What it Really Means to Have a Supportive Partner

What it Really Means to Have a Supportive Partner

As much as I would love to, I can’t tell you what it means to you to have a supportive partner. I could tell you what it means for me, but that doesn’t do you much good. Every person is going to have different wants and needs in a partner, so what you find as supportive, may not be all that important to someone else. You are unique and you need someone that fits you.

I could rattle off a list of supportive traits, but again, my list is not your list, so instead of doing that, I will tell you how you know you have a supportive partner by how you feel in the relationship.

You should feel…


You should feel that you have a choice in the direction you take with your life. Want to open a business? Go back to school? Climb the corporate ladder? Want to be a stay at home mom/dad? Whatever you want to do, you should feel that you have that choice and your partner will support whatever decision you make.

Take The Quiz: Is He Selfish?

Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Is He Selfish” Quiz right now and find out if he’s really selfish…

Obviously, sometimes you have to go to work, no matter what, we all have to eat, but that choice or lack of choice is determined by circumstances that have nothing to do with a supportive partner.


You will feel like your partner is raising you up to be the best you that you can be. If you want to be an artist or take up snowboarding, your partner will encourage you to go for it. You should never feel held back or that your partner doesn’t believe in you. You will feel celebrated and know they are your biggest cheerleader.

When you struggle, you feel supported, they won’t allow you to feel like a failure or tell you to give up. You know they will help you in any way that they can, even if it’s just to listen and give you that little nudge to keep moving forward. Having someone tell you how amazing you are and that you can and will succeed in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish can make all the difference in the world.


You feel important to the other person, to their happiness and well being. You know that you matter to them. You know that you are a priority. You always feel wanted, needed and special. People will say you shouldn’t need anyone, and maybe if it comes right down to it, you wouldn’t die without them, but we all want to feel needed, we want to be part of the team that is the couple, we all want to feel like we contribute to the life we share, so even if it’s not literally needed for survival, it is a feeling of being needed that matters.


Your opinion matters. Your wants and needs are a priority. Your partner listens to you and takes action if necessary based on what you say. You should always feel that the other person respects you, otherwise, it can seriously damage your own self respect and self esteem. You should never be in any type of relationship with someone that does not respect you completely, including friends and family members, but especially a significant other.

This also covers admired. You should feel that your partner admires you for everything you are and all that you do. This encompasses every aspect of how you live your life. Work, home, family, school, activities, who you are, what you do and how you do it.


Beautiful, handsome, whatever word you prefer that means you know that the other person finds you physically attractive. It’s important that you feel that, if you are just dating or have been married for 25 years. Feeling that your partner finds you attractive doesn’t have much to do with your actual appearance, if they care for you, love you, respect you, have all of the emotions for you that go along with being in an intimate relationship, then they will find you attractive. A supportive partner will make sure you know and feel it.

Sexually Open

You will feel intimacy, comfort, desire and passion. You will feel sexy because you will know that they find you sexy. If you have a supportive partner, you will feel that you can be true to your own sexuality. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for sexually, your partner should never downplay your desires, dismiss you or degrade you. Unless that’s your thing. This goes back to respect, they should always hear you out and be open to whatever sick and twisted kinky ass shit you are into. Or not into.

You will feel open and comfortable with this person, and have no problem being completely honest with them. You can tell them exactly what you want. Point blank, no shame or insecurity. Your partner will then say, “wonderful”, or “sorry, not for me”.

Depending on how important this activity is to you, they should at least be willing to try, however, when it comes to sexuality, you really can’t say what will or won’t be ok for someone else. It doesn’t make someone unsupportive just because they can’t get into a particular sexual activity. It makes them unsupportive if they don’t listen, try to understand and at least consider it, for you, because they care about you.


This would also include comfortable and secure. I don’t mean physically safe, although you should always feel that too, and yes, that goes for men too. I mean, you will feel safe, secure and comfortable with the right person. They will make you feel that way by default, they won’t even have to do much of anything, you will just feel it. You have heard people say, “you feel like home” or “they feel like home”, that’s what they mean by that and it’s extremely important for the long term success of a serious relationship.

This cuts out jealousy, anxiety, that feeling of walking on eggshells, that uncertain feeling you get when you are not confident in the relationship. This is all fine in the beginning stages, when you are just starting to date, you’re not going to feel completely comfortable and secure, but after a little bit of time spent together, you should feel safe.

You can be yourself

You will not even think about this after the first few months. If you are, then you have a problem. You know that the other person likes you or loves you for you. Every incredible inch of your mind and body. You don’t question it, there is no doubt in your mind that they love when you dance around the kitchen or when you scream at the football game. They love you when you are at your best and when you are at your worst. You can be true to yourself. No toning down, no pretending, no faking, no hiding emotions or sexual desires. You feel comfortable being your own perfect self and you know they wouldn’t have you any other way.


This is the only one that is not a feeling, but it must be included. They will communicate with you as much as possible, about everything. You will feel that they understand you because they have taken the time to get to know you fully. They will ask you questions, they will listen, they will want you to share what you are thinking and feeling, they will want to know your dreams, goals, ideas and beliefs.


Do I need to elaborate? A supportive partner can’t make you happy, no one can do that but you, they can however add to your happiness and help to create a happy, healthy and satisfying relationship.

If you have a supportive partner, you will feel much more than I can go into here, but as I said, only you know the specifics of what you need.

Basically, it all comes down to being with someone that empowers you to be your true self and live your best life, someone that helps you to be a happier person overall, that inspires you to be better for you and for them and that brings out the best in you.

At some point as your relationship progresses with a supportive partner, You will feel loved. That is what it’s all about.

Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Is He Selfish” Quiz right now and find out if he’s really selfish…

Take The Quiz: Is He Selfish?

In summary…

How To Know If You Have A Supportive Partner

  1. You have choice in the direction of your life
  2. You feel encouraged
  3. You feel important
  4. You feel respected
  5. You feel attractive
  6. You’re sexually open with them
  7. You feel safe with them
  8. You can be yourself with them
  9. You communicate well with them
  10. You feel happy with them

how to know if you have a supportive partner

Jim Vigilante is a relationship coach and author who helps individuals and couples have happier, healthier and sexier intimate relationships through communication, understanding and encouragement.

You can find relationship help, books and coaching at JimVigilante.com.

34 comments… add one
  • Yong Coke November 16, 2015, 9:08 am

    Having a partner is just that, a “partner”. If they cannot back you up, make you feel safe or encourage you, how is that a partner?

  • Amy Wagner November 14, 2015, 9:25 pm

    Jim, this is a great article and one that is very meaningful to me. Thanks!

    • Sandra Gutierrez November 16, 2015, 8:59 am

      Jim makes some great points. You should search for some of his other stuff, it is inspirational as well.

      • Jim Vigilante November 18, 2015, 10:07 pm

        Thank you Sandra, I appreciate the support. :)

    • Jim Vigilante November 18, 2015, 9:56 pm

      Thank you! I appreciate that and am happy that you found it meaningful.

  • Katina Hutchins November 14, 2015, 4:58 pm

    I think what it means is that you are in a great place right now and you should be grateful!

  • Jose Young November 12, 2015, 9:57 am

    Very well written article. This is something that should be involved in EVERY relationship.

    • Jim Vigilante November 14, 2015, 9:09 pm

      Thank you Jose. I appreciate that.

  • Kristen Savage November 11, 2015, 8:52 am

    Jim, you make a very good point that your list of traits is going to be different from mine. I think we all need to understand that before we think that our partner is NOT supportive.

    • Jim Vigilante November 11, 2015, 10:05 am

      Yes, that is why it took some time for me to decide which angle to come at this topic from. All that matters is how you feel, what I need from my relationship is irrelevant to anyone else. No matter what relationship topic we are talking about, the answer is always, how that person makes you feel. Even if you go to the very basic, why are you together, why are you with that person, why do you love them, it can always be broken down to how they make you feel about yourself, your life, your relationship, your future, etc.

  • Gayle Phipps November 11, 2015, 8:39 am

    Great article. It has really lifted me up during a tough time for me.

    • Jim Vigilante November 11, 2015, 10:06 am

      Thank you, I’m happy to hear that.

  • Carol Keeler November 10, 2015, 9:48 am

    Feeling important and safe around another person is the ultimate in any relationship.

  • Veronica Flores November 9, 2015, 9:44 am

    You also will not feel stuck behind him when making a decision. If you think you have to consult him every time, then there might be something bad going on. You should feel comfortable that you will get his full support.

  • Roxanna Sample November 8, 2015, 12:07 pm

    Once I reach the “open sexually” phase, I feel the support. It takes a lot for a couple to discuss that and when you can openly, there is a level of trust there.

  • Mary Brooks November 7, 2015, 9:43 am

    Any good partner should be supportive right? If you feel that you are not in a relationship where you get support, you might need to talk with your partner, or just end it altogether.

  • Marilyn Martinez November 7, 2015, 9:00 am

    Well written! This is the balance we all need to fulfill a healthy relationship.

    • Amanda Evans November 9, 2015, 9:54 am

      Yes it is. I feel that your partner should always make you feel that you are supported. When this is broken, then you need to have to talk.

  • Linda France November 6, 2015, 9:56 am

    This is really great advice that you give here. Having a supportive partner is how relationships last longer than a couple of years. You have to be there and committed!

    • Jim Vigilante November 7, 2015, 5:20 pm

      Thank you. That’s so true, you have to be “all in” or get out.

  • Stephanie Cass November 6, 2015, 9:44 am

    My partner is very supportive and I think it makes me feel very important. He puts me first and I can tell. That means a lot to me.

    • Keisha Martin November 7, 2015, 9:56 am

      That is great to hear. It is always nice to hear that some people have partners that help and support them.

  • Mary Pastrana November 5, 2015, 9:05 am

    I am not sure what to do. I have told my b/f that I need a workout partner, but he is being really lazy about it. Even though he could use a workout or two as well. How do I motivate him?

    • Jim Vigilante November 7, 2015, 5:24 pm

      Everything is not going to be suitable for everyone. You can’t really motivate him if that’s just not his thing. Find things that you both enjoy doing and connect over them, after doing various activities together for a period of time, he may come around and want to be your work out partner, or maybe not, maybe that activity you will just need to do by yourself or with someone else, and that’s ok too.

    • Cheryl McHugh November 8, 2015, 12:18 pm

      I agree with Jim. If you have noticed that there are few options when it comes to motivating him, you may have no options. It does not pay to waste your time with it.

  • Kimberly Meyers November 5, 2015, 8:55 am

    I have always been very supportive of my partners, but never really got that same support from them. Is it something that I am doing, or should I just stop worrying about it?

    • Jim Vigilante November 7, 2015, 5:57 pm

      I can completely relate to what you are saying Kimberly. It’s unfortunately common, in most relationships one person gives more, it’s just the normal dynamic. It’s not something that you are doing, except picking the wrong partners. My advice would be to not settle and keep searching for that person that loves the way you love, that gives as much as you give and also needs as much as you need. If you are very active in the relationship, very focused on it and on your partner, giving support, encouragement, attention and affection, don’t get caught up in a one sided situation, either let them know that you are unhappy and need more or find someone who gives as much as you give.

  • Adrianna Fine November 4, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I support my partner in EVERYTHING. As long as I feel it is morally OK, he gets my support. That has been the cornerstone of our 23 years of marriage!

  • Kathie Bryant November 4, 2015, 2:32 pm

    I always felt that the main reason that you would benefit from a partner is encouragement. Just like in the post.

    • Paul Monahan November 10, 2015, 9:59 am

      Well, feeling safe is a huge part of it too for some woman.

    • Sandra Davis November 12, 2015, 9:48 am

      all of these are great to have in your life. if you meet a person that offers these to you, then you are very lucky.

  • Patricia Forehand November 1, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Jim, you are providing the exact things that my husband needs to know. Great tips!

    • Jim Vigilante November 2, 2015, 2:24 pm

      Thank you Patricia. I appreciate the comment.

  • Lizbeth Robertson November 1, 2015, 5:42 pm

    I do not think that anyone would argue that having a partner makes working out much easier on both parties!

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