We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Adult Sibling Rivalry?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Adult sibling rivalry is a sense of competitiveness, aggression, or hurt that often arises between two or more siblings who are of adult age. This can stem from rivalry and issues that siblings felt and experienced in their youth, which often extends into adulthood. Some forms of rivalry can arise during adulthood, though this is typically the result of a particular action rather than an ongoing sense of youthful negativity between two siblings. Adult sibling rivalry can be quite difficult for siblings to move beyond, especially if it is founded in experiences from their youth, though many rivalries lessen or disappear as siblings grow older.

There are two basic ways in which adult sibling rivalry can form: either as a result of conflict the siblings experienced in youth or as new development during adulthood. The childhood of siblings can be one of the most important foundational aspects of their adult lives and relationships. Brothers and sisters who get along as children, do not feel an intense sense of competition, and are both loved and supported equally by their parents are more likely to develop healthy adult relationships with each other. When the childhood experiences of siblings are filled with abuse or favoritism from parents, then adult sibling rivalry can often develop as brothers and sisters remain in roles with each other similar to those they occupied as children.

Adult sibling rivalry can also arise during adulthood, even between siblings who were otherwise quite close. This often occurs when one sibling gets married, as the change in the person’s life and focus on a new relationship can make a brother or sister feel unimportant or replaced by the spouse. Major slights and offenses between siblings can also result in adult sibling rivalry, such as financial obligations that go unpaid or inappropriate sexual conduct between someone’s sibling and spouse. These types of rivalries can continue for many years, especially if neither sibling is willing to apologize to or forgive the other.

As brothers and sisters grow older, however, there is a tendency for adult sibling rivalry to fade. This is especially true of rivalries that are based on childhood actions and competitiveness. Siblings often remain a constant in the lives of each other; as people grow older and see their kids move away, their parents grow ill or die, and other friends become more distant, there is a strong desire for many people to hold onto whatever consistency remains in their life. An adult sibling rivalry can be forgotten with time, or simply become unimportant when compared to the realities of life and death.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.