1. Honesty: Always. When in doubt, be honest. Every. Single. Time. There is, however, something to be said about tact. You don’t need to explicitly spell out how and where and why that dress makes her look fat, but you can let her know that it’s not quite as flattering as the black one.
2. Spontaneity: Don’t let her get bored with you – and changing up the routine will also ensure that you won’t get bored with her. Maybe you’re hot and cold and that daily fight adds some extra spice to your relationship – just be careful, too many days like that and even the fights become boring.
3. Support: Make her feel like you’re on her side – even when you’re not and especially in front of others. You need to present a united front. And when you’re not, why aren’t you? Be sure to choose the right time to address any differences – don’t make her feel attacked or she will immediately go on the defensive and good luck making her feel supported at that point. Remember: It’s the two of you against the world, not the two of you against each other.
4. Drive: You don’t necessarily need to have your whole life figured out, but she needs to know that you’ve got some ambition. Show her you have goals and are working towards them and she’ll believe in you and your dreams even in the moments when you don’t. And do the same for her.
5. Quality time: You don’t need to spend every waking moment together – and you shouldn’t. But make sure that the time you do spend together is filled with discovery and depth, from activities to conversations. Explore a new hobby together, share a childhood story that you haven’t before, indulge in a common guilty pleasure.
6. Quality attention: Don’t be overbearing and don’t be neglectful. Seek to be somewhere in between the two extremes that’s comfortable for both of you. Show her you care, but don’t be too controlling. Give her space, but be there for her when she really needs you.
7. Independent and dependable: A healthy relationship requires both sides. Don’t project your mommy issues or past trauma with ex-girlfriends onto her. It’s not her problem or her fault. At the same time, help her work through her issues by being supportive (see number three), but don’t be her emotional crutch. It’s not your problem or your fault, either.