Writing a blog about what it’s like to date a twin has been pretty much been an ongoing joke among my friends and I for almost a year. Back story: last year when Isaac’s birthday was rolling around (which he shares with his twin brother Mitchel) and I was making plans to celebrate, I was sharing my ideas with his mom and had a word slip…. “It’s just so hard sometimes dating twins!!” Well, needless to say, I still have not heard the end of my little phrasing mix-up. And the idea for this post was born.
So here goes! My viewpoint, advice, and two-cents on what it’s like to date a twin: what to expect, the how-to’s, and what YOU can expect if ever you find yourself dating a twin or wondering what it would be like or if it would be a good match for you. Search no further for your ultimate field guide.
- You’ll be the third wheel at first. I’m sorry hun. It’s true. Twins are used to being together most of the time, sharing most of the same things, and have some weird but cool emotional bond that all of us non-twins will never understand. Sometimes your significant other will choose their twin over you. So when you start dating one twin, you automatically become a tricycle. But YOU are the third wheel. With patience and time this eventually changes, but don’t expect anything less than that feeling at first.
- It’s a lot easier being the third wheel when you joke about it. Twins recognize they are closer than many people are used to. So when you joke about being the third wheel, it’s like saying you understand they have a special connection while also very subtly reminding them that someday that special connection should (hopefully) be yours with the twin you’re dating. Our joke is that we are the tricycle- but that was a joke that was much more frequent the first few months of dating. The tables have turned in many ways, which is only natural. But that bond between twins will always be there, and you’re either okay with it or it bugs you. And if it bugs you, dating twins probably isn’t for you.
- Birthdays can be freaking hard. Especially when you’re tight with the other twin too. The thing about twins is that they share a birthday. They’ve been used to sharing one party, one cake, often the same friend group, and many of the same gifts their whole lives. So when you start to date a twin and want to do something really special for their birthday, it’s hard sometimes to know how to go the extra mile for the one you’re dating but also make their twin feel special too. Because if you’re good friends with their twin, you want to care for them on their birthday too, but you have a specific bond with your boyfriend/girlfriend and want to especially celebrate them. I found a happy medium last year- my friends and I planned the same “party”/outing for both of them and all of us were there celebrating both of them, but before all of that I took Isaac to brunch and gave him the gift I’d specially picked out just for him. So we got some time just the two of us for me to celebrate just Isaac, but we also got to celebrate the two of them together. My advice? Do something special for both of them, but add an extra cherry or two on top for the one you’re dating. It can take some creativity, but it can in fact be done. And don’t give them the same gift.
- Expect to hear “we” a lot, not always in terms of you and your significant other. Because twins are used to having so much together, they’ve often learned to talk more often in terms of the both of them and not themselves individually. And especially as they start to separate and truly grow into their own individual persons, they’ll notice the habit of saying “we” more than “I”. For example, when I’d ask Isaac something about a memory growing up, he would almost always start the story using “we” and not “I,” because him and Mitchel did everything together. Oftentimes when I’d try to make plans, he’d respond by saying “we just have to run to the store really quick” or “we’re finishing homework and then can come” or something along those lines… again, that habit begins to break with time. And soon he started saying “we” when talking to people about him and I, not always him and Mitch. It’s kind of hilariously ironic how twins emphasize that they are two different people (because they are) but then don’t usually realize how often they talk and act as one person. Again, the healthy level of separation will come with time, I promise.
- They will try to trick you into mixing them up. I would highly recommend studying the one you’re dating closely, especially if you haven’t known them very long. I had the advantage of six or seven years of friendship with both of them before we started dating, so I’m at the point where I can not only tell them apart physically, but can also almost always tell them apart by their voices over the phone. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to trick me. It never goes far and I almost always catch it within a few seconds. But there’s been many times I’ll call Isaac and Mitch will pick up, or vice versa, and if I don’t catch it after a minute or so they’ll laugh really hard and give the phone to the one I was trying to reach. Just accept it. Have a sense of humor. And study the one that you’re interested in. Maybe mark the one that’s yours if you have too (lololol just kidding- kinda). Trust me.
- Don’t ask twin questions. They’ve gotten these questions their whole lives, and I can tell you by now that most (emphasis on MOST, not all) of the stereotypes aren’t true. If one gets hurt the other doesn’t magically feel pain too. They usually don’t have the exact same fashion sense. They do get in arguments, they are individual people, and contrary to popular belief, they can’t read each other’s minds. My particular set of twins does happen to do a lot together- they go to the same college, study the same thing, and have been on the same sports teams for most of their lives, but from what I understand about twins, that’s an exception and not the rule. They just happen to have many of the same giftings and passions. But let me answer your questions now- most of the stereotypes aren’t true, and you aren’t helping yourself get any points by asking twin questions.
- It’s a BIG moment when you get to ride in the passenger seat if it’s just the three of you in the car. The first moment the three of us went to go somewhere and Mitchel automatically went to the backseat was when I realized I’d made it. I’d been used to the backseat if it’s the two of them in the car with me. I never asked for the passenger seat (though sometimes I intentionally got there first), so the moment when it was given to me automatically was a BIG moment. Wait for it, hope for it, and celebrate when it comes. Big milestone, guys.
- If you make dinner for one, make dinner for the other. First of all, that’s just a nice thing to do, and second of all, that gets you points in the twin’s book. You need those points if you want this whole relationship thing to be long-lasting. Special things for the other twin that you’re not dating get you lots of bonus points on both sides.
- If you can’t find the one you’re dating, just call the twin. Especially if they live together or go to the same school. One almost always knows where the other is, which makes it a lot easier to find the one you’ve lost. And my twins can be hit or miss with the phone, so this has been an unexpected benefit.
- You know you’ve found a good one when your significant other addresses the twin bond with you. A few months ago Isaac asked me how I felt about him and Mitchel’s bond. It’s honestly never bothered me too much because I’ve been such good friends with both of them for so long, but I told him I’d wondered what it would be like if ever Isaac and I ended up married. He told me that while him and Mitch do share a bond and always will, I’m very quickly developing a deep bond with him as well, and that if we do end up married, I automatically become his new number one after God. That’s God’s order. Leave and cleave. The bond will always be there with his brother, but the new “we” will be him and his wife, not him and Mitch. I’d say if this isn’t addressed after a certain length of time, it might be good to bring it up.
- If you’re in with the other twin, you’re in. If you’ve gotten the stamp of approval from the twin you’re not dating, you’ve made it. Mitch asked to talk to me several months ago, and when we met up, it felt like I was the boy asking to date the daughter. In other words, Mitch is very protective of Isaac and vice versa. It’s a strange thing being the girl and being asked about my intentions, but as we talked Mitch told me how much he appreciated my patience and understanding, and how he thought I was a really solid human. He officially told me I had the stamp of approval. Again… BIG moment. If you’re in with the twin, you know you’re in.
- It’s like two for the price of one. Just kidding. Of course you’re only dating the one (I hope), but if you play your cards right, it’s like getting a significant other AND a really solid other girl or guy friend all at once. You’re only romantically attracted to the one but you get to joke and hangout with the other too and it’s not weird. I love Isaac and consider him to be my best friend. And Mitchel has become like the brother I never had. I will say it helps A LOT if you’re friends with both of them before you ever start dating one. But it is possible.
All of that said, dating twins definitely isn’t for everyone. But it can be done, and if it’s done right, it can be a lot of fun. I hope this field guide has been helpful 😉