Twinship and Marriage – Experiences during the Course of Twin Relationships

Sirpa Pietila, Pia Bulow, Anita Bjorklund


The aim of this study was to explore and describe older twins’ experiences of their marriages in relation to the co-twin relationship.
Material and Methods: The material consisted of 34 life story interviews with older twins (70+), representing various experiences of twinship and marriage. The data was analysed with qualitative latent content analysis.
Results: Phases of marriage describe the time of Courtship - partners were chosen based on infatuation. Most were non-related, but some were relatives or friends. Twinship and quality of married life showed that marriages were either disharmonious or harmonious. The most common cause of conflicts was spouses not getting along, second common cause to conflicts was the twin relationship itself. In the harmonious marriages, the spouses were sympathetic and accepting of the twin relationship. In later life 14 of 34 were widowed and 7 of 34 had gone through a divorce. The most common cause of divorce was an unfaithful spouse, rather than the close relationship with the co-twin. In difficult times the twin relationship served as a source of comfort and support.
Conclusions: The most harmonious marriages were with spouses related to one another. In this way the twins could keep both the twin relationship and have a marriage. Since twins often regard each other as attachment figures, the combination of twinship and marriage seem to be a challenge for the spouse to be most of all.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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