Names can carry a lot of weight in how we perceive people. If you meet someone who shares the same name as your college arch-nemesis, you may make some negative assumptions about their character. On the other hand, someone who shares the same name as your celeb crush, well, that’s just #destiny. But what if your new partner has the same name as your sibling? That’s where it can start to get a tad strange.
The reality is, no matter how much you love your sibling, shouting their name during a particularly mind-blowing romp could understandably give you the willies. In a Reddit thread titled “Would you not date a match if they have the same name as your parent/sibling?” users who weighed in had some pretty mixed feelings on the subject. Not everyone said it was a dealbreaker. “My sister has the most popular female name of our generation, so that would eliminate a lot of my dating pool,” explained one user. Another Redditor wrote, “I dated an Allison, and have a sister named Alison. My ex went by Allie though, so it didn't seem like too big of a deal to me.”
But some said they simply couldn’t get past the ick factor. “Hooked up with a guy who had the same name as my brother recently,” wrote one user. “I liked him a lot but saying ‘Yeah I hope I see Tom again’ or ‘Sex with Tom was really good’ makes me feel weird and I hate it. A lot.” Another Redditor added, “Alex is my brother's name, and I'm 100% guilty of passing up men named Alex because of it.”
According to board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman, if the fact that bae shares a name with your brother or sister freaks you out, you’re not alone.
“It's OK to feel a little weird dating someone with the same name as one of your siblings,” she explains.
While it’s totally normal if it skeeves you out, Dr. Edelman also noted that it’s a pretty common conundrum, so you shouldn't let it concern you too much.
“It isn't unusual for people to be in relationships with a person who shares a similar name to a family member,” she tells Elite Daily. “It's familiar, which can feel comforting.”
It makes a lot of sense, actually. Research has shown that repeated exposure to something makes us more attracted to it. In fact, psychologists actually have a term for this phenomenon: familiarity breeds liking. It could help to explain why some of us find ourselves getting into the same kinds of relationships over and over, or why a pop song on the radio might grow on us after we’ve heard it a dozen times. It also might explain why you’re drawn to someone who reminds you of a family member.
Phew. Dr. Edelman says there’s nothing wrong with it. After all, you’re not actually dating your sibling, and they may not even share any personality or physical traits with them. They just happen to have the same name.
“Their name has nothing to do with whether you can have a good relationship with them, so try not to worry about it,” she adds. “In fact, it might be fun for you to make a joke out of it if it takes the edge off.”
And here’s one last bit of good news: According to Dr. Edelman, there’s a good chance that the more you get to know your new boo, the more you’ll be able to mentally distinguish them from your sibling. So basically, the whole name-sharing thing will likely get less and less weird with time. But if you really can’t get past it, then consider finding a different nickname or a pet name that you can use for your SO. #Boom. Awkwardness avoided.