Q. It seems like every time I meet or date someone, my sister likes to form her own type of relationship with the person. Some of the guys are people Im dating, others are just friends. (I dont think shes trying to date them though.)

It starts out innocently enough with a few comments on Facebook, and before I know it she has added them as a friend most of the time she has never even met the person which sometimes leads to texting or phone conversations, and in some cases, even hanging out.

This behavior has happened on more than a few occasions at least six or seven times. I feel like Im being paranoid, but I would never do something like that to her. Ive been told by friends Im justified and Ive been told Im jealous.

She and I have always been close, even though Im eight years older than her. But this really bothers me. Is this a line-crosser? I dont know how to approach her. The one time I did she got bent out of shape and mass deleted everyone on Facebook, saying she wasnt allowed to be friends with my friends. And the one time I mentioned it to a guy I was told I was jealous. Im at a loss as to what to make of it. And what to do.


Dear Sandy,

Thanks for your question.

Youre in an awkward position here. Its obvious you care about your sister and you dont want to do anything to damage your relationship, but at the same time youd like her to stop. (Ahh, the complexity of sibling relationships!)

Rest assured, she is the one crossing the line, and she seems completely oblivious to this fact. Which says that whatever roles you established as kids, you are still playing out here. Meaning, youre expected to be the mature and understanding older sister who puts up with her younger sisters cute pranks. Maybe 20 years ago her antics were adorable, but not so much anymore.

Sibling roles can last a lifetime. Even after kids go off to establish their own lives, these same roles play out any time siblings get together. In order to break free from them it takes insight, understanding, commitment, and participation on both sides. If one sibling wants to work on an issue but another doesnt, conflict occurs which can last a long time.

We dont think a lifetime rift will happen in your case, but you are going to have to have a sit down with your sis. (This behavior isnt going to stop on its own.) And this is where being the older sister will help you, because its clear shes trying to get your attention. Shes flexing her adult muscles, demonstrating her power and probably looking for your approval. Yes, she still wants to know that big sister is paying attention as she navigates the adult world. And of course on some level shes also competing with you. (What younger sibling doesnt want to beat their older sibling in something?)

What she doesnt realize is that youre treating her more as an equal now, which means youre assuming she should know better. And this is how you might broach the topic. Tell her how much you care about her, but that sometimes you might need her support as well. If she understands that you in fact dont have all the answers, maybe shell back off and realize she has crossed the line. Hopefully this new understanding will bring the two of you even closer. Keep in mind, it is possible she will have a knee-jerk reaction and be angry for a time. But if you explain why this is hurtful to you, eventually shell understand her behavior is inappropriate.

And for Petes sake, please hide your phone!

Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guys Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasnt solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email tgpadvice@gmail.com. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guys Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.