How to Be a Good Girlfriend

A common misperception about lesbian relationships is that they don't last. After you meet a few couples who have been together for 20 or 30 years or more, though, you’ll start to see that they most certainly can and do stand the test of time.

If you want your relationship to endure, being a good partner is important. When you’re half of a couple, you have to balance your needs with those of your partner, your relationship, and your families. That's easier said than done when emotions, ego, and desires get in the way. Here are a few ideas for things you can do to make yourself the best girlfriend you can be. Hint: They have everything to do with mutual respect.

Be a Good Listener

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Most people think they’re good listeners, but being a truly active listener takes practice. Make eye contact, turn off the TV, don’t interrupt, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t get defensive, don't glance at your phone. Let her know you’re ​hearing what she has to say. Wait until she’s finished before you respond or address what she’s saying.​​​

Keep Your Promises

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If you say you’re going to make it to dinner with her boss, show up. Be on time and be present. If you make a promise, it should be your number-one priority to keep it. If you think something might get in the way, then say so upfront. “Honey, I’d love to be there, and I will make every effort, but I’ve got a meeting with that difficult client that day. I’ll do my best to make sure everything goes smoothly with that, so I can be there for you.” This applies to promises big and small. Keep them all.

Be Independent, Yet Attentive

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It’s a fine balance sometimes between being true to yourself and being a good partner. You might err on one side or another from time to time, but your goal is to secure and independent but available to your partner. Don’t be needy or clingy. Be strong, but not aloof. Be there for her, but don’t smother her.

Don't Do the U-Haul Thing

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The second-date U-Haul-in-the-driveway thing is a popular trope for a reason. Sure, it's a little extreme, but we do tend to feel deeply. Nothing wrong with that delicious flush of brand-new chemistry, of course—just don't rush things. Give your brain time to catch up with your heart (and the rest of your bits). You don't want to scare her off by encroaching on her emotional and physical space before she's ready to let you get that close.

Admit to Mistakes When You Make Them

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Apologize—and be specific. Tell her exactly what you're sorry for. Sincere apologies are all about making someone feel heard, so show you've given some thought to how your actions might have made her feel.  Then make it up to her.

Create Rituals, Inside Jokes, Nicknames, and Other Just-Between-You Things

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What makes the two of you unique together? Remember the song that was playing when you first met? An inside joke that makes you both crack up? A cute nickname you create for one another? These small things go a long way to gel your connection to one another. When she’s having a hard day, send her an email with a link to the song that reminds her of you. Find cute things to share with her that remind you of her. Even the smallest gesture can help her know you’re thinking of her and that she’s special.

Develop Dreams of Who or What You Want to Be, Both Individually and as a Couple

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At the first blush of a new relationship, people tend to drop other things and throw themselves wholeheartedly into their new flings.  you know the feeling, probably. Once the intensity wears off, though, get back to working on yourself and your dreams. Don’t let yourself get stagnant because you’re in a relationship. Get excited about things you want for yourself as well as some you want as a couple. You might want to complete your degree or work toward a better job, for example. You can keep working toward that goal for yourself while also saving for the romantic trip to Paris, having kids or buying a home. To be interesting, you have to be interested in life both within and outside the relationship.

Take Care of Your Health

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Don’t be that person who gets into a relationship and then ignores her health. Being with someone is not an excuse to get lazy about exercising and eating well. Cook good, healthful food, join a gym ... you can even make health a mutual priority. Taking care of yourself shows that you want to be around for her for the long run.

Create Sexy Time

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This isn’t just any relationship; this is a romantic partnership with someone you’re intimate with. If you want to be a good girlfriend, pay attention to her sexual needs and desires. Make romantic dates. Make sex dates. Have spontaneous sex. Have planned sex. Be adventurous. Take risks. Step outside of your comfort zone. Focus on her pleasure more than your own. Good sex can do a lot to keep a relationship going. Remember, too, that the most important sexual organ lies right between our ears.

Be Honest and Trustworthy

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Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Don’t cheat on her, lie to her, or hide things from her (unless it’s a surprise party.) She wants to know you’re true to your word.

Give Her Space

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Everyone needs time to herself occasionally. Let her have her moment to stew when she’s upset or to follow her own desires and interests. If you live together, make sure that each of you has alone time in-house occasionally or on a regular basis. ​The time when you’re by yourself with no one watching and no expectations is important to being a well-balanced individual, which in turn, will make you a better girlfriend.

Respect Her Differences

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You might have different ideas about money, fashion, name it. You might be out to everyone and she might still be closeted at work. You might have different spiritual beliefs. Try to see things from her point of view; don’t try to change her. If you can’t accept her for who she is right now, then this might not be the relationship for you.

Keep Your Friendships and Encourage Her to Keep Hers

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Your friends ground you, help you blow off steam, tell you when you’re messing up, and allow you to be yourself without judgment. Developing and maintaining strong, lasting relationships outside of your romantic partnership is important and healthy.

Make Time for Play

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Develop common interests and enjoy them. Invite friends over for card nights, or go see comedy shows. Adopt a couple of kittens and watch them play. Race stock cars together. Keep the lightness and fun in your relationship no matter what other difficult things you’re dealing with.

Know When to Throw in the Towel

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Facing the fact that one half of a couple isn't right for the other is painful enough in binary relationships, but it can be doubly so for lesbians. Finding someone to share life with is a bit more difficult for us, but that's no reason to settle out of fear, complacency, or habit.  Remind yourself that you haven't stumbled upon the only other lesbian in the world. Life's too short (and you're smart) to stay with the wrong person, and love should be fun, not difficult.