Romantic relationships can be tough to navigate. Perhaps despite your best intentions, your girlfriend feels ignored at times, or thinks you treat her like one of the guys. Whether you're in your first romantic relationship or you're about to propose, always treat your girlfriend with respect, trust, kindness and support.
Respect is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Respect encompasses many different things. For example, truly listen to your girlfriend when she's speaking, and elevate your end of the conversation from "yeahs" and "uh-huhs." Even if her latest work drama isn't fascinating to you, listening to her will make her feel like you value her opinion. Respect also means respecting her physical boundaries. If you want to take the relationship further and she says no, don't argue the point.
Like respect, a relationship cannot thrive without trust. In the movie "Modern Romance," the character Robert Cole calls his girlfriend repeatedly to see what she's up to, drives by her house several times a night and calls mysterious numbers on her phone bill. He claims he does these things because he loves her, but he's really displaying a lack of trust. Don't let jealousy overcome you --- trust your girlfriend, and your relationship will be better for it.
Kindness and Affection
Everyone displays affection differently, but a boyfriend should say and do things to make his girlfriend feel loved and appreciated. Genuine compliments are always welcome --- tell her that she looks gorgeous today, or praise her for something she does well, like her awesome backhand in tennis. Holding her hand, putting your arm around her and stroking her hair are ways you can show affection physically. Do nice things for her --- treat her to lunch or bring her soup when she's sick.
A good boyfriend is supportive of his girlfriend's goals and dreams, and takes an interest in the things she loves. This doesn't mean you have to start drinking cosmos with her friends on girl's night, but try joining in for a weekly board game night, or cheer her on from the stands at her soccer game. Encourage her when she's pursuing a goal, whether it's studying for the LSAT or perfecting her creme brulee.
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Naomi Baldinger began writing professionally in 2007. Her areas of expertise include cooking, literature, film, Jewish culture, the nonprofit sector, education and translation. Her work has appeared in "Git Nu" and "The Journal of Jewish Identities" among other publications. Baldinger holds a Master of Arts in comparative literature from the University of California, Los Angeles.