As with athletes, only the greats go down in history; when it comes to your man, there are ways to be the best girlfriend he’s ever had. Be you a rookie or seasoned lean, mean, 30-something dating machine, understand one thing: finding your girlfriend style and channeling your inner goddess will set you apart from the rest of the pack. Okay, I know that was overkill. However, there are ways to be the best girlfriend he’s had that apply to every personality type.
1. Say What You Mean
This is not to be confused with being blunt, for I know that a lot of women panic at the idea of confronting a problem without any form of sugar coating. There are however, ways to say exactly what you mean in a nonthreatening manner. As most therapists advise, try using "I feel…when you" statements when you can. They aren’t accusatory and they get your point across. And if he asks you how you’re doing, don’t say fine unless you are just that. I officially declare you too old for mind games, no matter how old you are. Saying what you mean is one of the easiest, emotionally freeing ways to be the best girlfriend he’s ever had.
If he’s tired, angry or sad, let him be or try and help him work through these emotions. He’s allowed to feel discontent with the world around him. You taking his being sad, mad, etc. as a personal attack on your relationship isn’t fair. He doesn’t judge you for the borderline psychotic break you inflict on him, so do him the same courtesy. If certain emotions take over his life and you find that he’s pretty volatile, that’s a problem. And just leave him alone about porn. Science has proven it is healthy for both men and women.
3. Surprise, the Spice of Life
This idea can be applied to every aspect of your relationship. It can be as small as leaving a note in his shower or going skydiving on a whim. If your man is a thrill seeker or even just your average Joe, pulling him out of his comfort zone is a good thing. He’ll have a lot of firsts with you and simultaneously learn to conquer fears with you by his side. Over time, these experiences and sharing of emotional vulnerability will strengthen the bond between the two of you.
4. Be Appreciative
All too often I see a couple where the girl clearly forgets how lucky she is. After months of dating, a lot of women forget that things cost money. If he pays for dinner, thank him and offer to pay for the next meal. If he takes you somewhere, does a honey-do or helps you in a pinch, thank him. Everyone likes to be appreciated. Don’t forget about his needs, and definitely don’t just expect things.
5. Leave Notes
This one stems from my deep love of writing thank you notes. Luckily, the constant togetherness of a relationship bodes well for quirky correspondence in the note arena. Some mornings, he’ll leave earlier than you. Leave him a note on his bedside that says something sweet, sexy or encouraging for the week. He’ll find it later and whether he reciprocates or not, he’ll love that you left one.
6. Build Him up
This should come naturally, but if you make the effort and take it a step further, you’ll be happy you did. You love to feel wanted and so does he. Find the features of his body and personality that drive you wild and dole out a few compliments a week addressing those specifically. He’ll become confident in those features and even if you two don’t last, he’ll reflect on his time with you as one of positive self image. People remember points in their life when they felt like their "best self." How’s that for a recipe for nostalgia?
7. Stay Curious
First off, you should strive to do this with every person you come into contact with. Everyone has something to teach us, regardless of whether they say it outright or not. I actually learned this from watching an ex of mine talk to strangers. He would always figure out what they liked to do and ask specific questions about that. They loved to expand on their area of expertise with him. Every time a person left a conversation with him, they felt valued and interesting. Your significant other has a lot to teach you. Whether it’s his career or a just a hobby, ask questions to help you understand the things that are important to him. The best partners make us learners for a lifetime.
8. Specialized Gifts
When you give a gift, make it for him, not a generic men’s gift. Try and give him something representative of your relationship. I generally go custom. While I understand any post-war memorabilia will be tossed, one of my favorite gifts I ever gave an ex was a custom beer mug, that said "Abby and ****, knockin’ em back since 2012." Since we were together for two years, he used it a good amount. It allowed him to combine his two greatest loves: beer and myself. Now that I think about it, he probably smashed it when we broke up.
9. To-do Switcheroo
Take things from his to-do list and add them to yours. This is probably the most awesome thing you can do for a relationship. Provided that your mate is for the most part independent, doing little things for him won’t make him feel like you’re micromanaging his life. He’ll see it as alleviating his stress. If you notice his car needs an oil change or a gas fill up, ask to borrow it and come back with the problem solved. If he has laundry in the dryer that needs folding, fold it when he’s not paying attention. The feeling of realizing you no longer have to do something that was weighing on your mind is amazing. He’ll associate that feeling with you if you surprise him a fair amount.
In reality, everyone is the perfect girlfriend to the Mr. Right, but until you find him, try not to torture the poor souls you encounter along the way. In your eyes, what makes a great partner?