The first time I wondered what dating a twin would be like was when I saw our new neighbors years ago: two twin sisters. They were dressed identically, no doubt a fad of their parents. I took a few minutes looking at one, and then the other. Like some weird tennis match. But without a doubt, I was intrigued.
What must it be like to have a twin? Are there any problems with dating a twin? Are there any problems with marrying a twin? Logic would make us believe that twins shouldn’t be any different from regular siblings. But they are. Twins not only share the same womb at the same time, but they also share the same DNA (if they’re identical). They grow up together with insane proximity, and sometimes with unreasonable external expectations about their identity. It’s like living with your mirror image. So, I understand the intrigue a person goes through when they realize, “I am dating a twin”.
15 Things To Know Before Dating A Twin
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Majority of the pros and cons of dating a twin center around their physical identity. The fact that they’re twins intrigues people. Especially if they’re identical. In such cases, people rarely have qualms about substituting one for the other. But they’re different people. Popular culture has rarely done a great job of representing twins. They’re either shown as pranksters, evil ghosts/murderers, or objects of sexual fantasies. Game of Thrones went a step further in that direction with Cersei-Jamie incest subplot.
But normal twin relationships rarely function like that. Research indicates that dizygotic or fraternal twins (resulting from the fertilization of two eggs by two different sperm cells) show the same level of Sibling Relationship Quality (SRQ) as non-twins. Identical twins definitely show a higher SRQ when compared to fraternal twins or non-twins. Genetic and environmental factors contribute highly to that. To conclude, when you’re dating a twin, it’s always going to be more complicated than just dating anyone.
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1. When dating a twin, you must learn to differentiate
In The Social Network, one of the Winklevoss twins (don’t know which one) says, “There are two of me.” Many twins, especially identical ones, consider themselves a duo. They do the same things, they like to dress alike, and they like to consider themselves as mirrors of each other. But that doesn’t mean they want you to do that too.
According to research, twins often develop an identity crisis, starting from their late teens, and try to form an individual identity. Even if they like to call themselves half of a whole, they expect you to know they’re not. So when dating a twin, learn to differentiate between the two. Look for any visual signs like moles or scars, body language, or any other cues. It sounds cute, but if you can’t identify the person you’re dating, then it’s a relationship red flag in a man to be watchful for.
2. What to know about dating a twin: they’re not interchangeable
Hollywood has created the ultimate twin trope. One twin turns out to be sweet and caring, and the other crass and naughty. But it did get some things right. Twins, even if they look the same, are not the same people. You might wonder, are twins obsessed with each other all the time? No, the majority of them behave alike because of socio-environmental factors. But they’re not interchangeable. When you’re dating a twin, the worst way to get over a breakup with them is to think the other twin would do in their place. Big mistake. It’s like denying their humanity and individuality.
A post by this Reddit user puts this into perspective. Someone asked this person and their identical twin if they touch each other’s genitals. Since this person considered them the same person, he didn’t see his question as problematic, creepy, and a form of sexual harassment. But it made the twins highly uncomfortable and made them avoid each other for weeks.
3. No threesomes
To all the perverted people who think of a threesome every time they see a pair of twins, I’d say just stay away. Not only is it objectifying and degrading, but it’s also a refusal to see a pair of twins as individuals. Unless the twins have shown an open inclination to it, it’s always a bad idea to suggest this idea to any pair of twins. At the same time, stop exoticizing the idea by telling all your friends, “I am dating a twin! I can’t believe my luck, I’ve hit the jackpot!” They are individuals who happen to have similar genes. It’s not the entirety of their identity.
4. Always double the presents
It would be a bad idea to go to your date’s birthday party and not bring a gift for their twin. They’re likely to be celebrating it together, and if you show up with a gift for just one of them, it’s going to get awkward. If the party is just for them, and not their twin, then it makes sense to bring only one gift. However, never give them the same thing. It would be more awkward for your date’s twin to receive the same gift intended for your date. Instead, for the twin, try some creative gifts for people you don’t know well.
5. The twin’s opinion is important
Most twins grow up in close proximity to each other. Hence, they value each other’s opinions a lot more than non-twins value their siblings’ opinions. So it would be a bad idea to berate your date’s twin in front of them. Also, when dating a twin, make sure their twin likes you because they are unlikely to go for someone their twin doesn’t approve of.
6. There are no secrets
Another thing about dating a twin is that nothing is ever a secret between them. If you tell your date something, nine out of ten times they’re going to tell their twin, unless it’s deeply intimate and confidential, of course. If you have a birthmark on your thigh and your date has seen it, the twin is definitely going to get to know about it. This is not always the case, since the intensity of the relationship varies from one twin pair to another. But better be prepared for this possibility.
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7. Twins are enmeshed with each other
Are twins obsessed with each other? Well, whether in a great, caring way or in a destructive way, twins are almost always enmeshed deeply in each other’s life, even if not obsessed with each other. Psychologists say it’s not just genetics, but also factors like comparison during growth years, lack of individual identity, etc. The relationship often becomes codependent. You may begin to feel like an outsider in an intimate relationship, even though you’re the one dating a twin.
8. You may be ignored when dating a twin
If you look at the plethora of “Built-in Best Friend” T-shirts available in stores, you won’t find it difficult to believe that many twins consider each other their best friend. So, if you’re insecure enough to want your date to cling to you (maybe by playing hot and cold with them), you’re in for a disappointment. Not only will your date not miss you after a point, but they’ll also find a partner in berating you for your cheap tactics. And even if you were to make it up to them for your behavior, they are unlikely to forget it.
9. It’s difficult to not be attracted by your partner’s twin
If you’re dating someone who has an identical twin, it’s going to be very difficult to not be attracted to their sibling. They have the same face and body after all. Even if they have some visible differences, it’s going to be very difficult to not get the same kick in your gut when you see the twin. With time, you’ll of course learn to be attracted by not just the face but the personality too. Till then, try not to show your dilated pupils to your date when you see their sibling.
10. Never get in between their fights
Twins being codependent in their relationship is rarely talked about empathetically in popular culture. Twins do love to be with each other, but they may begin to hate one another. At the same time, twins are enmeshed with each other. You can never really try to understand their relationship rationally. So, if they fight, don’t try to resolve it for them or encourage it. It will never bode well for you if you’re dating a twin.
11. Problems with dating a twin: they may try to trick you
This is a trope in almost every movie about twins. Identical twins would try to trick people for laughs or for some deeper plot (read: Parent Trap). But this is sometimes true in reality too. A Reddit user revealed how a pair of twin brothers kissed her in turns by pretending to be the same person. She knew they were doing it on purpose, but didn’t let on. Everyone around them thought they were having some sort of a polyamorous relationship. Conclusion: it’s possible. Be wary. And if you do think you’re being tricked, better not go along. Things could become too complicated to handle.
12. Double dates are fun
Double dates with twins are like double dates with anyone at all, but you get to observe them in their most comfortable environment. If your date has an identical twin, and you have difficulty differentiating them, then it’d be a great idea to meet the two of them in a casual setting. You’ll get to observe them, and be able to gather details on how they’re different from each other. Which one of them is more forthcoming, which one likes a certain food more, how one carries a constant grinning expression and the other’s eyes sparkle with kindness. You’ll also get to know what their relationship is like while you’re dating a twin using double date ideas that are fun.
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13. Don’t try to separate them
Though there is no conclusive research to support this, it seems that twins do get affected if they’re separated for long durations of time. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy explores the effect of trauma on a pair of twins who were separated for almost twenty years. The trauma, unresolved and with lack of support, turns them self-destructive. So, a problem with marrying a twin would be that if you move too far after getting married, you might make them miserable.
14. They respond differently to expectations
Though twins are not that different from non-twin siblings in a social environment, twins deal with a different set of anxieties when it comes to expectations in relationships. Unlike other siblings, twins often have a codependent relationship and may begin to expect their twin to always want the same thing. A lot of times, some people do certain things only because their twin may not want to do it. So, do consider it when dating a twin. Especially if they suggest something that they don’t usually do. Not only is it unhealthy, but it represses their identity even more.
15. No assumptions
Most of the time, when people consider the pros and cons of dating a twin, they’re referencing popular culture. But, popular culture has made the twin trope so exotic that people have begun to form certain assumptions about their behavior and choices. Outlander saw Jo and Kezzie Beardsley, identical twins, being in love with the same woman. Now, polyandry is a choice. But this trope has been used so many times, that it is not uncommon for people to expect twins to want the same person.
- Learn to differentiate between the two. Remember, even if they look alike, they’re different people.
- Respect their individuality.
- Twins may have a codependent relationship. Do not try to appropriate their relationship.
- Twins have no secrets, so make sure they like you.
People often wonder what to know about dating a twin. The problems with dating a twin are rarely the twins, but how society has been treating them. Twins share a special bond. Factors like family behavior as well as people encouraging their twin identity can make them codependent on each other. Though they’re like any other pair of siblings, you have to consider these factors when dating a twin. It’s better to go into such a relationship without any assumptions and with a very patient outlook before you think about dating a twin.
It depends on what you would consider weird. If you’re unable to differentiate between the twins, or worse still, think that they’re the same person and either can be dated, then it is going to be pretty weird ‘for’ you, and insensitive ‘of’ you.
That completely depends on the set of twins. One may find stories of twins being interested in the same person in the news, but twins often find different partners or may even have different sexualities.
Polyamory in twins is not unheard of, but it’s not because they are twins. Siblings, friends, or even people who share similar preferences or have the same sexual orientation may fall in love with the same person. But, one needs to follow polyamorous relationship rules to thrive in such a relationship.
Dating a twin could be complicated, especially if they’re identical. If your initial attraction is due to their physical traits, then some confusion is normal about which twin you are attracted to. Factors like cerebral differences will help you move beyond the attraction stage, and dictate whether it’s infatuation or sincere feelings from your end. Also, it’s possible that their codependency may affect your relationship. It’s easier with fraternal twins who often behave like non-twin siblings.