It is a markedly different experience to date someone who is kind, compassionate, loving, and present if you're used to dating jerks, or at least people who don't cherish you. And you learn so many valuable things when you finally start dating someone who treats you right — namely, how it feels to not be anxious and worried all the time. Your self-esteem probably goes up, because you're not choosing to put yourself into difficult situations over and over again. You likely have a better outlook on life in general, because the quality of your day-to-day improves. You know — your life changes for the better in epic ways.
When you look around and find yourself in a healthy relationship at last, you will indeed realize that you've learned a lot of new things about life and love. According to these relationship experts, these life lessons are varied and come at different times in different ways. But come they do, and once you learn what it's like, you can't forget or unlearn the way it feels to be happy and treated well in a true partnership. Here are the important things you find out when you start a solid thing with a good person.
1. You Are Enough
When you start dating someone who loves you for who you are, you learn that your authentic self is more than enough, life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. You no longer have to feel like you have to be someone other than exactly the person you are. "The right partner can encourage you to embrace your flaws and be proud of who you are," Rogers says. "The wrong partner does the exact opposite."
2. Relationships Are Worth It
New-York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle, "When you’ve been in one bad relationship after another, it’s easy to think that the whole thing just isn’t worth your time and energy." You might have even sworn off dating. "But when you break your own pattern of dating the wrong people and choose someone who treats you right, you’ll learn that relationships are worth the time and energy," Masini says. "You just have to be with the right person [to learn this lesson]."
3. You Can Ask For What You Need
"When you finally start dating someone who treats you right, you can actually begin to identify and outline your expectations from a relationship and from your partner," Salama Marine, psychologist and online dating expert for dating website EliteSingles, tells Bustle. This means you can ask for what you need.
"You’re allowed to be demanding," she says. "When you are ready to completely commit yourself to a relationship and give everything to another person, having certain expectations makes sense." So when you find something lacking, you can have the confidence to speak up. "It also reaffirms your dedication to building a strong and lasting relationship." With a strong foundation, you'll also feel more empowered to voice what you want.
4. Giving And Receiving Is Awesome
So you're dating someone who treats you with kindness and generosity. "The one thing you lean when this happens is that there is happiness in both receiving and giving pleasure," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "When you find that right person, all the of sudden, you have a balance in the pleasures you give and receive," he says. You don't sit around hoping your partner will show up for you, but you don't only give of yourself with no return in sight.
"[This balance] works in all areas of your relationship, in your friendship, your partnership, and your intimacy," he says. "Many people have a hard time either giving or receiving pleasure, but when that right person comes around, you find that balance that allows you to soar."
5. Life Is Good
"When you finally start dating someone who treats you right, you end up finding something that you may have lost previously: your smile," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. It's like someone sprinkled sunshine on the world. "Everything just seems a little bit better," he says. But don't get totally carried away just yet, he warns.
"It’s important to remember that just because you finally found someone who treats you right, it does not mean that this is the right person for you," but you are one step closer to that discovery. And who knows; you just might have found the perfect person for you.
6. Relationships Don't Have To Be Difficult
Dating someone right for you can make you realize an important lesson. "Being in a relationship is actually really easy when you're with the right one," psychologist, author and speaker Karin Anderson Abrell tells Bustle. It doesn't have to be a struggle, and the struggle doesn't have to be real. You can just enjoy your relationship, and not constantly complain about how hard it is.
7. Relationships Involve Serenity
"A healthy relationship is calm and comforting, not super exciting," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences , tells Bustle. It doesn't have to be a roller coaster, one minute flying on the highest of highs and the next freaking out. "Love is mutual, not codependent," she says. You'll find that out mighty quick, as well.
8. You Can Feel Good About Yourself
"When you're dating a person who treats you right, you begin to feel good about yourself," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships , tells Bustle. "You start realizing your own self-worth, and suddenly you like being you." Of course, you have to feel this way already, as a baseline, before you get involved with anyone if you want a healthy relationship. But it is true that a good partnership can buoy you up in a way that you might not have previously imagined.
"You want to be the best you that you possibly can be, and you really try to put your best foot forward with this person," she says. "This self-love then starts spilling out onto all of your relationships, and you come to expect, everyone at home, work and at play to treat you right as well."
9. You Know You're Valuable
"If you notice that someone treats you right, that means you are finally letting yourself be treated right," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "You must love your body, see it as a gift, don't allow stress or painful experiences to reside in your body," she says. "My clients are fantastic at learning to love themselves." And by learning this, they open themselves up to true love.
"Being in love with yourself is a body-mind connection," she says.
10. You Have High Self-Esteem
"I think you finally start realizing you are dating someone who treats you right when you have decided for yourself what you deserve and what you are worth," BetterHelp telehealth counselor and psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "It is only when you have a good sense of self-esteem, and of what you want for yourself and in a mate, that you realize that this person actually matches up with that ideal." And you can relax and enjoy the ride.
11. You Deserve To Be Treated Well
When you're dating someone who is right for you, you realize that you're worthy of being treated well, relationship coach and psychic medium Melinda Carver tells Bustle. "Many people choose partners that are corrosive — they are critical, emotionally or physically abusive, or tend to treat you badly," she says. After a lot of that, it can be painful to fall in love. But if you've been working on yourself, and you're with someone wonderful, things can turn around. Abusive, awful relationships will really lower your self-esteem, she says.
"When you do finally find someone who treats you in a loving, respectful, supportive manner, it is heaven," Carver says. "Tell yourself that you do deserve to be happy and to be regarded in a positive light. Once you allow yourself to be cared for in this way, you will raise your self-esteem and be happier in other aspects of your life."
12. You Can Relax
To sum it all up, being in a supportive, nurturing, uplifting relationship is the best. "You learn to relax and not overanalyze everything," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. And that is the best place in the world to be.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy