How Having Siblings Of The Opposite Gender Affect Your Intimate Relationships

Ahh memories! Arguing over who gets to drink from the favorite cup to who gets to sit in the front seat of the car.

Something you may be surprised about is that this bickering has somehow prepared you for future romantic relationships. How you may ask? Having a sibling of the opposite sex may have impacted the quality and longevity of your adult romantic relationships.


“You may need to thank your sibling for the romantic relationship you had with your teenage sweetheart.” – According to Susan E. Doughty and colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University, mixed gender siblings plays a major role in romance later on.

Interviewing middle class and working adolescents, the participants were asked about their sibling relationship intimacy.

This included and conflicts and issues to do with control. Two years on, those same participants were asked about the role that intimacy played in their romantic relationships. If you have any memories of a perfect summer romance during your adolescent years, you have your brother or sister to thanks!

“If you have an older sibling of the opposite-sex, you may be more likely to have rewarding interacts with strangers of the opposite sex.” According to a study published in the  “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Not only does having opposite sex siblings affect your relationships, the birth order also plays a role. If you are the youngest in your family, you may find it effortless to catch the attention of the opposite sex.shutterstock_299190272

Involving 40 mixed sex pairs, being undergraduates who all had a sibling of the opposite sex, the study compared birth order to how those relationships panned out.  The first born son was paired with the first born daughter and so on. They recorded their initial meeting and the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires.

The results were something pretty outstanding to go by. For example – the first man was less likely to initiate conversation and was likely to ask less questions.

Whereas the last born man was forward going, spoke more and asked many questions. The also born also held direct eye contact, reinforced their thoughts and were more liked by the female participants. The exact same thing occurred with the first born women, who encouraged their male partners to smile.

Favoritism can also play a role – equally treated siblings tended to possess a higher self-esteem and less relationship distress, whereas the siblings who were in families where favoritism was rife tended to be more self conscious and had quite a distressing relationship track record. Amy J. Rauer and Brenda L. Volling from the department of Psychology at the University of Michigan closely tracked and observed these happenings.

Involving 200 young adults, the results quickly showed how family dynamics made a major impact on their relationships later on.

Another very interesting find was the rate of divorce in varying homes. Nationwide, the larger family groups were less likely to split up – each additional sibling reduced the chances of divorce.

shutterstock_387937375“It wasn’t the difference between being an only child and having siblings that was significant. We expected that if you had any siblings at all, that would give you the experience with personal relationships that would help you in marriage,” said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State’s Marion campus.

“But we found that the real story appears to be how family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling. Having more siblings means more experience dealing with others, and that seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult.”

Using data sourced from the General Social Survey, involving 57,000 adults from across the US, between 1972 and 2012, the study found that each additional sibling up to the seventh provided additional protection from divorce in family households.

In summary, if you are in a fulfilling and romantic relationship right now, you may want to call your brother or sister and thank them. They don’t know it, but they could be the reason!

With thanks to Life Hack for this great read!

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