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Fling Theory

Three years ago, I had a summer fling with a guy -- nothing serious, just sex. He wanted more, but I wasn't interested. My sister was there through it all. Shortly afterward, I met my current boyfriend, whom I've been dating ever since. Five months ago, my ex-fling started hanging out with my sister, who had a boyfriend at the time. She told everyone that she and the ex-fling were just friends. A month ago, I learned that she'd lied to me, my family, and her (now) ex-boyfriend, and was, in fact, in a relationship with my ex-fling. I feel hurt, betrayed, disrespected, and disgusted. Not only am I upset at her dishonesty, I'm shocked that she would sleep with someone I had. I have no interest in him, but I can't shake the idea that my sister shouldn't be dating him. I've always considered her my best friend...until now. I've tried to talk to her about it, but she won't let me because it's "too weird." Am I wrong in feeling so upset?

--Family Affair

APPARANTLY, THE Ten Commandments were edited for space reasons. That bit about your sister not being allowed to be with a guy you boy-toyed three years ago must have been among the commandments that got cut.

I know what you're thinking: "Why couldn't they chisel that one into the back? Just scratch a little arrow and a 'see other side' after #10." It's a little late for that, but to help you feel even more right than you already do, I'm proposing a sequel to the Ten Commandments. We'll call it something catchy, like "The Twenty Suggestions," and lose that bossy "thou shalt not" lingo.

Most of the Suggestions will wag a disapproving finger at a general audience: stuff like #14 -- "If the sign outside the restaurant does not read 'Chuck E. Cheese's,' the patrons within should not be hearing the screams of your children." #17 -- "The only tune your cell phone should be programmed to play is the unfinished portion of Beethoven's unfinished symphony." #12.5 -- "A green light signals that it's time to put your foot on the gas, not reprogram your radio, floss, exfoliate, or examine your arms for cancerous moles."

I'm setting aside five blank slots so you can slap some sense into that lying sister of yours before she slides down the slutty slope into ax-wielding, kitten-drowning felon-hood. Oh, please! If you crammed any more self-righteous indignation into your letter, I'd have to take steroids to hold it up to read it. So what if your sister fell for some dude you shook out of your sheets three summers back? What are you, the kinder, gentler black widow? You let your fling boys live; they just can't ever live with anybody else.

Your sister's under no obligation to call a press conference about her love life simply because you're desperate to attend. Considering your attitude, she's smart to keep quiet. (There's a fine line between talking to unreasonable people and crazy people. At least with crazy people, there are breaks in the diatribe whenever Moses, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Bart Simpson need directions to Starbucks.)

Whatever happened between sis and her ex, if anything, is between sis and her ex. If you want to be your sister's friend, stop sitting around like a clump of oily rags, raising a nasty stink. You might even find it within yourself to get happy that she's happy -- despite how unhappy you are at the prospect of seeing some mistake you made seated next to her on your parents' living room couch.

Copyright ©2002, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 70 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.