“I want someone who would be a perfect ten, with a good sense of humor, and they have to come from money.” While that is the line of thought for a vast majority, how often do you hear someone say, “How to be a better partner in a relationship?” I bet it’s not an everyday occurrence. After all, we don’t do very well when it comes to accepting the fact that there might be something lacking in us too.
Here’s the thing: To get the partner of your dreams, you have to be the partner of their dreams too. You can’t expect a fulfilling relationship if you don’t have it in you to be an agreeable life partner yourself. But there’s no need to lose sleep over it already. We are going to cover all the amazing qualities for you to manifest to become your best self, so your current/would-be partner doesn’t get a chance to complain about your shortcomings or negligence in the relationship.
21 Ways To Be A Better Partner For A Better Relationship
“I want my partner to be on the same page about committed relationships and we should have shared goals.” Okay, before you exhaust your 3 magic wishes on an ideal partner who’s mere perfection, it’s time for a reality check. The secret to relationship satisfaction lies in not projecting your unrealistic desires and expectations onto a single person.
Healthy relationships are a two-way street. You give and you receive. Good relationships are all about equal partnership. Solely focusing on your own needs will never bring you that feeling of fulfillment. We are not asking you to settle for less. But when you are ticking off all the great personality traits in a partner, make sure you build yourself to be worthy of that relationship.
So, how to be a better partner in a relationship. Well, with a little introspection, a good, healthy look at yourself, and Bonobology’s amazing tips and tricks, you will go a long way in making yourself a better significant other for your partner:
Related Reading: 20 Easy Ways To Be Romantic
1. Compliment your partner
Jen and Jarvis had a mushy romantic relationship going on for a few years. The magic in their relationship slowly started fading when Jen felt that Jarvis just doesn’t compliment her enough anymore. She could spend $200 on a dress and all he’d be focused on was reaching a new high score in a game. Not a “Wow’, no “You look gorgeous babe”! Not surprisingly, it led to a good deal of friction.
One of the key reasons why many couples drift apart is because they fail to see the good in each other. If you truly want to be better for your partner, never stop complimenting them. After all, it doesn’t take a whole lot of your time or effort. Just a heartfelt comment on their new hairstyle or how they look dashing in that black shirt. That’s it! A little cheering from you can go a long way in making your partner feel loved.
2. Apologize when the time comes
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” the adage goes. We strongly disagree! Want to know how to be a better partner to your spouse? Start working on how to apologize to someone you love. Ego can be a slow poison even for a perfectly good relationship. The sooner you understand that acknowledging and admitting your faults doesn’t make you a small person but can be beneficial for the relationship, the better you will be at resolving conflict the right way.
Yes, it’s true that we tend to find a way to move on from a conflict eventually – apology or no apology because that’s what mature people do. But deep inside, the negative emotions stay with us for a long time. Scientific research shows that apologies have the power to promote forgiveness and repair a relationship after a fallout.
Bono Tip: Be genuine with your apologies and try to use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’. For instance, you should say, “I failed to understand what you meant” rather than saying, “You didn’t clearly tell me what you wanted. That’s why I got it wrong”.
3. Share responsibilities equally
We can’t stress this enough! Nothing induces relationship happiness like the supporting hand of a partner through the ups and downs of life. For married couples and those who are living together, these shared responsibilities range from household chores to financial matters to taking care of their domestic life.
Even if you are just dating or in a long-term committed relationship, you can’t overlook your basic duties as a girlfriend/boyfriend like splitting the bills, planning your next date, taking care of your partner’s mental and physical health, and so on. This is definitely one way to answer your question, “What makes a good partner in a relationship?”
4. Spice up your sex life
We agree that after a while, sex can get monotonous and start to seem more like a chore. It’s all the more reason to rev things up in the bedroom to let your partner know how invested you are in them. A study shows that non-sensual touches like hugs, kisses, or holding hands have a great impact on relationship happiness and satisfaction and the overall well-being of the partners.
Besides, it’s tough to be better for your partner if your own needs are not fully met and you’re sexually frustrated. Take the lead, invest in sex toys, try role-playing, or buy some sexy outfits…they may all sound like clichés but these old hacks never fail to keep a romantic relationship alive.
Related Reading: 11 Dating Tips For Beginners – Make Sure You Follow These!
5. Keep communication channels open
No relationship is picture-perfect at all times. There will be misunderstandings, rough patches, and petty squabbles. But one of the relationship maintenance behaviors that can help couples overcome a hard time together is sharing their concerns and discussing the problems at hand.
If nothing, opening up to your partner about the smallest things in your life on a daily basis will help develop emotional intimacy. So, to help your relationship and be an amiable partner, you have to master good communication skills. Here are a few simple exercises for your benefit:
- Set aside the phone (or any other distraction) and be present in the conversation
- Practice open and honest interaction and active listening to improve communication
- If you are angry, calm yourself down and process your feelings before facing your partner
- Minimize the blame game and sarcastic comments and try to come to a solution that’s agreeable to both of you
- Silent treatment
- Being distant from your partner to avoid conflict
- Raising your voice at your partner or using disrespectful language
6. Learn to disagree respectfully
And that brings us to our next order of business – handling disagreements in intimate relationships. How to be a better partner in a relationship, you wonder? Well, it can all boil down to honoring mutual respect and decency in times of conflict. Things won’t always be hunky-dory between you and your partner. Heck, you might find yourself arguing about the silliest of reasons.
That’s when the principle of respectful disagreement becomes important. You don’t have to say yes to everything your partner says. But to keep away from the negative effect of an argument, you can put your viewpoint without having to resort to taunts, barbs, or anger, and at the same time, show your partner that you’re not overlooking or invalidating their feelings on the matter.
7. Stop being a parent to your partner
We hate to break it to you, but all of us tend to baby our partners. After many years of being together, there is a tendency, especially among dominant partners, to behave like a parent. It can get rather annoying for your partner to hear you patronize them, talk them down or try and take charge of their lives.
There is a difference between being supportive in a relationship and being a mom/dad to them. You should learn to adhere to that boundary no matter how close you two are. In healthy relationships, both partners should take charge and hold hands to walk each other through the good and bad of life.
8. Acknowledge their complaints about you
Let me share the story of our readers Kristen and Holly. Kristen felt Holly had issues with everything – her lifestyle, the nature of her job, and her family. And in Holly’s narrative, she didn’t feel valued as Kristen would barely pay any heed to her opinions. This resulted in constant nagging, which was driving them apart, and so they decided to visit a relationship counselor.
As they sat long hours in the therapist’s office and opened up, Kristen could finally see that Holly’s nagging was coming from a point of concern about her reckless drinking and late nights at work. And Holly realized that she should have been a bit more patient and kind in her approach. Do you see where we are going with this?
Healthy relationships can’t be built on the premise of “I know best”. None of us are devoid of flaws. What seems right to you might come off as offensive to someone else. All you have got to do is to keep an open mind about what your partner is saying, take it in patiently and analytically, without reacting aggressively.
Related Reading: 21 Signs Of Chemistry Between Two People
9. Expressing gratitude makes you a better significant other
“Thank you”, “I really appreciate” – such simple words yet so powerful. From small gestures to big sacrifices, when your partner prioritizes you, do not take them for granted. If you are thankful for the life you share with them, they won’t need to look for validation and appreciation elsewhere. So, make it a point to let your partner know that you are grateful for whatever they do for you and that you will stand by them if the need ever arises. For instance,
- Leave little love notes/cards for them – in their bag, on the nightstand, or on the fridge door
- Cook for your sweetheart
- Send them flowers
- Buy them something nice for no reasons
- Remember the little things like their favorite dessert or what food allergies they have
- Talk about their contribution to your life in front of family and friends
- Take an interest in their interests and passions
- Offer a helping hand whenever you can
- Honor their sentiments and feelings
10. Know your partner’s love language
Believe it or not, speaking the same love language or at least being compassionate toward your partner’s love language can contribute immensely toward the stability of a relationship. Say, your partner expresses love through gift-giving, and for you, spending quality time matters the most.
If you don’t make an effort to adapt to each other’s way of expressing and receiving love, you may feel a perpetual sense of discontentment with your relationship. So, to understand how to be a better partner in a relationship, you need to lean on your inherent perceptivity as well as open communication to grasp your bae’s language of love.
11. Plan dates
Date nights aren’t just meant for the phase when you are soaking in the first flush of love. It is important at all stages of a relationship. From movies to adventure sports to a short staycation to discovering new restaurants in town, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time with your bae. And if you are too lazy for a night out after a long week, you can always experiment with at-home date night ideas.
12. Don’t play guessing games
Unfair assumptions are always bad news for a relationship. Imagine this, your partner is late from work and they dodged your calls. Naturally, your mind may start picturing worst-case scenarios. Half an hour later, they walk in with a big take-out order from your favorite restaurant and you realize you were speculating so many wrong things whereas they were just trying to do something nice for you.
Such misunderstandings are not uncommon between partners. So, to answer your question, “How can I be a better partner?”, you need to learn to talk about your doubts, concerns, needs, desires, and opinions clearly from the get-go. Be as open and honest as possible if you want a quality relationship because you can’t expect your partner to just instinctively know what you are feeling at all times.
Related Reading: 100 + Never Have I Ever Questions For Couples
13. Develop other friendships
They say you are supposed to be your partner’s best friend. They say you should enjoy spending time together. Sure you do. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t have any other friends or a thriving social life. Being in an obsessive/codependent partnership isn’t a hallmark of love and commitment. Give each other a break. As you explore your individual worlds of passion, ambition, friendships, and more, it facilitates your growth as a person, which, in turn, can help you nurture your bond with your partner.
14. Have realistic expectations
If you’re wondering how to be a better partner in a relationship, know that keeping your relationship expectations in check is an important part of the puzzle. I mean, can you imagine the burden on that person who is presumed to be smart, funny, good-looking, high-reaching, a kind lover, a best friend, a good listener, and a ball of fire in bed? With such high hopes, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment.
We tend to start off romantic relationships with stars in our eyes, which is fine, but be accepting of the fact that there will be ups and downs. Your partner may not always be as emotionally supportive as you want them to be or magically solve all your problems, as sometimes they will have a lot on their plate to deal with. The art of being a good partner is to stand by your loved one on good days and bad.
15. Look after yourself
Do you know what makes a good partner in a relationship? Self-awareness. Being aware of your emotions, individuality, and needs doesn’t make you selfish. On the contrary, it helps you not get lost in a relationship and live in your partner’s shadow. Self-love is all about devoting time to your happiness and mental peace, which reflects in the way you conduct your relationship. Here are a few ways to pamper your body and soul:
- Have some me time set aside
- Nurture your hobbies and passions
- Stay connected with your friends and hang out often
- Go on solo dates/trips
- Bring back those shopping sprees/spa days with your sibling
- Set clear boundaries and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’
- Don’t change the person you are for your partner to like you
16. Financial independence is crucial
Money can often prove to be a huge bone of contention in relationships. We’re not saying that problems won’t arise if both partners are financially secure, but at least the risk of money-related stress will be minimized. Besides, in these times of job uncertainties and mounting inflation, having a financially independent person by your side can be a huge support, which helps your endeavors of being a better partner.
17. Be patient
Patience is the foundation of the several traits you need to be a great partner. It includes everything we have mentioned above – the art of listening, understanding, thinking like a team, and so on. Patience also means a willingness to work on your issues and not walk out at the first whiff of trouble. This quality is most needed to be a better partner in a long-distance relationship, which has its own sets of challenges.
18. Be open to taking a break
This may sound like a drastic suggestion but sometimes, in times of conflict, taking a break to recalibrate can be the best thing a couple can do for their relationship. This break can be for a few hours, days, weeks, or months, depending on the severity of your issues. Spending some time away might help your relationship by giving you the space to introspect and gain some perspective. Conflict resolution strategies begin with acknowledging the issues and being willing to work on them. And by taking a break consciously, you are actually working on your relationship.
19. Support your partner’s dreams
Once you get together with a person, you become a team. Your bae will turn to you for moral support and encouragement as they deal with the hardships of life. And research shows that nurturing and action-facilitating support of a partner has a great influence on the personal growth of the recipient, which helps to improve relationships.
If you get this basic right, the answer to how to be a better partner in a relationship is really quite simple – by offering your partner the much-required cheering, validation, and emotional strength. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own aspirations. But you can let your partner know that you believe in their dreams and their potential and that they can always count on you.
Related Reading: 21 Ways To Tell Someone You Love Them Without Saying It
20. Be respectful to their friends and family
You don’t need to be a perfect person. But you can come pretty close to being a perfect partner with empathy and compassion. One way to do that is to respect the people and things your partner cares about. You may not absolutely adore your partner’s family but you can certainly be polite and considerate to them.
Likewise, remember that your partner’s friends are an important part of their life. Do not try to wean your partner away from them. Because if you do, it only highlights your insecurities and indecency. And these traits certainly don’t align with your quest: “How can I be a better partner?”
21. Stay invested in the relationship
Your career is important. Family is important. The world is important. So is your partner. A good partner stays constantly engaged and invested in a relationship because they know the health of a bond depends on how well you nurture what is already there. Expressing your love through small romantic gestures, lending unconditional support to your partner’s dreams, and standing by them during tough times are just some ways you can tell your partner how much they mean to you.
- Sharing responsibilities and taking accountability for your own actions make you a better partner
- Express gratitude and compliment your partner often
- Handle disagreements with respect and stop assuming things; clear communication makes you a better partner
- Be patient with your partner and support their dreams and aspirations
- Practice self-love and set clear boundaries to maintain your individuality
There is no magic pill to building a great relationship. It requires hard work, effort, and above all, a sense of humor. Everyone dreams of getting a perfect partner but the question is: what are you giving back to them?
This article has been updated in April 2023.
Develop empathy and patience
Respect his dreams and aspirations
Do not wean him away from the things and people he loves
Stand by him
Love yourself and take care of yourself
Give him undivided attention while you are with him, stay away from the phone
Don’t judge and give him space to grow and evolve
Take care of your emotions
Learn to support your partner their journey
Take time out for dates the way you used to in the early days of your relationship
Be patient and learn to look at things from your partner’s perspective