February 14, 2019

What did your best relationship teach you about love? Thirty people weigh in.

Sometimes, the best thing about a relationship is what is teaches us about ourselves.

I haven't had a 'best' relationship in my adult years so far. I've had a series of unremarkable situationships. But through each one, I learned some remarkable things about myself, life and love. In fact, my worst one was the catalyst I needed to fully abandon the fear of not fitting into the mould of the woman that is desirable by patriarchal standards. I found my voice in a major way and fell more in love with myself than I knew was possible. I didn't have to spend so much time interacting with such an awful human being, but I'm grateful for the lessons. I found and became proud of my truest self. Now, I fear no man (or woman).

Anon, 20, London

My best relationship taught me how to love and be loved, both unconditionally. It also taught me standards, self love and the importance of moving on.

Victoria, 26, London

My last relationsip taught me that it’s okay to choose myself. I no longer feel selfish or apologetic for doing the things that truly make me feel full.

I no longer feel selfish or apologetic for doing the things that truly make me feel full. Click To Tweet

Ocha, 28, Lagos

My most romantic relationship taught me that love is patient and kind. He's never raised his voice at me which is extremely important to me because I grew up in an angry unloving home.

I knew he was the one as soon as I observed his mildness and other endearing qualities. He's everything I've ever dreamed of and more.

Nne, 24, Ottawa

My last relationship was pretty toxic and it made me realize what love isn’t. Now I realize that love is healthy communication,  healthy conflict resolution, space to learn and grow, adequate support , honesty, respect, understanding your partner’s love language, and giving them just that.

Love is facing the uncomfortable truths without being abrasive . Love is being vulnerable and being able to accept your partner’s vulnerability without taking advantage of it.

Love is being vulnerable and being able to accept your partner’s vulnerability without taking advantage of it. Click To Tweet

Anon, 27, London

My best romantic relationship taught me that it really is possible to be loved fully and in your entirety, for everything that you are. Before this experience, I used to think that anyone who loved me would just have to tolerate my many flaws. Needless to say, I hadn't arrived at self-love then. Even now, I'm not quite there yet, but I'm a lot closer.

Along came this guy who loved everything about me and laughed at my awkwardness but not in a way that made me feel bad. It just made me feel seen. It raised my standards, I'm not tolerating anything less than that totality of love again.

Anon, 24, Lagos

I always thought I was going to fall in love and be swept off my feet but that was not the case at all and it took me about four years to realise that I was actually in love. 

It has taught me that you have to choose people and work at relationships. Love has taught me to be more accepting of views that are different to mine, because we don’t always agree but we always usually come to a middle ground. We’ve also been really good friends for most of our lives, and if we don’t eventually end up together, I have pretty high standards for romance and I’m not willing to settle. 

I’ve also learned not to let other people dictate what your relationship should be. We’ve never been boyfriend and girlfriend and nobody understands it but I don’t care and there’s something special about not having the pressure of what everyone has to say.

Love has taught me to be more accepting of views that are different to mine. We don’t always agree but we always usually come to a middle ground. Click To Tweet

Anon, 20, Lagos

Be yourself. Don’t  take up parts of them and remove parts of you because you’re in ‘love’. It has also taught me that having a ‘special feeling’ for someone and loving someone are two different things. In all, remember that you’re enough and you have the strength to move on. Never let the fear of ‘patriachy’ drive you out of the race of love, the finish line is near.

Never let the fear of ‘patriachy’ drive you out of the race of love, the finish line is near. Click To Tweet

Anon, 17, York

I’ve learned to try and to be patient. We do fight a lot! But we’re best friends too! It’s more like I hate you but I love you. And yes, personal growth. We’re both career chasers and it’s life changing watching someone chase their dreams. I’ve learned to never give up that side of me. #securingthebag together is damn hard but with each other it’s a bit easier

Anon, 18, Cambridge

Pure love doesn’t give conditions and it doesn't end; so there’s no need to overthink things or rush things. Pure love always wins.

Anon, 25, Toronto

The best romantic relationship I've ever been in, happens to be the one I am presently in. The major lesson I've learned in this love is that when a person loves you, you never have to wonder whether or not they do. I learned that I didn't have to work for love, I didn't have to "earn" it and I didn't have to prove that I was lovable. It's very clear to me now, that no one ever should. 
The other really important lesson I learned is that true love is not loud- it's slow, it grows and like music, there's a rhythm to it.

When a person loves you, you never have to wonder whether or not they do. I learned that I didn't have to work for love, I didn't have to earn it and I didn't have to prove that I was lovable. Click To Tweet

Anon, 28, London

As sad as it was to see it end, it taught me how pure and beautiful real love is and that it transcends romantic relationships. I learned what it means to truly open up my heart, mind and soul in order to be able to love another person's soul in it's entirety. This is because we both went past the superficial and truly dug deep into the already established connection we had with each other. This allowed us to still be friends even after the romantic side of our relationship ended.

I also learned patience, but not in the way that allows being taken advantage of, but in a way that allows you to rationally and reasonably put aside your flared emotions to achieve a resolution that works for both parties.

Real love is pure and beautiful, and it transcends romantic relationships. Click To Tweet

Anon, 31, London

Magic exists and divine timing is also at work. Just because it’s right doesn’t mean it’s time. Although it hurts like a mutha[fucka], the real thing for however long it lasts is better than settling. Do not settle. Ever.

Do not settle. Ever. Click To Tweet

Anon, 21, Lagos

Love isn't in his words, love is in his actions. I crushed on him jokingly. He was a stranger and my friends called me crazy. A whole year and more rolled by and I replied his insta story post, not minding whose story it was. There has been peace in my heart ever since.

Love is selfless, love is empowering, love is transparent,love is friendship, and love never dies. My whole life I've loved everyone around me and people who didn't know how to love. For the first time, I'm learning what it means and how it feels to be loved back.

Love is selfless, love is empowering, love is transparent,love is friendship, and love never dies. Click To Tweet

Asari, 26, Abuja

My best romantic relationship has taught me that when a person loves you, there isn't a thing on this earth they wouldn't do to keep showing it to you. They will learn the way to love you, and they will love you properly.

For instance, before my boyfriend and I started dating, he wasn't big on birthdays. Now, because he knows how much birthdays mean to me, he goes over and beyond every year for me. And he goes along with whatever I plan for his. Luckily, because I know what he likes, I usually organise things he'd like to do for his birthday so it's not a struggle.

Anon, 22, Abuja

This may sound cliché but I wish I had known that feelings change and people change too. The truth is that love is never enough and can never make a person stay. I lost the love of my life who seems very happy now without me. The worst part is that he’s the only person who
truly understood me . Now I look for him in every single person I meet.

I lost the love of my life who seems very happy now without me. He’s the only person who truly understood me . Now I look for him in every single person I meet. Click To Tweet

Anon, 20, Swansea

What love has taught me is that it has no type. You could fall in love with the most unexpected person. My boyfriend and I are both of different races- he's white and I'm black but that was not the only thing that made us both different.

He wasn't exactly my "type" when it came to looks but I decided after our first date that I would go on a second date with him because I'd never laughed as much as he made me laugh. The second date made me realise that there were things about him like his eyes, his smile and his laugh that I found very attractive. I got to know him after that and have fallen in love with everything about him so much that I don't even consider the concept of having a "type" anymore.  

I'm so happy that I didn't miss out on such an amazing person just because I didn't think at the time that he was my "type".

Jaye, 23, Lagos

.I've learned to ultimately protect my heart and never forget that I am complete all by myself regardless of how good the relationship is going . I've learned that you are only responsible for yourself and your love because one day they could just be gone with no problems and no warnings. That's okay for them because people are allowed to be selfish.

I've learned that you are only responsible for yourself and your love because one day they could just be gone with no problems and no warnings. That's okay for them because people are allowed to be selfish. Click To Tweet

Anon, 24, New York

My last relationship taught me so much about how self-love is most important and it is impossible to give love and experience love in the best ways if we can’t show ourselves that love first.

Anon, 23, London

To this day I wouldn’t have accepted anyone else to be my (first) boyfriend. His love showed me that another human can truly SEE me and show genuine care. Even though it was short-lived, I wouldn’t change any of it. It was a whirlwind romance filled with laughter and memories to last a lifetime. It showed me that love is pure, selfless and even when it’s not enough, parting ways can be a sign you truly love the person because you want the very best for them.

Afeefa, 22, London

I have been in my current relationship for just over a year. My failed relationship was a reflection of how I mistreated myself, whereas my current relationship taught me that two halves make a whole. Exactly like ying and yang.

We both have our differences but share more in common. This relationship so far, has influenced my self-love and worth. It has taught me how different a man can be despite the typical misconception of men. My relationship has taught me how real the law of attraction is. My partner is my best-friend and lover.

Anon, 23, Lagos

Until last month, I thought my best relationship ever was with my ex-boyfriend. He was my first boyfriend and after we broke up because of distance, I thought I’d never ever find anything better. He was truly amazing.

But, I’m in a new relationship now and my man is even more amazing. He’s extraordinary really. I was really a fool for thinking I couldn’t find better. This relationship has helped me to be closer to God and to love God more. This also helps me to love my partner better. Also, I’ve learned that (i’ve actually always known this on my own) it’s important to understand your lover’s love language and love them in the way that they want to be loved. Not in the way that you know how to love but in they way that they want to be loved.

One last thing- don’t ever think/feel like you’ll never find better love than the one you’ve lost. You will.

Don’t ever think/feel like you’ll never find better love than the one you’ve lost. You will. Click To Tweet

Anon, 19, Durham

I’ve often heard that I’m too young to know what love is. But I think I do. I fell in love when I was 15 and even though we’ve broken up now, it was one of the best, most courageous things I ever did.

My first love taught me that true love brings out the best in you and casts out all fear. When we broke up, I learned that men are liars and scammers and scum because I found out that he had been cheating on me with my best friend for two out of the three years we dated. 😩

Jayee, 27, Philadelhpia

The relationship I am in at the moment (4 yrs 6 months) has taught me about speaking up for yourself but also understanding that I can be toxic in how I speak up. Listening to my boyfriend and communicating with him when I am hurt or overwhelmed and not being scared to express my feelings is important.

In all of my previous relationships, I had to put on an act of being the strong superwoman. In my relationship now, I can still be the strong black superwoman but also just be me 24/7 with no judgement. I am loud and overcaring with that full loud laugh where I start to cry so hard.

Therapy has been a HUGE factor and change in my romantic relationship. I've learned that there are many ways to communicate with my boyfriend but also with myself. Before, if I was bothered or frustrated I would cut any and everyone off. Knowing that I can't continue life in that toxic manner has really changed me and my romantic relationship for the better.

Anon, 25, Brussels

I met the love of my life a few years ago. We broke up because I think he wasn’t ready to settle down, but I was. I was also his first real girlfriend. I think that played a big part in him being scared and ultimately deciding to break things off. 
He’s now been in a new relationship for three years now. I haven’t had a proper relationship since him. While I’m happy he’s found happiness, I’m also bitter about not having had that luck once more.

But ultimately, what I’ve learned is that when you meet a soulmate (I believe you potentially have more than one), then you have to love them as fiercely as you can because the next day, they might decide to leave you. And it hurts. But that kind of love is an untameable fire. It’ll stay with you forever, maybe also break something in you. But it’s there and you have to believe you’ll feel it for someone else one day.

Anon, 23, Lagos

My current relationship is my best! We’ve been together for years and it still feels so new & we’re so in love.

This relationship has taught me how patient love is, how important mutual respect is in a loving relationship regardless of age. It has taught me the importance of discipline and transparency. I think an important thing I’ve learned about love from this relationship is that love isn’t loud- what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained and social media and the world don't need to know how deep my/our love is, because we know. In the intimate quiet moments when it’s just us, those are the most loved up moments.

Sdot, 33, Maryland

While you may love someone, the intensity ebbs. You're not going to be madly passionately in love all the time. On some days, it is 150%, on other days it is 20%. On the days when you're at 20%, you hope your partner is at 80% so it can balance out your collective vibe!

Anon, 24, New Jersey

It has taught me (still teaching me) that it takes understanding, maturity, and a whole lot of humility to make a relationship work. Love is never enough, it is needed and vital but never enough! You have to keep choosing each other everyday regardless of what life throws at you.

It has taught me never to make myself small for my partner and never to make my partner feel small or less. To show up and acknowledge each other, never follow the archaic rules of marriage/relationship but make your own rules and do what’s best for you.

Most importantly, Choose God and if you are not spiritual, you need to believe in something bigger than you or your partner. I choose God because without him, we are nothing. Xoxo ❤

Anon, 25, USA

My relationship taught me a lot. After-the-fact. I’ve learned that people change/get bored and sometimes there’s work to be done on oneself that may have to happen while you’re apart but there’s no harm in trying to do that work together. 
I’ve learned that there are men (even young ones) that are willing to love you for who you are as a woman with an opinion, a voice and a vision for life. 
That relationship will always be impactful. Not having any men in my immediate life that were positive role models, I’m forever grateful for someone that could be that for me as an adult; and not prey on what was missing. I am thankful that even after it was over, there was a silver lining.

Adebusola, 24, Lagos

I have known OT for about nine years and we have been dating for about seven years now. In that time, I have grown to experience the power of love. Love is peaceful and kind and NEVER FAILS- I can tell you that for sure! We have had our down times and when it seemed like we couldn’t find our way out, love kept us fighting for us. 

OT will always put my needs and even sometimes my wants over his. I still catch him staring at me like he is just seeing me for the first time and is falling in love and then I have to act like I didn't see. We would leave anything to be by each other’s sides. That’s my person.  I hate that he knows I can’t stay angry with him.  I’m with someone that I don’t think I will ever get tired of. We will piss each other off and laugh at the same jokes over and over again. But, we both know for a fact that we have each other’s backs and no matter what life brings, as long as we stand together, we will be fine.

Love will make you put your faith in someone else. Love will strengthen you.

Anon, 25, London

That love isn't just a thing. Yes it may just 'happen' to you, but you have to work at it. It's an action word and you cannot be lazy in love, to remain in love.  

It has also taught me that when two partners lay down the rational human behaviour to be selfish and serve each other, you have two people in love who feel so cared for and encouraged by their relationship.

When two partners lay down the rational human behaviour to be selfish and serve each other, you have two people in love who feel so cared for and encouraged by their relationship. Click To Tweet

Anon, 20, Lagos

Love is so beautiful. Without realizing it, in previous relationships I was always trying so hard to be enough. My best relationship showed me that I can be loved without feeling the need to always work up to something. It taught me that there actually are people out there that would be willing to just love me as I am.

My best relationship showed me that I can be loved without feeling the need to always work up to something. Click To Tweet

One thought on “What did your best relationship teach you about love? Thirty people weigh in.”

  1. Sam says:

    Beautiful

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