How Can I Be A Good Girlfriend?

How can I be a good girlfriend and make my boyfriend happy? I want him to be happy.

Dear Bridget,

That is a challenge, that we all could face on a daily basis.

There are a couple questions that come to mind. First of all, in what way are you attempting to please your boyfriend? Are you referring to pleasing him in general, such as thinking of his needs and wants before your own, cooking his favorite meal, watching the football game with him when you would rather watch your favorite TV show, spending the evening with him instead of going out with your girlfriends? Or, are you feeling as if he doesn't love you and pleasing him would help solidify your relationship?

If it is the first, then it sounds like your relationship may be doing well and you want it to be better. If the relationship is doing well, it may be able to handle a sit-down with your honey and asking him what you can do for him to help show him how much you love him. If he is a romantic, maybe you want to do that with some soft music and candlelight.

If it is the second, then there is more to think about here. First of all, you cannot "make" anyone to feel happy. In the same way, we don't "make" people angry. We can do things that may cause the person to feel happy or angry, but it is not like a button that we push and it spits out an emotion. The emotion is still within the individual and they have a choice.

That said, we cannot excuse ourselves to act however we feel like and bear no responsibility for the impact that it may have on another person and the struggle that it may cause in that person trying to control emotions that he or she may not want to have to deal with at that time.

So, let's get down to the heart of the matter. What all of us really desire is to be unconditionally loved. On that end, there isn't any real way to "earn" love and if you could figure out a way to "earn it," it would be earned love and not unconditional love and it would be more susceptible to being lost.

My suggestion? Just like with the first option, above, communicate with your boyfriend and validate him, love him, listen to him, but also hear what he is saying about his love for you. Are you unconditionally loved? And, if you are not unconditionally loved, is that ok with you? Only you can assess the responses to those questions.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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