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How to Be a Better Boyfriend

How to Be a Better Boyfriend

Relationships are often great learning experiences. You learn a lot about yourself and also about the joys and hardships of relationships.

Hopefully, you’ve experienced a healthy relationship that taught you something about being a good partner, as well as what types of behaviors are unacceptable —from both yourself and your significant other. Of course, everyone has different experiences, so you may not have been so lucky.

If you want to be a great boyfriend but you’re not sure where to start, that’s okay. The important part is that you’re making the effort to better yourself by looking for advice. If you’ve found someone special and you’re wondering how you can be a better boyfriend, then we’ve got some great tips for you.

Give Compliments

If you want to make your partner feel good, one of the best ways to do so is to give them genuine compliments. Everyone loves to receive compliments about their appearance (so tell them they’re beautiful!) but make sure to also compliment other aspects of your partner. For instance, you might say something like “your passion for this subject is really inspiring.”

Actions Speak Louder Than Words (And Money)

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “actions speak louder than words.” While you should definitely tell your partner that you love them, it’s even better to pair those words with actions. You don’t have to do anything extravagant or expensive, either.

Small, caring gestures can let them know that you’re thinking about them. These could be something like leaving a sweet note for them to see when they get up for work, doing a chore they hate to do, or brushing their hair or applying lotion when they feel too exhausted to do it themselves.

While, from time to tim,e you can also do things like buy their favorite candy or bring them flowers, don’t rely on money to show you care. The man who gives gifts instead of putting actual effort into showing affection will eventually lose his partner.

Do Chores Without Being Asked

Speaking of actions that are louder than words, doing chores is one of the best ways to be a great boyfriend. Cleaning up after your own mess is all well and good, but it’s pretty basic. Everyone should be doing that already.

Think about all of the chores that need to be done weekly: cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, vacuuming, laundry. It all adds up, and your partner shouldn’t have to do it all by themselves. Your significant other also shouldn’t have to ask you to help with chores —they’re your lover, not your mother, and you aren’t a child anymore.

Some couples do have systems where they divvy up the chores between the two of them, and that’s totally fine. Just make sure that you’re doing your part.

Share Their Interests

a woman sits on the handlebars of a bicycle in front of a smiling man

When we say “share their interests” we don’t mean that you have to become a superfan of K-dramas. However, sitting down and watching an episode or two with your partner shows that you want to spend time with them doing the things they like, even if those activities aren’t something you’d typically pick.

If your partner is a real keeper, then they’ll return the favor by playing a round or two of Call of Duty with you. When both partners are willing to participate in one another’s hobbies, it can deepen the relationship as a whole.

Talk About Sex

It’s also important to find out what interests your partner in terms of sex. Talking about sex can be a little intimidating, but there’s no better way to find out what your partner likes and dislikes than to simply ask them.

It’s important to discuss what each of you enjoys, as well as what you’re comfortable with and what you’d like to explore. Knowing these things will result in a better experience for both of you.

Be on Their Side

If your significant other is ever involved in some sort of public argument, whether it be at a family party or on Facebook, you should be on their side. Of course, give them a chance to deal with the problem themselves before you jump in. Otherwise, it may seem like you don’t believe in your partner’s ability to handle things as a mature adult.

If you don’t happen to agree with your partner during whatever the argument is, save it for when you’re alone together. Don’t embarrass them or make them feel worse by ganging up on them.

Save Arguments for Private

Similarly, try not to argue in public settings. Airing your dirty laundry in front of other people is embarrassing and can make your partner feel like you’re doing so purposefully to shame them, which is not a mature way to handle problems and often leads to resentment.

Address problems calmly and in private. This is a much healthier way to communicate with your partner that is more likely to have a positive outcome.

Don’t Be Controlling

There’s nothing worse than having a controlling boyfriend. If your partner wants to hang out with their friends, trust them to do just that. Trust that a friend is just a friend. Don’t tell them they can’t hang out, or call them every time they’re out together.

Being controlling is often a result of trust issues. If you have trust issues, it’s important to evaluate if your partner has ever done anything to break your trust or if these issues come from past experiences. If your partner has never done anything shady, then have faith in them and don’t try to control their actions.

Own Up to Your Mistakes

Admitting fault is difficult for most people. For many of us, it feels embarrassing to be wrong and it hurts our pride. Saying sorry requires humility, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Your partner doesn’t want you to say sorry so they can rub your mistakes in your face and say “I told you so!” Instead, saying sorry is about acknowledging the fact that you hurt someone else and that you feel bad for having done so. If you never own up to your mistakes, your partner may think that you don’t care about their feelings.

Listen to Your Partner

an african-american couple sits holding hands while the woman speaks with a serious expression

No matter what you read about relationships, you’ll see one piece of advice repeated over and over again: listen! Listening to your partner doesn’t seem like rocket science, but some people still struggle with it.

A good listener is someone who is attentive, doesn’t interrupt, and responds when prompted. A good listener also understands that sometimes, listening is all they really have to do.

Sometimes, your partner may just want to vent. They don’t want or need advice and they don’t expect you to solve their problems. They just have something they need to get off their chest and want to feel heard.

Be Emotionally Available

Emotional availability is an important part of any relationship. Both partners need to be able to open up and share their thoughts and emotions with one another, even the emotions that they’re hesitant to share.

However, men have often been taught that they need to be “strong,” and this idea of strength means not crying and keeping your emotions to yourself. Unfortunately, that’s not a great way to act in a relationship.

Your partner wants to be there for you. They want to know what you’re feeling and what you’re going through. Communication often involves being vulnerable, but if you can’t do that, then you can’t communicate, and your relationship cannot grow.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

If you’re committed to a long-term relationship and could see yourself marrying your partner, then it’s important to be truly comfortable with them. We’re not telling you to hold in your farts for the rest of your life!

What we mean is that you shouldn’t get so comfortable that you take things for granted or stop making an effort because you’ve already “won the prize.” Don’t stop flirting or taking your partner on dates just because your relationship feels secure.

Don’t let yourself go, either. No, you don’t have to wear a suit when you’re relaxing at home, but looking presentable will be appreciated. Try to find a style that suits you but is also comfortable; that way, you can be both comfortable and good-looking (we’re so glad that athleisure is a trend, as it really is the best of both worlds). 

From Boyfriend Material to Husband Material

If you’ve found someone special, it’s understandable that you want to be the best boyfriend you can be. The fact that you’ve bothered to look up articles on the subject shows that you really care and are taking the first step toward becoming a better boyfriend.

Being a good boyfriend means taking part in your significant other’s hobbies, giving compliments, and showing affection through actions. It’s also important to be able to own up to your mistakes, listen to your partner, and be emotionally available.

Though we’re sure you’re already doing a number of things on our list, there are always opportunities to better yourself. If you put in the effort, you may just go from boyfriend material to husband material!

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