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How to Treat Your Girlfriend Right

by Jill Avery-Stoss

There is no need to be a ideal romantic who showers your girlfriend in exotic gifts in order to treat her well. Effort and consideration are some of the most valuable characteristics of an intimate partner, and it is likely that she will notice and appreciate your desire to be good to her. Building on these qualities early on can establish the foundation of a solid and rewarding relationship, according to the University of Texas at Austin's Counseling and Mental Health Center. There are also some specific skills to hone in order to ensure optimal treatment of your girlfriend.

Communicate With Her

Be honest and open, states Love is Respect, an online resource dedicated to the fostering of healthy relationships. Let her know where you stand in a relationship, how you feel about her, if you have any concerns and your intentions for the future. Even if what you have to say might hurt her feelings, you are treating her right by not misrepresenting yourself. It is vital, of course, to be polite and kind as you communicate. Conversely, listen to what she has to say. Her feelings, opinions, concerns and intentions are as valid as yours. You both deserve to be heard. This type of healthy communication can assist with problem-solving, compromise and negotiation.

Respect Her Boundaries

Your girlfriend has boundaries. She has limits sexually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you are unclear about them, it is essential that you ask her. Maintaining an awareness and respect for her boundaries is the epitome of treating her right. These boundaries may change over time or depending on the situation, so check in with her about them regularly. For example, she may be comfortable having sex in her home or yours, but unwilling to do so at a party. Saying "But you're usually fine with this?" may be reasonable, as long as it is not in the context of pressure or coercion.

Maintain Your Boundaries

Your boundaries are important too. Identifying actions and behaviors that make you uncomfortable, and communicating them assertively, affects the way you treat your girlfriend. For instance, you may not be comfortable with her borrowing money from your wallet without asking. If you do not share this matter with her, she may continue to do it, which can lead to resentment and tension. Similarly, you may have a clear sense of what you want in the relationship. You may not intend for anything long-term or committed, while a serious relationship may be her goal. If you do not share your intentions with her, you are not treating her right and will likely hurt her at some point.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Early in relationships, there is often a period of infatuation. During this time, you may not be able to get enough of your girlfriend. You may find her to be brilliant, beautiful, funny and personable. It is a time of bliss and perfection, and it is temporary. Assess your standards, because you will inevitably discover that she is not perfect. She may be grumpy and rude when she is tired and hungry. She may get a haircut that you hate. Expecting a relationship that is conflict-free and a partner that is incessantly eager to please is unrealistic. It is unfair to expect this of her and not a way to treat her right.

About the Author

Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.

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