6 Life-Changing Relationship Lessons From ‘Bridgerton’ Season 2

Love takes compromise—and you should want your partner to be as happy as you are.

When Anthony confesses his love to Kate in the final episode, he tells her, “I want a life that suits us both. I know I am imperfect, but I will humble myself before you because I cannot imagine my life without you.” While the words may sound like the perfectly poetic declaration we’ve come to expect from romance novels, Anthony is actually making an incredibly realistic promise here. Compromise is such an important part of relationships, because while we may dream of a romance that ticks all of our boxes, the fact of the matter is that love will always be a two-way street. Sometimes that will mean adjusting your lifestyle or putting in the extra effort—love is, after all, most powerful when in action.

Instead of focusing on what your partner lacks, focus on all the ways they make you happy.

Look, we all have unrealistic relationship standards to some extent. We may think the perfect partner will meet a checklist of requirements we have, but more often than not, that person doesn’t actually exist. And even if they do exist, there’s no guarantee they’ll make you happy! Edwina was everything Anthony thought he wanted, but in the end, she paled in comparison to Kate, the woman who met almost none of his requirements but who made him so inexplicably happy. Your partner isn’t a wish fulfillment, they’re a human being; you’ll never truly be able to fall in love with an ideal, but sometimes you’ll find the love you’re seeking in the most perfectly imperfect person. That’s what matters most of all.

When it comes to your relationships, you’ll be a lot happier when you stop caring what anyone else thinks.

When Anthony decided it was time to find a wife, he was so focused on what he believed he should want that he never really thought about what he actually wanted. He let society’s expectations color his opinions, which is part of the reason why he resisted his feelings for Kate, despite the fact that he knew pretty early on that she was the one his heart truly wanted. But even without the pressure of regency rules, this is still a problem many of us fall prey to—we care too much what other people think about our relationships. We feel like we have to date the prettiest person, the smartest person, the most successful person, and we often let the opinions of our friends and family (and society at large) dictate our relationship decisions. But remember, your love life shouldn’t be social currency but just something that makes you happy. At the end of the day, no one else matters.

If you want your relationship to truly blossom, it’s important to practice clear communication.

I wouldn’t say that Kate and Anthony exactly fall prey to the miscommunication trope, but they definitely struggle to be honest with each other (and theirselves) about what’s truly going on between them. After Anthony and Edwina’s doomed wedding, he tells Kate that Edwina is braver than them both. “She had the courage to act on what she sensed between us,” he says. “And here we are, standing perfectly still, having felt it for months.” From the very beginning, Kate and Anthony knew how they felt about one another; arguable, they even knew what they wanted. But because they never just told each other plainly, they were stuck running around in circles, miserable and unsure where the other stood. Being vulnerable with someone your feelings can be terrifying, but if you can’t voice what you actually want, you may never get it. It isn’t until the very end, when Anthony tells Kate plainly that he loves her and wants to be with her, that they’re finally able to take the first steps toward truly being together.

If you actually want love, you can’t let fear dictate your relationships.

Part of the reason Anthony tries to resist his feelings for Kate is because he knows he loves her—and that’s terrifying to him, especially since he experienced such a painful loss at a young age. He knows what it’s like to lose the person he loves the most and never wants to experience it again. And while we may not all share this same trauma, so many of us do allow fear to control the way we act in relationships. Maybe we won’t let our partner get too emotionally close to us because we’re afraid of being vulnerable; maybe we shy away from defining the relationship because we’re terrified of rejection. Sometimes committing to someone is just terrifying, period. But when we give in to fear, we give up our chance at true love, because you can’t foster a healthy relationship when you’re constantly building walls to protect your own heart instead of knocking them down to make room for someone else’s. It’s only when Anthony realizes at the end that love is worth the risk of heartbreak that he truly allows himself to be happy.

When you choose to love someone, remember: you’re choosing to accept them for everything they are.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you should accept any bad behavior. This isn’t a way to justify abuse or poor treatment. But when you choose to love someone, you choose to accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Anthony loved Kate not in spite of who she was but because of it; he never asked her to change to meet his vision of what he wanted. In fact, he loved her even for the things society frowned down upon (which was evidenced when he called her by her full name, Kathani Sharma—a nod to her Indian upbringing that others found improper). If you simply cannot love someone for who they are, or if you require them to shrink themselves or change in some essential way to meet your expectations, that’s not love—that is, again, just wish fulfillment. And when someone truly loves you back, they won’t ask for you to be anything but yourself.