7 Ways To Build Loyalty In A Relationship

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loyalty in a relationship

Loyalty, commitment, respect, and trust are the foundations of a long-term relationship. If you can’t count on your partner being loyal, how can you build a healthy and wholesome connection? Loyalty in a relationship isn’t just some old-fashioned idea. It’s a two-way street and part of the love package. In many ways, it’s also the glue that holds relationships together.

Take the example of my cousin, Helen, and her partner, Ray, who have been together for 12 years. I have often wondered what’s the secret to their love story. Well, it’s not that they’re two peas in a pod — they’ll both tell you that with a laugh. They are like night and day but they’ve got some things going for them. Great intimacy and a shared sense of humor are definite pluses, but the real magic ingredient is loyalty in the relationship.

They might have been attracted to other people. But the reason they’ve stayed strong and remained a loyal partner to one another is that they’ve never let harmless flirting go too far. And they have been honest with each other about these fleeting instances of attraction outside the relationship. Their dynamic is one of the finest examples of loyalty in a relationship I have seen.

It made me want to explore the concept of loyalty in relationships and its examples in greater detail. In this article, I share all that I’ve gathered in the process, along with insights from psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

What Does It Mean To Be Loyal To Someone?

What is loyalty in a relationship? How do you define loyalty in a healthy relationship? Well, loyalty meaning in relationship is different for each person or couple but the term primarily means “a strong feeling of support or allegiance”. Dr. Bhonsle says, “In a romantic relationship, loyalty is essentially a pact that ensures you are not disrespectful to your partner and that you do not dishonor the relationship by straying. Infidelity is a breach of trust and an action of disloyalty that brings in its wake dishonor, regret, shame, humiliation, and a lot of finger-pointing.

“Being a loyal partner to someone means extending yourself – going that extra mile to be there for the other person. Of course, you would expect the same trust and loyalty from your partner in a committed relationship. In that sense, loyalty meaning in relationships is meeting each other’s expectations as best as you can.” So, how do you show loyalty in a relationship? Described below are some ways:

Related Reading: Loyal Relationship – Meaning And Characteristics

1. Being committed and faithful in a relationship

What is loyalty in a relationship? Being faithful in a relationship means not cheating on your partner. Cheating, whether physical or emotional, breaks trust. Emotional loyalty in a relationship is just as important, if not more, as staying faithful physically. An interesting study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin explains one way in which partners stay committed and loyal to each other despite temptation. 

It is called the ‘perceptual downgrading effect”. It means that people unconsciously see the attractive person as less appealing to protect their commitment to their partner. Pretty good way to stay faithful and build trust in a relationship, I think! Being attracted to someone besides your partner is normal but acting upon it and cheating is not. 

2. Ensuring honesty

Elaborating on how to show loyalty in a relationship, Dr. Bhonsle says, “Honesty does the job that engine oil does in a car. If you put good quality engine oil in your car, your car will run better and longer and take you wherever you want to go. That’s the role honesty plays in a long-term relationship. It is an agreement ensuring that partners do not hurt or damage or lie to each other.”

If you’re looking for loyalty in relationship and its examples, look no further than Ray and Helen. In their relationship, there was always transparency and open and honest communication that created an unshakeable bond of trust between them. It is one of the most important hallmarks of strong relationships. Ray traveled frequently for work with both male and female colleagues.

Still, Helen never felt suspicious or insecure because he was transparent about what transpired or happened on these work trips. Even if it meant admitting to a fleeting crush while being married or confiding in her about a pass made by a coworker. They were always on the same page about what it means to be honest with one another. That has played a big role in making them one of the best examples of loyalty in a relationship.

Related Reading: 9 Heartwarming Actions Of Love That Speak Louder Than Words

3. Expressing love and investing time in the relationship

How do you show loyalty in a relationship? Invest time in the relationship. Spending quality time together helps deepen the connection and reinforces emotional loyalty in a relationship. Disconnect from distractions and truly connect. Have fun, share new experiences, and build memories. Show you value your partner through words and actions, such as:

  • A sweet note
  • A helping hand
  • Saying “thank you” 
  • Helping with household chores

It goes a long way in reinforcing loyalty and building healthy relationships. If you are in a loyal relationship, there will never be a lack of love and appreciation. 

4. Extending support during challenging times

One great way to show emotional loyalty in a relationship is by always supporting your partner in good times as well as bad times. Being there when they are stuck in a difficult situation and need help makes them feel safe, and strengthens your relationship. For instance, your partner may have to move to another city after a promotion and you can’t immediately follow. Yet you support the move knowing your relationship will be tested by distance. That is loyalty.

How do you stay loyal in a relationship? You could:

  • Provide a listening ear
  • A comforting hug 
  • Being the shoulder your partner can lean on 
  • Give them their space in the relationship
  • Take the initiative to ask what’s wrong when they’re upset

Related Reading: How Our Relationship And Marriage Has Evolved Over Time

5. Being respectful to maintain a loyal relationship

How do you stay loyal in a relationship? By respecting your partner. Respect is a key ingredient and one of the major signs of loyalty in a relationship. It ensures that you don’t hurt your partner by cheating on them or belittling them, whether when you are alone or in public. Therefore, treat your partner with respect.

  • Value their opinions
  • Give each other space to grow and pursue personal passions
  • Respect their boundaries
  • Respect their identity and individuality
  • Avoid behaviors that undermine their dignity
building loyalty in a relationship
Trust and loyalty in a relationship lead to a feeling of security and stability in the two people involved

6. Open communication

One of the simplest answers to how to show loyalty in a relationship is to practice open and honest communication. Talking openly with your partner about your feelings, thoughts, desires, and fears brings you closer. It’s like a secret ingredient for building emotional loyalty and making your relationship work better. Regular, honest chats help:

  • Avoid misunderstandings
  • Overcome problems
  • Move past tough times

The more you talk and understand each other, the less likely you are to have conflicts. Encourage your partner to do the same, and actively listen to what they have to say. Talk things out calmly and avoid jumping to conclusions or blame-shifting. According to this Reddit user, “If you are honest with your partner and they are honest with you, you will build trust. If you’re late, communicate that. If you don’t like something, communicate that. It builds trust.”

Related Reading: 15 Qualities Of A Good Relationship That Make Life Bliss

Why Is It Important To Have Loyalty In A Relationship?

Asking how important is loyalty in a relationship is like asking how important love is in a relationship! “There will be strong differing opinions and turbulence in every relationship. There has to be an understanding that you work together as a team and not against each other. That understanding, or glue, is loyalty, and it keeps a couple together through the difficult choices and problems of life,” explains Dr. Bhonsle. Here are some ways in which loyalty works wonders in a relationship.

1. Makes one feel safe, secure, and stable

Trust and loyalty in a relationship lead to a feeling of security and stability in the two people involved. For Janice, an advertising executive, loyalty is “an implicit agreement that partners will not betray each other or the relationship. As equals, they will accord respect and dignity to each other. The foundation of their relationship will be built on solid ground.”

Dr. Bhonsle explains, “Loyalty is like a psychological insurance policy that says however difficult or tragic my life gets, I have this one person on my team, batting for victory. When I need someone to understand my struggles, I don’t have to look far or start from scratch. In a way, loyalty is a security-giving structure.” When you are in a loyal relationship or know that your partner is faithful and trustworthy, you can:

  • Let down your guard and be vulnerable
  • Trust that they have your back, no matter what
  • Feel safe sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings

This trust and loyalty in a relationship creates a strong foundation for emotional security

2. Ensures physical and emotional intimacy

Dr. Bhonsle says, “By being loyal to and intimate with your partner, you are reassuring them that you still want them and that you’re still invested in the relationship.” Loyalty in a relationship enables a couple to bond closely and fall deeper in love leading to greater physical, sexual, and emotional intimacy. In contrast, if you can’t trust your partner, you will keep some distance from them. When there is a lack of loyalty in relationships, there will be a lack of intimacy as well. When partners are loyal:

  • There is a deep sense of trust and security, allowing them to be vulnerable with each other
  • This emotional openness leads to a stronger emotional connection
  • Additionally, physical intimacy is enhanced as partners feel a greater level of comfort and closeness

Loyalty is the bedrock where passionate nights and intimate talks flourish, nurtured by the confidence that your love remains true and strong.

Related Reading: 10 Critical Emotional Needs In A Relationship

3. Loyalty begets loyalty

If you are loyal to your partner, chances are you will get loyalty in return. As they say, “Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Love is gained and loyalty is returned.” For most people, it’s always loyalty over love. If you have your partner’s back when they’re in trouble, it is more than likely that they will be equally supportive in your time of need. Your loyalty toward your partner will ensure their loyalty toward you.

How important is loyalty in a relationship, you ask? Well, it is the lifeblood of a relationship’s sustenance.

4. Fosters a long-term relationship

A 2019 study found that loyalty and commitment were among the most important aspects or characteristics of a stable and happy long-term relationship. Loyalty contributes to the overall well-being of the relationship. It means:

  • Sticking together during good and bad times
  • Navigating challenges as a team
  • Celebrating successes together

The unwavering support and shared commitment foster personal growth and enhance the overall quality and longevity of the relationship, creating a positive and fulfilling partnership that makes you feel like you’re truly in it for the long haul.

Related Reading: 6 Cheaters Tell Us How They Feel About Themselves

5. Key to a guilt-free relationship

A loyal partner does not have to self-sacrifice, feel guilty, or self-hate for lying or cheating. This enhances his or her ability to love their partner and be loved in return. Feeling loved and cherished by someone you trust implicitly brings immense joy and contentment. It:

  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts your self-esteem
  • Fuels your overall well-being
  • Creates a haven for you to be yourself, free from guilt

Ultimately, loyalty in a relationship is about the countless small acts of care, honesty, and respect that you weave into the fabric of your everyday life. It is the cornerstone of a healthy, happy, and thriving relationship.

7 Ways To Build Loyalty In A Relationship

Dr. Bhonsle strongly believes that loyalty is a value that you grow up with. “It is pre-installed in a person as a value based on childhood upbringing and early social encounters. If you have grown up with people lying and cheating around you, loyalty will not come easily to you. You would not have had the right role models. You have to decide to be loyal. It has to come from an inner conviction,” he says.

Loyalty is the ingredient that makes a relationship strong and long-lasting. But sometimes, partners can make mistakes. It’s not always because they don’t love their partners enough. So, how can you protect your relationship from these pitfalls? Here are a few ways to help you build loyalty in a relationship:

Related Reading: Every Couple Does These Clichéd Things When In Love

1. Walk away from temptation

Staying sexually and emotionally faithful is the key to a healthy, monogamous, and long-term relationship. Avoid the temptation to cheat at any cost. Once you cheat on your partner, it is very difficult for your relationship to survive. Even if it does, suspicion, mistrust, and disharmony will cloud the relationship.

More on relationship advice

2. Be true to yourself and your partner

It is important to be your true self if you want to build loyalty in a relationship. This Reddit user says, “If you can’t be loyal to your relationship and the “rules” or agreements of that relationship, don’t be in a relationship… Don’t destroy someone’s trust and sanity because you feel a little tingly in your pants.” Work toward:

  • Being true to yourself and your partner
  • Understanding when to seek support
  • Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses 

Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable with your partner. This will encourage them to also open up to you. If you pretend to be someone you’re not in the beginning, your partner might feel deceived, like Nathan, a banker based in New York, did.

Describing how his 11-year-long marriage ended, he says, “My ex-wife Samantha tried very hard to please me when we were courting and in the early years. But it became very hard for her to continue being someone she wasn’t. I too felt betrayed as the woman I thought I married was very different from her real self.”

Related Reading: 6 Ways To Be More Empathetic In A Relationship According To An Expert

3. Support and accept your partner as they are

This Reddit user says, “Be interested in your partner’s likes and try to get involved. Don’t fake your way into liking their thing, let them have their thing and don’t force them to like yours. You can admire what they like… and just understand why they do without needing to like it yourself. If you do, that’s great but you two are different people and that’s okay.”

Being loyal in a relationship also means supporting and accepting your partner for who they are without trying to change them. Learning to accept and appreciate the parts of your partner’s personality or life that you don’t necessarily relate to is an often underrated but telling sign of loyalty. 

4. Resolve conflicts internally

Healthy conflict resolution helps foster loyalty and trust between partners. Nobody is perfect and building loyalty in a relationship involves making allowances for your partner’s negative traits. Acknowledging weaknesses and taking responsibility for your actions enable you to forgive your partner when you’ve been hurt. This Reddit user says, “In a fight it is not you vs. them, it is the two of you vs. the problem.”

Dr. Bhonsle says, “Trust is built when you stand by your partner. To build loyalty, you also have to trust that your partner will work through difficult conversations and behavior, and has the ability to apologize and say, “We’ll clean this mess up together”. You trust that the person in front of you doesn’t want to hurt or damage you. They only want to help you become a better version of yourself.”

Related Reading: 15 Signs Of Relationship Compatibility Between You And Your Partner

5. Keep your word

Keeping your word builds a healthy relationship and is one of the most important signs of loyalty in a relationship. From remembering to grab their favorite latte on the way home to standing by them through life’s storms, even the smallest promises matter.

A study even says that people in happy relationships make big promises but sometimes need a little extra support to keep them. A listening ear when they’re stressed, a hand to hold when they’re down — these little acts of loyalty make both partners feel cherished and secure.

6. Don’t hide anything from your partner

If there is one thing you should keep in mind if you want to be a loyal partner, it is to never keep secrets. Dr. Bhonsle explains, “Partners should have each other’s best interests in mind. For a person to be able to serve and support their partner better, they need to have all the information and they need to have it in an as clean and trouble-free way as possible. You can’t hide things from each other if you want to maintain loyalty in the relationship.”

Making a habit of hiding certain things from your partner will only give way to a lack of trust in a relationship, instead of building loyalty. Honesty and loyalty in a relationship are like two sides of the same coin. If you are loyal to someone, there is no need to hide anything. It will only make you feel guilty, which will affect your relationship adversely. The longer it takes for your partner to find out, the graver the consequences will be.

Related Reading: Ideal Relationship – What Is It, Signs And Tips To Maintain

7. Be your partner’s best friend and champion

Another way that you can show that you’re loyal in a relationship is by being your partner’s best friend and champion. Dr. Bhonsle says, “Your partner is your greatest cheerleader and best friend. The best friend with whom you share a house, romantic relationship, and sexual privileges. Your partner is that best friend with whom you travel, build a life, and grow old.”

Your relationship must be one of your top priorities, along with other things like your work, family, friends, and loved ones. To able to foster this sense of camaraderie, you must:

  • Celebrate their successes
  • Cheer them on through challenges
  • Acknowledge each other’s achievements, no matter how small
  • Be their shoulder to cry on
  • Understand that communication is important and always keep it open and honest
  • Consult your partner when making big or small decisions

Key Pointers

  • Establishing loyalty in a relationship is an ongoing process, not a one-time event
  • Loyalty encompasses faithfulness, honesty, respect, and transparency in a relationship
  • To foster a deeper sense of loyalty, be reliable and keep your promises, respect your partner’s boundaries and individuality, and understand and acknowledge each other’s personal space
  • Remember that loyalty out values everything and will help you weather any storm that comes your way

“Loyalty is the cornerstone of any monogamous relationship”, says Dr. Bhonsle. Loyalty should always be top of the heap in the relationship qualities you expect. You should never settle for anything less. Remember, loyalty isn’t about grand gestures; it’s about the countless small acts of care, honesty, and respect that you weave into the fabric of your everyday life.

FAQS

1. What is more important: love or loyalty?

Love and loyalty go hand in hand in a relationship. Without loyalty, there is no love. For most people, it’s loyalty over love and rightly so. Loyalty out values everything. Loving someone involves feeling many things but to show loyalty in a relationship demonstrates that love best. It is your loyalty to your long-term partner that prevents you from straying. Loyalty reminds you about the boundaries in your relationship that you must respect and adhere to. There is no greater feeling than being in a relationship with a loyal person.

2. Is loyalty enough in a relationship?

Loyalty is crucial but not enough to keep a relationship going. You also need shared interests and sexual chemistry, to name two things that are unrelated to loyalty. If these are lacking, then the relationship becomes a burden. Trust, proper communication, mutual respect, good compatibility, and understanding, along with shared goals and values are also crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship.

3. Does loyalty exist in relationships now?

Yes, loyalty exists in relationships even today. It would be very cynical to say that it doesn’t. Any couple thinking of the long run must focus on loyalty. Its importance in a solid, meaningful relationship cannot be stressed upon enough. Having said that, there has been a welcome shift in social conditioning with couples prioritizing trust, commitment, respect, strong communication, and support in a relationship. All these factors foster loyalty, contributing to long-lasting and fulfilling relationships in the long run.

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