Whether your thumb’s sore from scrolling through Bumble or whether your throat’s hoarse from arguing with your partner, as the world goes into lockdown many of us are now facing the realities of isolation.
But there’s a ray of hope. Or at least a distraction. And it comes in the form of a trending Reddit thread entitled, “What did you learn from your first relationship.” While at first glance this may seem juvenile, it contains insights relevant to everyone from the 25-year-old Tinder addict to the 40-year-old married businessman.
Is your relationship low-key dead? Better than you thought? Is there anything you could be doing to be a better partner? The responses to the aforementioned thread, in which the author writes: “I’m 20 and just got my first girlfriend ever. She’s my first everything. What red flags were practically invisible to you back then?” may hold all sorts of answers.
So, here are all the lessons the users of Reddit’s r/dating_advice community took from their first relationships, which we can all learn vicariously from.
Don’t compromise too much
Compromise isn’t a magic word. As the top comment on this Reddit thread puts it: “I learned that I shouldn’t change who I am or what I want from a relationship just because I liked someone and was lonely. Being happy alone is better than feeling unhappy in a relationship.”
Don’t think you can change someone
In response to the above comment, another user wrote: “Going along with that you can not change your SO, doesn’t matter if you think it will better them or the relationship eventually they will lose their connection with you and themselves. Doesn’t matter how strong the relationship is, they have to want to change.”
Don’t be greedy
This one’s a gem, reflected in the huge number of upvotes: “Don’t expect what you will get from it but watch out for what you do get in return. Always have an abundance mentality.”
“Relationships are like 2 people reading a book. Sometimes, one person is a few chapters behind or ahead. The most important thing is communication to keep the 2 readers in sync.”
Don’t get complacent
“My first relationship lasted 12½ years,” one user revealed. “I learned that comfortable doesn’t mean it’s working.”
But also, don’t assume everything always has to be perfect
As another user points out, “Discomfort permits growth and change.” So if you and your partner aren’t challenging each other, things could go stale: “if you dated someone just like yourself or passive you can’t change or grow.”
“I’m sure you’re comfortable with some challenges and growth. Healthy relationships should have a bit of both not just 100 compromise and agreement.”
Know what you want
As the previous user suggests, you don’t need to want the exact same things, but as this following one points out, you do need to know what you want: “I learned that I wanted to date someone more social and active. She was really sweet, and cute as hell, but kinda boring and never had an opinion.”
Know your limits
“Not really flag (as it’s a no-brainer), but if she cheats, it’s over. No exceptions,” one user wrote. While this is just one user’s personal policy, many agree. Whether or not this is a deal breaker for you (it is for most), you need to know where your limits lie.