Relationships are like any other sort of partnership – if both sides are not pulling their weight, one partner may re-assess whether they are with the right partner. Relationships don’t work out when one doesn’t give the other what they need, and the other decides to move on. The best way to not be replaced? Be the kind of boyfriend she’ll want to keep around.
“I wish more men would actively try to understand what it feels like to be in a relationship with them. See it from the perspective of the women. That would go a long way to discourage them from being jealous and controlling, or clingy and doormat like,” says Wendy Brown, clinical member, Ontario Society of Psychotherapists. “I can't tell you how many women have told me about the critical importance of having their person. This is someone with strength and character who cares about the ups and downs if their day, who is there for them when they need a loving voice, a few laughs or a hug. This isn't a role that's just reserved for a friend. Often friends end up filling it because it's so hard to find in a man,” says Brown.
Create a safe environment in which she is able to comfortably voice her needs and wants. “A lot of us (women) carry around this huge fear that we're going to be rejected for putting ourselves out there and speaking up for what we truly want (yes, being vulnerable sucks for us, too). This is where couples tend to get into the old "I just wish he knew what I wanted without me having to tell him" routine,” says Julia Ford-Carther, an EQ expert, dating coach and founder of The Self-Love Formula, a digital media platform that delivers modern lifestyle content for millennial women via entertaining and empowering channels. Until Google Glass features the latest in mind-reading technology, here's what you can do to cultivate consideration in your relationship. “In the moments she is open and honest with you, try not to make fun of her, criticize her, or dismiss what she's saying. Be present. Stay level. Recognize her feelings as valid. Find a gentle compromise,” says Ford-Carther. This has a cumulative effect.
“As you continue to be receptive, she'll become increasingly more willing to express herself, communication should go smoother, and she'll feel happier because she's able to be her authentic self around you. That's the golden ticket. It's usually very hard to truly open ourselves up to someone, but that's the ultimate goal. Once we do and we feel safe and accepted, there's no reason for us to leave,” says Ford-Carther.
Show (And Tell) Her How Attractive She Is
It's also invaluable for a man to see a woman as beautiful and desirable, says Brown. This does not mean always thinking of sex. It does mean being her champion when she gains a few pounds or has a bad hair day.
Be Good To Her In Bed
It's important to be giving in bed. But that's not the only way you can be a thoughtful sexual partner. “On the subject of sex, it's really important for him to be considerate about it. If she's exhausted, stressed or troubled, it's probably not a good time to make moves on her. He needs to show her he understands and he's thinking of her needs, not his.
Keep Things Interesting
Remember that predictability is the enemy of attraction. “If she gets bored, she's going to look for stimulation elsewhere. Do something today that she'd never expect (surprise her to see her favorite band, take her dancing, make her dinner),” says dating coach Adam LoDolce.
A healthy relationship is one that includes balance. “Although it is important to have alone time with one another, it is also important to incorporate your own friends, family, work and hobbies into your life. If you have a balanced and inclusive life, you can open yourself to other creative possibilities for both you and your partner together and individually,” says Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a nationally recognized family and child development expert, author, and educator, who also specializes in behavior and relationships. Then neither of you will feel that you have sacrificed or given up anything for the other, but rather that your relationship is large enough to contain both of you and your interests.
Remember That Relationships Evolve And Change
Therefore, it is important to grow with one another, and to be aware of each other's changes. “Transitions are the markers that define us, whether it is a new relationshipor the loss of an old one; a life's passage or a career change; a birth or death. To navigate these transitions together, successfully, is to be sensitive and open to each other's feelings,” says Dr. Gross.
Make An Effort With Her Friends & Family
Last but not least, he needs to be open and accepting with her family and friends. If the people are important to her, it's in his best interests to find something he actually likes and appreciates about them,” says Brown. “In other words, an irreplaceable man is a source of strength, laughter and understanding. His values are in the right places.”
Don't Trick Yourself Into Believing You Can Control Her
Of course, if she's really looking for something else, it's always possible that she'll still end up leaving. But if you're doing everything right, that won't be on you. “Don't get jealous about the small stuff and have faith that if you're following the first two principles, then she'll want to be with you,” says LoDolce.