(The Frisky) -- Dear Wendy:
I'm 33 years old and recently my high school sweetheart, Michael, who I dated for almost two years and lost my virginity to, found me on Facebook. After much thought, I finally hit the accept button to his friend request. I figured it has been 15 years, we are both grown adults now and, yes, part of me wanted him to see just how fabulous I turned out.
The problem is, Michael has also "friended" my sister, who was an 11-year-old ugly duckling when we dated in high school, but has definitely blossomed since then. It turns out, they went out to dinner the other night and my sister finds him "very interesting and good-looking."
I told her I feel weird about them dating, and I swear if she wasn't my sister, I would have told her where to go the minute this happened.
She could be "talking" to any of my exes and I would feel the same exact way I'm feeling now. It's called the Girl Code and she needs to respect it. The number one rule of the Girl Code is to never date your close friends' exes, so I think this applies double if it's your sister.
When I tell people about this situation, everyone thinks what she is doing is wrong. Well, everyone but my sister and her friends. They say I shouldn't have a problem with it since I've been happily married for 13 years and that it was over a decade ago when we were teenagers.
So, who is right!? Is it wrong that I still believe in the Girl Code? -- Girl Code Believer
Dear Girl Code Believer:
What's with all this "Girl Code" business? You're not a girl, GCB, you're a grown woman. It's time to start living your life by a more mature philosophy and treating people with respect and making decisions based on individual situations rather than blindly following a "code" that never considers context.
I understand you'd be hurt that your sister is dating your high school sweetheart, but I find it more difficult to understand how you'd be upset with any female close to you dating any ex of yours, regardless of when you dated him, how serious you were, what the breakup was like, and what your feelings for him are now. Not every relationship is created equal, and you shouldn't apply some silly "code" to all of them as if they are.
Relationships are not about marking your territory for life. They are about finding someone you click with and can learn from -- and if you are lucky, create a life with. However, as we know, most relationships end eventually, and there can be a tendency to protect their memory or somehow preserve the feelings we had while in them. But applying a code to those doesn't make them special, GCB; they're already special on their own.
Applying a code to those relationships doesn't somehow protect them from change or lock our old feelings in the past.
So, rather than cry "Girl Code!" when someone close to you dares to date someone from your past, ask yourself what really upsets you about the prospect. If you can articulate clear reasons that speak to genuine hurt feelings, emotional discomfort, and perhaps even concern for your sister or friend's well-being, then express those.
You'll have a much better shot at being truly heard if your reasons come from the heart. And if you can't come up with any good reasons other than "Girl Code!" it might be time for you to grow up and let other people live their lives.
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