When we talk about loyalty, images of brave soldiers in armors having each other’s back in life and death situations come to mind. Another thing that demands absolute loyalty is love. When you care for someone, the connection automatically turns into a loyal relationship. Loyalty comes from within and there is nothing subtle about it.
Love (I am not talking about just the romantic kind) is entwined with loyalty. One tends to give rise to the other. When you feel passionate about a cause, a partner, or a friend you are bound to defend them and stand by them. Likewise, if you are loyal to someone, you tend to care about them. As I said, one cannot exist without the other.
Yet for something so compelling, the lines can get blurred as well. Specifically, when you find your loyalties changing or worse when you sense a tiny hint of betrayal in your relationship. Counseling psychologist Nishmin Marshall, former director at SAATH: Suicide Prevention Centre and a consultant at BM Institute of Mental Health, helps us understand what does loyalty and trust in a relationship mean.
What Does It Mean To Be Loyal In A Relationship?
Nishmin explains “Loyalty is important in a relationship. It enhances the relationship and makes the bond stronger. When there is infidelity in a relationship, it’s not just trusting that you lose. There is a loss of love, respect, and this sense of unanimity. Lack of loyalty in relationships can lead to many setbacks.”
However, loyalty can mean different things to different people and this is where the issues crop up. There is always a dilemma as to what loyalty in a relationship entails. There are two basic types of loyalty in relationships – emotional and sexual.
Sexual loyalty happens when a person doesn’t deviate from their chosen partner. That doesn’t necessarily mean being intimate with just one partner. You could be dating multiple people at one time if all those involved are aware and consent to the relationship. That’s loyalty too.
However, when it comes to emotional fidelity, things get a bit complicated. What one partner perceives as being fair and just, the other partner might consider disloyal and feel offended and betrayed. So how does one show loyalty and trust in a relationship? Let’s explore ways to help you understand.
How Do You Show Loyalty In A Relationship?
If we all could fluently express what we felt, then the world would have been a bit more colorful, and life would have been much easier. But unfortunately, that is not the case. While most of us at one point or another are not able to properly convey how we feel, some of us are just downright terrible at it.
And then there’s a third kind who are completely oblivious to any hints, subtle or otherwise. Unless you spell it out to them, in bold neon letters, they will remain clueless. Irrespective of which category you fall into, you can benefit from a deeper understanding of how to have a loyal relationship. Here are some simple ways of showing loyalty in a relationship:
1. Empathy and support the base qualities of a loyal relationship
Nishmin says “One has to be understanding and supportive of your partner’s dreams and aspirations. You need to boost up your partner, instead of bringing them down. It gives the partner a sense of empowerment. They are going to feel they did the right thing in investing in the relationship.”
The world is a difficult place as it is, and everyone is fighting their own demons. To bring down a person when they are struggling in life is cruel. And when it comes from your loved ones, it kills you a little bit more. You don’t have to enable bad decisions. But if it’s a good thing, then you water that seedling, no matter how small or insignificant.
2. Resist the temptation
Rachel and Sabastian had been dating for years now. And as it so happens with a long-term relationship, life had happened to them and their relationship lost its luster. So when Sabastian met the new hire, Karen, he found himself getting attracted to her.
Initially, he tried to ignore this attraction. But, when he realized that he was thinking about her a lot and was looking for ways to try and talk to her, he figured that he was slipping. Sabastian knew that loyalty is important in a relationship, and decided it was time to come clean to Rachel about this and tell her everything.
Rachel knew that it was normal to feel attracted to other people while being in a relationship with someone. She assured Sebastian that she was not upset and appreciated the fact that he had come and talked to her about it. They decided to work harder on their relationship and bring back the spark and keep it alive in their long-term relationship.
Sebastian realized the gem of a woman that his girlfriend was, and six months later, he was down on one knee with a ring and asked her to marry him. And she said YES!!!
3. Discuss the problems in the relationship with your partner first
This is one of the most understated qualities of a loyal relationship. Every relationship has its ups and downs, and it is normal to confide in a friend when you are troubled. However, it is best to talk to your partner first about the problems in your relationship and not your BFF. Your relationship is yours alone. Any issues you have will have to be dealt with by you two at the end of the day.
Involving more people will create unnecessary friction and give rise to resentment. It will not only affect your relationship with each other but also with everyone involved. And even though you two might make up with each other, your equation with others might not remain intact.
4. Making big plans? Consult your partner first
One mistake that a lot of couples make unknowingly is not talking to their partner before making plans. Doesn’t sound like such a big deal? Well, it is. It might not seem like much when you are picking out clothes or a restaurant to meet up in. But it matters a lot when making decisions like investing, applying for transfer of job locations, or even getting a pet.
One of the qualities of a loyal relationship is being mindful of your partner’s needs and wishes. It is a sign that you are loved unconditionally and will be supported in all your endeavors. But, when you start taking this knowledge for granted and disregarding your partner’s opinions, you do them a major disservice. And this can create a huge rift in your relationship. This brings me to the next point.
5. Prioritize your partner
Love and loyalty are born from one another. When you love someone, you put their needs above everyone else’s, including yours. It is there in the smallest of gestures like giving her the most comfortable pillow or giving him the biggest slice of the pizza.
The smallest actions show your loyalty to your loved one. If you are wondering how to have a loyal relationship, then just prioritize your partner. It is really that simple.
9 Characteristics Of A Loyal Relationship
You can’t really force loyalty. People are consistent with who they want to be consistent with. They are true to who they want to be true to. Loyalty is not just a word, a feeling, or a thought, it is the foundation on which a relationship is built. It is a rare treasure, and easy to lose as well. So, if you find it, then keep it.
While there are different types of loyalty in relationships, they all have some things in common. Below are some attributes that are prevalent in all healthy relationships that have fidelity. I hope it helps you.
1. A loyal relationship has honesty
Nishmin says “A loyal person will be true to you and honest with no hidden agenda. If they agree with you, then you will have their complete support. If they don’t agree with you, they will let you know that as well.”
No matter the consequence, a loyal person will have your best interest at heart. And they will do whatever needs to be done to help you out in every aspect of life. There will be no pretense in their approach toward you.
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2. They will stand up for you and with you
If someone says “I have your back”, then you can rest assured that they are loyal to you. When you are loyal to a person not only do you stand up with them, in confrontations, you also stand up for them when they are not present to defend themselves.
They will be there for you when things get tough, be it an illness, or a loss of someone you love. They will punch that person who is badmouthing you behind your back or pour ice-cold water down their heads. No matter the method, you will be avenged. You can count on them.
3. They will be happy for you
“A person who is loyal to you will not be jealous of your success,” explains Nishmin, “No matter how their life is going, they will not bring you down just because they are going through a rough phase.”
Sometimes when there is a lack of loyalty in relationships, a partner might feel insecure about the success of their spouse. They tend to compare their life with that of the other person. And if they find something lacking, then they are unable to let go of it. They forget it’s a relationship, not a competition.
4. Emotional loyalty is important in a relationship
When George discovered Diane’s infidelity, he was shocked that his wife of 12 years would do this to him. He did sometimes feel Diane was being distant and that they didn’t talk for days on end. He just assumed that 12 years of marriage can do that to people and that when she was ready, she would talk to him about what was bothering her. But when he confronted Diane, she denied everything.
Diane showed all her texts to George and pointed out that there was nothing sexual going on. And it was all talk. George explained that there are various types of loyalty in relationships and it doesn’t have to be sexual for it to be wrong. “You message him, talk about your wish to be with him. You claim to be lonely in your current relationship and need him to feel better. You are emotionally invested in him,” George explained to her.
Diane understood what she was doing wrong. Diane and George talked it out and were able to work things out between themselves.
5. Your partner will support you
It’s not possible to agree with everything your partner says or does. There will be disagreements and sometimes disappointments as well. Despite all the differences, when the need arises, your partner will have you back in a loyal relationship. This is a given when there is no lack of loyalty in relationships.
Your partner will not only stand by you when the going gets tough, but they will also be the wind beneath your wings. They will give you all the help that they are capable of to help you achieve your dreams. They will motivate you when you feel low, push you when you have no strength left to walk, and hold you when everything seems to crumble.
Related Reading: A supportive husband is not behind, he’s at the forefront
6. They will value commitment
In a loyal relationship, commitment is of utmost importance. Commitment doesn’t just mean keeping a promise. It is also about being steadfast, dedicated, and having the conviction to face and work through challenges that life throws at you, together.
A loyal person will show signs of commitment in every aspect of his life. Be it their career or relationships or even their goals in life, they will not desert their dreams or you when the situations get difficult. Instead, they will make it a point to work on those issues and sort them out. When there is loyalty and trust in a relationship, the person involved can never be a fair-weathered friend.
7. There is selflessness in the relationship
A person who is faithful to you will be considerate of your wishes. They will put your needs before their own and be understanding of your situation and all that without expecting anything in return.
A loyal person doesn’t care if you can be of assistance to them or not. Their love is unconditional. To them, your happiness and feelings are very important and they will always think of you and the impact their decisions will have on you.
8. They have a strong sense of self and respect boundaries
Boundaries are vital for a healthy relationship. They help retain a sense of individuality and personal space in a relationship. It helps build mutual respect for the people involved in the relationship. When a person has boundaries based on their principles and belief system, then they must respect yours as well.
When a person loves you, they will love you for who you are and that kind of love cannot be altered by external forces. They won’t be a pushover, and at the same time, make sure that no one can run you over either.
9. Reliability is the key ingredient
If the OST of the series FRIENDS reminds you of your partner, then rest assured you have a loyal relationship. A loyal person is reliable and you can count on him to deliver what he promises. They will not shirk away from responsibility. They will do anything to make sure they don’t disappoint the person that they love
You can depend on a loyal person to be there for you when you need them -and even if you don’t.
Loyalty comes in various shapes and colors. Different people perceive it differently. There will always be certain grey areas. And it’s up to you and your partner to figure out your hard limits, what is bearable, and what is completely unacceptable.
But one thing is certain, loyalty in a relationship can be found between people who are invested in the relationship. It is very difficult to know whether a person will be unfaithful to you in the future or not. But, if your partner has these qualities, chances are they are really devoted to you and will continue to be so.