How To Be A Good Lover

Oh, wait, wait! Before you scroll quickly down the page to avoid the inquisitive gaze of your co-workers, let me disclose that this is not a piece about carnal knowledge! You have to go to Violet for that! No, no — this is about the emotional portion of being a good lover.

Of course, each relationship is very different to the next, but I have tried to make this pretty general. For some women, their idea of the ideal lover is a man who tickles their feet while wearing a false moustache — I’ll leave that stuff to your imagination!

Engage in open, honest communication
If you don’t talk to one another honestly & openly, eventually your relationship will get choked to death with all the things you can’t say. If honest communication is a bit of a foreign concept to you, keep trying — it will get easier. As well as being able to tell your lover how you feel, you need to be able to listen, too. If you find it hard to pay attention to what other people are saying — or if you are always just waiting for your turn to speak — you might want to learn a bit about active listening.

Know what you want from a relationship, & let your partner know your expectations
These can range wildly from things like being faithful, to wanting to spend lots of time with them. Everyone has different needs in a relationship, & if you don’t tell your lover what you want, they’ll never know!

Take responsibility for your own happiness
Being in a relationship does not mean that you are no longer in charge of yourself. If you’re at home & you’re bored & your lover is busy, go out alone! See a friend! Go shopping! Do whatever you like. Your partner does not exist to distract you from your own life or needs, even though sometimes they can be a very welcome diversion! You need to know how to make yourself happy, & keep practising that. Otherwise you run the risk of being codependent.

Learn to love your partner in their own language
People show that they love people in different ways. You might show your boyfriend you love him by bringing him little gifts or trinkets, while he might show you he loves you by cooking for you or taking you out to dinner. Ask your partner what would make them feel appreciated, & then listen to what they say. Some people like jewellery while others are content to have someone brush their hair or kiss them first thing in the morning. Being able to speak your partner’s “love language” will make them feel understood & treasured, & will strengthen the bonds between you.

Learn to forgive & move on
Harbouring resentment will make you sick & eventually poison your relationship. People make mistakes; even people with the best of intentions screw up & hurt the people they love sometimes. Recognise that no one is perfect, even your dream lover, & try your best to forgive them if they upset you.

Be able to admit when you are wrong
Your relationship is (hopefully) more important than one of you being right or wrong. Some people are obsessed with always being right, which I think is really a bit of a control issue. If you are wrong about something, be gracious & admit your mistake.

Be true to yourself
& be honest with yourself, too. Don’t pretend to be someone else in a relationship, it is much more trouble than it’s worth. When I say ‘be honest with yourself’, I mean that if you are unhappy with your lover, don’t deny or repress it. Do something about it. Your happiness is the most important thing.

Be vocal with your praise & show appreciation in as many ways as you can
Be generous with kind words. Everyone needs encouragement, & everyone loves to hear that they are doing things well. Tell people you love them & how much you enjoy having them in your life.

Allow your partner the space to have their own opinions
It’s okay to have different tastes or views on things! In fact, if anything, it makes your relationship a bit spicier. Hanging out with someone who is just like you in every way gets a bit boring, it’s not challenging & you probably won’t learn much. Try not to feel threatened by your lover’s alternative views, & learn to embrace your differences.

Understand your partner’s hopes & goals & be encouraging at all times
This is so important. The encouragement I get from my boyfriend has transformed my life. Even giving support in seemingly meaningless ways means a lot. I once saw a video of my friend about to do a crazy gymnastics move. His girlfriend was filming it & right before he starts, you hear her say, “You’re going to kill yourself!” Of course, he screws it up & injures himself badly. With a girlfriend like that, who needs an enemy? I’d love to know whether he normally completes the move without her “input”.

Spend time together
I know it sounds kind of obvious, but enjoying one another’s company is a really important part of being in a successful relationship. Why on earth would you want to spend time with someone who bores, offends or annoys you?! If your lover can be your best friend, your relationship will be in such good shape.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes your relationship work!