Home  >  Love Couch  >  Better Love

37 Rules to Be a Good Partner in a Relationship & Better Your Love Life

Are you wondering how to be a better partner in your relationship? If so, then good for you! Here are all the good qualities and rules to follow.  

Good Partner in a Relationship and be Better

It’s easy to focus on what your partner is doing wrong, and to get annoyed and frustrated by it. But that doesn’t make you a good partner in your relationship. And have you ever stopped to think that maybe you aren’t doing everything right either?

It’s easy to see flaws in others but is it as easy to see flaws in ourselves? How do you know whether or not you are being a good partner?

Are you wondering if your relationship is heading in the right direction? Check out the most encouraging early signs of a good relationship to know for sure!

What does it mean to become a better partner?

Unfortunately, many people think that once they get into a committed relationship they can relax, but their true selves, and not have to put in any effort anymore.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In the beginning of a relationship, everything is easy and fun. You both want to be the best versions of yourselves in order to impress your partner and make them fall in love with you. [Read: How to change your partner without compromising or losing you]

But then most people get lazy as time goes on. You think you “have” your partner already, so making the effort and keeping the romance alive just isn’t much of a priority for some people. However, relationships are like plants. If you don’t water, feed, and nurture a plant, it will wither away and die.

And while it’s important to point your finger at your partner and blame them for all of your problems, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. You are in this relationship too. [Read: 25 honest, self-reflection questions to recognize the real YOU inside]

So, becoming a better partner is all about self-reflection. You have to take a good, long hard look at yourself and see what you’re doing right and wrong. What should you change? Are you doing everything you can to make your partner happy?

If you think you could be doing more to make you and your partner happier in the relationship, then you should do it. Take personal responsibility and admit that you can do more. It takes maturity and some effort, but it’s all worth it.

Why it’s difficult for some people to be good partners in a relationship

Before you learn the rules for how to be a good partner, why is it that it’s so difficult for so many people to actually follow through? These rules don’t sound very hard, but for some it is. And here’s why.

1. Selfishness

Most people are selfish to some degree. It’s actually a survival instinct. [Read: 20 secrets to stop being selfish and ways to stop hurting and using others]

Think about it—if you were a caveman, your life would depend on how much food you eat. And if you eat more food than the person next to you, then you are more likely to survive than they are. 

While selfishness served its purpose back eons ago, it doesn’t help us in modern-day relationships. If one or both people are selfish, then it builds resentment that only builds over time. [Read: Selfishness in relationships – 15 tips to do the right thing]

2. Lack of knowledge

When we are in school, we aren’t taught anything about relationships or communication skills. Think about it, did you have any of those classes entitled “Relationships 101” or “Communication 101”? Probably not. [Read: 31 communication exercises and games for couples and secrets to feel closer]

How can you expect to learn how to be a good partner and have a healthy relationship when no one taught you? We usually learn from trial and error. But in order to do this, you have to be self-aware.

You can’t change what you don’t recognize. So, you need to be aware of your negative behaviors and what you should do to change them. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

And then, you have to actually take those stops to change to become a better person.

3. Bad role models

Because most of us have never been taught how to have healthy relationships, all we really had to go on was our own parents. They serve as a learning model for what you are likely to do in your own relationships. [Read: 47 hurtful signs and effects of being the child of a narcissistic parent]

For example, if your parents yelled, screamed, and called each other names when they were fighting, you grew up thinking this was normal. As a result, you probably took on the same relationship behaviors as they did. Or, if they avoided any affection and intimacy, you thought that was normal too.

As you can see, when we see behavior modeled for us growing up, we will probably take on those behaviors—both positive and negative. [Read: 45 positive and negative personality traits that can change your life forever!]

And they become our habits, which, as we said, are difficult to change.

4. Lack of empathy

In order to have a healthy relationship, both partners need to express empathy for the other one. 

Empathy means that you can put yourself in another person’s shoes and see a situation from their perspective, not just your own.

Because a lot of people are inherently selfish, they lack the ability to understand how their partner sees a situation differently than they do. When this happens, resentment builds over time. [Read: 24 signs of people who lack empathy to know they don’t care what you think

The good news is that empathy can be learned. It’s a skill you can work on so that you can be a good partner in your relationship. All it takes is being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and more importantly, words and behaviors.

Qualities of a good partner

Your parents might not have been good role models for a healthy relationship. If that’s true, you might not even know where to start or what a good partner even looks like. So, here are some qualities of a good partner.

1. Openness

In order to have an emotionally intimate relationship with your partner, you have to be open and vulnerable. [Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship, open up, and 28 secrets to grow closer]

You can’t keep everything to yourself. Sure, it can be scary for some people to open up, but it’s the only route to creating a strong bond.

So, share yourself with your partner. Tell them your fears, hopes, and dreams. And ask them to do the same. Openness is the key to building a strong foundation for the relationship.

2. Honesty

Another huge factor that goes into building a strong foundation is honesty. You can’t build a house on quicksand, can you? Of course not. [Read: Signs of dishonesty in a relationship that push couples apart]

And so, this honesty is what keeps your relationship healthy. Don’t lie, cheat, or steal. No one wants to be in a relationship with a dishonest person. That’s why you need to be trustworthy and always do the right thing.

3. Respect

Everyone on the face of the earth deserves to be treated with respect. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sadly, many people are very disrespectful to others—especially their partners.

So, having respect means not yelling, screaming, or calling them names. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

And it certainly excludes any other kind of mental, emotional, or physical abuse. Respect your partner with kind words, actions, and affection.

4. Empathy

Empathy is also the core of a healthy relationship. You can’t be selfish and only care about your own opinions, needs, and desires. Well, you can, but that makes you a bad partner.

So, a good one is a person who can see their partner’s point of view. [Read: How to show empathy in a relationship and learn to understand someone else’s feelings]

Not only can they see it, they tell their partner that they understand where they’re coming from. This makes them feel validated and valued as a person.

5. Affection

Everyone has different comfort levels with affection. However, most people do at least need or want some affection in their relationship. It’s what makes it loving and romantic.

So, it’s important to hold your partner’s hand, cuddle with them on the couch, and hug them. Affection releases endorphins in people’s brains and helps them bond and stay loving to one another. [Read: How to cuddle someone – a guide to snuggle up and feel the love]

6. Communication

Communication is the glue that holds relationships together. Well, let’s rephrase that. Effective communication is the glue that holds them together. Ineffective communication—or no communication at all—will tear them apart.

Ineffective communication includes things like yelling, avoiding, or accusing. Effective communication includes things like listening, working through problems, and staying calm and collected at all times.

7. Patience 

Sure, it’s not easy to be patient all the time. Almost everyone is annoyed by something that their partner does. No one is perfect, and neither is any relationship. [Read: Love is patient, love is kind – rules to experience true love]

That’s why patience is also very important in a good partner.

Don’t impose your expectations on your partner. They are not you—they are who they are. So, you might want to change them or have them do something differently. But you have to realize that probably won’t happen. Or if it does, it will take time. 

How to be a good partner – the most important rules both of you should follow

You may have realized that you’re not the best in your relationship. This isn’t a bad thing. Just recognizing that you could be a better partner is a big deal. [Read: 17 signs of a supportive partner who encourages you and your goals]

You’re self-aware, and that’s not easy for most of us. If you want to become a better person in a relationship, it’s doable.

All you need are these tips and the determination to work hard for yourself and your relationship. Are you ready to commit to change? If so, then read these tips and start being the best version of yourself. [Read: 60 perfect traits to be a good boyfriend that’ll make you better than the best!]

1. You have a right to be angry but you don’t have the right to be cruel

If you want to be a good partner, then this is a really important one to remember. Everyone has a right to be angry, sometimes it can’t be helped. However, it’s the way you deal with that anger that determines whether or not you are being fair.

It’s okay to tell your partner if they have done something to upset you. It’s not okay to insult them, bring up the past, or throw things in their face. 

If you do this, then you won’t solve the issue that made you angry in the first place, you will just escalate the conversation into an argument. [Read: Relationship arguments – 38 tips and ways to fight fair and grow closer in love]

2. Sometimes when you’re right, you still need to back down, for the sake of peace

It’s easy to get carried away in an argument, especially if you’re right. What isn’t easy is backing down. Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong, the only thing that matters is ending the argument. 

Don’t let your pride rule you, you need to know when it’s okay to back down and make peace. [Read: The power of words can make or break your relationship]

As long as whatever you’re discussing isn’t hugely unfair on either side, it’s fine to just let things slide.

3. Accepting that people change will stop you from having to make a change

People change all the time. Everything that happens to a person changes them in some way. Sometimes, it’s unnoticeable and sometimes, it smacks you right across the face. [Read: Indecisive boyfriend – 27 signs, why he’s unsure, and how to change him]

Learn to grow together rather than change into two people who hardly know one another. You can do this by experiencing life’s ups and downs as a team, supporting one another, and being as understanding as possible. 

If you want to learn how to be a good partner, this is something you really need to focus on. Use these 25 relationship topics to talk about in a happy relationship to make sure you two always feel close and connected to each other.

4. No one is perfect and that includes you

It’s easy to judge other people from afar and criticize their choices, but that doesn’t make for a good partner in a relationship. But you need to remember that you make bad choices sometimes too.

You are not perfect and you do things wrong, just like everybody else. [Read: How NOT to be an asshole – what makes one, 41 signs, and how to fix yourself]

Do you have anyone on your back about that? It’s unfair to expect anyone to be perfect all of the time and it’s even more unfair to make them feel bad about it. 

5. Your partner’s friends were supporting them long before you were

It’s really important that you try to get on with your partner’s friends. They were there long before you and have supported your partner through difficult times. [Read: Win ’em over – how to get your boyfriend’s friends to like you]

That means that they care. You don’t have to like them, you just need to get on with them for your partner’s sake. Grin and bear it, if you must!

You don’t want to be the person who asks their partner to choose between them and friends or family. Your partner will either pick their friends/family or they will resent you for making them choose.

It’s entirely possible to have friends, family, a partner, and total harmony between all sides. If you have to compromise, do it. [Read: How to get along with your partner’s friends and family – create a lifelong bond]

6. You don’t have to be selfless, but you do have to care

You shouldn’t have to be selfless in a relationship, but you do have to care about your partner. 

It’s not a case of putting them first every time because you deserve to be put first sometimes too. It’s about knowing when you should put them first.

Balance is sometimes hard to find but focus on being there when you need to be, spending time together “just because” and building a connection through experiences and fun times. 

When you do all of this, you’ll find the whole selfish/selfless balance evens itself out. [Read: Are you selfish in the relationship? 19 signs you’re being a user]

7. Never expect anything from your partner

One thing that many partners do wrong is expecting things from their partners. For instance, maybe you think that it’s solely your partner’s responsibility to pay the bills or to bring a little romance into the relationship. 

But it’s unfair to place so much responsibility on your partner and it’s setting them up to fail.

A partnership is between two people and it should be both of their responsibilities to bring aspects to the relationship. This shouldn’t be expected either—it should be done without question. [Read: 19 unrealistic expectations in love we want to believe but shouldn’t]

To expect something is just as bad as demanding it. When you don’t get it, you will be left looking like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum.

8. Be supportive in the good times and the bad times

It’s easy to support your partner through the good times, like work promotions and goal achievements.

It isn’t always as easy to support them through the bad times. However, these are the times when they will really rely on your support, so you need to give it to them. [Read: How to help someone up when they’re feeling down and depressed]

It doesn’t matter if you are disappointed, the likelihood is that they will be ten times more disappointed than you. So just be supportive and help them through. 

Don’t kick them while they are down because they might not get back up again. 

You don’t have to carry them through every challenging situation in life, but you do need to be there in case they need someone to lean upon. You’re that person, and that’s your job.

9. Never go a day without at least a kiss

It’s so important in relationships, especially long-term relationships, to keep up physical intimacy. Sometimes, it can be easy to take your partner for granted and to forget why they are in your life, so always try to remind yourself of that.

It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’ve been together a long time but spicing up your love life is a key factor in holding the spark and making sure that your relationship lasts over the long term. [Read: 28 cute ways to show affection in a relationship even if it feels awkward]

You’re not going to be jumping on one another every single day when you’ve been together a while, but you should still have that fire within you!

10. If you want romance, bring it to the table

Don’t moan about the fact that your relationship is lacking romance—do something about it! You never know, your partner might respond by doing something romantic in return. 

If you really want something, then you should go out there and get it, you shouldn’t just wait around dropping hints. That will only get you frustrated if they don’t work. [Read: 23 fun, romantic, summer date ideas to warm your date’s heart and make it melt]

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a relationship is expecting your partner to be a mind reader. So, if you want to learn how to be a good partner, you need to stop assuming they have a crystal ball and start explaining what you want and need.

Sitting there and giving your partner the silent treatment because they didn’t respond in the way you wanted them to isn’t going to work. [Read: 42 secrets to communicate better in a relationship and ways to fix a lack of it]

You’ll become frustrated and they’ll be annoyed because they can’t work out what’s wrong with you. Just say it!

11. Sometimes, the only thing left to do is walk away

Sometimes, in a relationship, the only thing that is left to do is to walk away. It doesn’t mean that it has to be permanent. It doesn’t even mean that you have to leave the building, but if a fight is escalating and neither of you has anything nice to say, walk away.

Give yourselves some breathing time, cool down, and then try again. Nothing has ever been solved by screaming at each other. [Read: How to release anger – 20 ways to focus on the positives in life]

Take a moment, do a few breathing exercises, and don’t go back into the room until you’ve stopped shaking with anger and there are no recriminations swirling around in your head. 

Everyone has arguments; they’re a sign of a healthy relationship in many ways. But if you want to learn how to be a good partner, you have to know when to stick and when to give it a minute and walk away for a quick time out. [Read: Are relationship fights normal? 15 signs you’re fighting way too often]

12. It’s your job to cheer them up

It doesn’t matter if you have had a day from hell. If your partner has had it worse, then it’s your job to cheer them up. 

That’s what a good partner does, they put their lover before themselves when they know it needs to be done. Even if you have to try and find a clown at ten o’clock at night, you need to find a way to pick your partner up when they are down.

13. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, you should always make time

Life can sometimes feel like it’s flying by at a hundred miles an hour, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to put your partner at the bottom of your priority list. You should always try to put your partner up at the top of the list. If you can’t, then maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship. [Read: The right priority in your relationship – how to find and focus on it]

One of the best ways to do this is to have regular date nights. These should never be canceled because something else “more important” came along and was never rearranged. Make spending time together a priority and you’ll start to do it naturally. 

The more you stop making time for your partner, the more you’ll grow apart. That’s not something you want, right? [Read: 80-20 rule in relationships and why it’s so important for happy love]

14. Always be faithful, always be loyal

You cannot be a good partner if you cheat and lie your way through the relationship.

It doesn’t matter why you lied or why you cheated. You could have the best excuse in the world for it, but it doesn’t make it right. If you are in a relationship then be in that relationship.

If you have problems in your relationship, or if something is really bugging you and you need to get it out, communicate! [Read: What is considered cheating? The painful types and ways to set boundaries]

Talk about it, have it out, and argue if you need to, but it’s far better to do this than to allow that annoyance to push you into someone else’s arms. 

Similarly, if you’re not happy and nothing can fix it, walk away. Never use cheating as a cover for being unhappy in a relationship. Your partner doesn’t deserve to have their trust in love destroyed in such a cruel way. [Read: Emotional affair – what it is, 76 signs and steps, 7 infidelity stages, and what to do]

15. Passion fades, but you need to look for ways to keep it alive

It doesn’t matter how passionate you are at the beginning of a relationship, it will eventually fade with time if you take your relationship for granted. 

The important thing is to find new ways to keep the excitement alive in the relationship, even if it means going out of your way to excite your partner now and then.

We mentioned earlier about keeping the spark alive but how can you do that? Try new things! [Read: 46 sizzling sex life secrets to spice up your bedroom and leave you horny 24/7]

If you find it a bit embarrassing telling your partner about your deepest desires, write them down and let them read them. Trying new things together strengthens your bond and who knows, you might both find a new move that sets sparks flying!

16. Show your appreciation

You may think your partner knows you appreciate them, but have you shown them lately? This is crucial. Don’t assume your partner knows how you feel about them. Instead, show them how much you love them. 

You don’t need to make grandiose gestures; it’s really about the small things. [Read: 44 warm ways to say “I appreciate you” and show appreciation without words]

17. Do one nice thing every day

When you think about it, it’s easy to go days without doing anything kind for someone else, whether they’re your partner or not. [Read: 67 sweet yet small romantic gestures that show love in the biggest way]

This doesn’t have to be big things. They can be small acts of kindness like giving your partner a back rub, cooking them a surprise dinner, or getting them flowers.

18. Talk to them without holding your phone 

If your partner is talking to you about their day or something that’s bothering them, put down your phone. Give your partner your undivided attention. [Read: 38 small changes to better your love life and improve the relationship ten-fold]

It’s the easiest way to make your partner feel respected and appreciated. Just doing this little thing will make a world of difference in your relationship.

19. Work on you

You can do all these things to become a better partner in a relationship, but you want to become a better person in your overall life. 

To become the best partner, focus on becoming the best version of yourself. Through this, you’ll automatically become a better partner. Never stop working on yourself. [Read: How to be a good person and 32 ways to transform into a better human]

20. Be open-minded

We all come with our own judgments and opinions, but be open-minded when you’re in a relationship. Your partner wasn’t raised the same way as you, nor did they have the same experiences as you. 

We’re all who we are because of what we went through. If you don’t understand an aspect of your partner, don’t judge. Talk.

21. Take responsibility for your actions

This is a hard one, but you should do this. It’s time to grow up! Your partner isn’t your mom or dad. [Read: 20 things happy couples don’t do in a perfect relationship]

If you made a mistake, own up and take responsibility for your actions. It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll notice how much better you feel taking control of your life.

22. Respond, don’t react 

If your partner did something that bothered you, it’s easy to freak out and yell at them. But if you want to know how to become a better person in a relationship, it’s time you changed the way you respond to situations. 

By reacting negatively, you’ll create conflict, and that’s not always necessary. Instead, express your feelings and focus on a conversation about the issue instead. [Read: How to communicate with your spouse without resentment or fighting]

23. Focus on your partner’s passions

If your partner likes wrestling or painting, be supportive. You don’t need to have the same level of excitement for their passion, but you should appreciate their interests. 

Find some part of the passion that interests you and talk about it with them. It’ll help you understand who they are, and they’ll feel you have their back. [Read: How to know if your partner is truly supportive of your goals]

24. Patience is key

Change takes time. If your partner is working on themselves, be patient. If you work on yourself, practice patience as well. Be kind to yourself and your partner. Change is hard, and it isn’t going to happen overnight.

25. Accept your partner

They are who they are. You cannot fix or change them. If they want to improve themselves, they must recognize and change on their own. You can’t do anything. 

Therefore, all you can do is accept them for who they are. They will have different opinions and thoughts than you… and that’s okay! [Read: How to make your partner better: Is it something that can be done?]

26. Listen, listen, listen

Want to become a better person in your relationship? Then learn how to listen. But really listen. We all hear other people talking, but most of us don’t listen to what they’re saying. 

Instead, we prepare what we want to say next. Actively listen, and when they’re done, think of what to say and respond. [Read: 50 secrets and early signs of a good relationship that make a great one]

Final thoughts on how to be a good partner

If you are in a relationship, then you should always try to be the best partner you can be. The other person doesn’t deserve any less than your best, just like you don’t deserve any less than theirs.

It’s not always easy to be a good partner. But it can be done if you know how—and now you do. Your partner will definitely appreciate all the effort you put into being the best person you can be.

[Read: Relationship rules – 30 must-know tips to live your best love life!]

Relationships take a lot of work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and learn how to become a better partner in a relationship, it’s completely possible.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...