Whether your relationship ends or lasts forever, when you open your heart to someone else, you usually end up the wiser for it.
These Quora users share the most important lessons they learned from their romantic partners. Find the source on the last page.
She taught me that happiness is only real when shared. You can be the most skilled, smartest and successful person in town, but if you have no one to share it with, whats the point?
I learned about the kind of crap that women have to put up with that boys and men never even see (if theyre not causing the crap in the first place). I learned what it was like to be a girl who was told she couldnt do this or that thing because it was not for girls. To be confined by strict gender roles and double standards. To be catcalled and groped and crudely propositioned and called a jerk when she refused.
Weve gotten over some of that now—it was much worse in the 1960s and 70s—but there are plenty of issues that are still around, viz. Harvey Weinstein.
I learned to be a feminist. My shock at learning these things and my fury at the injustice of it remains unabated.
Until recently, I was in a relationship with this girl, let’s call her Jane. Jane was absolutely amazing to the point where she brought out in me the desire to better myself constantly. Our relationship lasted five years.
We were talking one day, when the subject of waxing came up. We discussed how it feels, its place in society and in socially-defined gender roles. Initially, I told her that having leg and arm hair was weird, even for men. Not because it looked gross but every now and then I would experience discomfort with it. I would sweat a lot more, my leg hair would get pulled sometimes when I rolled over in bed, that sort of thing. She told me that she doesnt like getting waxed at all but does.
At the time I thought to myself, It cant be that bad, almost every woman I know does it! So I decided to go ahead and try it. I went in, and made an appointment to get waxed.
Which part of your body will we be working on today? They asked.
I thought for a second and decided on a body part that would ensure that there is no excuse for not having enough hair pulled. I decided on getting my stomach waxed. Now, for most of you who dont know me, I have quite a hairy stomach.
I went in to the little room where a woman asked me to take off my shirt and lie on my back. She began applying the wax. It was warm and gooey and felt incredible! I remember it feeling like someone was hugging my belly the entire time, I was actually looking forward to the experience.
She grabbed the corner of the wax while talking to me.
So what did you study in col… *BRAAAP!* .. lege? She rips the strip off in one motion.
My eyes instantly fill to the brim with tears.
I look down at my stomach and see black hair all over it, except one strip of bright red skin.
What have I gotten myself into? I cant stop now, my stomach will look too weird! I pushed through the experience.
I got home that day and told J that if she wanted to stop waxing immediately, I would completely understand. I assured her that it was always her choice to stop waxing if she wanted, but since I had experienced it, I realized that her having hair on her body meant absolutely nothing to me and that my love for her was in no way tied to whether or not she waxed her body. I realized that shes not going to be less beautiful, smart, funny or sexy to me if she stops waxing, in fact, it would be weird not to, considering it hurts pretty badly.
We have been told all our lives that women are to be hairless and men can have all the hair they want (in some cultures the hairier the better! In others its the opposite, Im aware).
However, if we just allow ourselves the freedom to look past that, we realize that we are putting an immense amount of pressure on women to put themselves through painful experiences in order to fit our idea of what is pretty. Our idea of hairless beauty seems so ingrained that even women themselves believe that they have to be hairless in order to stay attractive.
Society has experienced many years of reinforcement when it comes to establishment of gender roles, and so, we may not be able to accept hairy women as attractive instantly (though there are many people who dont care and even many who find hairy women attractive). But it is extremely important, I think, to begin that shift as a society and as a humanity. We can not continuously expect women to have to literally rip out their hair to be considered attractive. Its a standard that seems to indoctrinate a form of self harm.
I learnt a lot in those five years with J and in those five years I learnt how to empathize. I learnt that any information I have about the opposite gender is second-hand, and as a man, I am immediately speaking as someone who does not have all the information, when talking about women.
I realized that experiencing someone elses life objectively gives no context to the pain, struggle, obstacles and advantages they have in life. We find it so hard to understand that many of the women we know and love have been mistreated, touched and harassed by men before, many even before adulthood! As men, we usually hear such statements and either get defensive (not all men are the same!) or we feel guilty (I am so sorry you had to go though that, men suck !).
Both of these are perfectly natural reactions. However, I can not overlook how important it is to try and understand someones existence and experience from their own telling of it. The day I got waxed, I realized that women are being made to hurt themselves to be accepted. From that day on, I decided I didnt want to propagate that any longer.
I will forever be grateful to J for showing me that empathy, or rather, the desire to be empathetic is one of the most underrated ways to maximize the human experience.
When I was 19 years old, I met a guy who was extremely handsome, charming, and who overwhelmed me with his endless knowledge of the world. My diary entry from that day states that I’d just met the love of my life.
At the time, I was running my first business and thinking of starting the second. I studied full-time and was involved in charity work. Next to this, I was taking some extra courses online. All in all, I worked and studied over 60 hours a week. No breaks for years on end.
But these Friday nights… Whenever I went over to his place, he’d sit me down on his balcony and made me look at the beautiful stars. We’d take walks along the beach for hours on end and talk about all that mattered and didn’t matter.
In our current society, full of peer pressure and the drive to succeed according to societys norms, he taught me how to relax.
Even though we eventually broke up, his lessons have stuck with me. Every single day, I now take a moment to sit down and look up to the sky, to smell the first flowers of spring, or to embrace the cold air signifying the arrival of winter. A truly wonderful lesson.
My girlfriend has taught how to dress for the occasion (more importantly how not to dress).Before I met her, all I had in my wardrobe were black t-shirts, blue jeans, blue dress shirts and dark trousers.I wore black t-shirts and blue jeans to bars, beaches, dinners, movies and mostly slept in them too.
Fast forward 5 years of dressing this way, I was taught the concept of colors by girlfriend (I still dont know shades of color, she has given up on that I guess ).
She took me shopping and made me buy some shirts with no hint of black or blue in them, no t-shirts were bought that day.
I traded my poor fashion choices for the beautiful smile on girlfriends face when I put on clothes chosen by her, it was a win-win decision.
That how attitude makes a difference in Life!
My boyfriend has vitiligo from the past 56 years I think. Vitiligo is a condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin, causing whitish patches, often with no clear cause.
This is something which I think would greatly reduce a persons self-confidence and self-image. I just think if I would have had this, I would have cursed myself to death. I would no longer think of the good things in my life and all I would think be about this disease I unluckily have. The disease itself would not ruin my life as much as I myself would ruin it thinking about it.
This would have been my attitude towards life.But to my surprise, my boyfriend takes vitiligo very differently!
He never let a mere disease hamper or have an affect on the aspirations of his life. He never let such a situation affect him emotionally or in any manner whatsoever. He doesnt just sit and rue over the fact that what life has done this to him. He studies well, gets excellent grades, has made lot of friends and is very much confident. I never ever for a moment seen him sad or unhappy. In fact he is entertaining and hilarious at times. He manages all the things of his life very well be it studies, relationships etc.
He told me he had faced difficulties and unpleasant situations before. People would sometimes speak not good about him and how a girl rejected him by saying that he looked bad and would not have a girlfriend in life.
But he got over all this and I think he is the most amazing, knowledgeable and wonderful person I ever met.
I feel happy that I got to meet such a person in my life! A person who is capable of turning the negative into a positive one. It is something which not really everyone has. Everyday we see people depressed and unhappy with some or the issues in life. Some issues are not really even issues if we see. I just got a greater perspective of life with him and how not to bog down when life feels unpleasant. It is simply the way you see life and how important it is to see the good aspects of life.
Attitude does make a hell lot of difference! You can either make your life wonderful or awful just by the mentality you keep.
Balance is crucial.
Both of us interchanging roles when required and being the stable one.
Accepting each others thought process and appreciating it.
Gratitude for the present works, but so does foreseeing the future.
Directly or indirectly, she has taught me balance.
Not just in our relationship, but on the whole in my life.
My girlfriend has taught me so much, but I’ll talk you through one and that is: it’s possible for someone to know of my weaknesses and yet accept them as a part of me as they do my strengths. I have never experienced that before and it’s amazing…
The best thing that I have learnt from my partner is to be nice to people.
Be it the auto driver, or a waiter or a salesman, my partner always talks to them in a really polite voice, as if talking to some elder in the family.
I am the short tempered one, losing my patience at the slightest instance, citing absurd reasons like why cant they do their job? but my partner? No, not even once does he lose his cool.
Yes, he becomes irritated rarely but only after the person leaves, I have never heard him raise his voice ever, on anyone for that matter.
Even with me, he raises his voice only when I start literally squeaking during fights and shouting is the only way he can make himself heard.
And hence he shares a great rapport with all his colleagues and nurses at his hospital, because he is sensitive and nice to everyone. It feels great sometimes to accompany him and see a lot of people smiling at him.
I commit small mistakes like sometimes overcook noodles, or forget to clean the table after dinner, and once put his pants in the washing machine without checking the pockets, with his expensive headphones inside them, but he always chooses not to lose his temper, ever. He tells me gently to be careful next time, but thats all.
And that makes me realize what a nice person he is, and every time he shows me how to be calm and composed in every situation, I feel lucky to be loved by a person like him.
As weird as this sounds, he taught me how to argue. That is, he taught me how to not to be afraid of engaging in arguments.
When we first started dating, he was extremely interested in getting to know so much about me. My beliefs, my cultural background, my interests, my hobbies and passions, etc. We talked about our ideas for what we wanted to do in the future and all of that jazz and we talked about what we were looking for in our SOs.
One of his biggest things was that he wanted someone smart —which I immediately thought of as a red flag, and I asked him to clarify because ya girl attends a university where theres always an emphasis on growth vs. fixed mindsets haha! — who could engage in conversations with him. Still pretty vague, but I enjoy writing and have a pretty vigorous course load (premed) and partake in other activities that I believe make me a smart individual so that didnt really deter me because I believed Id have a lot to contribute in conversations.
…then I found out that he REALLY enjoys conversing through debates with a heavy emphasis on semantics analysis. And I got to see that this guy is extremely into data and numbers, and I got to understand where my weakness is in communicating. The first time we ever got to have one of these conversations, I tensed up and he immediately had to reassure me by saying, Im not trying to fight with you… Im just trying to figure out what your argument is and pick apart where the weaknesses are so that you can better defend your position. Id really much rather prefer that you have these thoughts and know why you stand by them and also be okay with the possibility of being opposed or questioned to some extent.
He didnt say all of that all at once, but in bits and pieces throughout the months that weve been together and continually had this kind of dialogue.
Its made me willing to listen to other people and become better at figuring out where the disagreements in logic may be and then troubleshoot from there, which has honestly helped me out in some of my courses this quarter (namely English and Biology, especially with lab partners!). Its especially helped me get less stressed out when I have to explain my logic or make myself vulnerable to having people tell me Im wrong when I lay out an argument for why I believe something based on what knowledge I have.
Its really empowering and I love when he can tell when Im folding in some of our arguments and then demands that I try harder and not be passive because he believes Im smart enough to challenge him.
Lots of topics. Lots of reasons to use logic in different ways. Lots of listening. Lots of conviction. Lots of good natured banter. Lots of prompting on his part, a lot of the time, for me to engage because he doesnt want to feel like hes ranting.
Its really good for me and Im glad I get to grow in that aspect of my life because of him.
I went through some pretty dire straights which finally ended on my birthday in 2012.
For about the next 3 or so years I just wandered aimlessly through life. I didnt really know who I was anymore, nor did I particularly care. Booze and fast women were the order of the day until I finally broke down from a regime of breakfast alcohol, hating my job and life, dinner beers and then long nights at one of Brisbanes many clubs.
I moved home eventually, just to try and sort the destroyed mess that was my head. Eventually I met my current partner, and I think the best thing that she taught me more than anything else is : Its okay to love myself, even though Im still broken.
Neither my partner or I are perfect, we both have our licks, knocks and breaks. Scars from past loves which still haunt us. But throughout that, shes taught me that if Im worth loving from her perspective, regardless of my flaws, and occasional lack of confidence, then its time to start loving myself just as much.
The past two years with my partner haven’t always been easy. Ive made mistakes out of fear, old survival habits, even just blind stupidity, but through that shes seen past my flaws and breaks, which for the longest time I couldnt look past, and continues to love me like no one else.
Shes teaching me to do the same for, and for that I am eternally grateful.
You learn the value of giving and taking.
Compromising can mean a lot of work especially for people growing up independently. To some, its second to nature especially if you grow up in a big and close-knit family.
There is chemistry — and there is compatibility.
The two dont always come together equally.
If the chemistry is higher than the compatibility level then theres a lot of compromise — from the way you look at the world and understand things, what you believe in, to taste in music, food, and lifestyle choices
.If the compatibility is higher than the chemistry, then theres a lack of passion and boredom occurs.In a relationship you learn the value and the art of give-and-take. We as humans are selfish and it takes willpower to be able to give and take when the level of difference and incompatibility is high.
When its too much to handle you realize that this whole give-and-take thing is coming to an end. Its not going to work. The compromise cannot be compromised anymore.
Not to take life so seriously. Stuff happens; what you do after shit happens is what matters most. Worrying about every little thing ages you, and makes life unbearable.
Nothing is too personal. You should be able to tell your partner anything. If you cant or feel uncomfortable doing so, Id reconsider the relationship.
I would obsess over who my significant other’s ideal person was. I would want to become that person, and I would change myself to please other people. I would try to follow my love’s dreams and passions, and forget that the whole reason that person was attracted to me in the first place was because of who I am.
I learned self-love.
To not build your self worth on their opinion of you, it’s a recipe for disaster.
To focus on you for a time, and not make them your soul focus.
To accept that you will make mistakes, and perfection in someone else’s eyes shouldn’t make you feel any less valuable.
Before meeting him I was very dependent on others. I always expected others to help me in something which I couldn’t do alone. If they dont help me then I would feel very sad, ignored, and left over. It was very difficult to manage without father. My mom is one super women who handled everything independently, worked hard to raise me but in few scenarios it was difficult for her to manage. In such cases I always looked at my relatives for help and think why cant they do it for me.
Once after he came to my life, he taught What ever it is, it is us who has to face everything. Even though people help us they cant be with us for lifetime. At certain point of life we will be all alone to handle everything.
This gave me courage, confidence to face everything, to do everything without any expectation from others. Today I can handle ANY situation all alone and it is just because of him.