7 signs you’re a better partner than you give yourself credit for, according to psychology

Relationships are tricky, right? 

They don’t come with a step-by-step manual that tells you how to be a great partner. And every relationship is so unique that asking friends for advice or doing what you did with your previous partner isn’t exactly a fool-proof strategy.

The truth is: we’re all just figuring things out day by day. And it’s a natural human thing to focus on the negative and assume you’re not as good of a partner as you’d like to be.  

What if I told you, you’re probably doing a lot better than you think? 

Well, the good news is, you don’t even have to take my word for it. There are actually some signs, according to the experts, that you’re a better partner than you give yourself credit for. 

I’m diving into 7 of those signs right now, let’s see how many of them you see in yourself and your relationship. 

1) You really listen to your partner 

Ever caught yourself really tuning in when your partner’s talking, like you’re picking up on every little thing they’re saying and even what they’re not saying? That’s gold right there. Listening isn’t just about hearing words; it’s about getting the full picture, the vibes, and all the stuff in between.

Now, this might seem like no big deal, but here’s the scoop: when you actively listen, you’re doing way more than just nodding along. You’re making your partner feel seen, heard, and valued and this emotional validation is magic in a relationship.

And get this, there’s science backing this up too. “Studies have shown that those who listen have more successful relationships” as outlined by Diana Raab Ph.D. It’s a real game-changer, it strengthens your bond by fostering trust and understanding.

So, next time you’re all ears hearing about your partner’s day, their dreams, or even their random ramblings, give yourself a little credit. You’re not just being nice; you’re being an awesome partner.

2) You respect their boundaries

Let’s say your partner is feeling a tad overwhelmed, craving some me-time to recharge. How do you react? Are you the type of partner who respects this without taking it personally?

Stepping back and giving them space is more than just an act of kindness; it’s about deeply understanding their needs and respecting their personal boundaries. It’s acknowledging that everyone needs some space to be alone sometimes and that’s okay. 

Now, you might think, “Sure, everyone needs space, but what’s the big deal?” Well, here’s the kicker: by honoring their need for space, it’s a huge leap forward in your relationship. 

You’re showing them that you get what they need and you respect it. This silent understanding speaks volumes for what a great partner you are.

“Respecting boundaries helps build trust and intimacy because you’ve created a “safe space” for the people around you. In this safe space, everyone feels respected and valued” explains PsychCentral writer Simone Marie, “This will allow you to build a healthier relationship”.

When you respect your partner’s boundaries, remember it’s helping to strengthen your relationship and it’s one of the things that makes you an outstanding partner.

3) You regularly show your appreciation

When was the last time someone noticed a small thing you did? ​​Remember how good it made you feel to be acknowledged? That’s the impact of appreciation, and it’s especially powerful in relationships. It’s more than just thanking for big things; it’s about valuing everyday gestures.

This one really hits home for me, I’m all about the little things. When my partner lets me know he appreciates the small things I do, it means the world. I feel seen, connected, and loved. I try my best to return that favor to him and show my appreciation for him too. 

It’s easy to brush off being appreciative as no big deal, just part of the relationship package. The thing is: consistently showing appreciation is key in relationships. It seems like a small task, yet it’s crucial.

According to Harvard Health, “a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship”. 

Appreciating small things, like a text or making coffee, adds energy to your relationship. If you’re already noticing and valuing what your partner does then it’s a sure sign you’re a better partner than you give yourself credit for. 

4) You support their dreams

Psychologists say that these boundaries are non negotiable in romantic relationships 7 signs you're a better partner than you give yourself credit for, according to psychology

Another sign that you deserve more credit for being a great partner is your unwavering support for your other half’s dreams. 

It’s not always easy to stand by someone’s side as they chase their ambitions, especially in the early days when there’s a lot of uncertainty, money is tight and there are other priorities to consider. This kind of support requires patience, understanding, and a whole lot of faith.

The Gottman Institute highlights how backing your partner’s dreams reduces conflict and builds stronger bonds and respect in the relationship. It’s about more than just knowing their dreams and not getting in the way, but showing an interest and actively cheering them on.

Supporting your partner’s dreams is a big deal. Your commitment and encouragement mean more than you know. And it’s a telltale sign you’re a great partner, even if you don’t always realize it.

5) You’re willing to have tough conversations 

Ever had one of those deep talks with your partner that felt a bit scary to start? That’s a huge sign you’re doing great in your relationship. These talks mean you’re both willing to face tough topics together, which really shows you care.

Having tough conversations is about trust and feeling safe with each other. It’s about being open and vulnerable showing you’re there for the tough times as well as the good times.

Choosing to have these hard conversations is a big way to show love and respect. It says you value your relationship enough to work through anything, together. And they make you stronger.

“Getting through difficult conversations successfully makes intimate relationships stronger, more stable, and more emotionally intimate.” as outlined by psychologist and author, Helene Brenner.  

So, when you’re facing a tricky chat, remember, that although it’s not easy, it’s a chance to grow closer. You’re making your relationship stronger by being so open and supportive, and that’s something to be proud of.

6) You show understanding and forgiveness

Did you know that studies show practicing forgiveness in relationships can lead to greater relationship satisfaction? It’s true! Forgiveness is more than just accepting an apology; it’s about working through the issue and moving forward together.

In a relationship, misunderstandings and conflicts are bound to happen. How you handle these moments makes all the difference. When you show understanding and forgiveness, not only are you letting go of resentment; you’re choosing to prioritize your relationship over your ego.

As outlined by relationship expert Lisa Firestone “couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying romantic relationships”. She continues “Forgiveness is such a key component to a healthy relationship, because, let’s face it, people are not perfect”. 

By forgiving, you can let go of negativity and help your relationship to thrive.

Being forgiving and understanding is really important in a relationship. It’s a valuable trait that helps your relationship last longer and be happier. So, if you’re someone who forgives and moves forward, don’t forget to acknowledge it and be proud of it. 

7) You make an effort with their friends and family

You know that expression “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”? Well, the same goes for your partner’s family or friends. You won’t always see eye to eye with them, but they’re part of the package deal.

But here’s the thing: even if you’re not best buddies with your partner’s family or friends, making an effort with them is important. It shows your partner that you care about your relationship and their happiness.

I have this friend who really doesn’t get along with her husband’s family. They have different interests, values, you name it. But she still makes the effort to spend time with them because she knows how much they mean to her husband. Can you relate to that?

If you can, then it’s a clear sign that you’re a better partner than you give yourself credit for. It’s certainly not easy but making sacrifices like this for the ones you love shows true dedication and selflessness.

Final thoughts

So how many of these signs hit home for you? 

Showing appreciation, listening to your partner, and supporting them are all vital elements for a successful relationship. If you’re doing most or all of these things in your relationship, it’s clear you’re already a remarkable partner, so be proud of yourself.

Keep up the good work, and watch your relationship get even better.

Picture of Cat Harper

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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