Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Go Out With My Dead Boyfriend’s Brother?”

My parents divorced when I was 13. My Dad moved to another state, and I stayed with my mom. Being a single mom, she worked two jobs to make ends meet. She wasn’t home as much as she wanted to be, and I ended up spending a lot of my time with the family across the street. They had twins, John and Mary, the same age as me, and a younger son, Max, who was 6 years younger. Eventually my friendship with John became more than just a friendship. Mary was aware of what developed between John and me, and she did not object at all. John and I were never exclusive, as we both knew we were very young and didn’t want to “tie each other down.”

Just before we all turned 18, John was killed in a car accident. Mary was obviously devastated. She withdrew, and we just didn’t hang out as much anymore. I think it was too painful for us to hang out together, without John. The grief was unbearable. There were nights that I would wake up to the sound of John tapping on my window (as he did almost daily when he was alive). I soon moved out of state, and Mary and I lost touch.

Fast forward 12 years. I’ve never forgotten John and Mary. Actually, I’ve thought about John at least weekly all these years, and missed my friendship with Mary. Last year I moved back to my home town. I ran into Mary a couple of months ago at the grocery store. She walked right up to me and we hugged and cried. Our friendship has started again, just about where it left off before John died. She is even working in the same office building as me now, so we have lunch together most days, and go out together on the weekends.

This last weekend was Mary’s 31st birthday. She invited me to go out to celebrate with her and some of her friends. When she came to pick me up, her little brother, Max, was with her. My heart dropped to the floor when I saw him. Max looks just like John. The resemblance is uncanny, and frankly, it shook me up just a bit. It was like seeing a ghost. Max said he remembered playing video games with me when he was a kid and how much fun I was to be around back then, and he gave me a big hug, and … I felt something.

The attraction was apparently mutual. Sparks were flying all night. On Monday morning, Mary told me that she could tell that Max was diggin me, and asked what I thought of him. I told her the truth – he’s hot, but I didn’t want to cause any problems with our friendship. She said she would not have any problems with us going out. So she gave Max my phone number. He just texted me asking if I want to get together for a drink this weekend. Should I go out with Max? Or is this the whole age difference / resemblance to his brother whom I once loved very much thing just too complicated? Please help. — Too Old to be Crushing Like This

Maybe the age difference between you and Max is too great to overcome — there are certainly big differences between a 25-year-old guy and a 31-year-old woman — and maybe Max’s resemblance to his dead brother whom you loved very much will be too freaky for you to get past. But! Maybe neither of these things will be any big deal. Maybe Max is mature for his age — although asking you out via text probably isn’t the best indication of that; maybe losing his brother when he was 13-ish shifted things for him in a way that matured him faster than other boys his age. And maybe knowing Max as an adult will give you an appreciation for him that is different than your memory of his brother whom you last saw when you were 17.

You won’t — and can’t — know what your feelings will be toward Max unless you spend some more time with him. All you know now is that you are attracted to him, feel chemistry with him, share some personal history, and are forever connected to him by simple virtue of having grieved the loss of his brother whom you once loved. Instead of being weird, maybe all of that is a foundation for what could be a great relationship. Maybe it’s not. Maybe you’ll find you’re better as friends. But you won’t know unless you go out with him and see.

What’s the harm in having a date with Max? As long as Mary has given her blessing and assured you it won’t negatively impact your rekindled friendship, how does going out on a date with Max carry more risk than going on a date with anyone else you might have a mild crush on? It’s not as if you were married to his brother or that you even dated seriously. It’s not like his brother just died last month and you’re disrespecting his memory by moving on too quickly or trying to hold on to what you recently lost by dating his brother. You have processed John’s death. You aren’t under any illusions, I don’t think, that Max is John. So I say go out with him, see where things go, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to figure it all out on the first date. You’ll know in your gut after a few dates whether there’s something worth exploring with Max or if this isn’t any more than a friendly, mutual attraction.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

81 comments… add one
  • MackenzieLee

    MackenzieLee August 14, 2012, 9:10 am

    I have a sister that I resemble quite a lot. I personally have a policy that I don’t date anyone she has dated no matter how it ended because I feel that our physical similarities are too great for people to realize our personality differences and fully appreciated them. I worry you might be doing that in this case. You didn’t mention ANYTHING you liked about Max except that he looked like John. I agree that you can’t know without getting to know him better, but I really caution you to get to know the real him. You’ve had this idea in your head for over a decade of what John would have been like, now there is someone that looks just like him. Don’t try to force Max into the idea of John that you have in your head. Get to know him for him

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      Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 9:32 am

      That’s a nice policy, but when you hit your 30s you stick to bare bones policies like “I will not date anyone who is currently married to someone else,” and you try really hard to comply. The dating pool is too small to be more exclusive than that, haha. LW, go out with Max and then update us on your steamy love affair. I need some passion in my life, and I’m going to get it vicariously through you if you don’t mind, thanks.

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      • MackenzieLee

        MackenzieLee August 14, 2012, 10:44 am

        Ahaha Love me some AP advice

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  • avatar

    Taylor August 14, 2012, 9:20 am

    WWS! Sure, there’s a lot more going on that a “typical” first date, but life and love are messy, complicated things. It’s great that you’ve reconnected with your old friend as well.

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  • avatar

    Muffy August 14, 2012, 9:25 am

    Are you just wanting to date Max because he reminds you of John?

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  • avatar

    mainer August 14, 2012, 9:30 am

    Much in the way you don’t want things to be awkward between you and Mary if you start dating Max, you don’t want them to be awkward if you start dating, maybe even get serious, and then stop. Also, if you go on a few dates and realize he’s not all that great for you, be prepared for that awkward conversation with Mary on why her brother is not date-worthy (since I’m sure she’ll ask how the dates go). If you think that your friendship with Mary will stay strong thru all the different scenarios that come with dating her brother, and you’d be cool still seeing quite a bit of Max by virtue of being Mary’s brother, go for it. But if you think it may rock the friendship down the line, particularly if you and Max should get serious and then break up, you may want to play this one safe and pass.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 14, 2012, 9:42 am

    I don’t like this one bit. Mary may be okay with it but I’m not. Are there no other available men in your town? You have to choose your dead boyfriend’s younger brother? You mentioned nothing about him other than he reminded you of John. Sparks mean nothing, use your head, not your gonads. It’s creepy.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar August 14, 2012, 10:38 am

      I don’t think sparks mean nothing – you have to have chemistry with a partner – and I know for me at least that finding chemistry was a rarity. I have girlfriends that fall in love frequently but for me, it was a rare man that could turn my head. And I don’t think it is creepy at all – if the brothers were similar then it makes sense that Max would be her type too.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl August 14, 2012, 3:03 pm

        Meh, it’s still creepy. Chemistry can lead to bad choices because you’re not thinking with your head. Sure sparks are good but sparks aren’t everything. Sparks are often mistaken for a real connection, especially by women who are looking for a relationship.

        The LW is gonna do what she’s gonna do but I still think it’s a bad idea.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM February 13, 2013, 12:41 am

        Heads can be stupid and get you all attached to a guy who does nothing for your gonads.

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    • avatar

      bluesunday August 14, 2012, 10:42 am

      Spark means nothing? I always thought spark was a nice way of summarizing instant attraction- when you have a great conversation with someone and are interested in getting to know them. It’s a lot easier to relate to than the gritty details of the conversation, which rarely make sense when you try to describe it to someone. For example “We spoke about the Magic School Bus and he said he liked Carlos and his corny jokes! So i made fun of him for that and told him Wanda was the coolest”. Yeah, I would just describe it as “spark”

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      • landygirl

        landygirl August 14, 2012, 6:48 pm

        Let me rephrase…sparks don’t mean as much as we think they do. Sparkes fade and what’s left may not be enough.

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    • avatar

      Lula Fitzpansypanz August 14, 2012, 11:30 am

      It’s not like the LW was in a serious, commited relationship with John & she is now thinking of starting ot see his brother. We’re talking about a LONG AGO “romance” between middle-schoolers that was never serious, and ended abruptly (sadly). It’s been a long time since then & as long as the LW isn’t trying to put Max into her “John fantasy” I don’t see the problem.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 14, 2012, 9:42 am

    I don’t see the harm in going out with him. Just make sure that deep down you’re not expecting him to be like his brother. I know a lot of time has gone by, but young love has a way of sticking with you, and it wouldn’t be fair to him if you were secretly hoping he was someone else.

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    • avatar

      Muffy August 14, 2012, 12:19 pm

      Yes I agree with this completely. Not only can trouble arise if you date your friend’s brother and then you have a falling out but ask yourself whether you truly want to date MAX or whether you want to date JOHN again. If the latter is the case then that’s just not fair to Max

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  • avatar

    random August 14, 2012, 9:50 am

    I know this is different, but Wendy’s response really made me think. Do you guys think dating a younger man in your 20s is really a problem? I recently started seeing someone 4 years younger and everything seems ok (by ok I mean its fantastic), but sometimes it makes me really nervous that he is so much younger.

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    • avatar

      MJ August 14, 2012, 9:56 am

      I’m dating someone younger, too. I think if you are on the same page timeline-wise, and he is an emotionally mature person, then you can easily make it work. The guy I’m dating is considerably more mature than some other dudes I’ve dated who are older than he is.

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        random August 14, 2012, 10:01 am

        I don’t really have a timeline. I’ve only been out of school for a year, and was really enjoying being as non-tied down as possible until I started seeing this guy. That said, I may feel different in a couple years when I am pushing up closer to 30. Its just really hard for me to tell how important a timeline kind of thing may become to me and its especially hard to talk about it because I don’t know what one would be if I had one.

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      • avatar

        MJ August 14, 2012, 10:27 am

        Hmm, if you keep seeing him, that would be something worth talking about…where you each see yourselves in 5 years or whatever. If both of you say “eh, don’t know, don’t have plans” then you’re probably on the same page 🙂

        But I suppose if things start to change for you, you’d need to communicate that ASAP.

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        random August 14, 2012, 10:34 am

        Being really open with each other has helped so far – we have known each other for a long time and at least at the very beginning were pretty nervous about ruining our friendship. So I think this is some pretty solid advice. I always forget about just being open and honest.

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    • avatar

      Anna August 14, 2012, 10:00 am

      No, I don’t. I think once you’re into your twenties and up, age really doesn’t matter among consenting adults. 6 years is nothing, and 4 years is even less of nothing. Peoples’ maturity levels are an individual thing unrelated to your physical age. It’s much more important to find someone you compatible with in maturity than someone who is physically similar in age.

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      • avatar

        Muffy August 14, 2012, 12:22 pm

        Yep exactly. I know a guy my age who is so emotionally mature that he’s pretty much a senior citizen. Like zero sense of humour, wears his blackberry on his belt clip, eats the same thing at the same time every day, wakes up at the same time (7am -any later is not practical) and is so freaking stiff he may not even be alive. And then I also know a guy who is my age who has the emotional maturity of my ten year old sister and thinks “older women are gross” and calls people “poopy face”

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      bethany August 14, 2012, 10:03 am

      I don’t think so. You just have to make sure that you’re at the same emotional life stage. Some people are an old 24- they’re done with the party scene and are a little more settled- other 24 year olds are out at the bar till 2am every night of the week (there are also people who fall somewhere in the middle). As long as you know which of those you are, and which he is and are ok with those, then you should be good.

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    • Amybelle

      Amybelle August 14, 2012, 10:08 am

      I don’t think the age difference is a big deal at all. I dated a guy who was 10 years younger than me (26/36) and although I had some reservations at the beginning, it turned out to be a non issue. It just depends on the people involved. I have noticed that people tend to think its a big deal when the woman is older, no one has a word to say about a woman in her mid twenties dating a guy in his early thirties.

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    • Leroy

      Leroy August 14, 2012, 10:13 am

      It’s only a problem when women do it.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar August 14, 2012, 10:27 am

        The rare combination of funny and true.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle August 14, 2012, 10:32 am

      I know a woman who is 35 who just married a 27 year old guy. It doesn’t matter.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 10:42 am

      That’s a good question. I wonder too what guys think. I know age doesn’t matter and everyone will say that… but, really, guys, what do you think? I’m oblivious to my age. I mean, like, I’ll start talking toa 28 year old and think – we’re the same! – but, no, I’m 5 years older. I don’t feel 5 years old and I don’t think I look 5 years older – but I am. And they know it. And I want, men, does that bother you? For example, on Sat. I met a guy out and we were talking and we’re both attorneys (of course, everyone is an attorney it seems) and we swapped levels – which is typical when lawyers meet, I think. I’m an ’05 grad. He’s an ’09 grad. And I didn’t think anything of it. But, then, later, I was wondering: I wonder if he thought “oh, she’s old,” or something like that. Based on this info, I’m at least 32 as far as he knows. (Though I’m 33 b/c I took a year off b/w.) And he could be as young as as 28. … To me, that split is NOTHING. But, honestly, all you male 28 year olds out there, if you heard a girl was at least 32 (and maybe older for all you know), would that be an issue for you? He asked for my number for those wondering, so maybe it wasn’t an issue for this guy. … But he also hasn’t called me yet so maybe it is an issue. Btw, by what day if I haven’t heard from this guy I should start to feel rejected? But really answer the first question first b/c I’m curious. What think men in their mid to late 20s when they meet a girl in her early 30s? Go.

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        random August 14, 2012, 10:51 am

        The little man I have been dating told me he doesn’t care and that it makes guys “look cool” when they date older women if that means anything. He does keep telling me that he’s nervous I’m going to wake up one day and decide to date someone my own age though, so I guess there is that concern.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 14, 2012, 10:52 am

        he hasn’t called or texted yet? eh, give it until Thursday.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 11:42 am

        No he hasn’t. I had scheduled a reminder on my calendar to feel rejected and depressed tomorrow but I’ll reset it for Thursday, haha. Oh Tommy Papalapapotomous.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl August 14, 2012, 11:53 am

        pappachristostefanolpolis

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      • Budj

        Budj August 14, 2012, 11:05 am

        I think overall if you are single w/o kids that a 28 year old typically wouldn’t be concerned about age in your situation. I think someone having kids would be more of a factor with even less of an age gap. Some people are ready for that – others are not… but a 28 working dude and 32ish working woman in the same life situation is not really a huge age gap “on average.”

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      • avatar

        MJ August 14, 2012, 11:10 am

        My bf is cool with it (or so he says). I’m 33 and he’s 28. We’re about 5.5 years apart. Our timelines (marriage, babies) might not exactly match, but I think we’re both willing to work that out.

        I think that as long as he is mature and stable and semi-settled, it will work. 5 years ago my bf was a stoner who was just starting law school…we wouldn’t have worked back then.

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      • avatar

        mainer August 14, 2012, 11:24 am

        This is my situation – my fiancee is 33 and I’m 28, but we’re 4.5 years apart (she just turned 33). Definitely fast tracks the whole starting a family thing and the issue of marriage was brought up pretty quick. I knew she was the one and we’d get married, so it was just a matter of fast-tracking my time table to help accommodate hers (which is not to say I felt pressured, more like “well it’s going to happen anyway, whats a few years ahead of schedule matter?”)

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        MJ August 14, 2012, 2:16 pm

        Haha, thanks Mainer. We’re coming up on 6 months and we both know that this is good…so I think I’m going to initiate the whole “timetable” conversation pretty soon. I’m 99% sure he’s where you are, but it’s good to communicate things openly.

        And yeah, once you hit 32 or 33 (33 especially), the biological clock is shrieking :).

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      • Diablo

        Diablo August 14, 2012, 11:58 am

        When I met my wife, she was 27 and I was 23. By an odd coincidence (or is it more?), I have never dated a woman younger than me. Narrowest range was 20 and 22. Widest was 19 and 29. I don’t think you could say that I have a “thing” for “older” women. I never saw any issue. I was always thrilled that anyone of any age wanted to be with me.

        (Dear Younguns: if you think 29 is “older,” just you wait!)

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG August 14, 2012, 11:07 am

      I am an entire two years and five months older than my fiance… and I have gotten the “cougar” joke a few times. Ha ha, hilarious… I know it is just a silly joke, but it is kind of annoying that no one would have a joke like that if he was a tiny bit older than I am.

      To some people, this age difference between the LW and her potential suitor is a big deal. That being said, I think she should give it a shot. But, as others have said, make sure she isn’t dating him as a way to recapture that lost love years ago. She needs to think of this an entirely new situation.

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      • Budj

        Budj August 14, 2012, 11:13 am

        I don’t know…I have a tendency to wonder about guys that date much younger than them. I think it can speak to their maturity level…also add in potential for “power plays”/control desires in a relationship… It is much less taboo, but I still think people think weird of it often enough.

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG August 14, 2012, 11:23 am

        Also, women’s sexual peak occurs later than men’s. Speaking from experience, I am much more satisfied with a younger man than I was with my ex who was 8 years older. So… more power to the ladies that date/marry younger men 😉

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        mainer August 14, 2012, 11:30 am

        Yes, this. My finacee is horny ALL the time. It’s awesome. I told my friend if he has the chance to date a girl in her early to mid 30s to do it, he’d get laid more than he did in college and it would actually be good sex because she knows what she’s doing.

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        SweetPeaG August 14, 2012, 11:34 am

        So true 🙂 My fiance picks on me all the time about how I have the sex drive of a teenage boy. Not that he is complaining.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 August 14, 2012, 11:42 am

      My fiancee is 4 years younger, but I think it is different when the women is younger, because they mature faster, well they act more mature in certain situations haha. All of my really close friends are married too, or engaged to younger women too.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 August 14, 2012, 11:45 am

        Though now that I think of it I have 2 that are married to older women, and 3 that are married to, or engaged to younger women, but not a single one is with somebody their own age!

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  • Budj

    Budj August 14, 2012, 9:57 am

    I would also just make damn sure this resemblance of the dead brother isn’t driving your thought process here… I think it may be playing more of a role than you realize.

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  • avatar

    Flake August 14, 2012, 10:00 am

    Haven’t read the letter, but it’s a no.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 10:04 am

      Ha, I thought the same thing when I read just the title. I want to hear your thoughts after you read it.

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    • avatar

      Flake August 14, 2012, 10:06 am

      Read it now, still a no.

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  • avatar

    j2 August 14, 2012, 10:03 am

    One of my mathy friends recommends not dating when the age delta is greater than the number of years the younger is older than 18.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 10:06 am

      Oh I like it.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 10:16 am

        And it means I can’t date anyone younger than 26. Good to know.

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        Addie Pray August 14, 2012, 12:25 pm

        And on the flip side, I should be weary of men over the age of 48 who are trying to date me. Which means I can still date Brad Pitt, barely but still. I mean, there are other things that will likely prevent us from dating but at least we pass your mathy friend’s test.

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    • avatar

      Meghan August 14, 2012, 10:42 am

      I cannot even begin to comprehend this kind of math.

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      • avatar

        j2 August 14, 2012, 10:51 am

        At the time, the person asking was 23, so the friend said, “That makes you 5 years older than 18, so you should not date anyone older than 23 + 5 or 28.”

        Looking at it from the older person’s persepective, it works out to halfway back to 18.

        That is, a 34 year old is 16 years from 18th birthday, so should not date anyone more than half of 16 from 18 years old, or 18 + 8 = 26.

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    • JK

      JK August 14, 2012, 11:00 am

      I´ve heard of the half your age plus 7 rule. But I guess in some cases it´s too much of a difference.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh August 14, 2012, 10:06 am

    I say go and be honest with him. You’re not sure what you want from this but you would like to get to know him better. And like others have said make sure you’re not making Max a replacement for his brother, he’s his own person and you need to make sure you’re attracted to him as Max and not as some guy who looks like someone you used to be attracted to. However, you won’t know that until you actually hang out with him more.

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  • avatar

    Anna August 14, 2012, 10:10 am

    When I read the headline, my first thought was “No! What? Are you serious?” but after reading the letter I agree with Wendy. Siblings tend to share some personality characteristics, and that is probably as attractive to you as his similar looks. Is Max similar to John in other ways besides looks? I mean like a similar sense of humor, work ethic, similar values, etc. If so, obviously that’s the kind of guy you are most compatible with and gravitate to. Why not give it a shot? Maybe it was meant to be.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar August 14, 2012, 10:29 am

      I thought this too. If she liked John – it makes sense that she would feel connected to Max if the two brothers were similar.

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  • Will.i.am

    Will.i.am August 14, 2012, 10:12 am

    Didn’t Jake Gylennal and Tobey MacGuier do a movie on this in recent years?

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    • becboo84

      BecBoo84 August 14, 2012, 10:21 am

      Yes, I think it’s been in the past couple of year. I believe one of them goes off to war or something, but I can’t remember the name of it.

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      jlyfsh August 14, 2012, 10:22 am

      sort of but the husband wasn’t really dead. tobey maguire was lost in a mission in afghanistan and jake gyllenhaal sort of steps in and helps natalie portman’s character deal with him being gone. they develop some sort of relationship but they only kiss and then decide that they can’t cross the line. tobey comes back from being tortured and sort of loses his shit and thinks they did more. he ends up in the mental hospital and the movie ends with them not sure their marriage can recover. it was an interesting movie but really disturbing as well. i don’t do well watching crazy violence between people in movies so i had to hind behind a pillow for a large part of this movie.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh August 14, 2012, 10:22 am

        and the name was brothers.

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        kerrycontrary August 14, 2012, 10:41 am

        Ugh, I hated that movie because so many people have come back from Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD and other problems that need therapy. My boyfriend and sister are in the military, so the possibility of someone coming back a changed person is very real to me.

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        jlyfsh August 14, 2012, 10:48 am

        yeah i think part of the reason it was so hard to watch is that it’s based in reality. i do better with things that are crazy far fetched like zombies.

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      • katie

        katie August 14, 2012, 11:11 am

        That movie disturbed me as well I was going into it thinking I was going to see a love story, not a crippled by war creepy movie. Not a fan. The previews totally lied!!

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      • avatar

        Taylor August 14, 2012, 11:45 am

        Ooh, I hate it when the previews lie! Particularly when the movie sneaks in a parent with Alzheimer’s/dementia – I’m looking at you Hanging Up and Hope Floats. Nothing like spending 8$ to sob in a movie theater.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar August 14, 2012, 10:23 am

    If you are asking about it being complicated – sure it is – but that is just how life goes. If the age difference becomes a problem really depends on the couple – will you find shared interests? have a shared sense of humour? accept each other and enjoy each other’s company? You’ll know these answers after you date him.
    As for the looking like his deceased brother complication – the real complication in that story was Mary – and Mary is totally fine with it. You aren’t the teenager you used to be when John was alive – and Max certainly isn’t the little brother playing video games anymore. Get to know Max for who he is today and if you like Max and Max likes you – then congratulations. I think it could be lovely for you.

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  • avatar

    mf August 14, 2012, 10:31 am

    I think you should go for it. It seems like enough time has passed that you have grieved for John and have moved on. Like everyone else has said, you just have to be sure you want to know Max on his own terms (and not as a replica of John).

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  • avatar

    vees612 August 14, 2012, 10:51 am

    I personally think death kind of has its own set of rules when it comes to who you date. I know this is kind of a different situation being that John and Max are brothers, but I’m kind of in a similiar position. My fiance died in a car accident almost 3 years ago, when I was 25. After he passed away, I got closer to one of his best friends, but nothing ever really transpired between us; because not only had not enough time had passed and we were still grieving intensely, but also because he was so similiar to Mark (my fiance) but yet not Mark…and all I wanted was Mark back, that I came to almost resent him for that. So we kind of lost some of our closeness, but always remained friends over the years.

    Flash forward to one month ago: our relationship had developed into something much deeper, and all of a sudden, I saw him in a completely different way. The fact that he and Mark have so much in common, and are alike in so many ways, only validates why I’d be attracted to him. Of course, any man I want to be with is going to share similiar traits with Mark, just as John does with Max, because that’s what you’re attracted to. Except now enough time has passed, and I’ve gotten enough distance from Mark and that past, that I can see This Guy as his own individual person, not as Mark’s friend or a second choice substitute for Mark. Is it kind of weird for This Guy and Mark’s friends? Sure. But we can’t live our lives for other people, even those who have passed away, and I personally believe Mark would be happy knowing that This Guy and I are with people who care about each other the way he’d want us to be cared about. I don’t think it has to be “creepy,” but I do think it’s equally important to acknowledge the uniqueness (differences) of the individuals so you don’t get caught up in some fantasy of having John back in your life and project that fantasy onto Max.

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      jlyfsh August 14, 2012, 11:28 am

      someone i went to high school lost her husband in a tragic accident. it took about 5 or 6 years to happen but she just recently married his best friend. they both leaned on each other a lot while healing and dealing with his death and eventually fell in love. it’s so hard for some people to understand, but i think like you said your fiance and her husband both would want nothing but happiness for the people they left behind. i hope no matter what happens you’re able to move on and find love again.

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      SweetPeaG August 14, 2012, 11:31 am

      Probably the most useful advice on here… being that you’ve *sort of* been there. Thanks for sharing your story! I think the LW will be pleased to read your experience.

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        SweetPeaG August 14, 2012, 11:37 am

        And by “pleased” I mean that it will be helpful to read about someone who can relate. Not about what happened… sorry if that came out wrong! I second jlyfsh in wishing you the best.

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        vees612 August 14, 2012, 11:58 am

        No worries, I totally understand what you mean! It’s kind of difficult to find people around this age who’ve had to deal with the loss of a relationship ending in death, and you’re exactly right in that it’s a comfort hearing from people who’ve been there before. And like jlyfsh said, in going through the grieving process with someone is such an incredibly intimate, vulnerable experience, that it creates a bond that kind of makes the transition into a romantic relationship feel more natural and comfortable.

        And thank you guys 🙂

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      bethany August 14, 2012, 11:38 am

      Something similar happened to my Uncle. His wife died of leukemia, and a few years later he ended up marrying her half-sister. I never knew his first wife, because I was little when she died, but I assume they probably had a few personality traits in common, that he really liked.

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    • MackenzieLee

      MackenzieLee August 14, 2012, 2:45 pm

      This advice is so poignant. I think the most important part is that you realized “This Guy as his own individual person, not as Mark’s friend or a second choice substitute for Mark”. As long as the LW can separate the two brothers given their physcial similarities (and possible personality similarities), it could be a good relationhsip.

      However, I think the big difference is that we only know the brothers look alike. There is no indication that they act alike, which I think leads to more problems.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie August 14, 2012, 10:16 am

    The age difference issue is bewildering to me. In our society it’s discriminatory, older guy-younger woman is acceptable but the reverse raises eyebrows. When I was in my 30s I dated some women that were in their 50s. They were more settled into a life style that suited them and fantastic in bed. In the case of the LW the difference is small and if the relationship (to be) lasts it will only be a problem to some snoots outside.

    One couple that we’re very close to are 10 years apart. He’s the younger one and took on her 2 kids when they were little and was and is a great parent. They’ve been together for over 20 years and now look forward to being grandparents.

    Bottom line is: Don’t allow the small age difference limit the potential for happiness. When your drawing social security benefits it won’t mean diddly.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 14, 2012, 11:24 am

    The only reason NOT to go out with the man in question here that I would have thought was totally legit would be if Mary was totally opposed to this — and you wanted to maintain your renewed friendship. But she seems to be all for it. Enter it casually and see where it goes.

    I, too, have a dead lover from my past… (Killed by a drunk driver — he wasn’t even in a car, but was a pedestrian…) And if he had a kid brother who looked just like him and was totally into me… I’d totally have to see where it goes, too. Sorry about your loss. I never really got over Kurt’s death either. Even though we’d been broken up for years due to logistics — he was older by four years and graduated college when I was but a freshmen — we had only recently reconnected (epic phone calls…) and so I now often play the cruelest game of “what if..?” Yeah, I was so into Kurt. And the cherry on top was that he was so successful, came from money, amazing job… Who knows how much better my life would be had some fucked-up cunt simply NOT driven home that night.

    So, yeah. I say go for it.

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    • MackenzieLee

      MackenzieLee August 14, 2012, 11:54 am

      I’m really sorry for you loss Mark. I can only imagine how hard it would be to lose someone and the clouds of what ifs that would surround you.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie August 14, 2012, 12:24 pm

    I feel compelled to mention that losing partner is something you never really get over and who better then his brother would understand. I’m still in love with the one I lost 35 years ago. Thankfully my wife understands it when I cry during a movie with something like that in it.

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    Laura Hope August 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

    In ancient Jewish law, if a woman was widowed, she was required to marry her husband’s brother (unless he rejected her).It was to carry on the brother’s name through the children. Of course you weren’t married and you may not be Jewish but for some reason, I just thought it might be interesting to know that it was seen as the ethical thing to do.

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    SiSisodaPop August 14, 2012, 7:04 pm

    If AP, BGM and DW all say go for it, I must agree.

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