5 Things You'll Learn From Your First 'Real' Relationship
It doesn't matter if you're the kind of person who has fantasized about being in a relationship for as long as you can remember (thanks, Disney) or the type who never thought twice about them until you actually ended up in one; relationships teach you things.
Every relationship—especially an unsuccessful one—is a learning lesson, and good, bad or ugly, those lessons can help you become not only a better dater as you move through life, but also a better person overall.
While every relationship you enter into is sure to teach you at least something, it's your first "real" relationship that might just rock your world with the things you learn from it. While we aren't trying to say that every first love relationship will end, we do want to help you see all the wonderful things that can come from it for you in the end. With all that said, let's jump into some of the things you'll learn from your first real relationship.
1. That Any Relationships You May Have Had Before Just Weren't That Deep
We specified first "real" relationship here for a reason, and it's that some early-on relationships just don't really hold a candle to a proper one. To go through the steps of choosing to be official with your partner and all the difficulties that come up along the way when you're in a more serious phase of life just brings a whole new set of challenges and experiences, and that, in turn, makes you realize how not serious your past relationships may have been.
2. Your Love Language(s)
Even if you don't know anything about the love languages, you've probably noticed what yours are already through this relationship—for example, if it means the world to you for your partner to pick up a pack of your favorite candy for you while they were already at the store (gifts), or if you love it when your partner grabs your hand or kisses you on the cheek in public (physical touch). This is so important to your future relationships, and in simply getting to know yourself better, so we'd very much recommend taking an official test to see what yours are if you haven't already.
Also read about: 4 Dating Clichés to Stop Believing
3. How You React to Conflict
Relationships, especially first ones, aren't always perfect. Conflict is bound to happen (it's actually abnormal if it never does), but how you react to that conflict is how you learn more about yourself and potentially where you stand to make some progress. Do you shut down when conflict occurs and avoid all forms of confrontation? Or, do you immediately get aggressive or accusatory? Do you try to turn the blame on your partner instead of taking accountability or admitting that you might have been wrong? All of these things can happen, but taking note of how you react (and actually taking action to change it for the better) can help you in the future.
4. How You Want and Don't Want to Be Treated
In a similar way that you want to take note of how you react to conflict, you should take note of what partner behaviors you enjoy and which you do not. Even a bad relationship can teach you a lot about what you want in your next partner (or what you want to see in yourself), whether it's someone that's more expressive and vulnerable with their feelings, someone who gets along with your friends or even someone that makes you feel confident.
It can also teach you what you don't want. Whether your partner treated you poorly by criticizing your appearance, intelligence or anything else or by lying, cheating, gaslighting you or hiding things from you, it's good to be aware of these behaviors so that you can spot the red flags as soon as they pop up next time.
Also read about: How to Deal With Your First Big Breakup
5. That You Can Heal From Heartbreak
The ending of your first real relationship hurts, that we can all admit. However, it's for the better—seriously, trust us. Considering all the points made above, your initial serious relationship is there to teach you so much about yourself, dating and even about the world. You might discover new interests you never knew you had, or even just a new favorite TV show. Or, you might realize something deeper, like that you have a skewed view of relationships because of how you grew up, that you're an anxious dater who craves the attention of your partner or even that you have difficulty expressing your feelings in a relationship. These are good lessons to learn, as you'll naturally take that information with you into your single life and start appreciating that for what it is. Plus, your next relationship will be better off because of it all.
Now what? We'd recommend taking what you learned from your relationship and using it as fuel to fall in love with yourself (aka, being single). If that sounds easier said than done, click HERE for our guide to getting really good at being single.