Your Biggest Relationship Issue, Based On Birth Order

Whether you're the oldest, middle, youngest, or only, we all have our issues.

couple at a party Lomb/ Shutterstock

There are many variables that affect how people relate to each other within intimate relationships. One often-overlooked variable is birth order.

The pairing that most likely leads to divorce is only children with each other, and then oldest children with other oldest children.

Both onlies and oldests tend to be more anxious and more achievement-oriented. So nobody goes with the flow and each wants his or her own way. That often doesn’t go well.


The more siblings you have, though, the less likely you are to divorce.

Maybe this is because kids with more siblings tend to be better at dealing with other people, or maybe people who have many kids are less easily stressed out and love kids more (which is why, in the age of contraception, they would choose to have so many kids).


RELATED: The Strangely Fascinating Way Your Birth Order Affects Your Personality

Maybe such people would be helpful grandparents and thereby help their kids to have less stressed marriages and thereby lower the kids’ likelihood of divorce. And maybe, the more kids you have, the likelier you are to be religious, and religious individuals are less likely to divorce.

There are so many variables at play, but overall, there is a significant negative relationship between the number of kids in your family and your divorce rate.

RELATED: What Your Birth Order Can Predict About Your Love Life

The best pairings are between kids of different birth orders.


I would imagine this is because of imago theory, where each child gets used to interacting with his or her sibling and unconsciously may replicate this pattern in adult intimate relationships.

Since oldests are often more achievement-oriented and rigid, and youngers are more amiable and flexible, in a marriage between an oldest and a youngest, both partners may feel comfortable with their familiar sibling dynamic recurring in the marriage.

Overall, it is interesting to examine birth order in the greater context of your upbringing and your partner’s upbringing.

Sometimes, people bond with partners over being of the same birth order, and this can be a great source of comfort.


These statistics only identify trends, not hard and fast rules.

RELATED: The Funniest Sibling, According To Research

Realize, too, that the closer you are in age to your siblings, the more that birth order effects are magnified.

If you’re seven or more years apart, for instance, researchers consider you and your sibling to have been raised like only children, in terms of sharing, parental attention and so forth.

If you’re Irish twins, then your older sibling likely acts more achievement-oriented, anxious, and inflexible, and you act more rebellious, independent, and flexible.


Give me your thoughts, readers! And till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Also Read This Book!

RELATED: Why Firstborn Children Are Smarter Than Their Siblings, Says Science

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.