College Caretaking Casualties

Though the majority of calls that I receive are requests for advice, I had the pleasure of speaking with a female college-age twin about her journey of separating from her sister. I was delighted to hear how she and her sister have been approaching this subject honestly and mutually.

Both women realize that their familiarity with one another has limited their ability and motivation to socialize with others. They recognize that they need to do more on their own and that their twinship has contributed to limiting their experiences. Also, the sisters are beginning to get ridiculed and pigeonholed. On one hand, their peers derisively inquire why they are always together. On the other hand, many of their teachers automatically assume that they will need the same appointment times and schedules.

The girls talk to one another about their needs and desires without resentment. One of the twins has been dating for about four months. She was texting her sister constantly when she first began to go out with her boyfriend. When he gently inquired why, the woman recognized that she had no real awareness about what she was doing. Her boyfriend has gradually helped her get in touch with this habitual behavior, and she has learned how to curtail the contact.

Similar to so many twins who begin to develop other intimate relationships, the dating twin has had to learn how to express her feelings and needs. Living with your twin—who understands what you need and think without having to verbalize it—makes learning how to navigate a new intimate connection understandably challenging for twins.

I am so delighted to find how mutually supportive twins can be when both recognize and respect each one’s right to live her own life, to move toward a future of independence and separateness, and to recognize that twins grow not at the expense of one another but rather along with one another.

Do you know twins who have created their own paths as successfully as these women have?


Image courtesy of Gordon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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