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.
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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.
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.
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How To Know If You Have A Supportive Partner
- You have choice in the direction of your life
- You feel encouraged
- You feel important
- You feel respected
- You feel attractive
- You’re sexually open with them
- You feel safe with them
- You can be yourself with them
- You communicate well with them
- You feel happy with them
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.