11 Brutal Truths About Loving An Only Child (As Written By One)

Photo: Dean Drobot | Shutterstock
man and woman nuzzling foreheads

For most of my childhood, I was bummed about being an only child.

It was tough as a kid seeing all of my friends with siblings, and even when they complained about having to share, a part of me envied them for having a partner in crime.

It wasn’t until I was older that I truly realized the special pros and cons of being an only child.

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Here are 11 brutal truths about loving an only child, as written by one:

1. We’re very decisive

I can’t speak for all only children but I was raised to be very self-reliant. From a young age, my parents forced me to make choices. Even as simple as "Choose between these outfits" in elementary school; they wanted me to be able to choose things for myself. Now, I know exactly what I want and I’m not afraid to ask for it. Nothing turns me off more than an indecisive guy.

2. We have a hard time asking for help

When I furnished my first New York apartment (#IKEAforever), I bought myself a bottle of red wine, sat down with my toolbox, and put together every. last. piece. Did I mention I had a serious, long-term boyfriend at the time? It wasn’t that he couldn’t help me (he offered); it was that I wanted to do it myself. It’s been hard for me to learn over time that it’s OK to let someone take care of me every once in a while.

3. We need to be adored

And duh: we grew up the center of attention. I put on singing performances, I drew all of the pictures, and I was basically given almost everything I wanted (except for that damn pony). I have also been reassured time and time again that I was amazing, compatible, beautiful, strong, smart, awesome … you get the picture. In a relationship, I’ll need someone who tells me those things and who dotes on me. I promise to always return the compliments, though.

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4. Our parents are our best friends

Some folks could probably care less if their family approves of the person they date, but for me it’s mandatory. If my mom and dad have a bone to pick with a man I drag home, then I know something isn’t right. I not only trust and value their opinions; they're my best friends. I talk to them every day — even just for five minutes — and whoever I marry has to be OK with that closeness.

5. We don’t want to marry other only children

Not because I couldn’t love them (I totally could), but if I end up with one, our kids won’t have any aunts and uncles. (Except for our amazing friends, of course.) I'd prefer to be with someone who comes from a bigger family because balance is important to me. 

6. We make great cuddlers

I grew up with no less than five pillows, two stuffed animals, and a real-life dog in my bed at night. Nowadays, I’ve narrowed it down to three pillows and my pup, but when I do have a boy in my bed … I’m all about that spooning. Because I was very nurtured as a kid, I love the touch of skin against skin, I’m great at back scratches and I’ll definitely be the one to wake you up for morning sex because I crave the closeness. (#winwin!)

7. We suck at compromise

Thanks to some honest, lovely besties of mine, I’ve gotten better at compromising for other people. It’s not that I don’t want to meet in the middle; it’s just that I never really had to as a child. If I wanted to go to the park, there was no little or big sister to complain about doing something else. I’m getting better at it, but it isn’t instinctive for me. I still need practice.

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8. We're fiercely loyal

My best friends really do feel like my brothers and sisters, and because of that, I’ve invested a lot of time, hope, work and love into those friendships. Because I never had a sibling growing up, I spent more time having sleepovers or going to other homes of friends my age. In my book, water's just as thick as blood.

9. We spend a lot of time in our heads 

My imagination is like wildfire: As a kid, I would create elaborate, heroic scenes with my Barbies, and these days, I can see a handsome man walking down the block near my apartment and plan our wedding in about three minutes. This creativity makes me a great writer but it can also be the death of me: I spend so much time thinking that sometimes I forget to live in the moment. 

10. We want a LOT of babies

Like four of them, no joke. I’d like to get started in about five years. (Here’s to hopin’!)

11. We know how to express love

When it comes to love, I’m not afraid. I’ve been told 'I love you' every single day by my parents for the past 26 years, and when I say those words to someone, I mean them with all of my heart. Even if it’ll take a hell of a man to put up with my sass, independence, need for reassurance, and over-analysis of, well, everything. I’m worth it. Promise.

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Lindsay Tigar is an experienced travel and lifestyle journalist, content strategist, and editor whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today, Fast Company, and a myriad of other publications.