What have you learned from your relationships?

I read some advice here recently that resonated with me…something to the effect of “Don’t bother changing someone because the only person who will appreciate it is the next girlfriend/boyfriend.”
What have you taken away from your relationships that helped you become a better person? Maybe it’s learning how to argue or to pick your battles, or something as simple as how to juggle a single bathroom in the morning.

If you never argue, this is a bad thing, not a good thing.

If he is overly attached to his mother, run for the hills and don’t look back.

If he shows you how he is, it is your job to see it.

Never, ever complain to your friends about him, even if you are furious. They will not remember his good points, only his bad points, and when you make up they won’t understand.


I mean, really REALLY listen.

Even if you believe deep down in your heart that you should try and work it out, if you’re always the one that always gives in, little by little you will begin to lose yourself. Trust your instincts and get out earlier.

This one’s a biggy. My ex and I used to brag about this all the time, that other couples argued and we never did. The reality is that we were both very non-confrontational people who were more interested in pleasing the other person and keeping the peace than dealing with our issues. I’m certainly not suggesting that a fight a day keeps the divorce away, or anything, but reasonable people – even ones that love each other – disagree about things sometimes.

Could you elaborate on this? I mean, other than political debates (fun!) what should you be fighting about?

What I’ve learned, both from my own relationships and the observation of others’:

  1. Whenever you find yourself saying, “I just need to figure out how to get him/her to…” or “If only he/she were…”, stop, and remind yourself that people are who they are and do what they do. You might be able to force someone to do or be something, but it’s a lot easier to just accept them as-is, and either have the relationship or don’t. (This doesn’t preclude making a request, but if you’ve already made your feelings clear, you can safely assume that they know what you want and aren’t going to change anyway.)

  2. When someone who loves you is making you feel sad/angry/belittled/ignored/stabby/etc., always try to give them the benefit of the doubt initially. Tell yourself, “This person loves me and would not intentionally hurt me. Therefore, they must not be aware that what they are saying/doing is hurtful. I need to explain to them why it is.” Explaining your feelings will either make them apologize and correct their behavior in the future, or make you realize you’re overreacting. If you explain and neither of these things happens, see 1).

  3. As a corollary to 2), if you love someone, they should also be able to assume that you would not hurt them intentionally. If you find yourself doing or saying things you know will make them feel bad, stop yourself and apologize on the spot. If you can’t do it in the moment, apologize as soon as you can. Then explain why you did it: “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that - that was mean. I’m just frustrated because I feel like you’re not listening to me.” or “…I’m crabby from work and taking it out on you.”

In my experience, these three things will almost totally eliminate arguments. Not disagreements, but fights.

IME you cannot put two people together and have them agree all the time unless one is a total pushover. If this is what is happening, then one person is being substantially more accomodating than the other.

I don’t mean just couples. I have never met two people anywhere that agree on everything. It’s just human nature. Hell, you could put a person by himself and he won’t even agree with himself all the time. Humans is just contrary people.

Also I didn’t say “fight”. I said “argue”. My SO and I rarely fight, though it does happen, but we do argue. Conflict management is an important part of a relationship and no one should be saying “Yes dear” all the time.

ETA: And yes, you can’t change them, so don’t even try. I’m not saying people don’t change in the course of a relationship, but certain fundamental things will never change.

How about “amicably disagree”? Or “negotiate”?

What are some typical things that a couple might argue about? This is kind of an alien thing for me.

Couples arguing is an alien thing to you?


I’ve learned:

  • despite what everyone told me, sex with someone you love is no better than sex with casual fuckbuddies, and in fact it gets boring faster and the frequency slows down as the relationship goes on and you two become more like roommates than sexual lovers.

  • low self-esteem can hide itself extremely well and it takes a long time to actually be able to spot it in some seemingly confident people.

  • relationships don’t have to be hard work like everyone says. People who fight constantly and stay together in an on-again-off-again relationship are morons. Find someone who’s drama free, the day to day peace of mind is worth it.

  • it’s extremely easy and tempting for people in relationships let themselves go, myself included.

  • no matter how cool or chill a woman seems at the start of the relationship, 3 - 6 months in every time you see her she’ll bitch about how much work sucks or how hard life is or how her mom doesn’t understand her etc. It’s like girls look for a guy that they can finally open the bitching floodgates to about how hard their lives are, and excuse it by saying relationships are about having eachother’s back, the two of you against the world, etc. This is depressing. When I can find a girl who’s actually inherently pleasant and optimistic about life down to her core, I’ll be more than happy to settle down.


:confused: :dubious: Okay, I’ll take you at your word. A sample:

  • how to load the dishwasher (forks: handle up or down?)
  • laundry: how to sort, how much/little detergent to use, etc.
  • whose turn it is to [insert disagreeable chore here] Sample: “I did it yesterday!” “So what? I did [chore] every day all last week!”
  • what to have for dinner. Sample: “So, whaddya want?” “I dunno. Don’t care. What do you want?” “Hm. Italian?” “No. I don’t want Italian.” “You said you didn’t care!” “Well, I don’t want Italian! You never care about what I want!!” pout
    And then there’s the oldy-but-goody:

What’s wrong?
You sure?
Yes. I’m SURE.
Oooookay, cuz you sure sound upset.
Nothing. Is. Wrong. Jesus Christ!
Why are you yelling at me?
I’m not yelling at you!!
Yes you are!
NO I’m NOT!!!

Agreed. If you guys argue all the time why in the world are you together? Find someone you get along with. I think people who declare that all relationships must involve some kind of conflict are the same type of people who get into fist-fights all the time and think everyone is out to get them.

Two chill drama-free personalities can get along just fine and have a relationship where the biggest “argument” is whether to get tacos or chinese food for dinner.


Yes, really. I mean, I used to see my parents arguing a lot (they don’t much anymore), but that’s only rarely been a part of my relationships. Agreeing to disagree and compromising happens all the time, but not arguing, at least in my definition of the term.

Maybe we have different definitions.

I would love it if you could give an example or two.

Thank you. As to the first group of things, a lot of those just seem really trivial to me. In the grand scheme of things, they’re just not important. If they’re important to her, I’ll let her have her way.

Except for the ice cube tray thing. She was WRONG! :slight_smile:

As for the last thing, that used to happen with my mom a lot. I’ve learned how to diffuse that a long time ago!

In my personal experience, the first and last points are wrong, wrong, wrong. For me, at least. #s 2 and 3 in particular I can agree with. #4 is very much a ymmv, depending on individual personality.

Anyway, OP: is “relationship” restricted to romantic ties, one-night stands, etc? If not, here’s one I finally, finally learned from dealing with my mother:

Sometimes, there is no right answer.

I beat my head against a metaphorical wall for years, thinking that if I just phrased things just right, she’d understand, and see where I was coming from, and change into [del]less of a psycho manipulative bitch[/del] a better person. I finally got it through my thick skull that no such magical combination of words existed. I wasn’t saying it wrong; she just wasn’t capable of listening/understanding.

Just because two people might argue 5% of the time doesn’t change the fact that they like or enjoy each other’s company 95% of the time.

Looking for someone you’re in concord with 100% of the time is going to leave you looking for a long damned time.

Can you define overly attached to his mother?

In fact, I think that depends more on your friends than him. I can recall complaining about a specific ex-girlfriend to my friends and getting responses along the lines of “Don’t be an idiot and screw things up over bullshit. She’s a great woman.”

In answer to the thread question, I’ll say that I learned that, just as things I do are sometimes misinterpreted, I may misinterpret things she does, and to take that into account before I let myself get angry.

I’m wrong? Shit, you didn’t even wait the aforementioned 3 - 6 months here. :slight_smile:

What’s the rush? Why not enjoy the 95% relationships for what they are and avoid making legally binding commitments or monogamous promises until you find the 100%? I’m very patient, and the wait is fun. :slight_smile:

This stuff is ridiculously trivial. Load the dishwasher however she wants it if she has a preference, who cares? Whoever’s clothes they are can sort them however they want. Keep a chart of chores, or just do shit because as adults YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HANDLE SHIT. I do the dishes for my girlfriend when I stay at her place because I like making her day a little easier and I know it’ll make her smile to come home to clean dishes. If the other person says they don’t care, order what you want. If they disagree, go get what you want and they can get their own food, they’re adult human beings who have been getting their own food for 20+ years, jeezus.

The oldy-but-goody goes:
What’s wrong?

Done. Do couples like you describe just LOOK for drama because they’re bored or what?


Couldn’t agree more. Most stuff is just not important enough to argue about.