Showing up for your partner

“Being there” for someone can be sort of a vague term. Sometimes people will say, “I’m here for you” during a tough time because it seems like they have to say it. It’s what you say to make the other person – or yourself – feel better. Oftentimes, however, the people who say that don’t actually show up at all.

So, what does “showing up” actually look like? Well, it’s more than just saying the words. It’s knowing someone, communicating them, and acting in a way that gives them what they need. When you are in a romantic relationship, showing up is crucial, and it’s different for everyone.

In person

The most obvious way to show up for someone is by physically being in their presence. Sometimes, being with someone says so much more than any words ever could. Maybe they need a literal shoulder to cry on, or just to feel heard. If you can provide something like that for them, that’s showing up.

Being in person doesn’t just mean being in the same room, though. It means giving someone your attention. If your partner needs you, don’t be distracted by the TV, or your phone, or something else. If you’re there in person for someone, give your whole person.


Of course, simply being there in person isn’t the end of showing up. Just like partnering with a matchmaker doesn’t automatically build you a life of romance, being there for your partner requires more than just sitting on the same couch as them. Give them the space to express themselves emotionally, and talk to them. Be honest, but be kind.

When you’re there for your partner, you’re not just existing in physical space with them, you’re helping create that space. Make it a space that is healing and comforting, while allowing them to express themselves.

In ways you don’t understand

What you need is going to be different from what your partner needs: that’s inevitable. If you need someone, you might seek out advice, but not everyone is going to want advice. Sometimes, your partner may want to vent. You may not understand it, but that’s alright.

Empathy is crucial. You may not always understand what your partner needs, but if you work to have empathy, you don’t have to feel the same way that they do. You just have to be open to what they are feeling and act in a way that shows you care.

Not because you have to

Don’t treat being there for someone as a job or a chore. Your relationship should be natural. When you truly care about someone, showing up for them will not be something you have to force, but a regular course of events.

You wouldn’t want someone showing up to only do it because they feel like it’s something they owe you. You’re not their employer or boss. Show up because it feels like something you want to do, and do that by understanding your partner and what they need in the best way that you can.

gay partners learn and grown in their relationship