Everyone's different when it comes to whether or not they like to do
gross things with a partner, so it'll be up to you to decide what feels right for your relationship — and what crosses the line. You and your partner might like to keep a little mystery alive, and that's perfectly fine and understandable. But for some folks, the gross side of life ends up being a great way to bond.
If you two decide to let your guards down a bit, it doesn't mean you
need to be gross on purpose. (Unless, of course, you want to.) But instead, that you've chosen to relax, be more open, and let the less savory sides of life shine through.
After all, "being human involves a lot of 'gross' moments," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. You might witness each other in the midst of a harrowing cold. Or you might live in a small space, and become well-acquainted with each other's bodily functions. And the more OK you are with all that, the better.
Sometimes, it's these very things that
bring a couple together. "By bonding over the gross moments, you’re strengthening your relationship by proving that you don’t always have to be at your [...] best around your partner," Bennett says. "You can still love each other even in the smelly, sweaty, sick, and gross moments!" Here, a few gross things you might want to embrace in order to feel closer, according to experts.
Help Each Other When You're Sick
While it's always fine to spend time alone when you're sick, so you can nap and recover, don't shy away from letting each other see the grosser side of things, like your runny nose or pile of wadded up tissues.
"If you’re both sick, there’s no reason to remain separate or stay apart," Bennett says. "Embrace the sniffling, sneezing, nose blowing, and other grossness to grow closer and support each other in the difficult times of sickness."
And the same is true if you can help each other through the flu, bout of food poisoning, or other moments of illness. By bringing each other water, crackers, and blankets, you'll be
showing that you care. Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock
Exercising together can be a
great source of motivation, and a fun hobby to share as a couple. But it's also a great way to get over the "gross" side of life, in that it exposes you to multiple bodily fluids.
So if you haven't witnessed each other in fully sweaty glory after a jog, or hugged after a hot yoga class, now may be the time. And you can even take it one step further by doing something more "extreme" and extra filthy, like a mud run.
"Mud runs have become extremely popular these days and are a lot of fun," Bennett says. "You can bond through the sweat and mud. Then, when you finish, you get to celebrate your accomplishment as a couple."
Talk About Your Bathroom Habits
It's entirely up to you how much you'd like to share when it comes to things like poop, your period, and so on. But if you aren't feeling well, or simply want to be more open about what's going on,
talking about your bathroom habits can lead to a deeper connection.
"Demystifying natural processes of life, like pooping, can increase intimacy with a significant other while also increasing your comfort with yourself,"
clinical psychologist Dr. Carly Claney, tells Bustle. "By sharing the messier parts of you with your partner, you are building trust through vulnerability."
Of course, it's OK to
not talk about these things, if you'd prefer to keep it to yourself. But chatting about poop and other bodily functions can be humanizing and bonding, Dr. Claney says, which is why it's always OK to be honest about it, too.
Keep The Bathroom Door Open
By going the bathroom with the door open, using the toilet while the other takes a shower, and being more open about grooming habits, you will undoubtedly feel closer as a couple.
"At first the idea of it is nerve-wracking but it quickly becomes pedestrian and, at times, strangely intimate,"
relationship expert Amy North, tells Bustle. "That’s because these potentially gross moments are actually the most humanizing. Anyone can share a bed. It takes a true bond to share the bathroom."
Another thing you can do, if you so choose, is let your bodily functions do their natural thing — without trying to hide them or
cover them up.
"Despite what some people may tell you, everybody farts," North says. "Farting with your partner can be funny, competitive, and even endearing. It takes trust to fart without fear," and once you do, there's no turning back.
It's fine, though, if you don't ever get to this point, or if you decide not to fart in front of each other. There are plenty of other ways to
bond with a partner that don't include gasses, should you want to go a different route.
Whether you're squeezing a blackhead, brushing each other's hair, or wiping food of your partner's face, grooming each other in these small ways can be a sweet way to show you care. As Bennett says, "You’re not only being helpful, but you can [also] grow closer through the physical touch it involves."
Remember, touch and other types of intimacy are an
important part of many relationships. So if you don't already, you may want to consider giving each other a foot massage, as one more way to connect.
"Rubbing your partner’s feet can [release] relaxation hormones in their brain," therapist Katie Ziskind, LMFT, owner of
Wisdom Within Counseling, tells Bustle. "Even if you think feet are gross, your partner will immediately feel relaxed and [have less] stress as a result of your gentle foot massage." And what could be more loving than that?
To make it extra nice, apply some coconut oil or whatever lotion you happen to have lying around, and "take turns rubbing each other's feet so one person doesn’t do more giving or taking than the other," Ziskind says. "Foot rubs are a great way to increase empathy, compassion, and will help you and your partner feel closer together."
While these things may be a bit "gross," if you decide to try them out as a couple, it may help you to better understand each other,
be more intimate, and even feel closer as a result.