7 reasons why people with a troubled past often make the most loving partners

Ever noticed how the people who’ve weathered life’s fiercest storms seem to love more deeply, more passionately? 

Like, somehow, their turbulent past has shaped them into these incredible partners? 

It’s not just your imagination. 

Today, we’re delving into why this is sometimes the case. 

Let’s dive in. 

1) They can be more understanding

You know how they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? 

Well, for some with a troubled past, this really holds true. 

They have usually faced their fair share of life’s challenges. They’ve been knocked down, dusted themselves off, and gotten back up again – often more times than they’d care to count.

The result? 

A 2016 study showed that people who experience adversity tend to be more empathetic. As experts generally acknowledge, this is a key strength in fostering great relationships. 

For instance, David DeSteno, a researcher in the study I just mentioned, has said, “If you understand the suffering of others, it motivates you to have compassion and want to help them, which builds strong social bonds..”

The folks at Masters Counselling have also echoed this by noting that“ empathy acts as a bridge, fostering open communication and trust between partners, friends, and family members.”

Basically, past challenges become the very things that enhance their capacity for understanding and love in a relationship.

How this might look in a partner

In a partner, this deep understanding and empathy often manifest in the little things they do every day. 

  • They might be more patient during disagreements, taking the time to really listen and understand where you’re coming from. 
  • They probably give people the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that everyone has their struggles and bad days. 
  • When you’re going through a tough time, they’re likely the shoulder to lean on, offering not just sympathy but genuine empathy because they know what it’s like to face hardships. 
  • They are adept at reading emotions and may often pick up on how you’re feeling even before you’ve fully articulated it yourself. 

This level of understanding can create a supportive and nurturing relationship environment where partners feel seen, heard, and deeply cared for.

2) They often have better emotional health 

We often associate troubled pasts with problematic behavior, and in some cases, this is true. For example, as noted by Healthline, childhood neglect can lead to emotional unavailability in adulthood. However, this is not always the case.

However, this is not always the case. 

Some research suggests that moderate adversity can actually result in better mental health and improved life satisfaction. 

It appears that overcoming certain types of adversity can teach valuable coping skills, foster resilience, and provide a unique perspective on personal well-being. 

This often leads to a more emotionally healthy individual who is capable of navigating the complexities of intimate relationships with grace and understanding.

How this might look in a partner

In a partner, better emotional health may be evident in how they manage stress, conflict, and the usual ups and downs of a relationship. 

They’re often more self-aware and able to communicate their feelings clearly and calmly. Instead of reacting impulsively to emotional triggers, they’re more likely to respond thoughtfully and constructively. This emotional maturity allows them to approach relationship challenges as opportunities for growth rather than threats to avoid. 

Their resilience also enables them to maintain a positive outlook, even during tough times, providing a stable and reassuring presence for their partner. This stability doesn’t just make for smoother sailing; it fosters a deep sense of trust and security within the relationship, creating a strong foundation for enduring love and mutual respect.

3) They know themselves better 

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an Instagram post that read, “Circumstances don’t make the man. they only reveal him to himself.” It turns out it’s a quote by the philosopher Epictetus. 

Anyway, it resonated with me deeply. Could it be that a troubled past opens up our hearts to feel emotions more intensely?

I think so. 

People I know who’ve had their fair share of troubles don’t shy away from deep, meaningful conversations. 

They’re not afraid to delve into the nitty-gritty of emotions because they’ve been there. They know what it feels like to be at rock bottom and have had to navigate their way through the complex maze of emotions.

This emotional depth can lead to a strong bond in relationships and make them incredibly loving partners. Isn’t that something we all yearn for?

How this might look in a partner

In a partner, this self-awareness and emotional depth often manifest in a remarkable ability to engage in honest and vulnerable communication. For example:

  • They can articulate their own feelings and experiences with clarity, allowing for a level of intimacy and understanding that can be deeply fulfilling.
  • They don’t gloss over emotional pain — they acknowledge it, understand it, and empathize with it.
  • They’re also often able to connect on a deeper level and understand their partner’s feelings more profoundly. 

This willingness to explore both their own and their partner’s inner worlds can create a relationship rich in emotional intimacy and mutual growth. 

4) They might appreciate life more 

Often, when people experience a highly negative or challenging event, they then experience something called “Posttraumatic growth.” 

As put by Psychology Today staff, this refers to “ the positive psychological change that some individuals experience after a life crisis or traumatic event.”

Researchers have studied this and found a few common changes that occur. One of them is an “increased appreciation for life in general.” 

There are a few reasons that this can be good for relationships. 

First of all, as you might expect, gratitude for life is good for us. As noted by Berkley Well Being, “many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.”

I don’t know about you, but a happy partner sounds great to me. 

Furthermore, happiness spreads!  Their happiness can be infectious, spreading a sense of gratitude and contentment throughout the relationship, making it stronger and more fulfilling

How this might look in a partner

pic2430 7 reasons why people with a troubled past often make the most loving partners

A partner who appreciates life deeply often brings a refreshing sense of wonder and gratitude to the relationship. 

You might notice it in the way they savor the small moments, like enjoying the warmth of the sun on their face or the simple pleasure of a shared meal. They might have this infectious ability to celebrate every day, which can transform mundane moments into something special. 

This gratitude might also extend to their appreciation of you and your relationship. They don’t take your presence for granted, often expressing gratitude for the small things you do. 

This kind of partner encourages you to see the beauty in the world and in your relationship, even when things aren’t perfect. Their positive outlook and ability to find joy in the simple things can be a powerful source of light in your life, making your connection richer and more rewarding.

5) They’ve learned the art of resilience

Life’s struggles can be tough, but they often teach us to be resilient. 

As put by the experts at Help Guide, “Surviving hardships can teach you important things about yourself and the world around you, strengthen your resolve, deepen your empathy, and in time enable you to evolve and grow as a human being.”

People who’ve been through their share of troubles have faced adversity and come out stronger on the other side. They’ve learned to adapt, to bounce back, and to keep moving forward no matter what.

How this might look in a partner

A resilient partner often demonstrates uncommon strength in the face of relationship challenges. 

This doesn’t mean they’re stoic or emotionless; rather, they’re capable of facing emotional distress without letting it overwhelm them or the relationship. They approach conflicts with a problem-solving mindset, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles. 

This resilience fosters a sense of security and stability within the relationship, making it easier to tackle life’s challenges as a team. When things get tough, they’re the calm in the storm, reminding you that together, you can overcome anything. 

6) They have a deep understanding of self-growth

Think about your first breakup. It was hard, wasn’t it? 

You probably felt like the world was ending. Now think about your last one. It was still hard, but perhaps it was a bit easier, right? 


This can largely be put down to growth through difficulty. 

When we’ve been through hardships, we learn the importance of personal growth and development. We accept that life’s struggles are not meant to destroy us but to help us become the best version of ourselves

In relationships, this knowledge translates into a commitment to personal and mutual growth. 

How this might look in a partner

A partner with a deep understanding of self-growth often brings a proactive and reflective approach to the relationship. For example:

  • They’re the ones who embrace open, honest conversations about where they’re at and where they want to be, both personally and within the relationship. 
  • They view challenges not as setbacks but as opportunities to learn and grow stronger together. 
  • They likely encourage us to pursue our own goals and passions, understanding that individual fulfillment contributes to a healthy and happy relationship. 
  • They understand that growth is a journey shared together, where both partners support each other’s aspirations and dreams. 

This commitment to mutual growth fosters a dynamic and evolving relationship where both individuals are continuously inspired to become their best selves together.

7) They cherish meaningful connections

For those who have always had support systems and people to help us, it’s easy to take these for granted. 

However, individuals who’ve endured a troubled past often emerge with a profound understanding of the value of genuine connections

Through their trials, they’ve learned that superficial relationships offer little solace during trying times. Instead, they seek and cultivate relationships that are rooted in authenticity, mutual respect, and genuine care. 

How this might look in a partner

This understanding translates into their romantic partnerships as well. 

They are more likely to invest time and effort into building a strong, meaningful connection with their partner. They understand the importance of being present, of truly listening, and of being there for their partner not just in times of joy, but more importantly, in moments of difficulty. 

This ability to value and nurture deep connections can make them incredibly loving and committed partners. Their past experiences have taught them not to take love for granted, leading them to cherish and prioritize their relationship, often creating a bond that is both deeply loving and resilient.

Final words 

In conclusion, while a troubled past can undoubtedly present challenges, it can also cultivate qualities that make for deeply loving and understanding partners. 

From empathy and resilience to the appreciation of life and meaningful connections, these individuals often bring invaluable strengths to a relationship.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.