Interested in making it for the long haul?
Want to know what your girlfriend (and potential future wife!) really wants out of your relationship?
Many articles have been written on this topic ad nauseam, but few offer genuinely useful advice or realistic expectations.
Instead, most focus on external actions rather than reflecting on internal behaviors that are fundamental to a healthy relationship.
You don’t need a laundry list of to-dos; there are three basic things you can start doing right now if you’re serious about taking your relationship to the next level.
Make Honesty Your Foundation
Honesty is consistently listed as one of the top qualities in almost every dating profile ever written – that says something.
Most of us have been lied to in a relationship at some point, or have done the lying ourselves, yet in spite of past gaffes, we repeatedly require this trait from our partners.
For many, it’s an absolute deal-breaker in a relationship.
Forget long walks on the beach at sunset. Forget saying “I love you” every day, or buying her roses. None of that matters one iota if you don’t have an honest relationship.
What women really want is honesty.
An important point to remember is that honesty isn’t just about cheating – although no woman wants to worry about who her boyfriend is texting, or have to be reassured constantly.
Nor is it about telling her what you think she want to hear.
Real honesty in a relationship is about being able to share in difficult conversations and criticisms that loved ones usually don’t want to hear.
Some people might counter, well, that’s just communication. If your relationship is based on honesty and integrity, good communication will follow.
This isn’t about being the “breadwinner” in the relationship; your future wife isn’t a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued. Those are outdated ideas best left in the past.
This is about realistic financial and emotional independence.
If you own a fancy car, and live in a swanky downtown condo on the 20th floor, but your mom still does your laundry and pays your car insurance, you are only playing the part of an independent partner.
Giving the appearance of independence vs actually being independent are two different things. Owning expensive gadgets and clothes won’t make someone independent if they are mired in debt and can’t function as an adult.
Learn how to cook, wash your own clothes, pay down your debts, live within your means, and sock a little away for a rainy day – that’s what “adulting” really means.
A woman will appreciate a stable partner over a man who showers her with gifts he really can’t afford just to show off.
Emotional independence is also important.
Reign in your meddling family and friends. Your relationship is between two people, not three or more.
Sure, talk to a close friend to get some advice about a problem once in a while, but don’t air your dirty laundry to everyone on social media, and don’t directly involve them in your affairs.
In this day and age, it is all too common to see extremely private matters splashed across Facebook and Twitter. This isn’t high school; be an adult, keep private things private.
Lastly, don’t expect your girlfriend to do things in the exact same way your mom does. Grow up, and cut the apron strings.
No woman wants to compete, be constantly reminded of her shortcomings, or be criticized by her partner’s parents and friends.
Establish boundaries and don’t let people interfere, or cross lines. Boundaries are vital to a healthy (and happy!) relationship, and a sign of emotional independence and maturity.
Respect the way your partner does things and make sure you support her when she sets boundaries as well, otherwise, she will feel betrayed.
If you’re in it for the long haul, you’re a team – protect that partnership and show a united front. If you can’t establish and maintain boundaries, your relationship will be in trouble.
You may also like (article continues below):
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- How To Tell If A Girl Likes You: 12 Clear Signs She’s Into You
- 4 Ways A Lack Of Empathy Will Destroy Your Relationships
- 8 Reasons For Optimism If You Worry You’ll Never Find Love
Share In The Emotional Labor
This is a recent hot button issue that has received a fair share of attention online.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, emotional labor is the (unthanked) work women do every day to physically and emotionally manage their partner’s expectations in a relationship.
That’s right, women, not men, hence why it is the third integral item on this list.
So what does sharing in the emotional labor mean?
It means not having to be asked to help your girlfriend plan, help around the house, or manage the finances.
It means your girlfriend not worrying about managing your anger, or emotional outbursts, when having a difficult conversation, or asking for help.
It means not having to soothe your ego when constructive criticism is offered.
It’s about not expecting thanks and applause for jobs that are expected and done by women daily without thanks.
Picked up some groceries? Great, that’s called sharing the load. Your girlfriend has probably done this 100 times without you noticing because it’s traditionally expected of her.
Did the laundry? Good. It’s a job that you should be done without asking.
Booked the hotel for your next vacation? Great, why shouldn’t you? You’re both on this trip together; she’s your partner, not a travel agent.
The reason restraint and planning are often considered women’s work in a relationship is the excuse: “Women are just better at this stuff.”
That’s a load of rubbish.
We are socially conditioned to believe that women are better at emotional work, and that men are inept when it comes to >expressing their feelings.
This is due to the fact that men have been raised to be rewarded for doing tasks that traditionally fall outside of their gender roles. This has to change.
The reinforcement of these gender roles does both men and women a huge disservice. For one, it denies men permission to show vulnerability by shaming them.
Secondly, it absolves men from doing their fair share of the emotional labor in a relationship. It sets the relationship into problem solver and psychiatrist mode.
It’s not just about problem solving – it’s about doing the actual work behind the end result.
Women don’t always want you to solve the problem; they want you to stop being part of the problem in the first place.
It goes beyond picking up your socks and making the occasional dinner – it’s about planning and organizing tasks that often take the most mental and emotional work.
It’s about listening, and not blowing up when you hear something you don’t like.
It’s about doing things preemptively without being asked. Notice what your partner does for you and do the same in return.
It’s not about how much you make, flowery romance, and flash, because all that is just icing on the cake.
If you really want longevity and a happy relationship, invest in changing behaviors, and not buying things.
Things are an easy out – the real work is in changing your behavior to be the best partner you can be by showing up as her equal every single day.
If you’re honest, emotionally and financially independent, and share in the emotional labor, you will have the three key elements that make you excellent husband material for any prospective partner.