5 steps to becoming a better romantic partner

Surviving or thriving: The difference in your relationship could all come down to changing a few small habits.

Most of us can easily think of countless ways our significant other could be better a better partner (doing more housework, being more affectionate or putting the toilet seat down occasionally, for example).

But when it comes our own behaviour, it’s a little harder to see clearly.

Couples and family counsellor Matt Garrett, of Relationships Australia NSW, sees couples under strain every day.

He says being a better partner and building a stronger relationship doesn’t have to mean making grandiose gestures or implementing changes so big that your personality  becomes unrecognisable (after all it was a big part – presumably – of what attracted your partner to you in the first place).

“In an increasingly hectic world, it can be easy to take your partner for granted or put them at the end of a very long list, but if you don’t work at your relationship, in the saddest of situations one partner could check out emotionally and once they stop caring, it’s really hard to get the couple back on track,” Matt says.

How to become your best self in a relationship

There are ways you can turn the ship around long before your relationship hits an iceberg.

And to get things started, Matt recommends the following:

  • Date nights: Be meticulous about organising regular date nights with your partner – even if it’s a glass of wine on the patio on Friday nights. “Doing so sends a powerful message to each other that says, ‘you matter to me and I’ll put you first above everything else for this moment’,” Matt says.
  • Sweat the small stuff: Make your partner feel special through small gestures. “It could be leaving love notes, making their tea or dressing nicely for them,” Garrett says. “You want to steer clear of complacency.”
  • Actions speak louder than words: Focus not only on the gesture but also on the way it’s carried out. “If you say, ‘Have a great night with the boys’ but then huff and puff around the house all weekend when he gets back, that’s not going to work,” says Matt. “It has to be done from a point of regard and respect for your partner.”
  • Create time for intimacy: After all it’s “sex that separates an intimate, committed relationship from all others”. Lost your libido? Here’s how to fire up your sexual desire.
  • Write a letter when something is bothering you: “If you need to have a serious talk with your partner but you’re concerned it may blow up, write it own to get it out of your head and help you see your points a little more objectively,” recommends Matt. “We then encourage you to speak to your partner rather than give them the letter; they can be open to misinterpretation.”

And of course, if you feel like your relationship needs a little extra TLC, you can always book in for a check-up with a trained counsellor.

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Written by Dilvin Yasa.