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Sex + Relationships

What I’ve Learned from the Men in My Life

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I was very fortunate to grow up with a lot of positive male influences in my life. I didn’t have a negative relationship with my dad, my stepdad was always there for me, my brother and I were really close and as a result of this, I was able to learn quite a few life lessons. I know how privileged this makes me, so I figured I’d share some of the things these men have taught me.

My Dad

My dad and I have always been super close. I’ve always been able to talk to him about anything and everything and he’s usually my go-to person when I have a problem. Since I was young, he’s always taught me how important it is to talk about my problems instead of dealing with things alone. Communication is such a simple thing but it’s allowed me to be closer with people and honest about who I am.

My Stepdad

My stepdad taught me that family can come from anywhere. Trust me, I know how cliche that sounds but it’s the truth. A stepparent doesn’t have to treat you like their own kid, nor do they have to act like a parental figure to you, but mine did. I think it was important to learn at a very young age, that family isn’t always blood-related and that it’s ok to trust people to be there for you.

My Brother

Being two years younger than me, it’s hard to imagine my brother teaching me anything but he has. We were incredibly close as kids and as we’ve grown up, we seem to have drifted apart (especially since he’s still in high school and I don’t live at home full-time anymore). However, when we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed and it’s a little reminder that family is forever. Just because you don’t talk to someone every day, it doesn’t mean they stop being there for you.

My Great Uncle

My great-uncle hasn’t been around all my life, but he has been in my life for all of the important parts. The way he jumped into my life so quickly and without any hesitation taught me that sometimes the most important people in my life aren’t always the ones who have been there the longest. Regardless of when he came into my life, he’s been there for me more times than others have and that is what’s important.

My Ex-Boyfriends

I’m not going to give each man I was in a relationship with his own category because I think their lessons can be summed up into one. This is something I’m sure you’ve heard on TikTok, but I’ve found it to be true when reflecting on any of the relationships I’ve been in. If he wanted to, he would. It’s the hard truth and it’s not a lesson that has come easily to me, but it is something that has helped me deal with the “why couldn’t this have worked?” question. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you’ve done all you can and if he wanted things to work, he would have made them work!

Men on Dating Apps

Who hasn’t learned some valuable life lessons from these types of men? I’d say the biggest one for me is that I should never change myself for anyone. It’s easy to want to conform to what someone else wants from you. Being on dating apps and interacting with men there, I have learned that my authentic self is the best version of myself. There are so many men on dating apps so, honestly, why settle? Be you and you are bound to find someone who will appreciate that.

Overall, life lessons come from everyone and it’s important to be open to receiving these lessons. I’ve been lucky enough to have men in my life that have been supportive and kind, and I’ve had my fair share of unsupportive men. You grow from the interactions you have with others and it’s always good to recognize how these interactions shape the person you are today!

Abigael Chalmers

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Hi! My name is Abby Chalmers (she/her) and I'm a writer for Her Campus WLU. I'm a second-year student at Wilfrid Laurier, majoring in Communication Studies. I enjoy writing about personal experiences and love sharing my interests (movies/shows, books, hobbies) with others. When I'm not writing, you can most likely find me creating yet another Pinterest board!