I Don’t Want My Sister at My Wedding

I am sensitive to the fact that wedding plans may evoke and reawaken old as well as present family discord. There are delicate issues to decide upon, such as who will be included and who won’t be invited. Most of the time, siblings are an integral part of the celebration if their relationships are congenial. However, if they are absent from the festivities, it does not appear to be as problematic as a twin not attending her twin’s nuptials. Why this disparity? The stereotypical notion that twins are best friends and soulmates permeates our culture and expectations.

Many twins are each other’s best friend and confidant for their entire lives. They are blessed with the ease and continuity of their attachment. However, for those twins who are not so fortunate, making important decisions that purposefully exclude their twin feels heart-wrenching and tragic.

An identical twin woman in her twenties, “Katie,” whom I have known for a few years has often shared how sad she feels that she and her sister, “Cathy,” no longer have much of a connection. Her sister married a few years ago, and Katie was intricately involved in all aspects of Cathy’s engagement and wedding festivities. Katie recalls that she felt an obligation to help her family plan many of these events. She did not participate from a loving or willing place—it was more of a “should” than a “want.”

Katie’s feelings were shaped by many years of what she describes as emotional abuse from her sister. Their inability to get along was highlighted in their never-ending battles to establish amicable joint custody arrangements for their cat, with whom they had both lived during their college years. As Katie related their behaviors, it seemed as if this impasse was a perfect metaphor for their unhappy twin attachment. Issues of control, passive-aggressive behaviors, and triggering abuse underlined their fights.

Currently, Katie is contemplating her upcoming wedding plans. She is adamant about not wanting Cathy to be a part of her big day. Nevertheless, she feels guilty about how this decision will upset her parents. At the same time, she expresses tremendous sadness and regret as she recalls nostalgic memories about the wonderfully close relationship she had with Cathy when they were younger. Katie says she misses this connection very much and wishes things had turned out differently.

In this situation, many factors have contributed to their estrangement. Nonetheless, when twins feel they cannot trust or believe that their twin is invested in their well-being, they are devastated and angry. How sad to feel that your twin diminishes your life rather than enhances it.

Clearly, bucking the stereotypical notion of unbreakable bonds is a difficult pill to swallow along with announcing to the world at large that you and your twin have failed to be best friends. However, the silver lining is the freedom to make decisions for yourself without feeling stymied, burdened, or constrained by your twins’ disapproval and disappointment.

Photo by nikki gibson on Unsplash


  1. Malena

    It is very difficult to understand the relationship of the twins. Try to treat each other with respect and equality because there are always times when one wants to dominate the other.

    • Yes, often the competitive feelings are so intense, interfering with each twin’s capacity to celebrate the other.

Leave a Comment