“The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships . . . which are basically a reflection of your sense of decency, your ability to think of others, your generosity.”
― Esther Perel
Are you a loving partner?
We all like to think we’re on the money with this one. But the truth is most of us fall into the “could do better” category.
Perfect doesn’t exist inside relationships — so that’s not the goal. The goal is to be as loving and supportive as you can, and to make an honest contribution to your relationship.
Obviously, that’s easier said than done. But the very first step is to rule out the things that will damage your relationship.
Here are seven things loving partners strive not to do.
7 Things a Loving Partner Doesn’t Do
“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” — Juno
1. Pick fights unnecessarily.
Conflict is okay — even healthy — as a way of sorting out difficulties in a relationship. But some people pick fights for their own reasons —maybe they’ve been raised around conflict so they’re most comfortable on the “battle ground”; maybe they want to provoke a reaction from you; maybe they just hate their boss/job.
But someone who continually picks fights — and can’t enjoy the chill times — is hard to be with: they’ll end up making you anxious or causing you to shut down. A loving partner doesn’t go looking for trouble — they’ll address the issues that need sorting, but let the rest go.
2. Flirt with others in front of you.
It’s entirely human to be attracted to other people. It’s how you show it that makes all the difference to your relationship. Some people flirt because it’s habitual, almost ingrained in their personality. That’s fine if you don’t mind. But, if you do mind (and you’ve told them so), it’s disrespectful. A loving partner respects you and your feelings — so leaves you in no doubt that, to them, you are the most important person in the room.
3. Leave you guessing where they are.
Loving partners are not secretive; they’re open about where they are and who they’re with. If their plans change, they’ll call you or flick you a text. Because, in their excitement of being with others and whatever they’re doing, they haven’t forgotten about you. They’re thoughtful. And you matter.
4. Let you carry the load.
Relationships should be like a job share. You each do the “stuff” you’re good at/like so you’re both contributing. A loving partner won’t lie on the couch with a giant bag of chips and the remote while you do all the chores, sort the kids, pay the bills, mow the lawns, cook the dinner, organise your lives. A loving partner will contribute — willingly.
5. Overwhelm you with their struggles.
Some couples operate a “rock” and “rolling stone” system where one person provides the steadiness, and most of the support, for their more emotional partner. That’s fine if you’re both happy with it. But a loving partner who is going through a hard time will realise when enough is enough — they won’t exhaust you with their problems — they’ll make room for your “stuff” too.
What’s Your Relationship Style: Rock or Rolling Stone?
He’s my rock, the young woman said.
6. Take aim at your vulnerabilities.
This is a low-blow and if you find yourself on the end of it your partner has gone beyond not being loving to being an asshole. Your partner shouldn’t take a crack at you where it really hurts — such as your body/physical appearance or personality. (But they are allowed to speak up for where something is hurting them, such as your untreated mental health issues or addictions). A loving partner will encourage and support you to work on the things YOU want to work on, but they’ll love you anyway.
7. Don’t make you №1.
You should feel like the top priority in your relationship. If you rank behind your partner’s friends or work or Pinterest account or phone or mountain bike or golf clubs or latest fitness fad, you’re in trouble. Independence is important, and you both need lives/friends of your own, but a loving partner will keep you at no. 1 — even when temptation beckons.