A seventeen-year-old fraternal twin girl whom I will call Mia contacted me to talk about the challenges she and her sister may encounter when they attend separate colleges in the fall. She described her relationship with her sister as very close, sharing extracurricular activities, friends, and interests. They are the only children in the family. Last summer, they separated for the first time. Although Mia felt strange being without “her security blanket,” she related that it felt fantastic to be her own person. She complained that her friends still confuse the two of them and call them by the wrong names. She is looking forward to an experience where she will feel known and recognized.
When I asked her how she felt about going off to college, she replied that she is terrified. Her sister plans to attend college out of state to pursue an accounting degree, and Mia has decided to become a dentist. She will be attending a state university and rooming with a friend from high school.
The only question she asked was, what happens to the twin relationship after college when both twins have finished their studies? I shared a few stories about twins I have known who have lived together again after graduation. I told her about a pair of twins who initially had tremendous difficulty finding and going their separate ways. However, over time they learned how to manage their situations very well and both blossomed into very successful professionals. They decided to live together after graduation. Both have told me how fantastic it has been to be together again as young adults—rather than just as twin sisters. Their time away from one another and their individual life experiences have helped to hone their individuality so that they can live together in physical and emotional harmony. Hopefully, Mia and her sister will experience this same healthy outcome—two successfully individuated women enjoying their lives as well as each other.