Can I Date My Step Brother?
All IN The Family - Dating Within the Family?
Dear April Masini,
I broke up with my boyfriend a year ago, and it was devastating. I wept for weeks, and went through all the stages of denial and grief until I'm finally OK. I think. I haven't been on a single date the entire year since the breakup because I was just too depressed. Every time I thought about going out with someone I kept comparing them to my old boyfriend, and needless to say, I sat home and watched a lot of television. But during that time my step-brother was really nice to me. He brought me take-out food because he was afraid I wouldn't eat. He brought me Blockbuster movies. He sent me stupid, but sweet, cards to cheer me up. And now, I think I'm attracted to him. We didn't grow up together. In fact, he was in college when my mom and his dad married. I've only really seen him at Christmas celebrations and other extended family holidays. But now he's taken a job in the same town I'm in, and I think I have a big crush on my step-brother! And I think he's attracted to me. I'm 24 and he's 31. Can I go out with him? Or is it just too weird? Do you have any advice for when it comes to dating step-siblings?"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Brotherly Love,
Since you’re both legal adults, and you didn’t grow up together, you’re free, legally, anyway, to date your step-brother. Stranger things have happened, and you definitely risk ending up in People magazine, or worse, as an inside story in the National Enquirer, but no one will arrest you. But when that relationship inevitably crashes and burns, you don’t want to have to list your last relationship, in your internet dating profile, as having been with your step-brother. (Take a look at my article on ’Online Dating Tips’.)
However - and this is a big however - more likely than being in love with your step-brother, you’re hurt from the break up with your former boyfriend, and you’re afraid to trust anyone again. Your stepbrother may be wildly attractive and kind as can be, but family and family friends often - fly under the radar - and aren’t put through the same scrutiny you’d subject a real date to. Your stepbrother feels safe to you right now. You probably think that if you two date, he’ll never hurt you the way your boyfriend did because you’ve known your stepbrother for as long as you have. In fact, your mother ended up married to his father, so that’s a stellar recommendation in and of itself. Right? Wrong! Chances are that this may be an illusion you’ve conjured up to help yourself get over your break up. Take a look at "Baggage Free."
Post Breakup Dating Ground Rules:
There is no substitute for dating like dating. Real, hardcore, dinner and a movie, buy a new dress for Saturday night, dating. There are no short cuts around the jitters you feel seconds before you open the door to a blind date. And the cold hard fact is that you may like someone who doesn’t like you back. In fact, you may even sleep with someone, and get rejected.
Love hurts. But it can also lead to wonderful things. And you have to accept the fact that you may have to do some - active healing. In other words you’re not going to be able to stay home for a year, and suddenly - be fixed. Matters of the heart are a journey, not an equation. You’ll have to date a little, check in with yourself, date a little more, suffer some feelings, and live your life.
Rebound boys abound. Dating your stepbrother is not a good idea. There is a strong chance he will be your rebound boy. If you and he do date, and either one of you gets hurt in the relationship, Thanksgiving and Christmas will take on exponential dimensions of awkwardness. It’s bad enough to deal with relatives at the holidays, but when you’ve slept with them, and things didn’t work out, it can be a monumental disaster.
Aside from you there is extended family to consider. Dating your stepbrother may make your respective parents and stepparents furious, upset and in need of keeping a therapist on retainer. Your siblings and stepsiblings may also become upset and uncomfortable around you. It isn’t worth it.
You’re hurt. Get up. Get out there. Meet men and enjoy life. Let go of the past and embrace your present. Just keep your stepbrother at a distance - especially now when you’re feeling vulnerable.
Take a look at my book, Think & Date Like A Man and you'll be back on your feet dating in no time!