Dear Prudence

Help! I Thought My Sister and I Were Alike. But She’s Misled Me for Years.

This felt like a punch in the gut.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q. Sister Sister: I (20F) have always looked up to my older sister (25F). I have recently been coming to terms with being a lesbian, and I had always assumed that she was too, which made me feel less alone. She was always the “tomboy” of the family growing up and still isn’t very traditionally feminine. She also has a lot of friends who are gay or bi and doesn’t talk much about her love life. I know people might think I was stereotyping, but she pinged my gaydar.

Last week, I came out to her, and I was so relieved when she thanked me for confiding in her and said she supported me. I asked if she was a lesbian and she said that she was straight and dates men. This felt like a punch in the gut. It might sound silly, but having felt like I related to her on that level it hurt. I feel so embarrassed that I assumed she and I shared this facet of our lives but also a bit annoyed that she never said earlier that she was straight.

I asked her about her dating life and she said she doesn’t talk about it much because she’s “a private person” and doesn’t want our parents, who can be a bit overbearing, prying. I know it might not be fair, but I feel misled and there’s a part of me that wonders if she’s lying right now about her sexuality.

The sister I thought was a cool lesbian role model turned out to be just another straight girl. I know it’s irrational but I feel a bit betrayed and resentful. How do I get over my disappointment in my sister?

A. She can still be a cool role model! A cool role model who is comfortable with rejecting traditional femininity. A cool role model who has friends of all different orientations. A cool role model who doesn’t feel obligated to explain her dating life to anyone. A cool role model who didn’t hesitate to say she would support you. A cool role model who understands your parents as well as you do. Sure, maybe she’s lying—but if she is, she probably has a good reason to do so. So please, don’t push her on it. She’ll tell you whatever she wants you to know when she’s ready. What you can do now is take what she told you at face value and enjoy the support she’s offering you. It sounds like she has a lot to offer and a lot of ways to connect with you that have nothing to do with who she may or may not be dating.

Classic Prudie

When I started college last year, I decided to share a house with my best friend and two other girls. One of the other girls left and we had to scramble to get someone new. The new roommate is a grad student, a few years older than us, and had just broken up with her “partner” and thus needed somewhere new on short notice. I’m not sure we’d have been her pick for an ideal place or roommates, but she’s nice if a bit reserved. My best friend and our other roommate are weirdly obsessed with the idea that the new roommate is a lesbian. I have no idea whether she is, and don’t care, but they’re doing all these weird Parent Trap by way of Catfish stunts to try and prove that she’s into girls.