Why Your Second Serious Relationship Is Better

While the breakup of your first relationship was probably painful, there are a few good things that can come from breaking it off with your first boyfriend or girlfriend — namely, the chance to take everything you learned from your first serious romantic experience, and use it to make things better the next time around. While you’ll never forget your first relationship — especially if that person was your first love — when you begin your second relationship, you'll realize how many mistakes you made in your first, and how much you learned from them. No matter if your first relationship ended in a handshake or tears, it is the basic foundation for your future relationships — which is why your second relationship will be even better.

When you begin your second serious relationship, you'll not only have learned how to handle basic dating problems and issues with your partner; you'll also be more mature in general. You can go into your second relationship more confident in how you relate to your partner; and if things end, you may even move on from it relatively unscathed, because you now know that the end of a relationship isn't the end of the world. You know when it's time to patch things up, when it's time to let go, and when it's time to just move the eff on. You are now stronger — and smarter — in more ways than you know.

No matter what number relationship you happen to be on, you can always look forward to learning from your mistakes and always moving on to better and more satisfying relationships. But there's a big jump in quality between your first and second serious relationship — and here are the 10 reasons why.

1. You’ve Learned From Your Mistakes

Whether it was little stuff — (like why you should never start an argument with your honey after you've been drinking) — or bigger stuff —(like how you should always go with your gut instinct when deciding where the relationship is headed )— you've learned from all the ways you screwed up in your first relationship. And these lessons are things that you'll take with you and put into action next time.

2. You Have A Better Idea Of Who You Are (And What You Want)

This applies no matter how old you are, but is particularly relevant if you had your first relationship when you were young and not really sure of who you were. If your first serious relationship took place when you were in high school and your second is in college, just think about how much you evolved as a person in those few years. The way we approach things at 18 is completely different from the way we approach them at 21 — the older we get, the more self-aware we get, and the more self-awareness we have, the better our relationships will be.

3. You’re Less Likely To Escalate Small Arguments

During your first relationship, you may have been willing to give up at the first sign of trouble, like a small fight, or some very basic miscommunication. By the time you reach your second relationship, though, you're usually less willing to end a relationship over small things, because you have learned the value of working through issues instead of just giving up. You've learned that there are no shortcuts in relationships, and if you value you what you have with your partner, the best course of action is to just deal with it.

4. You’re More Emotionally Mature

Researchers have found that brain development continues well into our 20s, which means that with each passing year, we become more mature, and more the person we're supposed to be. Maturity plays a key role in successful relationships, because our maturity level correlates to how well we treat ourselves and others.

There's a big difference between an immature relationship centered on lust or puppy love, and a grown-up relationship centered on looking toward the future — but when we're in our first relationship, it can be tough to tell which one we're in. By your second relationship, you'll be more mature, which will help you have a clearer idea of which one you're involved in.

5. You're More Realistic

Once you've gone out into the world a little bit, you have a better understanding of how things (and people) work. You realize that life isn't always easy, people can be challenging, and your childhood ideas of what love is are just a fairytale that Hollywood has shoved down our throats. When you've been around the block you learn that relationships need a lot of work — and that there's nothing wrong with that.

6. The Sex Is Better

Sex is one of those things where there truly is nowhere to go but up. Whether you're having sex in your second serious relationship, or just your second one-night stand, it'll be better than your first, simply because you've had a few more chances to work out how to do things, and figure out what you do and don't like. And this improvement doesn't plateau in your second relationship — on the contrary, sex, on the whole, gets better as you age and mature.

7. You’re Better Able To Communicate

One of the big mistakes many of us make in our first relationship is not communicating properly. Which makes sense — it's really hard to put yourself out there, or even know how to put yourself out there, when you're new to the whole relationship thing. You don't yet fully understand just how essential it is to be able tell your partner your inner most thoughts, or to really keep the lines of communication open — because romantic relationship communication is so different from the ways you communicate with family, friends, or anyone else you've been close to before this point.

In relationship number two, we have the advantage of not just knowing what we want from our time with our partner, but knowing how to ask for it, too.

8. You Value Honesty More

It's not just that you just value honesty more in your second relationship — you demand it. In your first relationship, you may have let your partner get away with dishonesty, or thought it was OK for you to keep some secrets of your own from them; but by the time you reach your second relationship, you (hopefully) understand that that kind of behavior will eventually be the death of your relationship.

In a second relationship, honesty trumps the kind of lying or selective truth-telling that initially seems to make a relationship run more smoothly, but ultimately destroys it.

9. You Have A Better Understanding Of What Commitment Means

Commitment means different things to different people at different times in their lives — and what it means to you in your relationships will probably change as you get older. In your first relationship, commitment may just have meant replying to each other's texts in a timely manner; in your second relationship, it might be about creating short-term goals together. But no matter what your definition of commitment is, during your second relationship, you understand how important it is to feel committed to your partner, and to show your commitment.

10. You’re Less Likely To Settle

The best thing about your second serious relationship is that what you settled for during the first round just won't fly this time. Your standards and expectations for yourself and your partner are way higher than they were in your first relationship — which is exactly how it should be.

Images: HBO; Giphy (10)