Twins Contemplate Twinship

When I was formulating ideas for my second book, The Same but Different, I conducted an informal survey on the internet about the experiences of adult twins. I want to share several (abbreviated) answers that were submitted. They express the wide gamut of feelings that twins have about their connection. I trust you will find the varied points of view enlightening and educational. The age of the respondent follows each comment in parentheses.

We share ESPN, not ESP. (35)

My twin sister took a job three months ago that changed her schedule; she works evenings and I work during the days. I cannot bear the loneliness and emptiness that I feel. I take coffee breaks, alone, do crossword puzzles. I am looking for another job because I cannot face my emotions. (48)

Being a twin is somewhat of a lonely thing; always being compared to someone all the time; losing a sense of who I am individually, and no one knows who I am. (18)

The strange thing growing up was that many people seemed scared of twins, so we had a hard time making friends at first. People did not want to be friends with just one twin or the other—they had to be friends with both of us to feel comfortable. My sister and I found out that many people we thought were friends turned out to only like one of us. (25)

I feel like I will always be single because no girl will ever understand what being a close twin is like. (31)

There have certainly been ups and downs in the process of understanding my identity apart from my twin, but I think we’re both at a place these days where we operate largely separately, though I do get anxious at the idea of not touching base at least once every couple days. (23)

My twin has lived apart from me for 2 years and I still haven’t found my way. In contrast, she has blossomed and is now engaged and loving her life. I find it hard to attend anything alone, so I tend to find other people to hang out with when I sometimes only want to be with my twin/family. Is this a legitimate fear for most twins of this age, that they will slowly grow apart and not appreciate being twins as much as they did during their adolescence? Do they, like me, feel like they are being left behind while their twin lives a separate life? (25)

The relationship of being a twin is greatly affected by the favoritism shown by parents growing up, and as adults. Resentment can grow between twins when the parents of the twins are not healthy and show so much more attention and support to one twin, and even their other children than to another. It is hard for the dismissed twin not to feel a double whammy of abandonment, not only from their parents, but also from the twin who is supposed to protect you but may not. The favored twin also feels caught in the middle. The twin may choose to go toward the support that can offer more. A twin may be left out in the cold. Parents of twins need to have better insight into their behaviors and how their treatment of their twins may impact the relationship for the rest of their lives. (35)

My twin sister and I are identical twins. We are extremely close as she is my best friend, confidant, biggest cheerleader, supporter, etc. However, at 41 years old, we have learned how to remain close yet have our own identities as well. When we were younger, we were extremely competitive with one another. As we have grown older, there is some competition but in a healthier way. I absolutely love my twin sister and could not imagine my life without her! (41)

I’ve never had a closer relationship with anyone other than my twin sister! She is my world—my everything. I’d be lost without her . . . She is my best friend, my confidant, my world. No one will ever replace her. We think the same, like the same things, we do everything together. My biggest worry is that we are too dependent on one another. We text/email at least a dozen times a day. But I value my relationship with her more than anyone! (46)

Honestly, I love being a twin! I feel really blessed to know that I always have someone by my side. I’ve got her back, and I know that she has mine even if no one else does. I kind of feel sorry for people who don’t have closeness like ours. I can’t imagine not always having a best friend when I need one. It’s truly an unconditional love. The only issue that I don’t like is when others don’t recognize our individuality. We are so much alike, and an equal amount different. (23)

Twins met in a past life and they come back together to finish what they didn’t accomplish in their previous life; whether they loved or hated each other they are always given one more chance to make things right. (36)

Watching someone that is supposed to be your other half become less and less of a person will forever haunt the person that has to watch. Hence, my sister has been haunted in every way from watching me go through cancer. She constantly worries about me and has internalized a sense of anxiety in how she deals with every situation. She is confused as ever, and it kills me to know that. I don’t really know what all this means. I still don’t understand how cancer has affected me. But I am starting to understand how it affected my twin, and it scares me. (29)

My identical twin sister and I enjoy and respect each other as individuals. Knowing her enriches my life and has taught me how to love others with respect and generosity. This doesn’t mean that we don’t fight. We do. Our battles when we were kids were epic. Now, as adults, we’re less inclined to push each other’s buttons and are better at walking away when arguments get bitter. We’ve learned to respect each other’s differences and to cherish the similarities. We’re lucky to be twins, and we know it. (50)

Image courtesy of Guillermoluis21 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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