Ask Demetria UPDATE: “I Just Discovered I’m Dating My Sister’s Ex!” (Full Story)

Remember Soul Food? Maxine (Auntie Viv) stole oldest daughter Teri’s BF and their relationship never recovered.


Dear Demetria:

Older sis and I are ten years apart. Since she moved out of state, we don’t talk as much. Been dating this older guy and we are moving towards commitment. Sister has moved back recently and wanted to meet BF. Come to find out, they dated a few years ago while she was away… Should I just cut ties?

Something’s up here that I can’t quite put my finger on. You and your sister don’t seem very close if you don’t talk much just because she moved.  It’s the 21st century and we’re all connected. It’s actually hard not to stay in touch with people. There’s another reason you didn’t speak regularly.

So I’m guessing now that she’s physically closer, you both want to give this relationship another go, and what better to bond about that boys, right?  You tell her about a guy you’re seeing, and at minimum, the conversation likely included his name, how you two met, and probably a physical description of him. I’m pretty sure that your sister picked up on her ex being your up-next. I can’t think of another reason why a person who you’re really not all that close to, even if she is your sister, would want to meet your BF.

What’s curious to me is why didn’t your… I don’t know what to call him. In one sentence you say you’re moving toward commitment, then the next you call the man your BF. Those are two different things. Let’s just go old school and call him your “friend” since that covers everything.  Did you mention anything about your sister to him? Like “yeah, I have a sister. She lives in XYZ.”

I live in New York. It’s a city of 8 million people. Still, without fail, anytime I mention someone, like say, a woman named “Mary”, someone who knows someone named Mary in New York will say, “hey, I know a Mary. Does she work in finance? Graduate from Georgetown?” I can’t really see you saying  to your Friend, “Beth lives in Chicago” and his response isn’t, “really? I dated a Beth from Chicago. Where did she go to school? (Or some detail that would distinguish her from the other Beths in Chicago.)  If you ever mentioned your sister, your “friend” more than likely knew she was also his ex, and didn’t say anything. But maybe you never mentioned her.

Let’s get to the bottomline here: I‘m not a fan of immediate family dating the same person. The only way this possibly works is if A) your sister is entirely cool with it and stays that way; B) your sister didn’t get dogged by him; C) your Friend didn’t have sex with her; and D) it’s been a long time since they dated, at least 4 years. And it would help tremendously if your sister was in a relationship. Still not a fan, but this makes it easier to swallow.


I originally posted the query as a Question of the Day on social media. Readers had many questions in the comments section, and the original poster returned to clear up some confusion:

“We have different dads so we don’t have the same last name and look nothing alike, in my opinion. I asked him if he knew she was my sister, he said ‘no’, but he always thought I reminded him of his ex, but never brought it up. I really love this guy I don’t know what to do.”

She added: “according to him, they never had sex. And I believe him due to sis being really big on abstinence. Plus, I was still a minor when they were dating out of state. We never talked due to a big family blowout so when I met him years later, I never even introduced her as my sister.”

You obviously want this to work. I get it. What it boils down to is how does your sister feel about it? If this is going to cause a huge rift between the two of you or another “big family blowout”, then it’s not worth it. You don’t let a, as Iyalna Vanzant likes to say, “ a pe-nus between us.”

I’m… concerned that you seem to be talking out this issue with the guy extensively, but have you talked to your sister in depth as well? He says they didn’t have sex. What does she say? Ask her. How does she feel about this? How did she feel about their relationship? Ask her.

It seems you and your sister are re-building your relationship. Will your relationship with your Friend get in the way of that? Is it worth it to you—and not just now, but in the long run?

Make your final decision based on that.

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