How to Be a Better Boyfriend


Last Updated: June 20, 2024

Relationship Advice

Do you believe in true love? If you do, you’re in the majority, along with 86% of the American population! But it’s one thing to believe in true love and another thing entirely to create a loving, lasting relationship. The good news is, that becoming a better boyfriend through small, intentional changes can significantly increase your chances of finding and keeping the partner of your dreams.

Based on advice from leading researchers and relationship coaches, here’s how you can do it!

Communicate Effectively

You’ve probably heard that effective and open communication is a pillar of any successful relationship. But, if this has been an area that’s intimidated you in the past, you’re not alone. Surveys show that 71% of people feel that they don’t have the tools to discuss important relationship topics and navigate conflict.

Let’s take a look at some of the key ways that you can improve your communication skills:

Use active listening

It may surprise you to see that the first step in becoming a better communicator is actually to become a better listener. Active listening allows your partner to feel heard, understood, and validated, which is a crucial step in the two of you being able to resolve conflict and misunderstandings. Here are a few components of active listening:

  • Body language. Simply looking at your partner, squaring your torso towards them, relaxing your shoulders, and placing your hands in your lap (or better yet, holding your partner’s hand) can send a message that they are safe to speak.
  • Checks for understanding. Repeating what your partner has shared can make them feel heard and give them the space to clarify for further understanding. For instance, you might say, “What I’m hearing you say is…”

Be considerate of your partner’s perspective

This doesn’t just mean being polite. Actually, consider your partner’s perspective by trying to see things from their point of view.

Use “I” statements to avoid blame and criticism

Starting a sentence with “You always…” or “You said…” will almost always be taken as an attack, which will lead your partner to react defensively. Instead, learn how to operate from a place of “I.” For instance, you can say, “I get the sense that…” or “When I heard you say…”

Get comfortable talking about your own expectations, boundaries, and needs

Often, men don’t feel comfortable as communicators simply because they don’t know what to say. This will take some introspection to get clear on what your needs are in the relationship and what you expect and desire from your partner.

Own up and apologize when necessary

Apologizing is one of the most difficult, but necessary, practices that will bring you closer to your partner. Now, we’re not saying that you should apologize for things that aren’t your fault. But, if you can recognize that you could have done things differently, saying sorry can be very impactful.

Show Affection and Appreciation


A positive relationship isn’t just about learning how to navigate conflict. It’s also about showing your partner you care for them day to day! Take a look at a few ways that you can shower your partner with affection and appreciation:

Tell them you care

Verbalizing your love for your partner is an important way to maintain a connection between the two of you. So, get comfortable giving compliments, telling them you’re happy to be with them, and saying “I love you” often.

Make a note of the things they like

Your partner may never ask you for flowers or for you to make them coffee in the morning. But, if you know that they enjoy these things, you can show your affection by performing these small, kind tasks for them.

Get physical

One of the biggest challenges that couples in long-distance relationships struggle with is a lack of physical connection. And that’s because we are hard-wired to seek out physical touch and affection! So, if you’re lucky enough to have your partner close, don’t miss the opportunity to hold their hand, give them a kiss, and reduce the physical distance between you.

Of course, not everyone enjoys physical touch, especially in certain situations such as in public or when they’re engaged in a task. So, learn when your partner is most open to physical touch.

Become more thoughtful

Being affectionate isn’t only about verbal affirmations, gifts, and physical touch. It’s also about taking the time to consider how you can improve your partner’s life. That might mean picking up food on the way to see them, planning dates, running a bath for them, and other thoughtful acts of helpfulness.

Be their biggest cheerleader (and allow them to become yours)

Being a better boyfriend means becoming interested in the things that are important to your partner. Whether they’re working on a new work project or painting the guest bathroom, celebrate their wins! This will make them feel valued.

Likewise, don’t be shy about sharing your accomplishments and wins so that your partner can also cheer you on!

Be Reliable and Supportive

Unreliability in a relationship can make your partner feel uneasy and confused about whether they can trust you and turn to you in times of need. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to ensure that your partner feels cared for and supported:

Work on your emotional skills

A lot of men think of practical ways that they can be reliable for their partner, such as providing financial support and fixing things around the house. And, while these are certainly helpful, being a reliable boyfriend also means providing emotional safety. This comes in the form of comforting your partner through difficult moments as well as learning how to engage with and express your own emotions in a healthy way.

Share in mutual responsibilities

If you share a home with your partner, you are both responsible for basic household chores like cleaning, grocery shopping, and meal planning. Your partner will appreciate you discussing how these chores can be shared (for instance, sharing your plans for the week so you can plan out your cooking schedule), but you should avoid constantly asking your partner what needs to be done.

Be a sounding board for your partner

Your partner may want to vent about their day or hear advice on how they should deal with a specific problem. Giving them the space to hash out what’s on their mind will make them feel supported, which will deepen the connection between the two of you.

We would also suggest that when your partner starts to talk about something that’s bothering them, ask if they would prefer your advice or if they just need a listening ear.

Think of yourself as your partner’s “home base”

Healthy relationships are made up of independent individuals who are free to explore their own interests while maintaining a connection to their partner. So, think of yourself as your partner’s reliable home base. Trust in them when they’re not with you, encourage them to build a life of their own, and show a genuine interest in the hobbies and activities you don’t share together.

Maintain a Healthy Relationship


Being in a healthy relationship requires continual maintenance and care to ensure that both partners are happy, supported, and motivated to stick together. Here are a few ways to foster continuing connection over time:

Resolve conflicts with care

Conflicts will inevitably arise in a relationship, but how you handle them is a key way to preserve the love between you and your partner. Always try to turn the volume down on strong emotions, use “I” statements, validate each other’s feelings, and consider solutions rather than trying to score points. You might think of conflicts in terms of “me and my partner versus the problem” instead of “me versus my partner.”

If this is something you struggle with, consider pausing your arguments and making a plan to come back together to talk when you’re in a calmer emotional state. Reiterate that your intention is not to avoid the problem, but rather come back to solving it together when you’re able to listen and express yourself more clearly.

Prioritize trust, honesty, and faithfulness

Breaches of trust can be very difficult to overcome in relationships. Keep in mind that secret-keeping, infidelity and other breaches of trust are often symptoms of underlying problems in the relationship or the individual. Tuning into your emotions and dealing with the first signs of such conflicts can be an important way to avoid growing apart.

Keep things exciting

Long-term relationships should feel comfortable and reliable, but that doesn’t have to mean boring! Making an effort to plan romantic dates, getaways, and other thoughtful adventures can keep the spark alive.

Never stop growing (and allowing your partner to grow)

Personal growth is an amazing way to make a relationship thrive over time. After all, being committed to learning will ensure that you never have the attitude that your partner simply needs to accept and accommodate your flaws without question. Only by being open to change and growth can you commit to becoming a better boyfriend over time.

And, if you see your partner growing and changing, praise them for it! This kind of openness takes a lot of self-reflection and vulnerability, but when you both commit to it, it will make your bond stronger.

Understand and Address Relationship Dynamics

One of the most fascinating things about relationships is that each one is different! Each couple will have their own unique dynamics and forms of expression. Here are a few ways that you can cultivate yours for a happier relationship:

Consider couples counseling

A lot of people panic when they hear the phrase “couples counseling,” but the reality is, that having a third party shed light on your relationship dynamics can be hugely beneficial. Keep in mind that you will want to spend time finding a therapist who is able to connect with you both and is within your budget. Online options are a great way to try out a few different options and save money so that you can get the most out of couples counseling.

Don’t shy away from difficult topics

There are many topics within a relationship that might make your palms sweat, be it finances, family planning, career goals, or dealing with in-laws. But as much as these kinds of conversations may feel uncomfortable, it’s important that you don’t ignore them. The good news is, that by using some of the skills we’ve covered in this article, you’ll be in a good position to navigate difficult conversations with understanding and gentleness.

Tune in to your partner’s bids for attention

Researchers have found that in a typically happy relationship, partners will seek out each other’s attention around 100 times in a ten-minute period. This might include pointing out a bird, commenting on the weather, or asking a mundane question. In contrast, partners in troubled relationships will only bid for attention around 65 times in the same time period. What this suggests is that it’s important not to overlook the importance of small, frequent connections with your partner.


The fact that you are interested in becoming a better boyfriend is a great sign! If you’re able to implement some of these changes, such as becoming more emotionally connected to yourself, providing your partner with verbal encouragement, and maybe even seeking out couples therapy, you’ll be in a position to build a strong, long-lasting relationship.

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