a bit of a tantrum about that, but was swiftly punished. And I think having one emotional breakdown was pretty chill given the circumstances.

Anyhow, I go to college and meet my ex, we'll call him Ben, when I'm a junior. We fall in love, blah blah blah. He and I move in together when we graduate, so we've been living together for about 3 years. We were serious until July when I walked into my bedroom and saw him fg my sister.

I broke it off, tears were shed, he moved out, etc. My sister apologized at first but then backed off. I thought she was giving me space but last week she called and asked if we could meet up.

She told me that she and Ben were in love and were just telling me as a courtesy before they started posting photos online. Distraught, I left her in the restaurant by herself and did not pay my portion of the bill. She later venmo'ed me asking for the money.

She told my parents who then called me to their house, telling me how disappointed in me they are for not supporting my sister's relationship with Ben. They brought up the fact that because she had cancer as a teenager, she never learned proper social etiquette, and has a hard time meeting people.

I don't buy this, in part because I've seen her socialize just fine and since we spent a good chunk of the time she was sick together, that would also mean that I should have bad social skills as well, by that logic.

They then told me that if I don't accept my sister and Ben's relationship, they may have to go no contact with me. I reminded them that I'm also their daughter and they should understand my point of view, but they are adamant that this is about me being jealous of her.

For the record: I'm not jealous of her. I'm not upset that Ben picked her over me. I'm sad about the end of the relationship and do feel betrayed, but lord knows that I don't want to be with a cheater.

What I'm upset about is the fact that my sister chose Ben over me. That she slept with Ben knowing he and I were in a long-term, committed relationship, and continues to be with him knowing how much it hurts me.

Now no one in my immediate family is talking to me and I'm getting messages from aunts and uncles and cousins telling me that I'm an asshole and a selfish b.

While I've had moments where I've been resentful or upset about my teenage years, I've always thought that I did the right thing for my sister and for my family. And that time wasn't all miserable;

I was very close to my sister and we made things as fun as we could. But I didn't think of it as an abdication of my parent's responsibilities or that they were doing wrong by me, which many of you pointed out. I definitely have a lot to think about. Thank you again for making me feel less crazy about all of this!

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

haha5 writes:

NTA: Oh heck no! Your sister is using an illness she had a decade ago as an excuse to sleep with your boyfriend and gave that be okay. It's not. The fact your parents are going along with this smacks of having a golden child. I'm sorry to say that sometimes the trash takes itself out.

Your sister is awful. You parents are and WERE awful (it was not your job to quit every activity to pay your sister's medical bills and drive her around). It's good that you know this now and can get some therapy and move on with your life. You deserve better people in your corner and they are out there waiting for you.

nerdqueen writes:

NTA. How are you the selfish one. Your sister slept with your boyfriend behind your back and your family is mad at you for not accepting it and your parents are going as far as to disown you if you don’t accept it.

Your parents have failed you I know your sister getting cancer was a terrible thing but it is being weaponized as a excuse for your sister to just treat you like crap. You sister, parents, ex boyfriend, and family who is shaming you can go screw themselves.

I would go NC with all of them and I would suggest you also get therapy to help you with this toxic situation. Your parent have enabled your sister to treat you like crap your whole life and used her having cancer as in excuse not to parent her.

Don’t worry karma is going to bite them all in the behind and I bet your parents are going to be begging for your help when they are older because your sister is dependent on them and they don’t know what to do.

badbandit writes:

NTA. WTF is wrong with people these days? Sorry your sister had cancer as a teenager. Glad that she beat the odds and made a full recovery. But your parents were dicks. Making you stop living your life to help pay her medical bills and take her to and from appointments. That was their responsibility, not yours.

Them catering to her behavior, f that. I'm not buying the whole "she didn't learn social etiquette" because of her cancer. That by the way, was also on your parents job to teach her. Your sister knew exactly what she was doing when she hooked up with Ben. And the fact that your parents are condoning it, is abhorrent.

I'd tell your parents and your extended family to pound sand. We've no clue as to what story they've spun to make your sister look like a victim, but if none of them have enough brain cells to actually question it, they're not worth your time and effort. Good riddance.

Your sister is going to spend the rest of her life playing the victim card, and you're far better off distancing yourself as much as possible from that potential train wreck sooner than later. You go be the best you possible. Live your life and don't look back.

ficklewill writes:

NTA. Your sister having cancer when she was younger doesn't give her a blank check to do any horrible thing that she desires. If she committed murder would your parents excuse it because she had cancer as teenager because a court of law wouldn't.

Your sister is a selfish person. Your parents are horrible parents. There is no way you should have ever been responsible for helping to pay your sister's medical bills. Nor should you had to have sacrificed your childhood.

They are their parents. They are the ones responsible for making sure that both of their children are taken care of and cared for. I know you love your family but they are toxic to you.

You need to cut them out of your life for now at least and go get some therapy to help you deal with the unbelievable favoritism that is going on in your family. If you don't your life will always be about sacrificing your wants and needs for your sister.

And now, OP's 1st update:

Just got off of the phone with my cousin who saw this post and said he could explain a few things. I asked him why he was on Reddit instead of school, he asked me why I was on Reddit instead of work, and I said touché. He told me that after my conversation with my mom, she went to his house and talked to my aunt. And here's the deal:

Turns out my sister is not only in a relationship with Ben but FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT. Which means she and Ben were fg for longer than I had even guessed. Apparently my parents are so adamant that I forgive her because I'm already ruining their experience of their first grandchild.

That's right, I'm less important than my stepmom posting ultrasounds to Facebook. This is where we're at.

Anyhow, I called out of work sick the rest of the day and am going to drink a lot of alcohol. Like, a lot of alcohol. And then start thinking about what the fuck I'm going to do.

Update 2:

Two things to clarify before I update: I didn’t have a shitty childhood. The favoritism started when my sister was diagnosed. I moved out soon after and have been pretty independent since then. Not saying that how my parents treated me during those years were a-ok, but I wasn’t Cinderella.

I did not drink myself into oblivion. I had two white wine spritzers. But I appreciate the concern from folks!

Anyhow, the update: I got in touch with my sister and asked her to meet up again at a park (no bill involved). I asked her if she was pregnant and she told me the truth. She said she wanted us to still be in each other’s lives and that she wanted me to be in her baby’s.

A redditor (and I forget who, I’m sorry) mentioned that she may ask me to be the godmother and that person was correct. But as many of you pointed out — if I didn’t cut her off, I’d just become her bank and daycare employee.

So I told her I could no longer be in her life. And I left her crying on a park bench and felt like the shittiest person in the world.

I emailed my parents and told them how betrayed I felt and that I’d be cutting off contact with them. To my stepmom’s credit, she apologized. She explained that she never thought my sister would live to have kids and that she let her emotion over that get the better of her. Understandable. My dad said nothing, which is honestly what sucked the worst about all of this.

Ben tried messaging me from a burner account for the first time since the break-up but I blocked him without reading it.

I didn’t go nuclear and post the story to Facebook as some suggested but I sent an email to the extended family members who I care about. I explained the situation and how I’d be distancing myself from my family.

Some have made it an us-versus-them situation and as much as I appreciate the support, feeling like I’m in some valiant battle just makes me more tired. So I haven’t been talking to much of anyone in my family.

I feel lonely and crappy, but I think I made the right decision. Anyhow, not the most exciting update in the world but hopefully everyone knows that I’m not dead. I do really appreciate the support I’ve gotten — it made me smile during a really shitty time.

And hey, if anyone in the greater Boston area wants an extra guest at Thanksgiving, lemme know. TL;DR: Ended up cutting off my family.

Update 3:

Hi! Some people were interested in an update, so… I am spending Thanksgiving with a friend and her family. So I won’t be alone! Thanks to everyone who offered to host me, it was so sweet!

I’m still not in touch with my family but I know that Ben and my sister are having problems. I know this because he showed up at my place and cried for three hours. I’m going to go to New Mexico in April! Planning is underway. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Update 4:

To make a long story short, my [26F] break-up last summer with EX1 [26M] was volcanic. He's now expecting a baby with my step-sister within the next six weeks or so.

Since I found out about the pregnancy, he's tried to get in touch with me six times through email/text/burner accounts, has tried to get mutual friends to talk to me for him, and showed up to my place once.

The latter was the only time I humored him. He told me he was sorry, he loves me, he doesn't want to be with my stepsister and wants to get back together with me. I told him tough titties. He made his bed and now he's got to lay in it with her.

I haven't dated much since July because of my life's implosion, but in November a friend from college messaged me out of the blue. We hadn't talked in a long time.

He [27M, referred to as EX2 for the rest of the post] and EX1 were good friends but had a falling out over something fantasy football-related the year after we graduated and I stopped talking to him out of solidarity, or whatever.

Anyhow, we go on a date. We click. We go on a few more dates. We become exclusive in early December. I was feeling really hopeful about this until this morning.

I was supposed to meet EX2 at a new year's party last night. He got there before I left the house and texted me saying that EX1 was at the party and asked whether I still wanted to come.

I declined and went to another friend's house and have a pretty good time. I tried calling EX2 at midnight but he didn't pick up, I didn't think much about it.

Anyhow, I go to bed late and when I wake up this morning, I have a message from EX2 saying we're done. I couldn't even respond because he'd blocked me everywhere.

I talked to a friend who was at the party the EXes were at last night and he said the two of them had spent a good chunk of time chatting with each other but he didn't know what they were talking about. I'm not close with anyone else who was at the party so I don't really have anyone else to ask.

Like okay, it was a two-month-old relationship. I'm sad but I'm not bereft. But the paranoid part of my mind is really concerned that EX1 said something that resulted in EX2 becoming EX2. EX2 has made it abundantly apparent that he doesn't want to talk to me again and I don't want to push that boundary.

But I'm so confused. I could contact EX1 but I get the feeling that will open a floodgate of drama. I could also try talking to other mutual friends to see if they've heard anything but I also don't really want to spread this as a rumor if it wasn't true.

I don't know. I'm at a loss. Any advice here? I'm spiraling thinking that my ex is going to try to ruin every relationship I have for the rest of my life.

TL;DR: After a conversation with an old ex boyfriend, my new ex boyfriend broke up with me. I'm afraid that the old ex boyfriend said something to him and I'm worried he'll do it again in the future.

Update 5:

My last two partners have cheated on me. The first was a very serious relationship. We lived together, we talked about marriage and buying a house.

He even took two pictures of us as kids and photoshopped them together to show what our kids might look like one day (the result was terrifying but hilarious and I had it as the background of my phone for a month).

I walked in on him sleeping with my step-sister. Now she's pregnant, due in the near-future, and he's with her. I know he's not happy. I know he regrets what he did. I know that he loved me. And none of that stopped him from fucking my step-sister in our bed.

I've spent so long now being upset at her and writing him off as just a bad decision that I wasted time on but now I find myself mourning what we had. My step-sister and I grew up together and have loved each other most of our lives so it felt like that was the betrayal.

But he and I chose each other. Out of all the people on the earth, we looked each other in the eyes, committed to each other, and made the promise to stay faithful. And he lied. And he lied and he lied and he lied. And he let me go on loving him while he lied.

And then a few months ago another guy comes into my life and for the first time in ages I felt hopeful. I thought to myself that maybe I could actually move on and live my life.

I wasn't in love with him but he was the kind of man I thought I could fall in love with. We were exclusive for about a month. Before we made the decision to be exclusive, I told him everything that had happened with my first ex and told him that I could never be with another cheater.

I wake up on New Year's Day to a text saying we're done. When I tried getting in touch, I found out he'd blocked me everywhere.

Turns out, he met someone at a New Year's party, and hooked up with her. Instead of telling me, he just blocked me everywhere and sent a lackey to message me a few weeks later with the real story and a half-assed apology.

I want to be angry and maybe a part of me is. But as I'm sitting here, I'm just thinking... What if it's me? What if I'm just not loveable? What if it's never going to happen for me?

The thing is, I've been a pretty confident person. I went through bullshit as a kid but I got through it and grew stronger. I'm pretty good-looking (though I've admittedly put on a little weight in the past couple weeks), I've been told that I'm fun, I hold down a good job and make decent money.

I also live my life according to my values. I've always put my family and partner first because that's just how I believed it should be done. And I thought that I would be prioritized in turn.

I've lost most of my family because they'd rather have my step-sister's baby in their life than me. My friends have been fair weather, for the most part, and I know that I'm a laughingstock in my friend group, as much as they pretend to pity me to my face.

I feel the little spark I've always had fading. I don't chime in on conversations anymore. I've stopped putting on cute clothes when I go out. I don't plan anything so I don't have anything to be disappointed about.

Soon I'll be the same age as my mom was when she died. I never knew her but I've always loved her, thinking of her watching over me. I don't remember the funeral but it was one of those funerals where there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

She lit up a room, people tell me, she was a good woman. In my worst moments, I wonder what it would be like if I died right now. Would anyone cry? Would anyone care? Would anyone even come?

Anyhow, sorry for writing a novella. Just... not sure what to do anymore and who to talk to. If you read all this, thank you.

Update 6:

Hello folks. I thought that things on the Internet died after a couple days so color me surprised when I still get requests for updates on the regular. Long story short, I don't have much to update.

I didn't end up going to New Mexico because I, conveniently, got Covid the week before I was supposed to go. The baby was had but I have had no contact with the baby or their parents. I've done a pretty good job of insulating myself from news about them/the rest of my family. My life is pretty much the same as it was.

So, sorry to the folks who are hoping I have some kind of happy ending to slap onto all of this. Things are improving just because time barrels on and you can grow numb to most anything given enough time and distance.

But I have had no grand revelations, have not met the love of my life, nor had elaborate revenge on those who have wronged me. I am going to Europe for the first time in October, though! So that's exciting.

I will say this: While I appreciate the solidarity and sometimes colorful language used to describe my sister and Ben in my DMs, I wholeheartedly ask everyone reading this not to waste their energy on hating them.

They're now parents to a newborn and regardless of the things they've done in the past, I hope that they can come together as a happy family and raise their child in a loving, healthy home. Hating them doesn't do anything for anyone, including ourselves, in the long run.

Anyhow, that's the non-update update. I promise that if I meet the love of my life at the top of the Eiffel Tower (or more likely, stuffing my face with waffles in Bruges), I will post another update.

Until then, you can assume that I am living, trying my best, and am very appreciative of all of the people out there in the world who have read this saga and reached out with support (even if I have not had the energy to respond to everyone)!

Update 7:

Hi! Just wanted to give a more recent, less depressing update: I am currently in my hotel room in Paris, eating a creme brûlée in bed, reading a romance novel, and about to go to sleep early. All is well.

Hello! So, it’s been a minute but I still get messages from folks asking how I’ve been and I’m up too early and a little bored so I thought I’d give you the answer: I’m good! Made a lot of really positive changes in my life and I am in a much better place (physically and mentally) than I was last year.

No, I’m not in contact with my family. The last straw was in spring 2022. My dad emailed me to ask if we could get lunch and talk. Me, having always harbored the secret and foolish hope that we’d reconcile and go back to normal, agreed.

I arrived at the restaurant and waited two hours. When my server gave me a free dessert on the house with a pitying look, I called it and went home. Later I got an email from my stepmom, which I’m sure was full of excuses, but I didn’t read it.

But, the really positive outcome of that was that made me realize that I needed to move far away and not come back. Which I did! I’d always been really scared to move away from my family but since I don’t have one anymore, I ended up somewhat spontaneously moving halfway across the country.

The spontaneous move was stressful and expensive, but I can now say that moving was one of the best decisions of my life! I ended up reconnecting with an old friend and falling in with her friend group, who are the loveliest people.

I’ve never felt safer or more supported and I feel so lucky to have them in my life. And it’s less humid here! That’s a big win.

One of our friends is a counselor who helped me find a therapist that I really click with. And it took a few tries and a therapist who didn’t immediately want to do CBT with me, which just isn’t my thing, but I found someone I really connect with.

I’m now doing IFS therapy and it has really changed my relationship with myself and helped me realize all of the hurt and pain I’ve been holding onto and start to heal. So… y’all were right and I needed to go to therapy.

Give yourselves a pat on the back for that one. I also got diagnosed with depression and am taking medicine for that.

It was a bit hard to stomach as someone who always saw her value as being the Happy Person Who Takes Care Of Everyone All The Time but it turns out that sometimes when your needs aren’t met as a kid...

you end up becoming the Happy Person Who Takes Care Of Everyone All The Time because you’re afraid that if you show the slightest bit of unhappiness, you won’t be loved anymore, and that’s fd up.

I also met a guy. And I know you’re all saying, “Papaya no! Your decision making around men cannot be trusted!” but I assure you that he’s different. Instead of rolling his eyes when I’m feeling off...

he’ll either just quietly lay on the couch with me or go for a walk, or he’ll say really dirty things to me in his spot-on Kermit the Frog voice until I’m laughing so hard I can’t focus on anything else.

And bonus! He’s far too busy painting D&D minis to find the time to cheat on me, so I’m not even worried about that. I did have to invest in a somewhat elaborate Renaissance Faire costume, which is not something I had imagined for myself, but I’m having a great time. I’m gonna marry this dude someday.

As for Ben and my sister, as far as I know they’re still together. Every so often she tries to get in touch with some manner of burner account, but I ignore all of it. I’m still bummed that...

I’m not going to be a part of my nibling’s life and I do, honestly, still really miss my family, but I know this is right for me. Sorry I don’t have any salacious info on them, since I know you’re all really here to hear about their karmic downfall or whatever.

But on my end, things are good. Better than they were before I found out I was being cheated on. My current life is built on real contentment, not fear disguised as shallow happiness. It’s not perfect and I have a lot of problems that I’m working through, but I’m proud of myself and I think my mom would be, too.

May you, too, be blessed with internet strangers who cheer you on and offer to sabotage the lives of the people who do you wrong.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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