In this article, we will examine signs that show siblings are too close and what you can do if you find yourself dealing with such a situation.
Sibling relationships are interesting, to say the least. It is a blend of care, love, rivalry, and jealousy. Most siblings compete with each other for parental love, which causes jealousy in the relationships. However, sometimes siblings can be too close for comfort.
People who share 50% of their DNA are expected to be close. But in some instances, siblings can be too close. Siblings need to have a healthy relationship as it affects their mental health.
When you are not on good terms with your siblings, you will have some mental health issues; you may develop anxiety and, in some severe cases, depression.
It is also common for people who are at loggerheads with their siblings getting into drug use and alcoholism to dull the pain of losing their sibling’s relationship.
That being said, sometimes siblings can develop an unhealthy attachment to each other. However, most inappropriate attachments happen between brothers and sisters as opposed to same-gender siblings.
In this article, we will examine signs that show siblings are too close. Read on to learn more.
Signs Siblings Are Too Close
Your sibling relationship is the longest relationship you will have in your life. Society expects siblings to be close, love, and care for each other. But, according to a survey by Union College, same-gender siblings are closer than opposite-gender siblings.
However, the most inappropriate relationship among siblings happens in opposite-gender siblings. A brother and sister’s beautiful bond can become weird and clingy if they get too close.
Some of the signs siblings are too close include the following;
1. Flirtatious Behavior
Any flirtatious behavior between a brother and sister is bound to make you cringe. There is an awkwardness one feels when one sees siblings getting too close.
According to Hanan Parvez, author of PsychMechanics, this results from an incest-avoidance psychological mechanism.
Humans are genetically engineered to see sibling relationships as weird because when close relatives breed, the descendants have a high chance of genetic defects. So, any flirtatious behavior between siblings is discouraged and frowned upon.
However, sometimes one may interpret the behavior as flirtatious while, in the real sense, it is not due to the context. So, it is crucial to understand the context of the behavior before judging.
For instance, it is okay to hug your siblings for a long time when you meet after a long time. However, it may be inappropriate if you are always together and have long, passionate hugs.
Moreover, if you hold your sister’s hand when crossing the road, this is okay as you are caring and protective; after all, your parents taught you to take care of your sister.
On the other hand, if you always hold hands with your sister even when there is no need to, it will be inappropriate, and you will seem too close for comfort.
Some of the flirtatious behavior among siblings include;
- Holding and caressing hands
- Hugging for too long
- Playing with their hair
- Embracing them from behind
- Sitting on their laps
- Heavy eye contact
- Frequent touching
2. They Are Always Together
It is okay to hang out with your siblings, and it is encouraged for family cohesion. However, if a brother and sister are always together and hang out more than they do with their romantic partners, there is a problem.
For instance, if you want to see a movie or visit a new restaurant and the first person you want to go with is your brother or sister instead of your romantic partner, it may be a problem.
It will not only show inappropriate sibling relationships but will also bring problems in your romantic relationships. Your partner will say you prefer being with the sibling over them. When you are in a romantic relationship, your partner deserves most of your attention.
3. They Always Talk About Each Other
When someone is the center of our universe, you will talk about them a lot. So, if you are always talking about your siblings, you may be too close for comfort.
For instance, you will not need to ask if I do when I love someone. I will talk about them from dawn to dusk. I am the person who will bore you with stories about my boyfriend.
So, if you keep telling me about your brother, I will wonder if there is more going on between you apart from a sibling relationship.
4. Jealous of Their Romantic Partners
If your brother or sister is jealous of your romantic partner, there is a problem. As much as your siblings love you, they will be happy for you if you are in a happy and healthy relationship.
So, if your siblings show jealousy towards your partner, you are too close.
Some of the signs of jealousy you should look out to include the following;
- They follow you around when you are with your partner.
- They get angry when you are texting with your partner.
- They do not want to see you with your partner.
- They always want you to hang out with them instead of your partner.
- They may try to incite you to leave your partner.
- They may give you the silent treatment when you choose your partner over them.
5. They Are Unable To Function Independently
When siblings are too close, they may be unable to function independently. For instance, you may find they cannot make decisions without the other sibling.
It may be a simple decision as to what to order in a restaurant or what color of shirt to buy. On the other hand, you may see a sister is unable to choose a dress without the brother’s approval.
However, there are some decisions we can understand; for instance, if you want to buy a car and your brother has more knowledge about cars, you will take him along to help you make a good decision.
After all, we don’t want you spending thousands of dollars on a bad car because you don’t want people to say you are too close to your brother.
Moreover, siblings who are too close may have a hard time completing tasks without the presence or input of the other sibling.
This happens especially when the siblings are younger. When the parents give them a chore, they will want their siblings to be there with them, not necessarily helping, but their presence keeps them motivated.
Sometimes siblings who are too close may become overly protective of each other to the point it affects their social and personal lives.
It is okay to protect your siblings, but if your protection is deterring them from having relationships with other people, it is overprotectiveness and a problem.
For instance, if you do not want your siblings to have friends and want to remain their only social circle, it becomes a problem. You cannot be everything to them.
Sometimes you may also find a sister who discourages her brother from having a romantic relationship because she feels a romantic partner will take away their bond. These are the same siblings who get jealous of your relationships.
7. Inability To Form Other Relationships
Siblings who are too close will have a hard time forming healthy relationships with other people.
This is because they are always hanging out with their siblings and do not have the time or space to meet other people and form meaningful relationships.
You may find that these people have no friends outside their siblings. According to Cicirelli. V.G, siblings are willing to discuss confidential information and taboo topics they might not discuss with other people.
This strengthens their bond, making it harder for them to seek friendships and relationships with other people.
Opening up to your siblings is okay when you have a problem. However, it is vital to keep some information to yourself.
Sometimes you find siblings who are too close and share every tiny detail of their lives, even those one should keep private.
For instance, you may find a sister sharing intimate details about their relationship with her brother, details which should not leave the bedroom and should only be between partners.
You should only share some things with your partner as they may be embarrassing to tell other people, but siblings who are too close will share everything, embarrassing or not.
9. Fusion of Identities
When siblings are too close, they have fused identities. As a result, they have challenges developing an identity away from their sibling relationship.
When siblings have identity fusion, they cannot separate themselves from their siblings, and they exist as a unit.
Everyone is unique; however, siblings with identity fusion do not develop individual identities outside of sibling relationships.
For instance, you may find siblings with the same interests, dress the same way, and even pursue the same profession.
Everything about them is the same, and you may not differentiate between them, especially if they are identical twins.
10. Inappropriate Compliments
It gets weird and cringy when siblings share compliments that should only be between romantic partners.
For instance, when you have a nice dress and ask your brother’s opinion. It should be “pretty” or “beautiful.” So, if your brother says you look “hot,” it is inappropriate as this word has a sexual connotation.
Moreover, you should not be asking your siblings how you look more than you ask your partner or your best friend.
11. Sharing Food
When you go out on a date with your partner, you may eat from the same plate and even feed each other.
However, when a brother and sister do this it is weird. It is acceptable to pick something from your brother’s plate, but feeding each other is crossing the line.
What To Do When Siblings Are Too Close
When siblings are too close, it can lead to many issues. However, there are some steps one can take to address the issues and encourage siblings to have healthy relationships with each other and others.
Some of these steps include;
1. Encourage Independence
Parents and guardians can encourage siblings to develop their own interests without relying on what their siblings like. They should encourage decision-making from a young age so the children can make decisions without their siblings’ influence and input.
For example, a parent can encourage siblings to take different hobbies and activities away from their siblings.
I know you don’t want to run for pickup across town for soccer and karate, but it is best for your kids to be independent.
Also, you should give children different tasks where they need to make decisions without involving their siblings.
2. Encourage Healthy Relationships
Parents and guardians should encourage siblings to form healthy relationships with others outside the sibling bond.
For example, you can encourage children to make friends with their classmates and other kids. Have their friends over for playdates and sleepovers if possible.
This will make them have relationships with others instead of their siblings alone.
3. Set Boundaries
It is important for siblings to set boundaries with each other. For example, learn to respect your sibling’s space and belongings.
Also, keep the personal information that you should keep private, private. When the children are younger, the parents can facilitate these conversations to ensure all siblings feel heard and respected.
4. Seek Professional Help
Some cases of sibling closeness will need professional intervention. This is especially when the closeness is causing problems and impacting their ability to function independently.
You can talk to a child therapist if the children are still young; they will give you tools to help them be more independent.
Final Thoughts on Signs Siblings Are Too Close
Research shows sibling relationships are important and can significantly impact individuals’ lives. In addition, a healthy sibling relationship is an important source of comfort and support.
However, when siblings are too close, it will lead to many issues in their lives, such as a lack of independence, challenges in forming healthy relationships, and an inability to develop their own unique identities.
Many signs can show siblings are too close. Some signs that show siblings are too close include; flirtatious behaviors, jealousy, inappropriate compliments, overprotectiveness, and food sharing.
Moreover, siblings who are always together, communicate all time, and talk about each other are always maybe too close for comfort.
If your siblings are jealous of your romantic partners, are overprotective, and do not have healthy relationships outside their siblings’ bond, they are too close.
Additionally, siblings who are too close have fused identities and cannot function independently without their siblings’ input.
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Sarah Williams is an author at CandidHaven.com she is an expert in human psychology having graduated with an M.S. in Psychology.
Sarah has extensive experience in relationships and dating therapy having worked for over 6 years with different groups of people including teens, dating couples, and married people.
She is a lover of life, and self-development and believes everyone deserves to be in a fulfilling relationship. Sarah loves reading self-help books and doing research on human psychology.