Is your partner a first born child?

I will warn you in advance that there isn’t exactly a point to this post, it’s more of a musing. A few of you said you liked hearing my more personal stories, so tough luck, now you have one.

I started thinking about this after reading my sister Annabel’s post about how birth order effects achievement. I’m the first born child and display a lot of the typical characteristics – I’m probably regarded as the sensible one in the family, I have a first class economics degree, completed with toddler in tow, and have done alright for myself fashioning a ‘career’ out of playing on the internet. (I life in fear of people one day realising they are paying me to do a made up job, but let’s not dwell on that.) I should add though that Annabel does have a post-graduate qualification and I do not, so she wins on that front, much to my disappointment.

I started thinking then about the other people I knew, and whether they had the sort of personalities you’d expect, given their birth order. I wracked my brain, but found it very hard to come up with more than a handful of good friends who weren’t also the eldest of their siblings. I wondered if this might be a Thing.

Does birth order effect personality?


When I took it a step further, I realised something even more surprising – every serious relationship I have ever had has been with a first born child.

I have had three properly serious relationships in my life – all lasting for years rather than months and all where we have lived together. (Nobody in this time has actually ever asked me to marry them, but that’s a whole other post for when I am feeling less emotionally fragile and more inclined to question why no one would want to promise anything in front of witnesses.) All three of these men though have been the eldest of their siblings.

Now I have a economics degree, I know that you can’t conclude anything statistically significant from a sample of three, but I found it interesting as I’m not sure it had ever occurred to me before just how many of the important relationships in my life, both with friends and partners, were with first born children. Do you think that we are simply drawn to people with similar experiences and outlooks on family life? Do we seek out people who will understand us? Or is it purely coincidence?

Where do you sit in your family? Are your friends and partners the same?



  1. 2 May, 2014 / 10:29 am

    I’ve actually wondered the same thing. My husband and I are both first-born and with a few exceptions, most of my good friends are also first-borns. Strange.

  2. 2 May, 2014 / 12:34 pm

    Interestingly, all the people I’ve been in relationships with (whether years or a few months) have also been eldest children (one was an only child), and I’m also the eldest. Within my friends – yes, most of my schools friends are also eldest children, probably because where we lived was a new housing estate, that people all moved on to at the same time with the same lifestage, so basically loads of people were in my class at school with siblings in my brother’s year.

    The older I’ve got, I’ve found a few friends are further down the pecking order in family order, but not usually the youngest as they’re middle or second in larger families. I think I’m only friends with one who’s a youngest child.

    I reckon a lot of my OH’s friends are oldest children too. Strange, but definitely an interesting thought.

  3. 2 May, 2014 / 1:24 pm

    I am the eldest too but my partners always have been the youngest of their siblings..funny never occured to me. thanks for the interesting post.

  4. 2 May, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    I haven’t seen the same pattern, but I did realise recently that I have never dated a guy whose father has played a part in his life. They have all been brought up by single mums.

  5. 2 May, 2014 / 3:36 pm

    Yep, all of my serious boyfriends have been eldest children (with one only child) just like me. And most of my friends when I was younger were eldest children too, although that’s changed a little bit now I’m an adult. I’d never stopped to think about it before but it is an interesting phenomenon!

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