The world holds various frightening things, yet nothing compares to the daunting task of enlightening an only child about the reality that doesn't solely revolve around them. Such an encounter could be perilous. If you're uncertain about how to navigate the relationship and feeling overwhelmed, fret not. Instead of taking on the weight of the world, focus on making your best efforts. Dating an only child can be a challenging adventure in some aspects, but also a fulfilling one in others. To aid you, here's what you should keep in mind.
1. Some of them need constant attention
Perhaps this behavior could be displayed through incessant texting or a sense of entitlement when requesting your time. The unique aspect of only children is that they grew up believing they deserved attention simply because they existed, without ever having to earn it. This ingrained belief often makes them unwilling to exert extra effort for attention, feeling it's their birthright. As a result, they can be emotionally indolent in relationships, sometimes bordering on narcissistic tendencies. In summary, you heard it here first.
2. Others can be independent almost to a fault
As only children don't have siblings to keep them company, they must learn to keep themselves entertained, which fosters strong independence from a young age. This independence often carries on into adulthood, making it challenging to establish close connections or offer assistance since they're accustomed to (and prefer) handling everything independently.
3. Your experiences are fundamentally different
It's futile to pretend that a child from a large family with an unconventional dynamic had the same upbringing as an only child. Without siblings, they never had the opportunity to learn and grow through the gentle teasing and disagreements that occur between siblings. This can result in them being either extremely averse to conflict or overly aggressive. They never had their beliefs challenged and thus can take it personally when it happens. They aren't adept at handling arguments and may react strongly and quickly. Siblings teach you about boundaries, what's acceptable to say, and the consequences of crossing those lines. Only children never had that experience, so you'll be their first sounding board and they might not appreciate it.
4. Their parents are their friends
On the other hand, some only children might have parents who are extremely strict as they only had one child to monitor. Your partner could be an obedient only child with a desire for praise or completely rebellious. In any case, as mentioned earlier, they crave attention since it was their primary form of socialization growing up.
5. Don't project onto their relationship
Although only children differ significantly from those who grew up with siblings, there's still much we can glean from their experiences. If you grew up resenting not having enough personal space or possessions, try putting yourself in their shoes and see what they may have missed out on in childhood. This exercise can help cultivate gratitude for what you did have and acknowledge how those experiences helped shape you into who you are today. Avoid projecting any sense of regret onto their situation and focus on leaving the past behind.
6. Don't expect them to be good at sharing
Alternatively, consider compromising, especially at the outset. Middle children may have a greater understanding of their needs and express them more readily, whereas only children may lack this perspective since it's their only frame of reference. Finding middle ground in life may not come naturally to them as they tend to view things in absolute terms.
7. Superiority complex much?
This is a trait that is unlikely to change with time. You can often discern who received praise simply for getting through the day versus those who were rarely complimented, if ever. Only children tend to seek validation from you, even for minor accomplishments, like telling a joke, buying dinner, or making a peanut butter sandwich, to confirm that their achievements have been acknowledged. This behavior stems from their deep insecurity, but this is something we already knew.
8. They are not very well-rounded
As only children didn't grow up with siblings with different interests and personalities, they may lack the essential skill of adaptability and evolution. Though they may develop this skill over time, it doesn't come as naturally to them since they spent a lot of time alone without siblings. When dating an only child, it's essential to learn the true definition of patience when it comes to this aspect.
9. They bottle up their emotions
While we all need to vent our feelings, only children never had the opportunity to confide in an older sibling or younger sister. As a result, discussing their emotions became challenging. This is why, despite second-born children often being difficult to handle, they tend to be more socialized than only children.
For those who are just starting to date only children, here are some insights into their life and experiences. Brace yourself and be patient, as it may be a unique experience.