Explained: What is the ‘dating birth order theory’ on TikTok and where did it come from?

Eldest daughters are SUFFERING

If you’re plugged into the TikTok dating algorithm, you’ll have already heard about invisible string theory and orange peel theory. But, with 689.2M views, the latest trend taking over the timeline when it comes to romance is the “dating birth order theory” and it’s seriously relatable.

So, in case you’re wondering how your position as only child, eldest daughter, people-pleasing middle child or baby of the family could be influencing and effecting your love life, here’s everything you need to know about the latest hypothesis:

So, what actually is the dating birth order theory and how does it work?


Dating birth order theory as TikTok understands it is essentially a lighthearted way to test compatibility with someone you’re dating based off of the traits you’ve theoretically inherited from your position in your family’s birth order.

Stereotypically, firstborns are super ambitious, leaders and kind of perfectionists. Middle children, famously, are diplomatic, empathetic people pleasers. Youngest children sort of tend to be the wildest and have a bit of a sense of entitlement. Meanwhile, only children are hyper independent, grown up, and potentially a little selfish (similar to first borns).

These traits have loads of the TikTok girlies tearing their hair out, because – according to the theory – eldest children and youngest children allow for the former to behave in a “parental way”. So, essentially, eldest daughters who love planning and organisation are doomed to couple up with man child youngest sons until the end of time. Sob.

And where did the dating birth order theory actually come from?


Apparently you’re more likely to divorce if you marry someone with the same birth order as you! So if you’re the eldest child, maybe marry a youngest child to be on the safe side – and vice versa! 👀😅 #marriage #divorce #siblings #couples #dating

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Dating order theory is actually super old and dates back to the early 1900s when an Austrian psychologist called Alfred Alder first suggested children could develop certain personality traits depending on where they fit in their family.

Like anything that’s thousands of years old, the theory could be outdated for various reasons. So, the professional advice from modern experts is – when it comes to dating – take it with a pinch of salt. However, there is reportedly a high divorce rate between first-borns who marry other first-borns and only children who marry other only children. Yikes.

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Feature image credit via TikTok