Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Sister’s Breakup

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the sister’s breakup.

Danny: I had a sort-of similar question about in-laws hooking up

which doesn’t excuse your sister getting drunk and fighting with his sisters, obviously

but also

I bet if she had cheated on him you would not say “I don’t care who cheated on whom”

I bet you would say “and to top it all off, she cheated on him”

Nicole: Jeez Louise

Yeah, fighting in public at your events is bad.

But don’t disinvite either of them

Danny: like, if she were just privately irked with him I’d be way more inclined to back her up, but I think the odds of her causing a scene at the wedding if they’re both in the party are at like … 50/50?

Nicole: It’s just impossible to kick your sister out of your wedding, I think

Like it would be such a colossal deal

Danny: right, and it’s unclear if the letter-writer means from the wedding party or the wedding itself?

Nicole: I think a really serious convo is the first step

Danny: which they’re really both one and the same, you can’t really de-bridesmaid a sibling and expect them to still show up

Nicole: RIGHT

Danny: yeah

Nicole: exactly

It’s basically identical outcomes

I would make her not drinking a priority

bc then you can kind of blame the booze for the last disaster so it seems less personal

but the talk needs to end with a pledge to be present, not to yell or start a fight, and not drink

Danny: right … something along the lines of “BIL is a dog, I’m so sorry. But I can’t have another repeat of the bridal shower at the wedding; what can we do to make sure you two don’t have to interact more than the bare minimum and do you think you can wait to drink with your friends afterwards?”

also i’ve been getting a weird rash of letters along these lines


Danny: of someone who’s about to get married, or recently married, whose relatives and future in-laws have inadvisedly hooked up

Nicole: it’s generally a bad idea

Danny: and weirdly, the one who always gets the free pass is the known bad actor

so if you’re going to date your in-laws

be sure to first establish a terrible pattern where you break all of your lovers’ hearts

so everyone excuses you with “Oh, he’s always like this”

Nicole: That seems v sound.