Engaged in vicious war with partner's identical twin. Break up now?
February 22, 2015 5:58 AM   Subscribe

I live with my partner and their identical twin. The twin and I want to murder each other. One of us has to move out. My relationship is going well for now, but I can't guarantee it will last, and I don't want to come between them. On the other hand, this conflict is definitely the twin's fault, and my partner and I would not be breaking up this soon otherwise. Who should go: me or the twin?

I share a (rented) house with my partner of 2.5 years and their identical twin. My partner and I are not married and have no children. We are all in our early 30s. The relationship between the twin and I has become vicious, miserable, and irreparable; we are currently confining ourselves to separate, locked bedrooms to avoid interacting with each other when we are home at the same time. Our lease isn't up for another six months, and it takes at least two people to afford the rent. One of us has to move out.

My partner likes being a twin, and is an overwhelmingly sweet, innocent person. The twin hates being a twin, and possibly also hates my partner for existing and looking similar. (They are so identical that acquaintances routinely confuse them, and ask things like "Which one are you?") To be fair: my partner was born first, and the twin has suffered years of jokes about being "an extra one" or "the spare". When my partner and I started dating, more than a few people made "humorous" comments to the three of us about how if something happened to "the good one", at least I had "a backup". The twin is single. *facepalm*

The twin is super competitive and jealous, and since I moved in about a year ago, they have become increasingly spiteful toward their sibling and backstabby/passive-aggressive toward me. We have tried, among other things: extra kindness; forgiving aggressions and assuming good intentions; including the twin in as many non-couple activities as possible; not showing affection toward each other in front of the twin.

This has been hard for my partner, who has finally decided to ask the twin to leave.

However, as sad as this is to admit, I think I should be the one to leave. Although I adore my partner and we are not having relationship problems now, I honestly can't say for sure that our relationship is going to work out in the long run. I can't say for sure that "this is the one". If that is the case, I definitely do not want to come between my partner and their family. We could break up in six months, or a year, or five years, and my partner would still have a twin. And even if we did stay together forever, I'm not sure how I could interact with my partner's family after kicking the twin out of our house. I'm imagining years of strained holidays and avoiding family functions, years of being blamed for driving a wedge between The Identical Twins. And if we eventually broke up, I'm imagining what that would be like for my partner: having forsaken their identical twin for a partner, only to lose the partner as well, and wind up totally alone. The thought is heartbreaking.

My closest sibling has advised me that "you should absolutely, positively move out because your relationship is on limited time, and the twin has lived with your partner for far longer and has more right to do so." On the other hand, my best friend has advised me that "the twin's bad behavior is not your fault, and they need to go, and we can see what the relationship looks like once they're gone."

I need an outside perspective. What is the right thing to do here?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You have a right to exist in this world and your partner is doing the absolute right thing in asking the sibling to move out. Your partner has no expectation that your relationship will be forever, nor do you have to commit to that. Let your partner stand up to a terroristic sibling. If the relationship is broken, that is on the twin, not you.

You do realize that it's not your partner who is being asked to make a decision between you or the sibling, but the sibling just making people's lives miserable. Don't upset your relationship just because a family member is acting badly. Don't feel guilty later in life if you do decide to split. The twin forced this decision, not you. Besides, it's not healthy for your partner to live with a spiteful, jealous and horrible person.

Sibling relationships are complicated, twin relationships even more so. This has nothing to do with you, so don't punish your partner for the behavior of a family member.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:09 AM on February 22, 2015 [41 favorites]


If you partner's sibling moves out, that does not mean their (family) relationship is over, does it? In fact that relationship might even improve from a little more distance. It's not a given that your partner would be 'forsaking' their sibling by asking them to move out.

I think you're seeing things as a little more dramatical than they actually need to be. Twins live apart from each other all the time without any drama. And it's not uncommon at all for people not to get along with their sibling's partner.

You are not coming between anyone and anyone if your partner's sibling moves out. The twins can still seek out each other's company if they both feel like it. You partner will still have a twin.

I would listen to your partner here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:09 AM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well....honestly I think this is your partner's call to make. Ze know zir twin better than you do, and also how ze feels about the future of your relationship. Even if I thought a relationship might not be The One, I can see not wanting to live with a sibling who was being so difficult and, frankly, mean. Just because they are twins doesn't imbue their relationship with any inherent importance or magic or even compatibility.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:10 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow, lots to detangle here.

Why is it that you would have to break up with your partner if you move out? There is no reason you couldn't move out and still see them.

I think you should deal with things that are, not things that may possibly someday be, so I wouldn't factor your "imagined" scenario into your decision. That is *quite* the worst case scenario, and unlikely to be true, btw.

If this is really all about the twin, I can't see punishing your SO for something they had no hand in at all. That seems both unfair and counter-productive to both your interests.

Also, if the twin is as much of a pill as you say, the relationship between your SO and the twin might be dead anyway, regardless of whether you bow out or not. Plus, is it really so worth saving a relationship with such a nasty person? Why would that be more important than your relationship with your SO??

All in all, I'm pretty surprised that you are so ready to give up on a 2.5 year relationship if the only problem is the twin. Is there something else you aren't telling us, about your actual relationship with your SO?
posted by mysterious_stranger at 6:10 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


If this situation is truly as you describe (granting we're hearing your side of the story), then I take your partner's view.

If Twin can't cope with your partner dating, then that relationship needs to grow some boundaries. This may be easier to see if you imagine that this behavior was coming from a parent rather than a sibling: if an adult were living with a parent who aggressively interfered in their romantic relationships, it would be time to move out.

I think the situation is the same with Twin. This is not about you breaking up the relationship; it's about Twin being impossible and Partner defending Partner's right to a full adult life. Twin is only likely to change their behavior if there are consequences.
posted by shattersock at 6:10 AM on February 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think you need to let your partner make their own decisions about their family relationships, and then you decide if you can live with the result.

From your description, is not obvious the twin has something against you in particular, so maybe this behavior will continue no matter who your partner ends up with. Besides, they may have a perfectly reasonable relationship that doesn't include living together as adults.
posted by ktkt at 6:11 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Move out, ask your partner to come with you.

That seems to me to be the least fraught solution here. No one is getting kicked out, you are not driving a wedge between family members, and your partner has the opportunity to make their own choice and set a healthy boundary with their twin.

And honestly this sounds like a nightmare for you right now. Wouldn't you be happier having a fresh start in your own place?
posted by phunniemee at 6:12 AM on February 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


Agree that moving out with partner is the cleanest solution, but also that your perception of the situation is a little off. It seems to me that the twins' relationship is unhealthy and has been for far longer than you've been in the picture, and that living apart might be good for them. You may be the catalyst, but I doubt you're the cause, and it's a bit heavy-handed of you to assume such responsibility for your partner's family relations.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:19 AM on February 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


30-something siblings only rarely live together, twins or not, but you're writing about their cohabitation as if it's the right and natural state of their relationship.

Your partner is not "forsaking" their twin buy choosing to live with a romantic partner--leaving your family to to move in with your partner, whether it works out in the long term or not, is a normal and healthy part of adulthood.
posted by pullayup at 6:20 AM on February 22, 2015 [73 favorites]


Putting aside the twin siblings issue, living with a couple can be really hard. I am unwillingly living with a couple, after my roommate decided to have her bf move in, and holy hell do I detest it. Your partner's twin may be feeling resentful, despite all your efforts to improve the situation. You were the one who moved in a year ago - I say you should move out, and perhaps your partner can follow you eventually.
posted by nemutdero at 6:27 AM on February 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


If the twin doesn't like being a twin, why is ze perpetuating twin-ness by living with a twin? Seriously; if you don't enjoy being a twin, by the time you're 30 you have had plenty of time to forge an identity outside of that, which you CAN'T do if you opt to live with your twin. So the twin should move out in order to better reach their own goals, assuming you're reading this right.
posted by metasarah at 6:40 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Too much drama. Don't make this about so many black and white absolutes.

Your twin wants to be a normal human being and set a boundary with someone behaving badly - let them do that.

Is your partner's family meddlesome & drama-y? Where do all of these odd ideas about twins and sibling relationships you are espousing come from?

Sounds like y'all just need better boundaries all the way around. By their 30's, unless twins actively keep up the same haircut, clothes style, and lifestyle, they should look different enough. Something is hinky here!

Your partner sounds like they can make hard decisions and set healthy boundaries. Honestly? If I have described them correctly, they should have no problems navigating their family drama on your behalf. I'd marry someone strong like that because that's vital in transitioning from childhood relations into adult style relationships with family.

Get therapy if you don't understand how to emotionally separate from the toxic drama. That's a legit skill and you want it in your tool box. Might as well start working on that life skill today.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 6:43 AM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think you should leave this decision to your partner, assuming you are being honest with them about where you are in the relationship (i.e. BAD if you're saying "I would get married to you tomorrow if you would only kick out your twin!" -- but it does not sound like that is happening!)

Given what you've said here (though of course we are only getting your side), it seems very possible that the twin would react this way to ANY partner who moved into the shared house, meaning that in some sense your partner is NOT choosing between you and the twin, but rather between the twin and any possibility of a live-in romantic partner now or in the future. Keep in mind that if you guys break up, your partner's position is almost certainly not ALONE FOREVER but rather "Sad, needing to grieve the relationship, but ultimately mostly likely able to heal and move on to a different partner."

It's not clear to me whether you've had a frank conversation with your partner about your concerns. I think it's a good idea to say "Look I want to be with you and I love you, but I'm not at a place where I can commit to marriage right now. I don't want to break up, but I also don't want to come between you and your family." And then just listen. I'm sure this is a very tough situation for your partner, but ultimately their relationship with their sibling is their business to manage, not yours. So be there, be supportive, and don't try to control the situation.

P.S. I don't see why not living in the same house as a 30-year-old qualifies as completely and totally destroying the sibling relationship. I haven't lived in the same house as my sister since I was 18 and she was 15, and we are still close and have a great relationship. If the twin would choose to completely cut off their sibling over this issue, this probably says something more about the issues the twin has than about anything your partner can really control.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


What Pullayup said: at least in the US, it's rare for siblings to live together past the first post-college years. To still be living with a sibling at thirty is unusual. To be living with a sibling when you're in a romantic relationship is very unusual, at least when everyone can afford their own places!

My reading of the situation is that the siblings are enmeshed and unhealthily co-dependent, and that it's your partner who is putting up boundaries and asking sibling to leave. Partner is a grown-ass person, and knows what they are doing. Don't make decisions for them because "you know better" or "for their own good." Your job is to be supportive of your partner.

Is this bringing a certain parent-child dynamic in your relationship to the surface? Are you accustomed to doing stuff for your partner and saying "It's for Partner's own good" or "I know what's best for Partner?" Because that is not how relationships between adults should work. If this is a pattern in your relationship, that of a carer/caree or parent/child, you might want to examine this dynamic, possibly with the help of therapy.

Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the relationship as it is, and want to move out because of that, then this is how you need to present it - something like, "Partner, I want to move out, because of X and Y." Not, "Partner, I want to move out, because it's For Your Own Good."
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:52 AM on February 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


This seems like an opportunity for some of the open and frank discussion that should be the bedrock of and functioning relationship.

On your part, it seems reasonable to say that you're both young and that, while the relationship is good now, it's hard to say what the future holds. Your partner's decision to ask the twin to move out should not be done for you or because of you. However, as others have pointed out, there are plenty of good reasons that don't have to do with you that your partner should ask his twin to move out and set some boundaries between them. This would, frankly, be good for both of them. For your partner, it seems unlikely that any relationship, with you or someone else, would be able to comfortably cohabit together with the twin. And your partner deserves the ability to have committed enduring adult romantic relationships, including cohabitation. Your partner also deserves the ability to live apart from the twin if they are not getting along, and it seems like they have never got along very well.

Considering the twin, I have a hard time understanding why someone unhappy being a twin would choose to cohabit with their twin. It seems like separation would give the twin the ability to grow and develop as an independent being, developing friendships, pursuing interests, etc. apart from your partner.

This whole situation seems more about them than it does about you, and having the twin move out would be good for both of them independent of whether you are in the picture or not.

So if I were in your shoes, these are the things I would talk about and I would make sure your partner knows that the decision should be made according to what would be best for your partner generally and not because of you specifically. Making sure that this is made clear to the twin in any discussions they might have, if the decision is made to ask the twin to move out, is very important not only to their relationship dynamic but also to any future interactions you might have with the twin depending on where your relationship goes.

For whatever it's worth, a lot of the time physical separation and the accompanying psychological space can actually strengthen a relationship -- especially a familial one.
posted by slkinsey at 6:53 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dated an identical twin who had a horrendous, competitive relationship with his brother. Entirely mutual competitive, horrendous relationship. They did not live together but managed to forcefully entangle each other in their lives, through friendships, hobbies, college classes, whatever. It was sabotage of the highest order.

Thing is, that is their problem. If your boyfriend's twin is an asshole to you, he is likely going to be an asshole to any partner your boyfriend lives with or seriously dates. If your partner wants to ask his twin to move out, it's probably because he knows that this is a pattern and he wants to end it. They do not need to live together to have a close relationship, if it's a close relationship that they want, and in fact it might be healthier for them to live apart and for the twin to get the hell over his brother's relationships.

Look, go if you want. But do not spin a tale of woe about you breaking up a loving sibling relationship by existing. Clearly there are issues there and they are the ones who need to sort it out.
posted by lydhre at 6:57 AM on February 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


QFT: "Your partner is NOT choosing between you and the twin, but rather between the twin and any possibility of a live-in romantic partner now or in the future."

Rainbowbrite is right -- this isn't about YOU and your partner's twin, this is about your partner and their sibling, and any hope of a future romantic relationship. And so this exercise in boundary-setting isn't fundamentally about you, it's about what kind of life your partner wants to live, and what kind of relationship they want to have with their twin going forward. Relax, let things play out between them as they will, and remember that your relationship with the twin is the symptom of the problem, not the actual problem that needs fixing.
posted by Andrhia at 7:21 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Without fully understanding this sibling dynamic, I can tell you that my sibling came first, no matter what, right up until the point I got married. Now she is a very close second. I think you go, regardless of who is in the wrong. It may not be logical, but it sounds like that's the reality of the situation.
posted by mchorn at 7:50 AM on February 22, 2015


It's not unreasonable for the last person to move in to leave the house, and if that's you, moving out may be a way to set the boundaries with the least acrimony. But then when the lease is up, you and your partner move back together and your partner's sibling leaves. And even so, partner needs to spend much time at your new place. But this can't be a reason for you to break up. That's totally uncalled for.
posted by ambrosen at 8:25 AM on February 22, 2015


Break up with your partner if you want to, but don't make the decision to save their relationship with their twin for them.

But if you do stay with them, you will have to accept co-existing sometimes, even if no longer under the same roof every day, with their sibling. If that's too much for you, then take the road out now.
posted by inturnaround at 8:25 AM on February 22, 2015


I think that the symbolism of asking the twin to move out of the home s/he was in before you got there will create (even more!) inappropriate drama. What I mean is, it's completely normal for an adult to choose to live with a romantic partner rather than a sibling; but these twins' relationship isn't normal - it's both more hostile and more enmeshed than is normal - so you'll do better to take that context into account as you and your partner make your decisions.

So I think you should move out, and get a place that your partner can spend as much time as they want to with you for the next 6 months. I don't think you should be involved in a situation that starts with the twin getting kicked out.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2015


Do move out but don't break up. Perhaps the distance could help heal the relationship. If nothing else, it will take you out of the twin drama and allow your love to figure out where the cracks in the twin relationship truly are.
posted by myselfasme at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2015


One of us has to move out.

Actually, two of you have to move out -- you and your partner -- while giving ample time for goatee'd twin to find a new roommate. (BTW, these interpersonal dynamics in a group of people in their 30s is odd. Unable to be affectionate in Twin's presence, much less in your own home? Hiding out in a locked bedroom whenever Twin is around? You describe the tenor of your interactions with Twin as "vicious;" is it possible you're keen to be the one moving out because you feel unsafe in some way?) (Also, are you your partner's first serious romantic relationship? If not, consider how previous relationships impacted the twin, and support your partner's healthy efforts in boundary-setting with a person you think quite possibly hates them, family or no.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:43 AM on February 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Let your SO stand up for himself. If he allows his bratty twin to get rid of you, do you honestly think bratty twin won't do it again the next time older twin gets romantically involved.

Bratty twin is being completely unreasonable. You two can't even show each other affection bc that makes bratty twin unhappy? That's ridiculous. Ze's not a child & you two aren't whipping each other bloody for kinks in the living room. And since when is bratty twin's happiness more important than yours and older twin's?
Trust me, you two are not doing yourselves any favors by rewarding bratty twin's unreasonable, unacceptable behaviors. Zis behaviors will only escalate over time. Let older twin set boundaries. Boundaries are integral part of healthy sibling relationships. Not a wedge. (PM me and I can share some personal stories about that.)

That being said, if you want to break up with him for completely different reasons, go for it.
posted by Neekee at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can do whatever you need to do, but your partner is making a reasonable decision in having their twin move out. Twins have an entire set of boundary problems that don't really happen to anyone else, and it sounds like your partner is finally realizing that it is time to go develop separate adult lives (30s is really, really late to do that, this is probably 10-15 years past due - the issues you are describing are incredibly juvenile and it's because they are stuck at about 8 or 12 years old emotionally - the dynamic must change, for everyone's good).

And if that solves the immediate problem and you are able to carry on with your partner, then there you go. Nobody's saying forever, but if you think there's at least another year in you if this particular stressor goes away, I think you should give the relationship a shot under the new circumstances and see where it goes. If it doesn't work out, your partner can find a new roommate or go back to the emotionally unhealthy one with their twin.

The alternate of the two of you moving out is also one to discuss.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your sibling told you that the Twin has more right to live with your partner than you do? No. Neither you nor the Twin have any "right" to live with your Partner. Your partner decides who they want to live with.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:54 AM on February 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think I should be the one to leave.

Let me offer a counter-perspective: it may be healthier in the long term for the "other" twin to leave.

I am not a twin, but I am the older brother to twins and married to a twin. In both cases, there was a critical time when the pairs had to separate to fully form their own identities. It may be that your partner and their sibling have done that and been forced back together by necessity or habit, it may be that they have never been apart, but don't think that twins have some bond which should prevent them from being different people or forming other relationships.

Let your partner decide what they want to do and how they want to do it. It may be that this is what they need. I would just recommend supporting whatever approach they want to take. What you've tried so far doesn't sound crazy. Even if you two don't work out in the long run, this step may be important for your partner's own development and self-image.
posted by bonehead at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would move out if I were you.

Regardless of who is right or wrong, or who deserves what, that would be the best way to cover your ass. ESPECIALLY if you moved into a house the brothers shared previously before you came along, which seems plausible.

If this dude you're dating proposes, move in together to a mutually chosen new place at that point and say bye bye to brother.

If you break up, in the future do NOT live together with dudes before you're sure about them. Saves a lot of hassle moving stuff.
posted by quincunx at 11:00 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see two things going on.

The first issue is the relationship between your partner and their twin. Whether you were in the picture or not, it sounds like your partner wants and needs to set some boundaries with the twin. Making the choice not to live with your identical twin when you are in your early 30s sounds like a really good and important step toward developing a healthy, adult relationship with that twin (and giving the twin a chance to develop an independent personality separate from angst about being constantly compared. Simple solution: don't live together and socialize with all the same people.) Your partner also should by no means specifically use you as a reason for the twin to move out, this is about the twin's behavior and your partner's desire for a healthier relationship in the longterm.

Second issue: reading between the lines and making a big leap, it sounds like you want to break up with your partner. I may be completely wrong, but it sounds like you subconsciously are deciding to use the twin drama as a way to get space from your partner without directly saying you want space. Also, it sounds like you told your sibling that you were more or less considering ending the relationship (why would they describe your relationship as "on limited time" if you hadn't described it that way already?) I'm sure there are lots of factors and more info I don't have about this underlying aspect of your question but my couple basic thoughts are: 1) you should break up and move out if that's what you want to do, but don't pretend you're just moving out because of the twin drama, and 2) you should try to evaluate your relationship with your partner separate from your (or their) relationship with the twin, it sounds like that's having a big impact on you and your partner's emotional well-being at the moment and could be clouding your judgement. This might mean staying in the relationship and seeing what it's like to live separate from the twin (whether you continue to live with partner or not).

I like the suggestion to find a new place with your partner, but if you're actually unsure about the relationship in general it might not be best to sign a new year lease together. Having the twin move out may piss them off in the short term but it's best for their relationship in the long term and it's your partner's right to do so.
posted by dahliachewswell at 11:06 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you're not utterly "all in" with this relationship, which I have the impression that you are not, go ahead and break up. Because if it's at all possible, it's really awful to have an in-law who despises you and then you have to live with them as long as the marriage lasts. I feel sorry for your SO because the twin sounds horrible and like they will do their best to drive off any relationship your SO has, but... well, if it were me, I wouldn't want to marry into a family where that level of trouble is always going to be going on unless I really, really couldn't be parted from the SO.

" We could break up in six months, or a year, or five years, and my partner would still have a twin. And even if we did stay together forever, I'm not sure how I could interact with my partner's family after kicking the twin out of our house. I'm imagining years of strained holidays and avoiding family functions, years of being blamed for driving a wedge between The Identical Twins. "

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. Your poor SO is permanently stuck dealing with the twin drama--right now you're not in it for life. Technically it's up to the good twin to figure out how they want to deal with the bad twin for the rest of their life, but.... I dunno, I'd have reservations about being with someone whose twin despises me. If I wasn't utterly besotted with the good twin (and after 2.5 years and you're over 30, I'm inclined to think you've gone in as deep as you'll ever feel about them) and feeling "all in" about them, it's probably not worth the effort to stay.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:24 PM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can't force the evil twin to move out—you probably can't even ask the evil twin to move out. You only have control over your actions.

So move out, and say to your partner "I'd like you to move with me, but if you don't, I'll understand." Yes, you and your partner might need to cover the remaining six months on the lease, and I realize that's a hardship. Ask yourself which is worse.
posted by adamrice at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2015


My husband and I both have siblings with whom we have a difficult relationship. The fastest way to sanity for us was to agree that we deal with our own families as needed and as we choose, provided those choices are at least net neutral (if not positive) for our marriage. Basically, if my brother is acting up, I deal with it. My husband doesn't provide advice unless I ask for it, and doesn't get involved unless I ask for it.

Your partner is stating wishes and setting boundaries. This is good! They're making their own decisions, and making choices about how they want to deal with their sibling. Those choices are theirs to make. If you want to stay with your partner, relevant questions would be (as others have suggested):

"How do you think you'll approach Twin about this?"
"Is there something I can do to help you with this situation?"
"Have you considered the option of us moving out together into our own place?"
"Are you concerned about the effect this will have on your relationship with Twin? How do you feel about that?"
posted by RogueTech at 11:49 AM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't see a correct answer in the offing. My default bias is that twins have a unique relationship, different from other siblings, not simply more intense.

It seems to me that a reasonable course of action would be to move out, and invite your partner to come with you, possibly after a few weeks, so that the twins can exchange whatever communication is necessary. It may seem like quibbling, but the statement would be clear.

Coming between your partner and the other twin may be only one way to understand this situation, but there's no way to control how any interested parties will deal with it. Your partner's family and yours will have their affiliations mapped out according to their own lights.

You seem to be sensitive to the issues regarding the twin's behavior. This is understandable, given that your partner is likely to have a similar way to look at life. But you can assume only so much, and the twin's actions (regarding their relationship), in the end, are not yours to deal with. Nor are the bedrock issues between twins yours to manage. That's why it may be better if you frame your position in the light of letting the twins themselves have the reins, so to speak. You can speak only for yourself.

Finally, your relationship with either twin isn't fundamentally resting on the longevity of your partnership with either of them, because your relationship in any case will be with both. The issue rests between them, and you are not the hub, but a sort of signifier. Even if you and your partner separate after a couple of years, you will have made a significant impact on the lives of both. While it's laudable to respect their sibling connection, it may be better to let them define it according to their own needs.

A friend of mine is a twin. His bond with his twin was further intensified by serving in the same unit in combat with him. He had to adjust his relationship with his brother because of certain issues that came to a head when they were in their forties. They are estranged. It was much like the dissolution of a marriage--with the inevitable bits of unfathomable acrimony--but it was a thing that could not be helped. My friend believes that in time they may be able to reconcile, but for now they cannot. I don't know what your partner and twin ought to do in order to accommodate spouses in their lives. Maybe they don't either. Maybe now is when they must have that conversation, and it seems to me that it would be a distraction to put you in as the central object of a dynamic that is more fundamental than the ability of you and your partner's twin to get along with each other.
posted by mule98J at 1:08 PM on February 23, 2015


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