There are countless guides littering the Internet and trashy magazines proclaiming to bestow the secret of how to be the ultimate girlfriend upon us lucky women. They ply us with advice like “always look your best” and “make sure he’s well fed”. But is it fair, or even realistic, to ask women to be in alluring domestic goddess mode at all times?
We think some more realistic advice is in order. Check out Match’s guide to how to be a good girlfriend without having to pander to your man’s every whim. You’ll thank us for it!
1. Give him enough space to pursue his interests
It’s unhealthy to be constantly attached at the hip, particularly if one of you is enforcing it more than the other. We all need separation from our other halves, to see friends, pursue our hobbies, or just have some me-time.
If you’re trying to monopolise his time, take a step back and think about what you can do while he’s out with his friends or pumping iron at the gym. Stop trying to keep him to yourself and embrace the opportunity to try something new while he’s otherwise engaged.
If the opposite is true and he won’t let you out of his sight, be firm and let him know that you need your own space and that this is non-negotiable.
2. Don’t freak out when he drinks/goes out/doesn’t reply to your texts for a couple of hours
This might be easier said than done in many relationships, but it all comes down to trust. If you trust your boyfriend completely you shouldn’t be worried by any of the above. And what is a relationship without trust?
If he’s given you reason to doubt him, you might be justified in wanting to check in regularly. But if he’s always been well-behaved and just wants to have a big night out with the boys, let him enjoy himself without having to worry about texting you every half an hour or constantly reassuring you that he’s not that drunk and that he hasn’t seen another woman the whole night.
3. Cook for him if you enjoy it, don’t if you don’t
Never feel obliged to cook for your boyfriend just because you’re female and you think that’s what a good girlfriend should do! It’s 2018 and men are just as capable of whipping up a nice meal as women are.
Find a balance that works for you. If you’re a culinary goddess, great, cook away! Just make sure that your boyfriend is contributing too. Maybe he goes to the shop before dinner, maybe he washes up afterwards. Maybe even both!
He should appreciate the two of you being on equal terms and you won’t resent him for chaining you to the kitchen sink.
4. Make an effort to meet and get on with his friends
Think of having a boyfriend as an opportunity to effortlessly expand your social circle (amongst other perks of course!) A whole world of new friendship opportunities suddenly becomes available to you, so make the most of it. If you met through online dating, you’ll have entirely different circles and even more new friends to meet.
In an ideal world you’d get on like a house on fire with all his friends. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world, so there might be that one who you find a bit irritating. Make an effort to overcome this; perhaps you’ll find that it’s all bravado and they’ll end up being your new bestie. After all, your boyfriend has chosen to be friends with them so they must have some redeeming qualities.
Your man will be grateful for your persistence. He’ll also love being able to bring his girlfriend to events with all his friends and know that you’ll be happy and comfortable.
5. Split bills and other expenses
Don’t be a princess! When you’re together there’s no reason why he should have to fork out more on you than you do on him. Once again, this is about being on equal terms and feeling like you’re both making a contribution to the relationship.
It’s a nice idea to alternate paying for dinner between you so it feels like you’re being treated every other time.
If either of you earns significantly more than the other, you might both feel it’s fair for this person to pay for more things. Go with whatever works best for you, but remember that being a woman doesn’t give you the right to expect free dinner.
6. If he’s done something to annoy you, tell him!
It can be especially hard at the beginning of a relationship to speak up every time your partner does something that upsets or annoys you. The sooner you get into the habit of doing this, the happier you’ll both be.
Every annoyance you push to the back of your mind will more than likely end up exploding in a cascade of rage when you’ve reached your storage limit, leaving your boyfriend dumbfounded. It might be awkward at first to point out the little things, but it will allow him to adjust his habits and hopefully avoid repeating the same mistake. It’s also much easier to deal with a slightly disgruntled girlfriend fairly regularly than an incandescent one only occasionally.
Encourage him to follow the same rule for you and you’ll soon be living in perfect harmony.
7. Love yourself
In the enlightened words of RuPaul: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” When you radiate confidence and happiness, everyone will want to be around you, especially your boyfriend.
We all have our insecurities and perceived flaws. The sooner you learn to accept and even love these, the better your relationship will be. If you feel happy in yourself you’re much less likely to be jealous and want to spend every second of your time with him, both things which can detract from being a good girlfriend.
Don’t rely solely on your boyfriend to give you all the affection you need. He’ll find this exhausting and you’ll be too reliant on him. Gather love from within, from your friends and family and from your other half to ensure a balanced relationship with all the important people in your life.
If you’re on the hunt for a guy for whom you can be the perfect girlfriend, sign up with Match to start your dating journey. Or, find out whether you have enough in common with your partner and discover the classic pre-wedding dating milestones as researched by Match.