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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How do relationships benefit you?

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Author Topic: How do relationships benefit you?
Karybu
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There's a lot of messaging out there that says that any romantic relationship that ends is a "failed" relationship. People talk about the "failure" of that relationship or the "success" of this one, based only on whether the couple split up or stayed together.

But relationships can be beneficial to us in all sorts of ways, and successful in the sense that they can teach us things about ourselves, about what we need and want and about our likes and dislikes. That given, I thought it might be helpful to talk about what we can take from romantic relationships and how those relationships can be beneficial to us even if or when they end.

So, how have your relationships - past and/or present - benefited you?

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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breath
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Great question!
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bump on a log
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I have a great deal of experience with loneliness, probably more than the average person, so I have probably more understanding than the average person of the difference between being quite alone and having someone, anyone, whom you like in your life. I have never had a romantic relationship but I thought I'd write down the advantages of having friends. This is coming from someone who's had no friends for most of his life, so it is heartfelt.

1.) They make me forget. The world is a pretty nasty place, death is closer every time you blink your eyes, and in many people's view, including mine, there is no meaning or purpose to any of it. Other people make me forget about all that temporarily. They make me concentrate on trivial things, relax, be silly, have fun, laugh. For a little while, I can block out all that existential bleakness.

2.) They give me a frame of reference. When alone, I get to thinking that I'm the only person who does X bad thing, or worries about Y, or whatever. Other people make it clear that there is nothing unusual in this, that I'm pretty humdrum normal. And they reflect back an image of me that I like much better than the image I see when I'm alone. And when alone, I attach a lot of importance to trivial things, because there's nothing else in my life to care about or love, but when there are people in my life, I stop bothering about the trivial things.

3.) I feel like I belong somewhere, like somebody would care if I got hit by a truck tomorrow. Not to be underestimated, that.

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atm1
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Great idea for a thread!

I'll share a bit about my first sexual relationship.

I was 16, he was about a year and a half older. We had a lot in common, but when I look back, I realize how much more mature he was than me. Neither of us had had intercourse before dating each other.

I learned from that relationship that earlier expectations I had about sexual relationships were totally off the mark. I learned what it felt like to be respected and have someone really care about me as a whole person.

Some examples:
When I felt like I was ready to have sex, I simply told him that we could have sex whenever he wanted. I was a bit taken aback by the fact that he said that HE wasn't ready. I had thought that because he was a guy and because he was older, OF COURSE he'd be eager to have sex. He helped me realize that sex is just as big of a deal for guys as it is for girls.

Before we actually did have sex, he insisted that we sit down and talk about what would happen in case I got pregnant. I know I really didn't contribute much to the conversation of "Well, duh, I'm on the pill so it's impossible for me to get pregnant!" He had the far more realistic outlook of "Unlikely accidents can happen." And he strongly felt that he should not have sex with a women who would not consider abortion at that point in his life. Because of him, I learned about what an open, honest conversation about having sex should look like.

The actual first time we had sex was... hilarious. It was awkward, we couldn't find a comfortable position, and OH MY I bled like a stuck pig. Seriously, I bled all over the place, soaking not only his sheets but his mattress topper. I was amazed, because I hadn't been in any pain and it wasn't my period. But we laughed so hard as we frantically tried to clean before his mom got home. I learned from that that sex--even if it isn't physically great--should always be fun.


I look back on all of this now, seven years later, and I'm grateful for all he did for me in that relationship. In retrospect, I don't believe I was ready to have sex, but I have no regrets. If I was going to be immature about first time sex, I'm glad I was with someone who was very mature about it.

He and I had a bad break up, but eventually became close friends again. We majored in the same subjects in college (though he was a year ahead and we went to schools far apart), and were known for helping each other with our homework over im. We've drifted apart since my current partner and I became very serious about three years ago because he felt uncomfortable. I don't know if we'll ever really talk much besides from birthday wishes on facebook, but I'm very grateful that he was in my life.

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breath
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Do you mean "relationships" like serious boyfriend/girlfriend or interactions with people (Sexual, etc)?
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Karybu
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Either one! It's not like relationships that we have with people that are primarily or only sexual aren't relationships that we learn from, after all. You can talk about friendships, too, if you like.

[ 07-09-2011, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: Karybu ]

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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breath
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In my first sexual interaction(s), I learned to explore pleasure, and go with the moment. I learned that my body could receive pleasure and feel good, even though I was confused, scared and unsure of what it all meant. I learned to let go.

Although I had some vague ideas, I wasn't aware of boundaries and how to enforce them or that it is my right to have any kind of boundary I need and to enforce them without guilt. I learned how it can feel to not have "you" be knowledged as a person. I also learned to think more "deeply about consent". I learned how to take care of myself even if that meant terminating off contact with the person, out of love for myself AND them. It also exposed me to my vunerable parts that were indeed touched/or were moved this experience and person, and allowed me an opportunity for healing and self-care

With a good friend who comes from a very different socio-religous background as me and we have completely different life styles/value system, I learned that I have to accept other people's views even if they are so AGANIST what I believe in, as a part of life. And that those set of views may be the best thing for her and her personality/personally, even if they are completely opposite of myself. I learned that I can still gain something from my relationships with different people, yet I realize that it would be nice to have a relationship/friendship with someone who was more closer to my belief and value system.

[ 07-13-2011, 03:23 AM: Message edited by: breath ]

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Animica
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Before I met my current boyfriend, I talked to no one about very personal issues, about sex, about my opinions. I was very shy and had a lot of trust issues, particularly with my family (we've never had a serious conversation about my personal life or my views on controversial subjects, to be honest; I never had the "sex talk", either).

After 2 years with my boyfriend, I feel much more confident now to voice my opinions to other people (though I have to say I'm still working on talking to my parents). Thanks to this relationship, I learned a lot about communication, trust, and boundaries. For the first time, I have someone I can talk to (and who will talk to me) honestly and directly. I've learned to accept others' opinions, even if they go completely against mine. Overall, it's opened me up to new possibilities and ideas, which I'm very grateful for. [Smile]

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martinsmith
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Well, my relationship with my girlfriend benefits me a lot. She is my inspiration, my everything in this world. She is one of the persons I can always lean on.

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redfoxlaine
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Some of the worst times in my life concerned a particular relationship that I was in at the time. IT was an abusive, hateful relationship that (at the time) felt inescapable. Obviously, that relationship has ended, and it's DEFINITELY a good thing that it did.

Was it a complete failure, however? Maybe not.

In getting rid of that man and in recovering from that situation i learned SO much about myself, about how I was viewing myself and about how I was allowing other people to treat me, that I honestly wouldn't erase it from my past if I could. (Not that I would want to live it again.) I learned how to be a stronger woman and how to value myself, and how to protect myself from enduring that type of situation in the future.

It's a long story that's been made VERY short in this post, but my point is this: Even from the WORST relationships, you can still learn a lot and they can still have some sort of positive impact if you will let them. So "failed" or not, try to see what you learned from the relationship. Even if it was, "well I'll never make that mistake again!"

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SilverLining
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How should a relationship benefit you...

I think that if your in a relationship it should be someone your comfortable with because you should be able to talk with your partner about anything. A relationship should benefit you with someone you can utterly trust above anyone else, someone you love and cherish in your life. They should make you feel safe and otherwise always be there for you when you need them; a companion. Someone to be your friend through good and bad times. A relationship should benefit you by giving you your best friend I think.

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Til
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I guess you could say that I don't tend to trust people that often. But after really connecting with my sweetheart and letting him know about my past and insecurities (as well as him doing the same), I have realized that you shouldn't assume or doubt things about people.

As my friends? Oh goodness, what would I be without them? I usually have these horribly depressive states during the summer -- one time it got pretty bad. But let's say I had some friends who were willing to feed me and house me during some rough times. Ah. Staying up and exchanging some more lighthearted stories, or just assuring each other that things will get better ..

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