How Your Birth Order Affects Your Romantic Relationships


According to William Cane, author of the The Birth Order Book of Love, your birth order affects your personality, which is directly related to how you interact with other people. Naturally, this will affect your romantic relationships as well.

The most common descriptors for the birth order hierarchy are: firstborn, middle or later born, last born, and only child.

Researchers agree that each level of the birth order hierarchy has unique traits. These traits derive from the unspoken competition between siblings as they fight for a family niche. It’s like all of them fight for the attention they think they deserve.


Being the first child of the family, firstborns commonly have all the attention directed to him/her. They tend to be dominant and controlling in relationships. There are two types of firstborns: the compliant and the aggressive. The compliants are caregivers, crowd pleasers, team players, and reliable. The aggressive ones are the natural leaders and perfectionists who want things done their way.

Middle and Later Borns

The middles and the later borns are the type “O” of the relationships. They are often characterized as the rebel of the family, the risk takers, but perhaps this is a misinterpretation of their personalities because they are just characterized as more “open to experience” compared to their firstborn siblings, so they seem to be more rebellious. Although there are two types of middle child—the outgoing and the loner—both still share the common tendency to be good at compromising.

Last Borns

Studies have shown that last born children rate fairly similar to their middle-born counterparts but are also attributed more negative descriptors in keeping with the stereotype of them being spoiled. Being the only baby left in the family, they become extra-dependent because it’s not only the parents who take care of them but also the older siblings. If the last born came many years after their nearest sibling, though, their experience is more like that of an only child.

The Only Child

The stereotype for the only children is that they are spoiled and pampered with all the love and attention but due to lack of siblings, their personalities could somehow develop uniquely and it won’t be so difficult compared to those who compete with their brothers/sisters. Studies showed that these children are most likely to develop a much stronger and fair relationship with his/her parents.

So now that I’ve discussed each type, let’s see how compatible they are with each other when it comes to relationships.

Firstborn to Firstborn

This kind of blend could be seen a little risky since both are going to fight for dominance. But did you know that Bill and Hilary Clinton are both firstborns? And because of that they were a classic combination of control, self-driven and natural leaders. This combination may fight over simple things like where to eat, what to eat, what movie to watch since they both want to be always in control but all relationships have this kind of phase—only this combination would feel it more intense since they are not used to compromising.

Firstborn with Middle

This is the kind of relationship that could be seen as almost perfect but it’s not. Middle children may be good with compromising, which is a good trait for a long-lasting relationships but they are so convenient to be with that being with a firstborn whose personality is usually controlling and dominating could be the cause of lack of self-improvement on the side of the middle child. They might not be able to pursue their own dreams and goals in life because of their accommodating nature.

Firstborn with Last Born

The firstborn (always wanting to be in control) and the last born (always seeking comfort and wanting to be taken care of) is actually a win-win kind of relationship.

Middle with Middle

It is very natural for middle children to avoid confrontation, so in this kind of relationship the most common dilemma they would face is the matter of communicating with each other. Their sensitive, compromising and accommodating nature makes it necessary for them to help each other develop the assertiveness and self-esteem that are needed for problem-solving.

Youngest with Middle

This is one hell of a couple. The middle plus the baby is a pretty good match. The combination of the middle—who is good at compromising and negotiating—and the social outgoing personality of the last born is the key to a good relationship. According to an article written by Kevin Leman for the CBN, “Somewhat paradoxically, this kind of marriage has a high probability for good communication—sharing feelings and rolling with the punches.” On the other hand, some researchers think that although the middle child is known to be compatible with anyone, having a relationship with the last born can be problematic. They might have issues on who’s in charge, like the middle child may act more like a last born compared to the actual last born and vice versa.

Youngest with Youngest

On these kind of relationship Youngest + Youngest = DISASTER. Yes it is fun to be with someone who shares the same experience while growing up but the thing is the only question this relationship couldn’t answer is “Who is in charge?” They are both young and care free, that both of them refuse to accept the responsibility. People who are in this kind of relationship should be able to establish a division of workload, fairly divided to each other’s strength and weaknesses.

Only Children with Everyone

Most people assume that the onlies have the same personality like the firstborns but they could actually develop two different kinds of personalities: Firstborn personalities and last born personalities. Only children are most likely compatible with anyone as long as their partners could actually determine which of the two kinds of personality the only child possesses; then they could have a fruitful and well-adjusted relationship. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Art Santos

Always trying to go beyond what I am.

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