There are so many ways you can feel supported, just as there are so many ways you can feel loved in a relationship. This article is about how you can tell when you have both.
Whether you’re already in a relationship and need some reassurance, or maybe you’re single and want to expand your taste in green flags, here are 10 habits to look out for.
1) They give you space to figure yourself out.
Like how you want to be supported, and on what.
A truly supportive partner doesn’t claim to know you better than you do. And if there’s something you feel unclear about yourself, they don’t use that to try and influence you to fit their ideals.
Space can mean literal space. They may encourage you to have alone time to explore your options in whatever area of your life needs clarity.
But it can also be a type of space that isn’t literal, where they ask you open-ended questions that help you get to know yourself. Space for you to think freely and feel without judgment.
For example, if you’re stuck on what kind of career you want to pursue, they may encourage you to explore different paths.
Maybe they help you financially.
Or maybe they help you bounce ideas off of them to help you figure out what your preferences are for a job.
Either way, this is a huge sign that they aren’t driven by their ego in their love for you. That they don’t need you to make yourself something you aren’t to make them feel better in the relationship.
2) They value honesty over everything.
The truth can feel like a scary thing in relationships sometimes. Like when it comes to discussing the future where you might not always be on the same page.
But what’s scarier is constantly staying in the dark. Or worse, thinking you were on the same page with someone when you weren’t.
Which is why if your partner would rather confront things head on, it’s something that should not be taken for granted.
I see it as their way of showing up for you authentically because they don’t want to get in the way of your life by being deceptive. And vice versa!
And I think one of the best ways someone can support you is by being selfless and freeing you from life’s unknowns.
3) They’re able to communicate in a mature way.
Immature people see difficult conversations as a power struggle. Where they feel a need to take control of the situation by getting what they want out of it.
Even at the expense of the other person’s comfort.
It’s not always comfortable to have conversations talking about what we want and need from relationships.
But someone who truly loves and supports you, won’t make you feel guilty for being different than who they wanted you to be. They would want you to be yourself first and foremost.
It is natural to feel disappointed when a relationship doesn’t meet your expectations. It’s even natural to feel sorry for not meeting said expectations.
But I believe you can approach this in a way that doesn’t shame the other person.
If your partner is able to accept your differences and shortcomings without using them to control you, that’s a green flag for the books.
4) They look at you with curiosity.
An underrated habit that a supportive partner may have is approaching the relationship with a sense of curiosity. That means they never expect you to stay the same person you were when you first met.
This can be scary for some people, but it is the reality of relationships that things change. That’s literally just how life goes.
Like I mentioned before, honesty is super important, and that includes having regular check-ins. If your partner encourages you to have these, that’s a really good sign.
Like discussing what values you have, how they feel about your shared goals, or my favorite: what’s something new you learned about yourself?
Or maybe they love the idea of just getting to know the little things!
What’s your favorite everything?
And seeing you as a limitless being goes hand in hand with my next point:
5) They celebrate your wins – big and small.
A.K.A. they’re not threatened by your success.
This is a sign that they are supportive of you, but it’s also a huge indicator for how their relationship is with themselves.
People who are happy with themselves encourage others to feel the same. So if they’re excited about your growth, they’re probably growing too!
They might straight up ask you for any good news, or maybe the vibe between you guys always goes in that direction.
Either way, you both feel inspired by each other’s journeys.
Winning as a couple and as individuals? That’s double the wins.
6) They keep you accountable without making you feel bad about yourself.
Specifically for when you self-sabotage, let fear influence your decisions, or lose sight of certain goals you set.
Sure, it’s natural to have our moments of humanness. But a partner who truly values you wants you to thrive and live a life you deserve.
I think an easy way to tell if the way you are kept accountable is healthy, is reflecting on how your partner makes you feel. Like, do you feel safe and comfortable telling them that you’re struggling?
A supportive partner shouldn’t feel like you just broke your mom’s favorite vase. Because:
7) They are compassionate.
What exactly does that mean?
It means they don’t try to intellectualize your struggles. They understand that there’s nothing wrong with being emotional.
Or it’s okay to feel like you’re only half-human today.
We’ve all been there and if we haven’t, nothing’s keeping you from it.
Sometimes, what you need isn’t practical advice – it’s a hug and maybe a little treat.
There’s a difference between a coach and a supportive partner. A supportive partner can be a coach.
But they also know that your mental and emotional well-being comes first.
What’s the good of a goal if there isn’t a healthy mind to hold it?
8) They help you feel safe
Not just when you’re in distress, but in everyday life.
This can be as literal as them making it a habit to increase the quality of your life and creating a safe environment for you.
It can also show up in more subtle, but valuable ways, like how they treat themselves.
I said earlier how a lot of the ways people show up in their relationships, is a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
A genuinely supportive partner knows that it isn’t just about you. They know they have to make necessary efforts in their life to preserve their peace and health.
They will be dedicated to opening up about their internal world with you, and being vulnerable enough to let you in.
So someone who makes you feel safe, will feel safe with themselves, too.
9) They are protective of you.
Similar to making you feel safe, someone who is protective of you respects your privacy.
That means when you tell them a secret, it stays a secret.
Or they won’t humiliate you by being too open about the details of your relationship.
Outside influences are often a huge way that trust can be damaged in relationships. Because it feels like there’s a lack of intimacy.
Or it just straight-up hurts your feelings because random people are passing judgments. Getting all up in your business.
Watch how your partner speaks of you around other people. Just because something is “true” doesn’t mean it needs to be said in front of everyone… Come on now.
10) They tell you that they support you.
We are gloriously ending on a note that sounds humorously obvious.
Even if you’ve been happily and steadily together for many years, hearing words of affirmation from the person you love never gets old.
Life is a never-ending cycle of ups and downs, a little verbal pick-me-up can go miles!
So if your partner understands this and consistently reminds you of how incredible you are – cherish them!
And this goes for everything on this list – maybe it’s another obvious take – but always return the favor.
I know it can be hard to gauge the quality of your relationship when there are a million different people with opinions who think they know best. Especially with comparison being the thief of joy and all.
But I think true support and the way it shows up is unique to each couple. To each person!
It simultaneously explores and addresses what the individuals crave, and inspires support that goes beyond the surface.
Something good for their souls, as well as their bodies.