His wife's time is consumed by her twin

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I am married to a 40-year-old woman who is an identical twin. My wife and her sister are close, but I almost categorize it as obsessive. They talk via phone or text just about every hour, and they need to know what the other is doing at all times, even if they are simply at home. My wife and I have very little uninterrupted time, and it is affecting the emotional closeness of our marriage. Both sisters are equally invested in this relationship. I have discussed this with my wife, but she simply says her sister was there before me and will be there after me (I am 18 years older). My wife carries her cellphone around with her for contact with her twin. I have done some reading on identical twin relationships, and understand the biological bond, so am I being selfish?The Third Wheel

DEAR THIRD WHEEL: You are not being selfish. You are trying very hard to be married. I shared your letter with Caroline Tancredy, who has done research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the twin relationship.

She says: "Our research indicates that twins (particularly identical twins) tend to give a high ranking to their co-twin with respect to attachment behaviors. However, generally when people are attached to their siblings, they are able to expand their attachments to include romantic partners." "Your wife's attitude is a dangerous one," Tancredy says. "She says that her twin was here first. . . . I myself have a deceased identical twin sister. She died when we were 19. I expected us to grow old and die on the same day, but it did not happen that way. I had to learn to rely on others for my attachment needs.

"It's not fair to compare partners with twin siblings, and there are many wonderful rewards to be gained by understanding that romantic partners have their own gifts to offer. Even twins take a risk when they put all their eggs in one basket."