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Only Child Syndrome: The Good and Bad of Dating An Only Child

Are you dating someone who’s selfish and won’t even share their bags of chips with you? Don’t worry, there’s a name for it—the dreaded only child syndrome.

Only Child Syndrome

If you’re dating someone who’s an only child, then you’re already aware of some of the characteristics of only child syndrome. If you don’t know anyone who’s an only child, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Only child syndrome is a label given to people who don’t have any siblings. Hence, the only child part. You may be thinking, why is there a syndrome for kids who don’t have any siblings? Oh, you’ll see soon enough.

Only child syndrome signs

Whether you are considering only having one child, or currently date an only child, there are some things you should know. These 11 things will bring you up to speed about only children.

#1 Sharing isn’t their thing. You won’t see an only child handing out his animal cookies to all his friends. In fact, more likely, he’ll have a fit if you even come close to them. Makes sense, though, no?

If you’re an only child, you never had to worry about sharing your things with anyone else because everything was only for you. So, if you’re dating an only child, they may not be into sharing dishes or you wearing their sweater. [Read: How to be heartless: But it never gets you what you want]

#2 They have a tendency to be selfish. If your boyfriend spends hours in front of the mirror, perhaps he’s an only child. Or a metrosexual. Or both. That sounds like a horrible combination, my condolences. Again, only children are used to having the world revolve around them.

Their parents probably ran around after them, buying them whatever they wanted and giving them all the attention in the world. So, they’re going to be selfish and probably not realize your needs right away. [Read: 12 signs you’re being very selfish in the relationship]

#3 They’re not patient. When you’re used to people jumping at your every call, you’re probably not very happy when you have to wait in line at the grocery store.

Though patience is a virtue, only children haven’t yet figured that out. They want it all and they want it now. If you hear someone huffing and puffing behind you in line, just assume they’re an only child and ignore them.

#4 Goal driven. Because their parents focused all their attention on their only child, that child is usually highly goal driven, which isn’t a bad thing at all. They most likely were on the top of their classes and completed every task at a high level.

If you’re dating someone who’s a go-getter and always reaches their goals, thank their parents who only decided to have one kid. [Read: How to stand up for yourself: How to get what you want and deserve]

#5 Overprotective parents. Yeah, this part sucks. Because they’re an only child, their parents probably freaked out every minute of the day, making sure their child is okay. I mean, they only have one. However, if you’re dating someone with overprotective parents, they may interfere in your relationship, since they probably still treat their child like a baby.

#6 Tend to be more mature. Only children tend to spend more time with adults because of their parents. So, usually, only children are more mature due to the environment they’re in. This in many ways is a great characteristic since you want someone who is mature. You want someone who understands you and thinks ahead.

#7 Imaginary friends. Don’t be scared, your partner probably let go of their imaginary friend a while ago. If not, well, now you know. Many people with only child syndrome had imaginary friends which are adorable but also creative. So, your partner may have a creative streak in them all thanks to the fact they were alone for most of their lives.

#8 Friends are family. Their family is their family. However, their friends are probably even closer to them. Only children have a very tight connection with their friends because they didn’t have any siblings growing up.
If your partner is an only child, you’ve probably noticed the bond they have with their closest friends. So, just to let you know, if their friends don’t like you—you ain’t gonna last long. [Read: How to accept your BF’s friends and get them to accept you]

#9 Highly self-confident. If your parents invest all their time and energy into you, making you the best you can be, your self-confidence would probably be soaring through the roof. Now, this could look like arrogance and cockiness, and I won’t disagree, but only children have a very strong sense of themselves and who they are. So, don’t expect any identity issues to arise from them.

#10 Taker in the relationship. Now, I don’t want to generalize, but in relationships, there’s always a giver and a taker. In this case, the only child is the taker.

This isn’t the case for every only child. Because they’re naturally more self-centered and self-confident, they’ll be the ones getting the most from the relationship. If you’re with an only child, you’ll have to teach them and remind them to consider you and your opinions. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

#11 Emotionally attached to things. They didn’t have any siblings, so whatever they had as toys are very dear to them. Only children attach themselves to things because of their lack of relationships. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. But they can become highly possessive over material goods. They won’t bite, so, it’s not as bad as it sounds.
[Read: Selfishness in relationships: 15 tips to do the right thing]

The only child syndrome does exist, people, I’m sorry to tell you. But, being an only child isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re not an only child and your partner is, you’ll be able to balance your characteristics out and create harmony.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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