dating yourself?
July 24, 2011 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who is uncannily similar to you?

I don't just mean that you have a lot in common and generally see eye to eye, but your similarities are almost freakish. Most of your off center thoughts and reactions to the world that no one else has understood they also share, the details of your emotional makeup and your past are eerily alike, you are in the same profession, have most of the same hobbies, etc.

You're not identical -- there are a few differences -- but the amount of overlap between you makes your meeting seem like a freaky statistical anomaly.

For those who have been in relationships with someone who feels like a twin soul what was it like? Did it work out?
posted by timsneezed to Human Relations (23 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I was in one of these for about a year. The problem for me was not being able to decide how much bad (for whatever degree of bad you want) I was going to put up with.

It took a month of thinking "But where/when else am I going to find another 33 year old who enjoys x, y, and z and can also a, b, c, and d?"

It was really a problem that blinded me for a bit. The similarities were shocking and I felt like it was tilting the scales when I usually have no problem making relationship decisions.

Otherwise, it was great - especially for me - I don't like to compromise a lot and there wasn't much compromise needed.
posted by Tchad at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2011

Seven years with my near twin, here. Even our dads share the same back-story, thousands of miles away: grew up on a farm, self-educated, ended up working at Boeing, enjoy DIY projects, etc. Scary. I try not to think about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on July 24, 2011

It was the most delicious Hell one could imagine. We had matching vices and exploited them all to to their fullest extent. It was a hedonist's dream and we are both lucky we survived all that excess as no desire went unfulfilled.
posted by buggzzee23 at 1:37 PM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]

@Bugg -- Haha. Are you still together?
posted by timsneezed at 1:39 PM on July 24, 2011

No, it didn't, but we're great friends now. It's pretty neat that we always email each other within 30 seconds of the other person. And by neat I mean weird as hell!

It was funny that she's in a super high stress profession and one week she ran out of adderall and basically turned completely into me. I like to sleep, she barely sleeps. That's the only difference between us. So the only thing keeping me from super powered work is adderall.

We definitely fed on each others vices though like buggzzee23 said. That's why we decided to stop dating.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:40 PM on July 24, 2011

We were married for a little over 25 years (with more than a few separations along the way). We've been divorced about 3 years now and better friends than ever now that we keep a lot of distance between us.
posted by buggzzee23 at 1:45 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

It hurt so good and lasted about a year. Still friends with her some 25+ years later.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:49 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, but I've thankfully managed to evade one.

I do have a good friend who is eerily similar to me though. We started out in dance class together and we were barely even nodding acquaintances. This unfolded into years of uncovering similarities through conversations like:

"Is that a Mark Nine Hawk?"
"did you build that because you were reading John Kenneth Muir's Space:1999 blog posts this week?"

I could give a ton of examples, but they're all too esoteric and niche to make sense. Similarly unusual family backgrounds, too. Similar tastes in hair color and style - while visiting with her and her daughter one day, anyone would've thought we were all related.

But she's not such an identical twin that she can never introduce me to anything new! She's one of the few people I can have real actual fun with.
posted by tel3path at 2:11 PM on July 24, 2011

In college I was with a man who was separated-at-birth twin territory. Unfortunately, he died, but in retrospect I can't help thinking that when you encounter such a relationship will be instrumental in determining whether it works out or not.

Had I continued that relationship that started in my 20's, I think it would have stunted my growth pretty fundamentally; I'm a significantly different person with very different values now. A lot of change happens in the following 10 years and I think it would be harder staring in a mirror. 30's or later, after having had the opportunity to grow into the person I so closely match in a partner, that's different. This story is actually most common (in my experience) with people who encounter each other later in life, as widows or on 2nd or 3rd marriages. I suspect it works out best then.

If you would like a continuation of freaky, however, I married a man who is the spitting image of that dead boyfriend. They remind me slightly of one another, too, but not in that same split-twin way he and I shared at the time.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:13 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have had something very much like this. One of the problems was that we had many of the same "flaws," which I had accepted about myself, and he hated about himself. So, it turned into him constantly nagging and picking at me to "fix" me, in order to avoid dealing with his own traits. He also denied he had the same traits, held us to completely different standards, blamed everything on me, etc. The constant nagging, blaming, and hypocrisy became very hard to deal with.

Also, there were other things that were incompatible, but because I had totally bought into the "we're so unusually similar!" narrative in the beginning, that was harder to accept and face up to than it might have been otherwise.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:59 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is an interesting question for me:

My partner and I are in the same field, are in the exact same place in our careers and have the same goals. We even worked in the same office for a year until about a month ago. We have almost identical family make-up and nationalities (but not the same race or religion, if that makes sense). Although we grew up in different countries, our upbringing and childhood experiences are eerily similar, even down to the age we were when our parents divorced, and the fact that we have blended family members of different races. Even our mothers experienced the same kind of childhood trauma. We don't look alike at all (except we both have big brown eyes and dark hair), but once someone told us there was an intangible physical similarity between us.

We've had the same number of long-term partners, and before we got together we had both been broken up with a few months prior by partners who were five years younger than we, respectively.

Without being exactly alike, we share a sense of humor, many cultural and artistic interests, and philosophical leanings. We didn't know any of this until after we started dating, even though we hung out as friends for a few months before getting romantic. Each new commonality, analogous experience, shared thought, or simultaneously blurted sentence or reaction has become a funny, kind of ridiculous, harmless ongoing prank that the universe seems to be playing on us. The biggest (but certainly not the only) difference between us is that he is an introvert and I am an extrovert. We still discover a lot of differences, but the quantity and quality of our similarities is really astounding sometimes.

We've been together for a little over two years, and we are extremely happy. I am in the most fun, supportive, loving and exciting relationship of my life. Sharing so many similarities has not bored me in the slightest. We plan to get married sometime in the next couple of years. So I would say our pile of similarities is working out really well for us--unless they don't matter at all (honestly, I don't know exactly where I come down on that one, yet).
posted by swingbraid at 4:30 PM on July 24, 2011

Just be aware a lot of people feel like this when they first start going out with someone. The longer you are together, generally, the more differences emerge. Sometimes, you might go to bed with a twin, and wake up with someone more like a distant cousin, it's not a bad thing. :)
posted by smoke at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oops. I have a different take on this.

I was in a off-on relationship with someone like that... only it turned out he was a bit of a sociopath and the technique is called "mirroring." I know this is true because he had that same connection with a ton of other folks who were nothing like me.

Anywho, he was also highly intelligent and autodidactic, so it was easy for him to be whatever anyone wanted to believe he was. For a time.

So. There's that side of the experience. YMMV. (I hope this isn't your situation!)
posted by jbenben at 4:58 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

It's common enough there was a whole episode of Seinfeld about it. Jerry's eventual conclusion? "I can't be with someone like me! I hate myself!"
posted by MsMolly at 4:59 PM on July 24, 2011

Mr. Batik and I are very very much alike. Our (adult) children (his and hers) shake their heads at how similar we are. We can look at each other and know what we are thinking, usually the same thing ... and act at the same time we are sharing our same-thoughts to confirm we are thinking alike. We often turn to each other and say the exact same words at the same time, eerily on things way out of left field far from the subject at hand. We are both free spirits, prefer being on the road (RV) to having a home, are artists (in different disciplines) and are both on the spectrum (aspergers).

Fortunately, rather than sharing the same weaknesses, we do compliment each other enough to make things work well (I do the finances, he does the socializing; etc.). I think because we met later in life, each of us having been with someone else for 25+ years, and with the child-rearing and career years behind us, we are more able to appreciate the sameness, and let it bring out the best in us as a couple. We have been together now for 9 years.

Memail me for more detailed info on how we make it work if interested.
posted by batikrose at 5:48 PM on July 24, 2011

My relationship is like this, and we've been going out a year and a few months. We have about 95% of the same interests and so it's very convenient to plan activities since I can count on one hand the number of times one of us has not liked the plans the other came up with. We frequently catch ourselves saying the same thing at the same time. I often tell people he's a much nicer person than I am, which I think is true, and I am more of a talker, but overall we have extremely similar tastes. I like it. As I mentioned, I talk a lot, but it's nice to just be with someone who I know understands how I feel.

My previous relationship was pretty much the opposite and didn't work half so well.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:04 PM on July 24, 2011

My current partner and I spent our second date astounded by the number of psychological/emotional similarities we seemed to have--histories of sexual assault, similar previous relationship patterns (our controlling-exes even had names that only differed by one letter), realizing that we both liked a lot of the same books and oh my god, we both wrote about Daniel Paul Schreber to get into graduate school?

The biggest problem with this, as I see it, has been the temptation to paper over the important differences that exist within our similarities. Once I was having a bad day because of a triggering event, and he gave a piece of advice which gestured towards our similar histories, but which forgot about an important difference in our personalities. I was furious, and when he asked me what he had done wrong, I hissed at him "Stop treating me as a past version of yourself."

That's an important mantra for us now--although we have a lot in common, we have to remember that we're not just versions of each other. We're separate people, and I have to love, respect, and understand the parts of him that I can't relate to just as much as I love the parts of him that are like looking in a mirror.
posted by besonders at 9:37 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

> It was scary quick and intense and in the end we didn't counter each other's weaknesses, we shared them, and they ruined us. But yeah, still good friends, it'd be a terrible waste if we weren't.

Yep, me too, on all counts. (On the plus side, the sex was fuckin' amazing.)
posted by desuetude at 10:11 PM on July 24, 2011

I couldn't do it. I started to see the worst of myself in the other person ... if that makes sense.
posted by Blandanomics at 10:40 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

As jbenben was saying, it's not psychologically healthy to mirror really strongly. Some people do it consciously (serious bad, see above) but it's easy to unconsciously fall into the rhythm of expecting to agree with someone - after all, you're so much alike - and eventually end up someplace that isn't where you wanted to be. I had the realization after dating a guy for 6 months or so that though we were OMG so much alike at first, many of the personality traits we really truly had in common were a bit defeatist and prone to depression, and if I ever ever ever wanted to finish grad school, we had to break up.

The things that bug me most about other people tend to be mirrors of my own faults - on one hand, you'd think that would mean more tolerance of each other as opposed to pot calling kettle black, but it makes it really hard to improve oneself when your mirror isn't budging.
posted by aimedwander at 8:16 AM on July 25, 2011

in the end we didn't counter each other's weaknesses, we shared them, and they ruined us


We were so much alike people thought we were siblings. really. Like a lot of people.

In retrospect it was super narcissistic and creepy.
posted by French Fry at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2011

Yes, I was in a similar sort of relationship. It started so quickly, over email and phone before we even met and we were together for nearly two and a half years. We are still good friends, though drifting apart. The problem as others have mentioned, is that we were too similar, had tendencies to become codependent (a bit of an us against the world mentality) and we indulged each other's weaknesses a bit too much since we sympathized with them so much (yeah, let's just stay home today and skip those classes, it doesn't really matter does it?).
posted by peacheater at 8:53 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, this pretty much describes mr. lfr and myself. I think one mitigating factor is that we are both adults (he's 32, I'm 43) with past adult relationships, and we have each individually worked through a lot of "stuff", so to speak, to arrive where we are today.

I think as alluded above, intellectual / social maturity does play a fairly significant role in the success or failure of these sorts of relationships. Speaking purely from personal experience, I can tell you that the 26-year-old me was nowhere-near-emotionally-mature-enough to handle it, at all. Years ago, I was in a relationship with someone who I would call a "dark mirror". It was hell for both of us. Both of us at the time were immature, insecure, codependent, and defensive, and as such we both tended to project on and lash out at each other via our shared insecurities.

The major difference I see with my husband / intellectual twin is that not only have we openly discussed a lot of these issues (as prelude, part and parcel to evolving into life partners) we are also, at least so far, wise enough not to use our wonder twin powers for evil. Meaning, despite that we intimately know each others' vulnerabilities, social failings, strengths, weaknesses, pet peeves, etc., we choose not to use them to harm each other, ever. We are kind and respectful and loving and mature enough to just not go there. I don't say this to be boastful or superior either, because speaking strictly for myself (see above) I learned my lessons the hard way, and with more than one partner. My husband has simply proven to be a kind, wise, intelligent human being.

The major pitfall of this sort of relationship is that it may tend to make you both somewhat lazy and complacent (both intellectually and physically) as you'll have to actively look outside your relationship for things like hobbies, friends and interests that will prevent you from becoming too introverted / insular as a pair. And I say this as one of a pair of introverts; it involves a reasonable amount of effort to prevent stagnation / complacency / home-bound-ness from setting in. However, we're also both okay with the fact that we don't have to be a constant source of entertainment for each other (that's what our cat is for), not to mention that our comfy little first-world "rut" is actually pretty goddamn awesome compared to the situations we've both endured in the past. So, whatever.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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