Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Fireplace

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-08-2016, 07:59 PM
Evie Evie is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 335
Default The Only Child Thread

Having this spin off thread was talked about on Vinsanity's C-Word thread, so I've just gone right ahead with it.

Let's see where it goes.



I remember an actress from a large family coming to school one day to interview the only children one lunchtime (totally voluntary as to us showing up) just to get a feel for a role she was researching. Because as LizziE pointed out, to get the feel for sibling dynamics, we've had to ask and listen to friends who have them. So this actress needed to ask and listen to us to get a feel for the character she had to portray.

But a couple of memorable things came out of that meeting (btw, it was an all girls school). First we were all rather tomboyish at primary school and played with the boys in preference to the girls. And second, we didn't feel any general attachment to our peer group (at least at school) - we got along much better with those either older or younger than us, and not just by a few years, but over half a dozen years difference at least. Between these two things, we agreed that perhaps a single sex school in an age based education system wasn't the most conducive environment to this all important "socialisation" that parents who have many children are always going on about (homeschoolers welcome to chime in here too hehe).
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-08-2016, 08:10 PM
YouAreHere's Avatar
YouAreHere YouAreHere is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: SoNH
Posts: 1,220
Default

My MiddleSis was born when I was 15, so growing up, I was for all intents and purposes, an only child.

I too seemed to get along fairly well with boys and folks outside my age range. I was, however, a bit of a nerd, and got a smidge picked on by folks within my peer group. At least up until 9th grade when I realized it didn't matter if they liked me, because I didn't like *them*, dammit, and things got better.

Mom was a nurse who tended to work 2nd shift (with some exceptions), so I'd be alone on a regular basis after school until my dad came home. Typical latchkey kid, except mom was occasionally home when I got there.

I'm mono (thinking of relabeling myself monogamish simply because I could probably do FWB relationships if I wanted to, but really couldn't sustain multiple partners), and really want an entwined relationship with my partner.

Not sure what kind of info we'll get out of that, other than "YAH doesn't even fit on the graph" but there's a data point.

As an aside, now that my sisters and I are all adults, I'm finding that we have a much closer relationship now, and I love it. It didn't grow out of childhood for me, though - they grew up with each other, and I was more like an aunt to them than anything else.
__________________
Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids (DanceGirl, 15; and PokéGirl, 12), two cats, one house, many projects.
Chops: My partner. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena: Poly. In a relationship with Chops. Dating others.
Noa: Married, Poly. In a relationship with Chops.

External blog with a mono/poly focus: From Baltic to Boardwalk
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-09-2016, 02:37 AM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
Official Greeter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 10,599
Default

I got nothin', being the third of seven children. Although I reckon that hardcore Christians (think Catholics, Mormons, Fundamentalists) will be less likely to stop at one kid, therefore, if you are an only child, there's a higher chance that you won't have a hardcore Christian upbringing.

Does that make sense?
__________________
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-10-2016, 06:58 AM
Evie Evie is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 335
Default

A lot of what seemed Very Important about being an only child has fallen away over the years. I still remember two things that used to bug me, though.

First, there was the notion of being spoiled. I had stuff, but by the time I was 10 or so, an awful lot of that stuff I'd had for a comparatively very long time. And it was still in great condition. I suspect partly because I didn't have younger siblings to wreck it. Plus fewer hand-me-downs anyway although that was always an exciting day, getting a sack of clothes from someone who had grown out of them.

Second, there was the idea that I, as an only child - not because of anything personal - didn't share. But I really wanted people to share with. And I think that does stem from being only. I didn't have friends around every weekend (or go visiting). Partly because it was hard to make friends because I really wasn't so flash with my peer group. Often just one girl friend at a time. And there was some weird taboo about being friends with the boys outside of school, so since I wasn't friends with the girls inside school... yeah. It was the 80s in NZ, which means approximately the 60s elsewhere Ok, that's being a bit harsh. But, well, perhaps it was just me not having the confidence to arrange visits (yes, at 6/7/8/9). The term "play dates" was a long way off. I don't know what was going on at parent level. Also, I guess I had to have a pretty high level of confidence of a "yes" at kid level before I'd even ask, and I didn't really have that kind of interpersonal confidence with peers.

In a nutshell, I got a lot of more interpersonal confidence when sex became available to me. I often make friends like nycindie has described, starting with sex. Makes the conversation so much more flowing afterwards hehe.

Anyone else wanna share their toys?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-12-2016, 06:43 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 602
Default

Thanks for starting this thread. It's been interesting to read everybody's experiences.

In Vince's thread, LizziE asked this question:

Quote:
Mainly the idea that people who came from multi-child homes who felt like they never got enough might be more adverse to poly than those raised in a home where everybody worked together to make love/time/affection plentiful.
I was raised in a home with two younger siblings. We are all fairly close in age. There are 18 months between me and the middle child and another two years between that one and the youngest. We're all grown ups now - my younger siblings have children of their own.

We are - and always have been - very different from each other. Our lives as adults look nothing like each others. Nevertheless, we get on well together and are good at working together in a supportive way - including when things get very tough.

Our parents worked very hard when we were children to support each of us in the way we each needed. They did their work well - we are all doing well. Each of us living a life we have chosen and each of us able to support and look after ourselves and those we care for. We are all good at making connections with others and at maintaining those for long periods of time - we all have friends who we've known since our school days.

My parents did an amazing job and we had fantastic childhoods filled with new experiences in spite of the lack of money in the household. We were always with our friends and their families.

Nevertheless, there was always a lack of time and attention. We had other adults in our lives but our parents were still important. So when the middle child was born and was extremely demanding for attention, my mum quite rightly left me to do my own thing (I was always self contained) and spent more time with the child who needed all the attention.

Our dad worked a 9 - 5 Monday to Friday job. He spent his weekends with us and didn't do hobbies regularly that we couldn't all take part in. Still, none of us ever felt like we had enough one to one time with him. Having other adults in our lives was in no way a replacement for his attention.

We had little spare money so there was also always a lack of things that we wanted in the house. We'd argue over what to watch on TV and would find that if we'd been playing with something and had gone off to get a drink of water that somebody else would be playing with it.

Even as adults, we had a situation more than a decade ago now where I'd split from a long term partner and was living alone for the first time. I had caring responsibilities that were overwhelming me and was anxious and depressed. My youngest sibling was experiencing marital difficulties.

Since my siblings situation included a child and related to a marriage that wasn't yet over - and since I have a long history of coping with whatever life throws at me without much family support, my parents quite rightly chose to focus their time and energy on helping my sibling. I totally agree with their decision. They did the right thing.

Nevertheless, I was struggling and had to work to find a support network - which I did. In an ideal world I would have had more family support while finding that network. It isn't an ideal world and in situations like that choices have to be made.

It's because I grew up in a lovely family where people did work together and who I still get on with that I see difficulties with poly - especially with couples who claim that they each have time for another committed relationship.

I didn't much enjoy the years when our parents were such a focus in our lives. We all felt the lack of their attention frequently. When we were kids it did spark arguments. I can't imagine why I'd want to set up a romantic relationship situation that in any way mirrored that. I don't want to spend hours discussing who gets to see who and when at Christmas or at New Year. Or how Valentines Day is celebrated. Or how to make sure that a metamour gets enough time before and after I go on holiday with my partner. I found those sorts of things irritating when I was a child and have no desire to repeat the experience.

I also saw how hard my parents worked to get our family as good as they did. It was the focus of their worlds. They didn't have much time outside of work and family. I think they needed to make that effort - just as I would feel I needed to make that sort of effort to make a poly situation work well. And I just don't want to. I have too much in my life that I don't want to lose to be able to focus so much on the demands of romantic relationships.

IP
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-12-2016, 02:21 PM
GirlFromTexlahoma's Avatar
GirlFromTexlahoma GirlFromTexlahoma is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 403
Default

I'm another only child who could never relate to kids my own age growing up. I much preferred the company of adults - in fact I didn't really have friends until high school, when my peers started acting (sort of ) like adults. Even now, after working with kids for almost 20 years, I enjoy little toddlers and teens more than elementary school kids.

My husband is an only child too, and he was similar to me as a kid, super smart and uninterested in kid things. Neither of us ever wanted a sibling, we were just relieved not to have to deal with any other kids outside of school! One big reason we never had children was our dread of having to relive those elementary years.

Sometimes I do wonder if being only children is partly why it's so hard for us to understand sustaining multiple committed relationships. The whole "but you can love multiple children equally" argument has no emotional resonance for childless only children. I have found that the only way I can manage poly is to model it after friendship, the only many-similar-relationships situation I have experienced. If I'd had siblings (or had multiple kids) would it be easier for me to overcome that mental stumbling block? Would I feel less crippling anxiety about the juggling of time and needs?

I can see how negative experiences sharing parents with siblings could make someone reluctant to try poly... But having no models or experience for being committed to more than one ... That makes poly hard in it's own way.
__________________
~ Claire

Female, straight, 36
Married 12 years to Andy
Dating Dag for about a year
Sharing Andy with Stephanie for practically forever
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-13-2016, 10:58 AM
tenK tenK is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Scotland
Posts: 346
Default

I'm an only child, but I always made friends easily - within my own peer group, with those older than me, and with any gender. I think I probably could relate to adults more easily than most kids though, although it's hard to say whether that's just my personality or not. I absolutely loved school, and really enjoyed having that intense social interaction. At home I was pretty quiet - the kid that always had her head in a book. I wouldn't say my parents barely noticed me, because I also had my bratty 'want to be the centre of attention' moments with them too, but mostly that happened when I had some kind of audience, so actually, I was pretty chilled out and quiet around them.

My mum went back to work after about 18 months of going stir-crazy looking after me all day (my dad worked away a lot, so much of that was on her own) and thereafter I had a childminder who also had kids of her own. Her youngest was younger than me by just ten days, so in some ways I grew up atypically for an only child. I also had a lot of cousins, who all lived far away, but who I would stay with over the holidays. My parents had no problem with sending me off on my own to different places though: shipped off to other relatives on my own from about 5, a latch-key kid at 10, and they started sending me away to Spain in the summer holidays at that age as part of an exchange program (it's a bit of a long story - even though I wasn't learning Spanish we would host students, and sometimes I would make friends, and they'd invite me to theirs the next summer. Looking back on it, it sounds crazy, but at the time I loved it and the language barrier didn't phase me one bit at that age). I was definitely allowed to be much more independent than most of my friends, and to me that made the bigger difference if I try to relate my earlier experiences with polyamory in any way.

That being said, I am still more instinctually possessive than Nina is (she's the older of two) and seem to have more fears of abandonment than she does. I do think that as an only child you tend to dwell more on the concept of being alone. It's really obvious, for instance, that when your parents die you will be an actual orphan, whereas at least those with brothers and sisters will (hopefully) still have immediate family in their world. I was quite morbidly obsessed with that idea as a young child, and I guess that does motivate me a little in terms of building a family/support network. I'm quite good at entertaining myself when I'm alone, but I much prefer the gentle hum of others around me. Without that, I get lonely and sad pretty quickly.
__________________
People tenK (bi, f, early 30's) is likely to blabber on about, and why:

Nina (bi, f, late 20's) <- life-partners with tenK; Scandi (hetero, m, early 30's) <- dating/fwb with tenK (on hiatus at the moment); Zymurgist (hetero, m, early 30's) <- dating with tenK; Aries (heteroflex, m, late 40's) <- fwb with tenK and Nina;

Adam (bi, m, early 30's) <- dating/fwb with Nina
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-19-2016, 01:43 PM
LoveBunny LoveBunny is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 428
Default

Not only was I an only child, I was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Spoiled is an understatement

Yet, I was actually very undersocialized. By the time I was school-aged, we didn't live near other family, and my parents didn't have many friends or ties in the community. We kept to ourselves.

We did not do "kid" things in my house, it was not like my friends' houses with multiple children where there were lots of toys and foods kids like. My parents were the focus of the household, I was just there.

I still struggle with social awkwardness. Nor can I sustain being around other people for long periods of time, I need to go away and be alone after being in the company of others.
__________________
Female, bi, mid 40's

gf Melinda, lesbian, early 30's

STBX husband Arlo
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 06:11 PM.