I’m Terrible At Being Single & I Think It’s Because I’m An Only Child

From the time I was in middle school to a little while after college, I was a total serial dater. I loved having someone around to be there for me and love me in a way that was different from the love my friends and family offered. I would hop from relationship to relationship in hopes of finding “my person,” which of course never happened. So why did I do it? I blame that on being an only child.

I was by myself my whole childhood. Of course I had friends and family, but it’s a different kind of love than the love you share with siblings. I never had anyone to complain to about Dad being unfair or Mom nagging me to clean my room one too many times. I always craved having that type of relationship with someone because I never had it when I was young.

I always felt important. According to a study by Psychology Today, only children are known to have high self-esteem because they were their parents’ one and only, meaning they were showered with attention, praise, and affection. It’s true. Being an only child, I always felt important. There was no brother or sister for them to have to split time between so it was always all the focus on me. When I was single, I didn’t feel important. I didn’t have someone to tell me I looked pretty before we went on a date or that they were proud of me for acing a test.

I was always very self-critical. Because in my younger years I was always super self-critical, I really loved having someone around to tell me things I wanted to hear. It sounds super crappy of me, but it’s the truth. When you don’t have siblings to help you feel good about yourself, eventually you’re going to need someone to do so.

I always felt like I needed to have someone to talk to. In my younger years, I can’t tell you how much time I spent making friends online. Whether it was playing Runescape or talking in online forums, I had a lot of friends online. Needless to say that when I got older and outgrew using these types of websites to make friends, it only made sense that I’d want a boyfriend to be there to talk to about anything from how my day went to how mad I was at my friend for talking about me behind my back.

I wanted someone to hang out with 24/7. Having someone to vent to and socialize with is obviously important, but also having someone to hang out with was super important. Whenever there was a concert I wanted to go to or a haunted house in the fall, I never had someone I could ask spur of the moment because most of my friends had sports or other obligations. Having a boyfriend meant that I could say “hey, let’s just hop in the car and go to this show.”

Because I’ve always had freedom, I still need it in a relationship. Because I didn’t have to worry about bringing sisters or brothers with me places or sharing things with them, I always had my independence. I like to go out with my girlfriends and spend Saturday nights with my family. While I love having a companion, I also love my freedom. That was one aspect of my past relationships that brought up issues. Many guys I dated didn’t have the self-confidence they needed to deal with my need for freedom and that led me to not wanting to be in the relationship anymore. On to the next then, right?

I needed stability. Now when I say I was a serial dater, I don’t mean that I was hooking up with random guys every weekend. I was in long-term relationships mostly because I loved the feeling of stability. I always wanted to be in a relationship where I knew I could trust my SO and know that they’d be in my life for a while. Big shocker, most guys in high school aren’t looking to meet their soulmate and often that left me alone again, just now with a broken heart looking for someone to pick up the pieces.

But I also love my alone-time. Some guys have an issue with this, but I grew up spending most of my time alone. I didn’t have siblings to run around the house or play Barbies with. I spent my time learning guitar and HTML (yeah, I was an interesting child). Even into my adult life, I still love spending time alone. I don’t like to be crowded by family, friends or my significant other and sometimes that presents an issue. Many relationships I’ve been in, I’ve been basically attached at the hip to my S.O. and we all know where that eventually leads. You become overwhelmed with your partner and most of the time get sick of each other quickly. Again, that would lead to problems and then it was time to find a new partner.

I’ve always wanted to take care of someone. Many of my friends with younger siblings or even cousins always had someone to take care of. They’d show them how to put on makeup and be there for them when they came home crying after getting bullied at school. Since I never had that, I was always drawn to the guy who needed care and to be looked after (which only ended in me feeling like their mother). I just wanted to be able to be there for someone and make them feel safe and comforted like my parents always had for me.

I’m much more vulnerable than those with siblings. I didn’t watch my sisters or brothers go through terrible breakups with their significant others, so I never really knew how those situations worked. What I saw on TV and read in magazines was really all I knew about relationships. Unfortunately for me, that led to me getting into relationships with guys that weren’t good for me. Then I’d feel lonely and pretty terrible about myself and I’d find myself looking for the arms of a new guy to fall into.



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