My problem is my cousin, and it starts with my mother. Mom is a twin. Both sisters got married and pregnant around the same time. They each gave birth to one daughter 29 years ago.
Ever since, I was raised to consider my cousin as my “almost-twin,” and lifelong best friend. That became difficult as we grew up, because we’re so different and clash on many things.
I was very motivated regarding education. I have a very good job, and earn decently. I’m also engaged to a man I love.
My cousin showed creative talent early but gets bored and sidetracked easily. She sold a few of her paintings to family and friends, then went travelling with her earnings and returned broke. Her last boyfriend dumped her - which I thought was a blessing since he had no ambition.
Meanwhile, both our mothers push my cousin and me to do things together, even though we have different sets of friends and lifestyles.
I live with my fiancé in a condo we can jointly afford. My cousin lives with two girlfriends in a basement apartment and sleeps at her parents’ place when she needs a break.
Basically, my cousin barely hides that she resents me and I can no longer accept my mother’s pressure to “just love her,” which worked for my aunt and her because they were bonded as twins.
Anyone who knows us can see that my cousin and I are never going to be close. How can I get my mother to back off telling me what to do at this age, and accept that I’m my own separate person?
Not Her Twin
One element of this story is absolutely correct: Not even your mother and aunt, for all their wishing, can create the remarkable genetic/psychological bond of twinship where it never existed from birth.
But other issues you raise here need a second look. Your problem is NOT your cousin - she is who she is, and owes you nothing regarding what path she follows, friends she chooses, how she lives, and whether a boyfriend is suitable for her.
You don’t have to love her to be kind, instead of considering it “a blessing” that she’s been dumped. Even if you didn’t voice that, it was likely evident.
I agree that your mother and aunt should back off trying to push you two into the mould they prefer, of closely-connected twins.
Without being unkind, you can say that to your mom, with understanding that they meant well in wanting their daughters to have the same intense, loving family bond.
It’s time you state clearly that it’s a false unrealistic goal which may have even contributed to you and your cousin choosing different lifestyles.
Once they stop the pressure, you two women may one day appreciate each other’s differences.
My close friend, 49, had married a man 16 years older. She’s been unhappy for several years because he’s steadily become argumentative and increasingly critical of her.
She insisted he have a medical check-up. He had no health issues and said, “Don’t try to change me.”
The day she turned 50, she walked out, saying that leaving him was her birthday present to herself.
Your friend’s dramatic gesture asserted her refusal to accept her husband’s emotional/verbal abuse any longer. She’s a strong woman.
Hopefully, her independence will include reviewing why she originally married him and how she intends to re-shape her life and any new partnership.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who signed himself as the Fat Guy (Oct. 14):
Reader – “As one man to another who didn’t fit into his clothes after cooking and eating during Covid lockdowns, I say, “Welcome to the club!”
“My similar surprise became apparent when I tried to put on my suit pants for a job interview.
“My doctor’s advice, which I sought, is simply to start eating one-third less than you normally have been doing. Unfortunately, for me, that doctor practiced exactly what he preached, so I had no come-back.
“He also advised my taking daily walks. If possible, do so in nature. Each day make the route a little longer, but only increase gradually.
“The effect on me, is to find that my mental clarity and general “good feeling” after a walk has become my prime incentive. I then find that the desired weight loss is actually a bonus.”
Tip of the day:
The twinship bond has a genetic base, and can’t be “created” by non-twins.