Your birth order can affect your personality and behavior in ways you probably would've never imagined. In fact, a 2013 study published in the journal
Human Nature, found that your birth order can significantly influence how you are in relationships. So if you've ever wondered why you seem to keep having the same problems in your romantic relationships, your birth order can clue you in.
How your birth order affects your life is a pretty interesting subject to tackle. After all, it's not something you choose. It's something you're just born into. Over the years, researchers have come out with numerous studies on how your birth order may be affecting your life without you really realizing it.
"We often mimic our family dynamics in relationships," NYC-based individual and family therapist,
Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle.
For instance, your "place" within your family dynamic can say a lot about
the type of partner you need in order to be happy in a relationship. It can indicate how much you value loyalty or how likely you are to cheat. It can even tell say a lot about what you're like in bed.
So whether you're the oldest, the middle, the youngest, or the only child, here's what your birth order says about problems you may face in relationships.
First borns are
known for being responsible, structured, and cautious. They also tend to be overachievers. That's where many of their relationship problems lie, Hershenson says. "Oldest children tend to be more 'take charge' and carry large amounts of responsibilities," she says. "They're likely to become the decision makers in their relationships and might be tougher on their partners."
So if you're the oldest child, try to let go a little. Remind that yourself that your partner is your partner, not any of your younger siblings. Don't be so controlling and hard on your partner.
You've probably heard of "
middle child syndrome," in which the middle child gets less of their parents' love and affection due to neither being the oldest or the youngest. "Middle children often feel like they don't know where they fit in," Hershenson says. Because of this, their relationship problems stem from insecurity over their partner's love for them.
If you're a middle child, it's important to let your partner know how you feel. You shouldn't have to ask for reassurance every single day, but allow your partner in. Help them understand your needs to feel happy and secure within your relationship.
Youngest children tend to be outgoing, fun-loving, and the center of attention. They also tend to be spoiled. Hershenson says. "If this is the case, youngest children may grow up feeling entitled because they're used to getting things their way," she says.
So if your relationship problems stem from you wanting things done a certain way, remember that good
healthy relationships require compromise. Your partner is just as important as you. Try to give just as much as you get.
"Only children may have a tendency to want attention since that's what they're likely used to growing up," Hershenson says. Because of that, they may be overly dependent on their partner and a bit possessive. Being the only child can also cause you to be a perfectionist. You may not like to share what you feel belongs to you, but remember that your partner isn't something for you to "own." They're choosing to be with you. Besides,
space in a relationship can be healthy, so be OK with giving your partner that if they need it.
But just because you're the oldest child and may have certain traits that carry onto adulthood, that doesn't mean you can't grow out of them. "People can grow out of these 'roles' if they want to," Hershenson says. "Change can only happen if an individual is willing to put in the effort of working on themselves."
Studies have found that
certain birth order pairings are better than others. For instance, first borns make good matches with last borns than two first borns. As long as you recognize which of your traits can be problematic, you have a better chance of fixing it and making it work with whoever you're in a relationship with.