We all want to be good to our partners. This is someone you love dearly, so it’s normal to want to be there for them, support them, and show them the deep love you feel.
Read on for some tips on how to be a better girlfriend. This article will help you show your man how much he means to you and how to be emotionally in tune with him.
How to be a better girlfriend
Understand that being a good girlfriend is not just about doing things for him. It’s about your state of being and your willingness to make your relationship healthy.
It’s about being in tune with your man’s emotions, learning as much as possible about him, and offering authenticity in the relationship so that you two can thrive together.
1. Prioritize friendship
Happy relationships are those in which partners are genuine friends. That means treating your partner with the love and respect you would offer to a best friend and letting go of unhealthy and unrealistic expectations around the relationship.
‘It’s not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.’Friedrich Nietzsche
When we enter a romantic attachment, old wounds from childhood resurface and make us set expectations on our partner. If we’re insecurely attached, we may want our partners around all the time and become blind to their need for space.
Alternatively, we may become avoidant because we fear such close intimacy, becoming blind to our partner’s need for healthy communication and respect.
Being friends with your partner means seeing through projections and attachment wounds and learning to be present with them, to love from a place of compassion and not from a place of neediness.
Consider how you would feel about a friend who constantly pressures you to hang out or who disappeared without explanation.
The tips following this one are based on this crucial consideration – friendship first.
2. Be an independent woman
If you felt lonely before you met him, you’ll feel loved and incredibly joyful to have him in your life. Be careful.
Your main priority should be love and feel good in your own skin, independent of a romantic partner. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Sometimes when we find a partner, we become hooked on that person for our happiness, especially if we typically struggle with being alone. It’s essential to be mindful of how close and attached you’re becoming to him.
Of course, you love and want him to be around, but maintaining your independence is incredibly important.
Independence demonstrates self confidence and value in oneself and men love these two qualities in a woman.
A lack of independence from one partner can place too much pressure on the other.
He won’t want to see you struggling if he loves you too. If not having him around all the time makes you feel horrible, he’ll feel pressured to always spend time with you.
Such an expectation is unrealistic and will either make him confront the issue or pull away.
‘Love is generally confused with dependence; but in point of fact, you can love only in proportion to your capacity for independence.’Rollo May
Staying independent shows him that you want him but don’t need him, that you’re happy doing your own thing, that you’ve got your own life.
That alleviates an incredible amount of pressure and creates space for you two to be your authentic, independent selves together.
3. Prioritize healthy communication
Good communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Without it, relationships spiral downward into misunderstanding and resentment.
If you want to be a better girlfriend, focus on your communication skills.
How to communicate effectively
How do you react to conflict? When you two argue or your opinions and perspectives clash, what’s your go-to response?
Do you react quickly with criticism and blame? Or do you wait for the dust to settle and speak from a place of mindfulness and compassion?
It’s not easy to stay cool and compassionate in the heat of an argument, but it’s important to learn how to do so to maintain a happy relationship.
When you learn to respond appropriately rather than react, by practicing mindfulness, being curious about the situation and his perspective, and trusting and validating your feelings, you give the relationship a chance to overcome whatever obstacle it faces.
Ideally, your man will already have the emotional maturity necessary to handle conflicts healthily. Still, your demonstration of maturity and healthy conflict resolution will inspire him to follow suit even if he doesn’t.
“Communication to a relationship is like oxygen is to life. Without it, it dies.”Tony A. Gaskins Jr.
Healthy communication during conflict means addressing how the situation makes you feel and letting your partner know that you want to work on improving the situation together.
It’s not about blame, passive-aggressive behaviors, and name-calling. These are signs of immaturity and don’t make you a good girlfriend.
4. Respect his personal space
It’s natural to want to spend a lot of time with the person you love. However, it’s essential to respect their personal space and their need for and desire for alone time.
Many men enjoy their alone time. They use it to calm down and seek clarity on things happening lately. As such, if he asks for space, let him take it. He’ll respect you for it.
Take your own space too. Solitude brings clarity, and they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Understand that there will be times when you two can’t be together, so when those times come, it’s helpful to know how to be alone.
If you struggle to allow his personal space because you feel lonely, work on that first before you try to bring him close again. Your struggles with his personal space will likely lead to resentment from him.
You may fear that his taking of space means that he’s pulling away, that you’re losing him, but that’s often not the case.
It’s not about you!
Assume that his need for space is not about you. Stay connected but stop nagging or flooding his phone with texts or calling him every so often when he’s not with you. Otherwise, he’ll think you don’t respect him enough to allow him his personal time.
If he has enough self-respect, your lack of respect will be the death of the relationship.
“A little space, time, and distance can often be just what a relationship needs to bloom at its best.”Karen Salmansohn
Understand that giving him space is not just about physical space; it’s also about emotional space.
If, when he takes space, you freak out and start to spiral into panic mode, you will drive him away.
Your emotions are valid, but he needs to know that he can take space without you freaking out.
It is good for everyone’s mental health to have some personal time. So let him enjoy his as you enjoy you own space.
5. Make an effort with his friends and family
Partners should try to get along with each other’s friends and family.
Even if there’s a particular friend or family member you don’t like, it’s still essential to make an effort.
That doesn’t mean you must like the person or change your opinion. Working together in a relationship means letting both parties be one hundred percent themselves, not sacrificing authenticity for connection.
If you don’t like a friend or family member, it’s ok to let him know, but don’t stop him from seeing them. If you try to change him that way, he’ll lose respect for you because he’ll see that you don’t like him for who he is but for who you want him to be.
Consider how you would feel if he was overly critical or dismissive of one of your friends or family members. You would understand that one cannot please everybody, but you would expect him to understand that you like this person and will continue spending time with them.
Don’t make him feel guilty about it when he goes out with his friends. No relationship can thrive if one partner is not allowed to spend time with other important people in their life.
6. Surprise him
Relationships can grow stagnant when partners come to expect the evening, week, or month ahead.
Of course, a working relationship means consistency; if you live together, days (and nights) will naturally start to feel repetitive. So, adding an element of surprise to your interactions is essential.
Surprise him with his favorite home cooked meal, a fun dinner date, or a holiday idea now and again to let him know that you think about him even when he’s not around and that you want him to enjoy himself. Create a private list of gift ideas and give one to him on occasion.
Find out what your man deeply desires and do your best to meet them.
How to be a better girlfriend emotionally
Being the best girlfriend you can be is not just about making things fun and exciting all the time. You don’t need to put that unrealistic expectation on yourself.
When you two are living in your authentic selves, there will naturally come times when one or both of you feel sad, tired, angry, or generally moody.
Don’t take those feelings as signs of something wrong when they arise. Use them as opportunities to connect on an even deeper level.
If you want a successful relationship, you must practice emotional attunement. When you develop this critical life skill, you begin to intuitively know what to do when negative emotions and emotionally charged situations arise.
What is emotional attunement?
Emotionally attuning to your partner means recognizing and understanding their needs and offering them love and compassion. This is the most crucial potential girlfriend duty to take on.
Emotionally attuning means seeking to understand him deeply, learning about his love language, and viewing him as his whole self, independent from your relationship with him.
It’s a matter of empathy, boosted by active engagement in supporting him.
How to practice emotional attunement
Emotional attunement is a skill. That means you can improve even if you’re not great at it yet.
Below we’ve included a list of tips to improve your degree of emotional attunement to your partner, making you a better partner and ultimately improving your relationship.
Before you emotionally react to what your partner says, take a second to pause, breathe, relax, and hear what your partner is saying.
Most of us only listen to speak when we get the chance. Let go of your anticipated reply and try to hear the message your partner wants to convey.
2. Ask clarifying questions
Don’t jump to conclusions.
If you and your partner are having a significant and emotionally heavy conversation, do not let your defensive systems blind you to the real issue at hand.
Ask if you’re unsure what your partner means or how they feel! If they get frustrated with your questions, explain to them that you truly want to understand.
3. Observe your partner’s body language
It’s important to be aware of your partner’s non-verbal cues. These are expressions without words, such as body language, facial expression, and tone of voice.
We communicate most of what we mean through non-verbal cues, so get to know and understand those of your partner.
4. Understand yourself
Get to know your feelings, vulnerabilities, and triggers. Doing so is an important and often challenging journey into the self, but it’s also incredibly helpful to form healthy relationships.
Knowing what triggers and what you need to feel safe helps you communicate those needs to your partner and helps them feel safe enough to express their own needs and vulnerabilities.
We can always practice more love and compassion to improve our relationships.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to prioritize friendship and healthy communication in your relationship. When those two aspects of your relationship are in check, everything else will fall into place.
Finally, if you feel like a bad girlfriend, consider that some partners don’t work well together. You may not be the best girlfriend for one person but an amazing girlfriend for another… just something to keep in mind!