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Dating An Only Child (25 Things To Expect)

If you’re already dating or thinking about dating an only child, there are some things that you might want to know! Due to the fact, only children are raised by themselves, they tend to have different experiences growing up and therefore they develop different characteristics to those with brothers and sisters.

Obviously, every person is individual and has their own characteristics, but we’re going to share the classic characteristics that an only child has, so you know what you might be getting into by dating someone without brothers or sisters. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you might think, but it is useful to know what kind of person your potential new partner might be like!

1. They Will Be Close To Their Parents

Most only children are close to their parents because they spent so much time with them whilst they were growing up, being the only one there. This close relationship might only be with one parent, but even so, this relationship will last throughout this person’s adult life. So, expect that your date’s best friend could be one of their parents.

2. They Will Need A Lot Of Alone Time

they will need a lot of alone time

Due to the fact that only children spend a lot of time by themselves at home, they get extremely used to, and enjoy, being by themselves. This means that even as adults, only children like to spend a lot of time alone. In fact, alone time for them is absolutely necessary, so don’t be surprised if they need to take some time out from being with you, or other people for that matter.

3. They Might Feel Overwhelmed By Your Bigger Family

Only children are used to small families, so if you’re thinking about introducing your only child partner to your big family, make sure you’re aware of the fact that they might be overwhelmed. They might not understand how a big family works or feel like they know how to act around your siblings, so give them time and don’t pressurize them too much into becoming a part of your big family straight away. 

4. They Will Be Unintentionally Selfish

Only children never have to take into account a sibling’s feelings, and therefore they might grow up to be unintentionally selfish people. They won’t be selfish in a mean or rude way, but they just won’t think about taking other people’s opinions or feelings into account when making decisions.

5. They Will Be Confident

Always having to make new friends and without being able to rely on siblings for protection and back-up, only children are inherently confident, and this confidence only grows when they grow up. So, you have to understand that your potential significant other will be incredibly confident and sure of themselves.

6. They Will Be More Sensitive

Although only children have incredible amounts of confidence, they also tend to be more sensitive because they’ve never had to deal with being teased and picked on by any siblings. So, even if you’re joking around with your only child partner, they might take it seriously and get offended.

7. They Will Be Independent

Unlike children that have siblings to rely on, only children grow up to be independent because they have no one to rely on or come up with ideas with, and this is definitely one of the most common traits that transfer to adult life too. 

If you’re dating an only child, they will be fiercely independent, always following their dreams and looking after themselves every day, without needing anyone else's help.

8. They Will Take Time To Adjust To Living With You

they will take time to adjust to living with you

Although only children obviously live with their parents, they don’t have to share their space with any siblings, allowing their rooms to be however they see fit. This can cause some problems later in life when it comes to moving in with someone because they will find it difficult to adjust to living with someone and sharing their space.

9. They Will Be Creative

Only children have to create their own fun because they don’t have siblings to play with, so they’ll create games in their heads, play with imaginary friends and play out make-believe scenarios in their heads much more often. 

Therefore, when only children grow up, a lot of them still hold onto that wild imagination and live creative lives. So, don’t be surprised if your partner is working on launching their new creative agency rather than sitting at a desk job.

10. They Will Be Honest

Only children are less scheming and lie less when they’re younger because they don’t have siblings to mess around with, so they’re more honest with their parents (especially if they have a particularly close relationship with their parents). You might find that your partner very rarely tells white lies and is always (sometimes brutally) honest about how they feel. 

11. They Will Be Mature

As only children spend a lot of time with their parents and most probably their parents' friends too, it’s no surprise that they are more mature than their peers that have siblings. Only children tend to be more worldly-wise and mature, even into adulthood.

12. They Will Treat Their Friends Like Siblings

As mentioned above, only children are confident and therefore typically make a lot of friends than someone else their age that has siblings. With the friends that they do make, only children hold them incredibly close and treat them as if they are their brothers and sisters - they essentially create a family of their own with their friendships! 

Well into their adult lives, when only children make friends, they hold them incredibly close - they will do anything for their friends, so don’t get in the way of their friendships.

13. They Might Be Spoiled

Although it’s a stereotypical view that only children are spoiled, that isn’t always true, sometimes, parents with only children tend to go a bit overboard and spoil them, and they might even continue to do this into their adult life. So, don’t be surprised if your partner expects you to spoil them, or if they’re continuing to be spoiled by their parents.

14. They Really Won’t Like Arguing

they really won't like arguing

As mentioned above, only children don’t have siblings to tease them and argue with, so unless they argue with their parents a lot (which is unlikely and unhealthy), they won’t have much experience of arguing. Therefore, they won’t be used to arguing and they will feel really uncomfortable if you argue with them. So, keep arguing and conflict to a minimum!

15. They Will Have High Standards

Only children are content when spending time alone and they’re capable of doing pretty much anything by themselves, so they won’t just settle for anyone. This means that when you’re dating an only child, you have to make it obvious that you’re worthy of their time and effort.

16. They Will Speak Their Mind

Being inherently confident and never really having to think about anyone else’s opinions or judgment, only children will always speak their mind, so don’t be surprised if your partner doesn’t really think about what they say before they say it!

17. They Will Lead The Relationship

Due to the fact that only children never have to think about a sibling’s feelings or way of doing things, they will do exactly what they want, when they want. Later in life, only children remain headstrong, so you’ll most likely realize pretty early on in a relationship with an only child that they are the leaders of the relationship.

18. They Might Feel A Lot Of Pressure From Their Family

When you grow up with brothers and sisters, you have people to hide behind if you don’t achieve what your parents expect, and as an adult, you know that you aren’t alone when it comes to taking care of your parents. 

However, an only child doesn’t have this luxury, so they may feel a lot of pressure from their family to be successful and they will spend a lot of time focusing on making sure they take care of their parents later in life. 

19. They Will Need Compliments

they will need compliments

Most only children tend to have really supportive parents, and this means that as a child, and into adult life, they’re complimented and flattered. This means that later in life, only children need to be shown approval and admiration in relationships.

20. They Won’t Understand Play Fighting

Whether you try to have a sweet play fight or you play fight with your brothers and sisters in front of your date, they simply won’t understand it! Only children have never had the opportunity to play fight as a child, so don’t be startled if they don’t get it.

21. They Will Never Understand The Relationship You Have With Your Siblings

Only children can only imagine what it must feel like to have brothers and sisters to rely on, to play with, and to be close with, so they simply won’t understand the relationships that you share with your siblings. They might even come across as being jealous of the way you act with each other, or the close relationships you share. 

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22. If They Introduce You To Their Family, It’s Serious

Only children come from small family units, and they hold their family units incredibly close to them, so if you’re introduced to their parents, it’s a big deal. If you are welcomed into their small family unit, it pretty much means that you’re one of them now, so don’t mess up!

23. They Might Want A Big Family In The Future

Although some only children might have dreams of being raised in the exact same way they were (without any brothers and sisters to worry about), most only children grow up to want to have a big family when they grow up. Most only children won’t want their children to be lonely or deal with the other downsides of being an only child, so they’ll be set on having a couple of kids.

24. They Will Struggle With Compromise

they will struggle with compromise

Only children hardly ever have to compromise with other people when they’re growing up, so they’re simply not used to doing it. So, you might find that you have a hard time compromising with an only child partner or teaching them your way of doing things.

25. They Still Fall In Love, Just Like Anyone Else

Although only children do have certain characteristics, they fall in love just like other people. So don’t panic too much about learning all of the personality traits that have come about due to them not having siblings, and just try to understand and get to know the person you’re dating for who they are and what they’re like.


Does being an only child affect relationships?

Being an only child affects a person as they grow up, because rather than having siblings to spend time with and create childhood friendships with, they either spend time alone or with their parents. 

Therefore, they tend to be more self-centered (not on purpose), more mature, and more independent than people that have siblings. This can therefore affect relationships further down the line.

Does being an only child affect personality?

As mentioned above, being an only child does affect personality because rather than spending time with brothers and sisters of a similar age, only children tend to spend time by themselves and also with their parents, so they’re both more independent and more mature kinds of people. 

In addition, growing up, only children might work harder and feel more stressed to exceed and provide, because they’re the only child in the family.

Is an only child a lonely child?

Although a lot of people hold a common stereotypical view that only children are lonely, this isn’t actually always true. Just because only children spend more time with their parents, or alone, it doesn’t mean they’re lonely. 

In fact, only children tend to put a lot of meaning on friendships, so the friendships that they do make are incredibly meaningful to them and they will spend a lot of time with friends. In addition, single children typically have closer relationships and spend more quality time with their parents.

What to know about dating an only child?

Hopefully, this article has told you everything you need to know about dating an only child. Although only children do typically have similar characteristics, obviously everyone is different and individual, so it’s a good idea to focus on the person you are dating and what their characteristics are like, rather than judging them on the fact that they’re an only child.

Are single child parents happier?

Although there could be a small chance that having only one child makes women, in particular, happier (according to a small study in Denmark), there’s no substantial amount of evidence that people that only have one child are happier. All parents love their children, whether they have one, two, three, or four!

In Summary

Hopefully, this article will have helped you understand some of the characteristics an only child will have, especially if you’re dating them. However, just remember, just because someone is an only child, it doesn’t determine how they will act or behave - get to know the person’s individual characteristics that you’re dating.

Did you like this article and find it useful? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share with someone else you think needs to read it!

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