Signs your partner really supports you

Dolly Parton rarely shares details of her marriage, so fans were thrilled when the iconic singer posted a throwback photo of her hand in hand with Carl Dean, her husband of 55 years.

American businessman Mr Dean, 79, appears to be wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his wife’s face in the picture, but if you look closely, you’ll notice the garment (which is available to pre-order on Dolly Parton’s official website) is superimposed on the photo, which appears to be taken in the 1960s.

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A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

“Find you a partner who will support you like my Carl Dean does!” Ms Parton, 75, captioned the snap, which was shared with her 4.5 million Instagram followers.

Read: Dolly Parton set to publish her first novel

We think the caption is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the T-shirt, but still, letting your wife photoshop clothing onto an old picture of you for promotional purposes, is supportive too. And there’s no denying the pair – who met when Ms Parton was 18 and Mr Dean was 21, and celebrated their 50th anniversary by renewing their vows – have got each other’s backs.

Inspired by the country legend’s touching tribute, these are some of the other ways you know your partner supports you.

They’re your number one cheerleader
Whether it’s literally cheering you on at the finish line of a race, telling you how amazing you are when you’re feeling demoralised after a tough day at work, or writing a heartfelt message in a birthday card, your other half believes in you no matter what, and they’ll keep bigging you up until you believe in yourself too.

Read: Courtship back then – on a bicycle built for one

They listen without judgement
You’ll never hear the words ‘I told you so’ when you go to your partner with a problem. They listen attentively and have a knack for knowing when you’re looking for practical solutions, and when you just need to hear ‘I’m sorry that happened, let me give you a hug’.

They support your career

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A caring partner wants you to succeed at work and celebrates your professional successes. They ask about your day, listen when you need to rant about your least favourite colleague, and while they want you to have a good work/life balance, they don’t get in a huff if you have to do long hours or work at the weekend.

They share the load at home
From cooking and cleaning to parenting and paying bills, for cohabiting couples, how you divide household tasks or childcare can have a big impact on your stress levels. That’s why your other half always pulls their weight, stepping in to pick up the slack when you’re overwhelmed. And, of course, you do the same in return.

They put up with your quirks
We’ve all got our own foibles – little quirks that would probably irritate most people – but does your partner judge you? No, they just smile at your obsessive cleaning rituals, food fads or insistence on always sitting on the left side of the sofa …

They let you rant
As much as you try to keep moaning to a minimum, sometimes you just have to let rip and have a good rant. A supportive partner doesn’t shush you or tell you you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, they let you get your complaints off your chest and join in with a few expletives of their own, just for good measure.

Read: Scientific reasons why hugging is good for your health

They know how to make you feel better
Maybe you need a calming cup of tea or gin and tonic after the aforementioned rant, or a cuddle when you’re feeling sad. Maybe you need words of encouragement when you’re down in the dumps. Whatever it is, your partner instinctively knows what to do (or asks if they’re not sure), and you can guarantee you’ll be back to your usual sunny self in no time.

What are some other signs of a supportive partner? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Katie Wright

Fashion and beauty editor at the Press Association.