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Parallax - Advice            June 12, 2000

   My sister stole my boyfriend!

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

My sister and I constantly fight over boyfriends. We're twins (fraternal) and we still argue about who gets to go out with various suitors. It's causing a real rift. My sister is now dating someone I dated two years ago and I think she does it just to spite me or prove that she can win. How do we stop all this? We're always fighting about it and sometimes I end up dating guys I don't even like just to prove a point. I know it's terrible but we've been doing it for years.

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Her view:

Dear Spited,

Grow up and stop this right now. Literally, flip a switch and end the madness. THIS IS YOUR SISTER! You sound like sixteen-year-olds fighting over outfits. This is the sibling you love and want the best for - a twin no less - your other half.

Who cares about the boyfriends? They will come and go. Your sister - especially a twin - will be the closest person to you for the rest of you life. I bet you would give her a kidney if she needed it - and yet on the boyfriend front it's a competition. It's downright stupid and reflects badly on your character and hers. You should take control and reset the pattern - just plain stop. Stop caring who she goes out with as long as she's happy, and stay away from her boyfriends - any sister would do that automatically.

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His view:

Dear Spited,

Your rivalry may be part of the explanation, but my guess is it's more of an outcome to the situation. It is likely that your sister and you share similar tastes in men. If so, it's not so strange that sometimes you both end up dating the same person. However, when that happens, a pique begins, and it gets out of control to the point where you date men you don't like.

Before proposing a solution, I have to say I don't see why you are so upset that she dates your exes. If you're happily done with them why should you care? And if you had a bad experience and you think they are horrible twits, well, isn't that just what your sister deserves? Fine, I oversimplify, but if you seek a more complex analysis of this issue you may do better on Jerry Springer.

One suggestion is to put yourself in the place of the guys who are being dated only as part of a grander game. That could make you feel guilty and induce you to curb the immature behavior - though judging from your letter, it might be too mild a remedy.

Beyond that, I think you'll have to either fall into a long-term relationship, move to a different city, or, if it really gets out of hand, find yourselves a pair of twins.

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