Be a Better Partner

by | Jul 12, 2016

Want to be fulfilled in your romantic relationship?

Understand how your partner feels. Walk a mile in his shoes. Look at things from your partner’s perspective. Practice being empathetic.

Be A Better Partner Nancy'S Counseling Corner

There is some evidence that people who read novels have a greater propensity for empathy than those who read nonfiction because novels encourage you to think about how characters feel. And when you can understand how others feel, you have a fundamental skill that helps you navigate successfully in your social life. It’s especially helpful in your romantic life.

When your partner is in pain, or experiencing anger or sadness, studies show you are more apt to be emotionally engaged. That’s because your tendency is to sublimate your own feelings for the moment to focus on your partner’s distress. You use your energy to understand how your partner is feeling.

What if you could use that energy more often—and not just when your partner is sad or angry? Think about how you are feeling when your partner is upset. You martial your energy. You focus on his emotions. You strive to listen and really hear what he’s saying. Perhaps you could apply those behaviors when he is not upset.

More Key Behaviors 

Empathy is certainly key to a successful relationship. What other traits are conducive to a happy partnership? Everyone wants something different from their romantic partner, but there are some commonalities among traits that people want most.


Without honesty, most relationships falter and often end. If you are your authentic self with your partner, you are open and truthful, yes. But there’s more. You do not evade the truth. You do not manipulate your partner. You do not secretly push for your own agenda. You are confident enough to let your true self shine through, warts and all. That’s when your relationship is healthy, and mutual trust abounds.


It’s almost impossible to have respect for someone you don’t trust. So honesty is crucial. Respect can follow when you feel your partner has integrity and moral conduct that you appreciate. When you can respect your partner, his actions and his point of view, and when he can respect you, then you have solid ground for a satisfying relationship. When relationship suffers from the opposite of respect—contempt—that is when you and your partner are likely to be unhappy and even end the relationship.

The success of your relationship is determined by your personality and your partner’s personality. When  you both exhibit traits of empathy, honesty and respect, you have a good chance at a good relationship.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:





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