Would you marry the "middle child?"

You probably already know that family dynamics affect relationship dynamics: What you learned about love as a child has an impact on how love plays out in your adult life. In particular, birth order can tell you a lot about yourself and how you might fit with a potential mate.

The elders of the birth order world - oldest and only children - are the go-getter perfectionists of the world. They tend to be loyal and reliable, but they may take things a little too seriously. They're in charge either as a nurturer or the person who calls the shots in their relationships. As a result, two firstborns or only children generally do not go well together, since friction results as both members jockey for control.

For oldest and only children, a youngest-born may be the best fit. People who grow up as the baby of the family usually enjoy being taken care of and aren't, in general, as focused on responsibility. They know how to have a little fun and lighten up their overly serious and sometimes critical elders. On the other hand, two youngest together may be waiting for someone to take the lead.

Middle children are harder to define. They vary widely, but tend to be adaptable and social. They work great with youngest children, who allow them to open up and be themselves. Many middle children felt caught in the middle growing up, which can make them more guarded about their feelings. However, depending on a middle child's personality, just about any birth-order combination is possible. At long last, a perk for middle children!

What does this mean for your love life? Birth order is only one factor, but it could be an important one when searching for the right relationship. It's another piece of the puzzle when trying to understand why some work and others don't.