Tell Me If You Think This Is Weird: My Boyfriend’s Sister Looks Exactly Like Me. Exactly.by Chiara Atik on September 22, 2011
Are you weird about dating? We’re here to help you figure it out! Just email us a question and we’ll tell you, as honestly as we possibly can, whether or not we think (whatever it is) is weird. Today’s topic: Is it weird to look exactly like your boyfriend’s sister?
“I’m 26 and started seeing a guy casually about 5 months ago after meeting him at a party through mutual friends. We later added each other on Facebook and I saw his sister’s profile linked from his. I casually glanced at her photos (as casually as you can look through someone’s sister’s photos). I found out through looking that, despite a big difference in body types (she’s tall/I’m short), we are similar in the face. Like VERY similar. He’s never mentioned it, but it’s obvious to quite a few people. We also have some other similarities in interests and education. My friends think this is weird beyond measure. I’m already sort of invested and have proceeded despite knowing this. Should I be running for the hills?”
Huh! Curious! But more coincidental than weird. You met him at a party, right? I assume that this is because you started talking and really hit it off, not because he saw you across the crowded room and thought “Who is that girl who looks just like my sister? I must talk to her!”
It’s no secret that guys often have a subliminal urge to find women that make them think of their mothers, so it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to me that this should also apply to sisters. Still, there’s no reason to suppose that this situation is that Oedipal: growing up around a girl with similar interests as yours is maybe part of what makes him a good match for you in the first place.
As for the fact that he hasn’t mentioned it, it’s A) possible he hasn’t noticed, and B) impossible to casually say “You know, you sort of look like my sister” to someone you’re dating. That would be creepy.
And finally: you’ve seen this girl on Facebook, noticed that you look alike, and maybe have some of the same favorite movies. But despite all this, you could be absolutely nothing like her. So don’t run for the hills, just yet. (Besides, what would you say? “We need to break up because I think I look too much like your sister?”)
We asked Dr. Barbara Schildkrout, author of Unmasking Psychological Symptoms: How Therapists Can Learn to Recognize the Psychological Presentation of Medical Disorders, to weigh in on whether there’s any psychological explanation to Maeve’s situation.
“People are attracted to one another for all kinds of complex reasons,” Schildkrout writes. “It is possible that Maeve’s guy is attracted to her IN PART because she reminds him of his sister. (Maybe he has a wonderful relationship with his sister.) Perhaps he was drawn to Maeve for that reason. And that might be something he is conscious of or something he is entirely unaware of.”
The real crux of Maeve’s issue is the underlying question: “Is it okay to be attracted to a sibling?” Which, yes, is a sticky issue, but also a huge leap from Maeve merely noticing, based on a few Facebook pictures, a similarity in appearance.
“I would argue that what is really important is how Maeve and her boyfriend actually get along, what their relationship is really like, how it’s growing and developing SINCE his initial attraction to her, how good a relationship he has with his family, and so on.”
What Do You Think?
Tell Maeve if you think her situation is weird!