What makes a good girlfriend?
Whenever my family got together during Chinese New Year, my senior relatives always engaged with me and tried to give me useful life advice. When I was a teen, a relative of mine constructed a list of qualities I should acquire to be a good girlfriend and an ideal wife.
Here are the things I would have to do to be a good wife:
I have to be the head of the household
I must submit to all of my husband’s demands
I have to bear him as many children as he wants
I have to serve him for the rest of my life
While I appreciated their advice then, I begged to differ on so many levels – mainly because patriarchy has largely diminished. Times have really changed since theirs and women are becoming more prominent players in the society. The age of kitchen, cleaning and child bearers have long past since the rise of well-known feminist icons including Malala Yousafzai and even fictional characters like Hermione Granger who have broken traditionalists’ views of women. They have encouraged more women to follow suit and strive for excellence for their own individual rights. That, is equality.
That being said, what denotes an ideal girlfriend? While I don’t approve of one-size-fits-all instructional traits, here are a few dos’ and don’ts’ that I’ve learnt and would recommend to anyone who has just started dating or has been in a long-term relationship.
DON’T make unreasonable expectations. Although you are in a relationship, don’t forget that he has a life apart from being with you. Hence, don’t expect him to go out of his way all the time just to make you happy.
DON’T forget your friends. This goes without saying.
DON’T air your dirty laundry. Confiding in others is advisable especially when you require a third perspective, so long as you don’t compromise each other’s privacy. That being said, it is important to know where to draw the line, you wouldn’t want the whole world to know that your relationship is on the rocks.
DON’T compromise on your morals. A man who truly loves and respects you would not push or force you to step over your own boundaries.
DO put in effort. Even if you prefer a patriarchy, a relationship takes two hands to clap – don’t expect your man to hold up the entire relationship. Each person has to do his or her part in communicating, making time, and ultimately, staying committed to each other.
DO communicate. Communication is key in any relationship; be upfront with him and discuss any issues you may have before overreacting.
DO compromise on minor issues; if it doesn’t put you in the spot, just let it go and give in sometimes.
DO forgive. Holding on to a grudge is pointless.
The next Do is probably the most important of all….
DO be yourself. Keeping up a façade would only be tiring and unfair to him – a man who truly loves you will accept both your flaws and merits.
Unfortunately, there is no fixed template for an ideal girlfriend. Making relationships work in the long term is hard work; but it is the commitment and persistence that makes it truly beautiful and worth it. In spite of rising feminist ideals, one cannot go wrong with commitment, compromise and communication. Appreciate one another for the effort that has been put in to make each other content and comfortable, celebrate success and stand firm in storms that come your way.
On a final note, remember that your fate is in your hands. Though relationships are definitely a plus-point, don’t forget your own sense of individuality.