When it comes to dating and relationships, I often find myself wondering how certain people end up with others. Wondering why they don’t walk away if they don’t get what they deserve and hoping that they truly appreciate their teammate if they are getting what they deserve.
I think a big part of the problem blurring this line is that many people aren’t even quite sure what a healthy relationship looks like these days or how a “good man” (or woman) should act towards their partner. To help clarify, I have put together this list of how a good man should act while in a relationship.
1. A good man never lets you forget how much he loves you.
I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with people who tell me that there is no affection in their relationship. The man in their life does not make them feel loved, wanted or appreciated. This is a profoundly important piece of the puzzle — a good man will always remind you how much you mean to him.
If someone truly loves you, you will know it and feel it. If they don’t, you’ll be wondering all the time if they do.
2. A good man always supports you.
Regardless of whether you want to go back to school after 20 years to get your Master’s degree, start a singing career or stay at home to raise a family, a good man will always support you and what you want out of your life. He will never discourage you or make you feel as though you can’t do what you set out to do. He will be beside you every step of the way, cheering on your victories and comforting you during your defeats.
3. A good man will inspire you.
This goes one step beyond supporting you, which can be more passive. To inspire someone takes effort both in how one lives their own life and how they encourage others to live theirs. A good man’s drive and ambition will rub off on you as he pursues his own passions.
4. A good man will work to gain your trust.
A good man will want you to be comfortable and confident in your relationship. The very cornerstone of this is being able to trust someone, and he will realize that. Without trust, there is no foundation for love or respect.
He will understand that trust is not just handed over to someone — it has to be earned, and then it has to be kept.
5. A good man will always make you feel beautiful.
He will understand that making you feel beautiful does not just mean saying the words to you. It will mean truly making you feel beautiful. In the way he looks at you, touches you and treats you. He will notice details when you put effort into your appearance and remind you how attractive he still finds you, even when you don’t.
A good man will understand that whether you are in your sweatpants on the couch or in your evening gown heading to a gala, when you love someone for who they truly are, everything about them becomes beautiful.
6. A good man will make you feel safe.
I have always said that I believe one of the best compliments a woman can give her partner is telling him that she feels safe around him. Regardless of how attracted she is to you or how funny she thinks you are or how much money you have, if a woman cannot sleep soundly by your side at night, none of it matters.
7. A good man does the little things.
Do you need a prescription filled, but have to stay late at work? Did you mention an art exhibit coming to town and he made plans to take you to see it? Regardless of how small certain things seem, he will understand they are really the big things that matter most.
8. A good man never crosses the line.
It is natural to have disagreements and even arguments in a relationship, but there is no reason to make things personal, become insulting and never, ever to become abusive. A good man will remain calm and focus on the topic at hand.
9. A good man is always trying to improve himself.
Whether it be learning new things, developing a new skill set, reading a new book or watching a documentary, a good man who prides himself on continuous self improvement will always be intellectually challenging you and keeping your attention. He will be doing these things for himself, but the added benefit will be the positive impact it has on your relationship.
10. A good man understands actions speak louder than words.
Having the right man in your life will make you understand that people who make empty promises do not deserve your respect. People who keep promises deserve your respect, and he will be one of them.
11. A good man will open up to you.
It can be difficult for some people to express their emotions, fears and even inner-most desires, but having the right person in our lives often helps to open those doors. A good man, while understanding of course that some things are to be kept private, will not hide things from you or bottle up his feelings, knowing that doing so will cause tension and frustration.
12. A good man will always be honest with you.
When building a foundation for a happy, healthy relationship, a good man will understand that honesty is always the best policy.
13. A good man will make you feel comfortable being honest.
Comfort in a relationship (the good kind, not the kind that makes you stop trying) comes from the ability to be open and honest with your partner — and the ability to do this comes from knowing you will never be judged. A good man will encourage you to open up and share your feelings with him. There should never be any fear of him flying off the handle or overreacting if you share something with him.
This means being able to be the most genuine, uncensored version of yourself around him.
14. A good man will never be abusive.
Perhaps the most important point of all. Whether it be mentally, emotionally or physically, a good man will never even think about being abusive towards you or harmful in any way. If this happens to you, please have the courage and respect for yourself in order to talk to someone or walk away immediately. No good person would ever act like this, and it will not get better on its own.
15. A good man will stand by you.
When a man commits his love and his time to someone, there are no stipulations or circumstances required. There will be good times and there will be not-so-good times. There will be challenges and unexpected situations that arise. But he will stay by your side and be your teammate through it all.
Of course, there is an asterisk to this. This does not mean you can disrespect your partner, lie or cheat. It does not mean you can betray his trust and expect him to stick around because he promised to commit to you. This point is about things the two of you go through together and him having the integrity to not walk away when times get hard.
Any man can be by your side on the sunny days. The real test of character is whether or not he will hold the umbrella over you during the stormy days.
Remember, if the person you are with puts in the effort to be this person for you, please let him know how much you appreciate him. No matter how kind someone is, there is no emptier feeling than giving your heart to someone who you feel takes it for granted.
This article originally appeared on JamesMSama.com.