Twins make up around one out of every 100 births — and the odds are good that many of the other 99 have secretly wondered what it would be like to be part of a twin-duo.
A slightly smaller percentage may have thought about what it would be like to date a twin.
As a twin myself, I have discovered there are a few advantages (and disadvantages) for people who choose a relationship with a dual-birthed person.
PRO: Twins are used to being in a relationship. From the time they’re born, they never not part of a pair. There’s no better way to learn the compromises needed in any close relationship.
PRO: Twins are rarely needy. Their close relationship with their twin leaves them never feeling alone. As one twin described it, “I’ve already got a best friend…so I don’t hinge my relationships on needing another person around 24/7.” (Granted, in some instances growing up with a constant companion can make someone MORE needy, but that’s not the norm for most twins.)
CON: The relationship between twins can be close. Really close. As in, “finish-each-other’s-sentences” close. All that closeness can have its downside. Kimberly Beaver, a twin in Virginia, admits her relationship with her sister can drive her fiance “bonkers.” “It’s seriously a balancing act,” she says. “I have to make one-on-one time for each of them, plus my son, so that one or the other doesn’t give me lip.”
PRO: Twins have a sibling to introduce to your friends. Whenever you have a great new significant other, the friends inevitably ask, “Does she have a friend?” If her twin is single and your friends like your girlfriend, chances are they’ll like her twin as well. Some twins even work as matchmakers on the side for their same-birthday sibling.
PRO: Twins are willing to communicate. Similar to #1, but worth its own category. Communication is the bedrock for any great relationship, and when you’ve spent your life lumped together with your twin, you learn to express yourself better than most. As one twin put it, “living and learning with someone always by my side for the first 18 years of my life forced me to compromise in a lot of ways and let go of my ego.”
CON: You can have embarrassing public encounters. My brother and I both live in a small town near San Diego with our separate families. He often forgets to tell people at his office that he’s a twin. Cut to the time I was with my wife and kids and a stranger accused me of being a bigamist.
PRO: Twins are experts at being part of a team. We don’t know what it’s like to be fully alone in the world, which has its strengths and weaknesses. We have years of training in how to be a team player, and how to empathize with others, which means that we’re well-trained in how to be great significant others.
CON: Threesome comments happen. Dating twins is a standard beer-commercial fantasy, but unfortunately plenty of people think the world of TV ads relates to reality. As one twin put it, “I hate the juvenile jokes my husband gets about sleeping with [me and my sister]. It has never happened, never will happen, and it’s never funny.”