When a relationship is new, it can be exciting and magical. We want to be with our new love every moment of the day, and everything they do is wonderful. As time goes on, it is clear that relationships are also a lot of work. There are many misconceptions about relationships, as well as confusing advice. If you are asking how to be a good girlfriend, you are on the right track.

Below are some relationship Dos and Don’ts. They could surprise you.

DO try to be your best self

If you are in a relationship, there is something about you that your partner finds attractive. Different people like different things, so advice about how to be or act will work for some people and not for others. Yet, the cliché advice to “just be yourself,” is a bit misleading.

All of us have good traits and bad ones. There is not one person who does not have faults. Many times, our faults are inversions of our virtues.

Do try to be on your best behavior as much as you can. This is often easy in the early stages of your relation, but it gets harder as you spend more and more time together. As you get comfortable, you may get sloppy or lose your temper. You may become less considerate of your partner.

While everyone falls every now and then, it is important to keep trying to do what you know is right. More than anything else, this will make or break your relationship.

DON’T try to change your partner

Just as you have faults, so does your partner. It is guaranteed that he will do things that annoy you from time to time, especially as the relationship goes on.

The most common and the most dangerous relationship myth is that you will be able to change your partner. You won’t.

Everyone has the capacity for change, and people make miraculous turnarounds every day. But…these changes must come from inside. He must decide that he wants to change. If he does not want to change, there is nothing that you can say or do that will force him to be who you want him to be.

That being said, there are things that you can do to influence him, the most important of which is to change your own behavior. Positive change is contagious. If you work to be your best self, he is likely to follow suit.

DO set boundaries

There is an old adage that “good fences make good neighbors.” In that spirit, good boundaries make good relationships. Relationships are about compromise, and it is unreasonable to expect him to change everything about himself to accommodate you.

On the other hand, it is important and necessary to know what you can and cannot tolerate in a relationship.

It is also important to establish your boundaries as early as possible. It will be much harder to set them later, especially as he becomes accustomed to a certain routine.

Your boundaries should be reasonable, consistent, and clear. Below are some examples of good boundaries:

  • I don’t mind if you have female friends, but please be transparent about them.
  • Please put away your phone when we are on a date.
  • Please don’t smoke in the house.

It is only natural that he will challenge your boundaries, so it is important that you stick with them. Eventually, they will become habits and the established rules of your relationship.

****Remember, a relationship is a two-way street. He will have boundaries too. If you want to be a good girlfriend, be sure to respect his boundaries as well. ****

DON’T think “Oh, I can live with it.”

When we first enter into a relationship, we often think that our partner can do no wrong. Their faults are amusing quirks, and we love everything about them. As time goes on, however, the rose-colored glasses come off, and these amusing quirks become annoying.

So…if something bothers you early on in your relationship, your annoyance and frustration with it will only grow over time. There are countless divorce cases in which the straw that broke the camel’s back was a problem that was present from the beginning.

If there is a problem, deal with it early. Know your deal-breakers. Not every relationship will become long-term or end in marriage. Much of our happiness or unhappiness comes from our primary relationships. So, it is best to catch and deal with problems early on.

DO exercise good self-care

It is hard to be your best self when you are tired, hungry, sick, or under stress. Some people are introverts, and some are extroverts. It is not uncommon for an introvert and an extrovert to get together. That means that it is very likely that one of you will need more social engagement than the other.

If you are an extrovert, make sure to have time for your friends or to be in social situations. If you are an introvert, make sure that you get some alone time. You do not have to do everything together.

There is a dangerous myth that if you are in a relationship, your partner should meet all of your needs. That is simply not the case and having this expectation of your partner is a recipe for disaster.

In particular, your partner will probably not be able to meet all of your emotional needs, especially if you are the sensitive type. It is important to have others whose shoulder you can cry on, such as friends, family, or even a therapist.

This is particularly important as your relationship deepens into a marriage or a long-term commitment. The longer you are together, the more likely it is that you will have shared difficulties and traumas, such as the loss of family members. In those cases, it will be important to support each other. If you are both grieving, however, you may need support from someone who is outside your relationship and is not suffering the same things that you are.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. You will be a much better girlfriend if you do.

DON’T be a martyr

One of the absolute worst things that you can do for your relationship is to be a martyr. This does not make you a good girlfriend. Of course, you need to make sacrifices…and your partner should be making them too. But if you go too far, you will be prone to anger and resentment.

Anger and resentment are poisonous to any relationship. They creep in and make you irritable. They destroy your sex life. If you allow them to, they will tear away at your relationship for years, until you do not have any romantic feelings left for your partner.

There are 20- and 30-year marriages that fall apart because one partner resented a sacrifice that they made years in the past. At the time, they thought they were doing the right thing, but it ate away at them and their relationship until it ultimately led to a divorce.

If you are asked to make a sacrifice for your relationship, carefully consider what you are doing. Pay attention to your own feelings. Do you resent it? If so, is there some alternative?

DO communicate clearly, honestly, and lovingly

It is conventional wisdom that communication is vital to a good relationship. Good communication can make the difference between a relationship that succeeds and one that fails. If you want to be a good girlfriend, it is vital that you learn to communicate.

There are many resources on communication, from using “I” statements to being assertive. While such techniques may help if you are having specific problems, the best practice is to speak from your heart.

Look inside to determine your true feelings. It is not uncommon to have mixed feelings about your partner. You may feel a deep love for him, and also be angry because he was rude to you. There is a misconception among many that the “true” feelings are the anger, but that is probably not the case.

The anger is usually temporary, while the love is permanent. Your love is probably a better representation of your true feelings. It may or may not be important to express the anger, but don’t forget to express your love as well.

Let him know when you are upset or need something. This will be the bond that holds your relationship together.

DON’T expect him to read your mind.

There is a situation that is so common that it is sometimes a TV comedy trope. A woman is mad at her boyfriend or husband and locks herself in the bathroom, her room, or leaves. The man is baffled, having no clue what he has done. There are even songs about it.

The man asks the woman what he did wrong, and she says, “You know what you did!” Yet, it is very clear that he did not have any clue what it was.

If you want to be a good girlfriend, don’t put your partner in that position. He cannot read your mind. Don’t expect him to.

Tell him what you need and want. Let him know if he is upsetting you. Yes, you will feel more special and loved if he can figure it out himself, and nothing is the same if you have to tell him. But is that really worth a prolonged fight or a threat to your relationship? Won’t it be better to just tell him what is wrong?

Also Read: Cute Things To Say To Your Boyfriend