It is natural to dream about a healthy, committed, and stable relationship with the most loving, understanding, and supportive partner. Though the reality may be far from this utopian world.
There is no reason to feel bad or frustrated and just throw up your hands and say “I give up”. There are ways to turn things around in a relationship if you are willing to put in the effort.
And, this includes becoming a better partner.
This article takes you through the nitty-gritty of relationships and details ways to improve them. You will also find listed here the qualities of a good partner and how to become one.
What makes a relationship strong?
Every connection is special and distinctive in its own way, just like every person is unique. And, people come together to form a bond for myriad reasons. This makes it hard to find a common denominator for a healthy relationship.
We can define a healthy relationship as one with shared expectations, a common goal, and collective effort towards realizing the goal. As individuals vary and their expectations and goals differ, specifying limitations and boundaries for a healthy relationship is as impossible as flying pigs or something equally inconceivable.
That said, it is still possible to find common threads that run through healthy relationships. Adopting these features can help you build and maintain relations that are meaningful, satisfying, and exciting, despite the numerous challenges and trials you are bound to encounter on the way.
Maintain an emotional bond
Your partner and you would be happy and fulfilled in the relationship as long as you feel loved by each other. There is a world of difference between feeling loved and being loved. Loving your partner without him/her becoming aware of it or feeling it is not helpful to the bond. When you feel loved, you become aware of being accepted and valued by your partner.
Often relationships get stuck in a rut of coexistence devoid of emotions. Though called a relationship, no relation exists between partners in this scenario. Though the bond may give the impression of being steady and stable, it is anything but that. The lack of emotional connection keeps pushing the couple apart and if ignored, the gulf would be too wide to bridge.
Agree to disagree
Even the best of “made for each other” couples won’t be able to agree on every single issue they come across. After all, they are two individuals raised in two different environments. Disagreements and diverse perspectives are bound to crop up in any relationship. This need not diminish a relationship in any way as long as they are dealt with maturity. In fact, the health of a relationship depends on how disagreements are handled.
Some couples may have loud passionate arguments over this while others discuss them quietly. It doesn’t matter whether the arguments/discussions are loud or quiet as long as both partners do not feel intimidated to express their opinions. Fear of conflict or worse, humiliation or retaliation can destroy a relationship. Both partners need to feel safe to express themselves without being trampled upon.
Retain own identities
Partners in a perfect relationship cannot live in a bubble forever. Being individuals, they need to maintain a life outside the relationship. This is vital for its health. Be it having their own set of friends, hobbies, and interests, or sustaining bonds with their respective families, the partners must retain their identities. Expecting your partner to fulfill all your needs would put excessive strain on the relationship.
How to improve the relationship with the partner?
A relationship cannot sustain and survive on its own. It requires constant care and nurturing from both partners to make it a bond based on love and trust. Some say that relationships are hard work. It is, if you consider loving, encouraging, and supporting your partner as hard work. Or even being kind, compassionate, and accepting. Good communication is considered one of the most vital aspects of a good relationship.
Here are some tips to enhance your relationship.
1. Spend quality time with each other
Falling in love is said to be much easier than sustaining love. The secret to keeping the love alive in a relationship is by replicating the period of courtship – looking at and listening to each other. By continuing the same attentive ways, you would find the task of retaining love in the relationship not so hard.
The novelty and the excitement of early days would wear off after a while without intervention. Some planning has to go into spending time with each other and finding exciting things to do together.
Complacency and monotony can easily creep into a relationship unawares. The together time of the early days would be gradually replaced by calls and text messages. These are fine provided they are used in addition to facetime. The lack of personal contact can increase the distance between partners and make them feel disconnected.
Despite busy schedules and lack of time, it is important to carve time for each other. Investing time in understanding body language can reap rich dividends in a relationship.
As always, the key to good communication is the ability to listen. Knowing the difference between hearing and listening can take you a great way in a relationship.
2. Maintain good communication
Communication is believed as one of the key factors in a healthy relationship. When the channel of communication is open and you are connecting well with your partner, it is natural to feel happy and secure. A disruption or blockage in communication will lead to a lack of emotional bond and awareness about the emotional as well as other hardships faced by each other.
Again, not everyone can gauge the needs of their partner without being explicitly told about it. To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, it would be advisable to appraise the partner of your needs rather than expect them to read your mind.
That said, you can try to improve your mind-reading skills by noticing and remembering your partner’s verbal and nonverbal signs.
3. Learn the art of “give and take”
No relationship can survive when one partner is constantly drawing from it without returning anything to it. Neither can it sustain well if one or both partners expect all their desires and dreams realized. Compromise is vital in a good relationship. Even as you want to get what you want, you should recognize the same desire in your partner. Ultimately, you should learn the when and what of winning and yielding. Even when you concede you are actually gaining in the relationship.
For the give-and-take arrangement to succeed, you should have a good understanding of what is important to your partner. Conceding on these points can help in strengthening the relationship like none other.
However, giving up on things important to you can lead to anger and resentment in you. Nor does it help if you want to have it your way every single time. It is crucial to learn the balancing act.
Understand and practice the art of resolving conflicts without losing love and respect for each other. Conflicts are bound to crop up in a relationship. Some of the strategies for an amicable resolution of conflicts are willing to forgive and forget, fighting fair, desisting from direct attack and harping on old issues, taking a break when tempers flare, and knowing when to let go.
4. Be ready for good and bad times
All relationships go through phases of highs and lows. This is nothing to worry about or feel ashamed about. It is impossible for two individuals, even the most compatible ones, to feel the same way about everything under the sun. Differences are bound to crop up.
Keeping your head down and learning to survive the bad times is equally important as sharing and rejoicing in the good times. Be ready for change. Taking it out on your partner and trying to force a solution can have devastating effects on your relationship.
When nothing seems to work, think about your early days together and draw inspiration from it to find the way forward. If need be, get help or support from outside.
What are the attributes of a good partner?
Every person is unique and special in their own way. Their expectations from their partners are also as diverse as the colors in a rainbow. This makes it hard to list out the qualities of an ideal partner. However, there are some behavior patterns that people in relationships generally search for and expect in their partners.
Honesty: One of the most important qualities a partner should have for a relationship to be stable and enduring. It is the vital element that can help in developing trust among partners.
Open-mindedness: A trait crucial for interaction and bonding. A couple in a strong relationship should be able to share their thoughts and feelings without concerns and repercussions.
Empathy: Not to be confused with sympathy, empathy is a much-needed quality in a partner. It makes it possible to be heard and understood instead of ignored and neglected.
Respect: A vital component in a good relationship, respect for each other ensures balance and the sense of being equals.
Tolerance: Often ignored, patience and sensitivity are essential for keeping the channel open for interaction in a relationship. When tempers flare, it is this quality that helps in bringing the situation under control without further damage.
Communication: Frequently neglected in the mad rush of life, this skill helps in establishing an unbreakable bond between the partners. The existence of a communication channel and the ability to communicate feelings is useful in warding off avoidable conflicts and preventing them from getting out of hand.
Love: Last but not least is the love and affection partners have for each other. This is the foundation or framework on which any relationship is built. Without love, the relationship has no chance of survival.
An optimistic and reassuring nature, willingness to share the workload, and maintaining ties with the extended family are all looked upon as desirable qualities in a partner.
Can you really change to become a better partner?
On one hand, you hear about how people never change or find tips on how to retain your personality and individuality and not to lose yourself to others. On the other, you are told how to improve, change, and adapt yourself to become a better version of yourself. Isn’t this a paradox?
Do people really change? Is it possible for a person to shift their mindset or alter their basic character to please themselves or others?
Often when we say that people do not change, it is not what is happening in the person but others’ perspective of the person. No matter how much effort a person puts into changing themselves, as long as this is not perceivable or recognized by others, they are deemed to remain unchanged.
So, to answer the question, yes, people do and can change and improve for the better. Difficult maybe but doable. This arduous task can be made easier and sustainable with contributions from the people around them.
Often the reluctance of others to recognize and acknowledge the hard-earned change can lead to the person going to back the old ways. It is nothing short of disheartening and demoralizing to be rejected and not to be understood.
How to be a good partner?
The route to a strong relationship and becoming a good partner is the ability to look inward and understand yourself and how you participate in it. An in-depth understanding of self is the key to becoming a good partner. What are your strengths in building a relationship, how your limitations would hamper its growth, and what you are doing to negate their consequences?
Your ability to connect with the chosen one and to stay connected is an important aspect that can make or break a relationship. A good partner is someone who can raise the quality of the relationship as well as inspire the other person to become a good partner.
You can enhance the essence of your relationship and raise the bar for happiness and contentment by eliminating negative traits such as ego, anger, and resentment from your mindset.
A romantic relationship is the closest you allow another person to get close to you and see your real self. You are the most vulnerable and exposed. The connection is so intimate that it is bound to bring out all your fears, insecurities, conceits, hatred, passion, hurt, bitterness, and other negatives in your personality.
How you choose to deal with and overcome these negative aspects in yourself decides the future of your relationship.
In addition to working on your mindset, you need to practice empathy to help your partner overcome their shortcomings. Instead of worsening the situation with a tit-for-tat attitude, you may use the opportunity to connect with your partner by displaying empathy.
A good partner can put the needs and desires of the other person before that of themselves. This generous nature can earn you the trust of your partner and help them feel happy and secure. Ultimately, simple acts like these from your part can bring you both closer together.
In short, to be a good partner, you need to learn to be a good human being.
Here are some tips on how you can become a better partner.
1. Love yourself
It is a proven fact that you can only treat others as well as you treat yourself. Self-love, self-worth, and self-belief are the essential traits to love, respect, and believe in others. When you are being pulled down by your limiting beliefs, negativity is bound to cast a shadow on your relationship. Replacing them with empowering ones and boosting your self-worth are the stepping stones to become a good partner.
2. Be yourself
Do not project a better but wrong image of yourself to the partner for whatsoever reasons. That can only end in a disaster. Do not feel afraid to be yourself. If your partner doesn’t like the real you, your union is going to fall apart anyway.
3. Focus on your partner
You need to give your partner your undivided attention. Be it listening to what they say, being sensitive to their moods, or tuned in to their needs and desires. One of the main contributing factors to a successful relationship is being heard and understood.
4. Don’t insist on being right
Conflicts and arguments are part of all relationships. Being human, you, your partner, or both may be wrong. Resolve your conflicts amicably without blowing them up out of proportion. The blame game can only lead to creating fissures in the relationship. Love, be happy, and don’t bother about who is right and who is wrong.
5. Loving gesture a day
Appreciation is like oxygen for a relationship. It can keep it alive and fresh. Be it small or big, a heart-warming gesture can tide over difficulties. A simple “thank you” when your partner does something nice or occasional flowers or cooking their favorite dish goes a great way in strengthening the bond. With minimum effort, you can reap maximum dividends.
6. Take responsibility for yourself
Do your share of work, own up to your shortcomings, and deal with your issues. Don’t expect your partner to school you or clean up your mess. Treat each other as equals in the union with the same rights and responsibilities.
In a harmonious and balanced relationship, the partners would encourage each other to be individualistic, set their own goals, and follow their passions. This is vital for the growth of individuals and thus the growth of a relationship. Supporting and encouraging your partner can do wonders.
7. Show that you care
A point often ignored and forgotten in a relationship. It is important to make your partner aware of how much you love, appreciate, respect, and care about them. In today’s hectic lifestyle, this aspect is getting lost somewhere. What works for one may not work for another. So, find out how to make your partner aware of your feelings.
8. Practice empathy
Everyone wants to be understood and appreciated. Being tuned in to your partner’s feelings and moods can take your relationship to another level. When your partner is going through a difficult phase, even if you can do nothing to help, being there for them, showing compassion, and being supportive and understanding can give them the mental strength to overcome it. This can bring you two closer than ever before.
Don’t impose your ideas and wishes on your partner
When one partner in a relationship is dominating and bossy, they tend to steamroll their opinions and dreams on the less intimidating partner. They may be able to get what they want in the short term but such a relationship doesn’t offer a level playing field and cannot last for long. You need to give respect to earn it.
9. Act, not react
Often when you are not in charge of your mental faculties, you tend to react. Like when you are angry or upset. Your negative reactions are bound to bring out strong reactions from your partner resulting in conflicts and fights. Get a grip on your emotions and learn how to respond rather than react.
10. Be a better person
At the end of the day, you can become a better partner by being a better person. Work on yourself by looking inward and eliminating your negative traits and enhancing and acquiring positive ones. One person you can change is yourself.
How to identify a good partner?
Even as you strive to become a good partner and strengthen your relationship, you are after all only one-half of the bond. The other half, your partner is also equally responsible for the health and longevity of the relationship. You may be able to influence or inspire your partner to better themselves and rise to the occasion but there is no guarantee that it would work.
Before you enter into a relationship, you can use these guidelines to understand whether someone is good partner material.
- They don’t hold onto your past mistakes
- They desist from comparing you with others.
- They recognize the value of compromise, cooperation, and teamwork.
- They understand your need for “me time”.
- They realize the importance of communication.
- They are honest, sincere, and forthright, in short, an open book.
- They are perceptive and tuned in to your moods and needs.
- They are cheerful and carefree.
- They are realistic and reasonable in their expectations.
- They are on the level and show no intentions of hiding their true colors.
- They are positive and hopeful.
- They take ownership of their actions and words.
- They are not rude, abusive, scheming, or dominating.
- They are unselfish and generous.
- They are honest, reliable, and trustworthy.
- They are encouraging and supportive.
- They do not shirk their responsibilities in the relationship.
- They do not hesitate to apologize when in the wrong.
- They are best friend material.
We are all human and it would be foolish to expect perfect behavior from yourself and your partner all the time. A good partner would have at least some if not most of the qualities listed in this article but also understands the fallacies of human nature, the importance of forgiveness, and the need to move on.
A good partner would be happy in their own skin and are not afraid to show their true self to their partner. They are generous and ready to share. They are content and secure in their relationship, satisfied with their partner, and are looking forward to a happy and fulfilling life.
Most of us think of what we are getting out of the relationship rather than what we can contribute. We are concerned about how our partner’s actions, words, thoughts, and beliefs would affect us.
To be a better partner, you need to inverse this thought process. Consider how you can contribute to the relationship and how your actions and thoughts would impact your partner. Instead of wondering how good your partner is, look inward and see how good a partner you are.
Once you achieve this mindset, the rest would be smooth sailing.
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