There's a bit of a grace period in relationships when it comes to truly showing every side of you. But after you and your partner reach the one year mark, it's likely that your intimacy will reach a new test: being a bit "gross" with one another. The
weird things couples do alone are numerous, but these specific habits show a level of love and trust that's quite sweet, despite the outward peculiarity.
"The grosser you can get with a partner, the more comfortable you feel,"
Dr. Shannon Chavez Qureshi, licensed clinical psychologist and AASTEC certified sex therapist, tells Bustle. "It’s a sign that you can be yourself and don’t have to always impress or look your best. Being gross means that you can let go of all the judgments and be human." It's fine to have certain things that you, in particular, may not be comfortable with, but as time goes by, it's actually really healthy to open up your relationship to more and more non-sexual intimacy.
"Most of the things we consider gross are things we're willing to do alone but don't want to be caught doing," Kayla Lords, writer and sexpert for
JackandJillAdult.com, tells Bustle. "[...] When we stop caring about whether we're doing a 'gross' thing because it's just a natural thing that society has taught us is 'gross,' it's a sign that our comfort level has increased with our partner and intimacy has grown exponentially." And after a year with someone, these small signs of comfort and trust are even more important.
Here are eight "gross" things you should totally consider doing in your relationship after one year, according to experts.
1 Being Intimate Even When You Haven't Washed
While you should keep up basic hygiene no matter what stage in a relationship you're at, it's also important to know that once a year has passed, it's totally fine to want to kiss your partner,
even if you have morning breath.
"[After a year] having to be your cleanest, smoothest, and freshest has worn off and it’s much more convenient to be intimate in comfort," Dr. Quershi says. "Plus, you are less worried about feeling embarrassed if you are not smelling and tasting as fresh." It may seem small, but even skipping a shower before date night, or kissing with morning breath, can be an indicator of a close connection.
2 Being A Little Messy
When your partner first visited your place (and vice-versa) you likely tidied up a bit. But once a year has passed, it shows a good level of comfort to be able to be a bit messier around them.
"The longer you are in the relationship, the more socks, underwear, and messy clutter tend to show up in unexpected places," Dr. Qureshi says. This might look like socks, boxers, or other pieces of clothing around the house, or a couple new items in the bathroom. This kind of clutter may seem overwhelming if you have just met someone, but a year or more in, it can be a sign that you share a sense of casual trust.
3 Making Bodily Noises
During the first year, as you get to know your partner, you may be inclined to
hide your flatulence, burping, or gurgling sounds around them. After a year, it is totally fine to let those noises out if you're both comfortable with it.
"In the beginning of relationships, there is a shyness and politeness around bodily noises," Dr. Qureshi says. "After a while, couples can let their guard down and noises are let out with freedom." If your partner has said this bothers them, that's another issue. But, in general, a long-term partner shouldn't mind your bodily functions.
4 Leaving The Bathroom Door Open
bathroom boundaries are different, but after a year, it may become totally normal to leave the door open when you and your partner are together, and one is using the toilet.
"There are some that say we should leave some mystery in a relationship when referring to toilet habits but there really is not mystery," sexologist and relationship expert
Dr. Nikki Goldstein, tells Bustle. "We all know what goes on in there [...] When toilet habits become more open, it's a good sign of intimacy." You and your partner get to decide how far this rule goes; but a general acceptance of one another's physical needs is usually a good sign. 5 Being A Groomer
Everybody grooms. But sometimes it can be difficult to get some of those stubborn pimples popped or hairs tweezed. Especially after a year has passed, it's totally valid to get your partner to help with this.
"Few mind plucking our eyebrows in front of a partner," Lords says. "But what about that random hair (or ten) on your chin? The one on your breast? For people who don't want to have hair on specific parts of their body [...] being able to do it in front of a partner is a sign of vulnerability." While not for everyone, this moment of intimacy can show that you and your partner are truly comfortable with one another's bodies, and aren't afraid of being judged or mocked.
6 Talking About Bathroom Stuff
Beyond actually doing your business around one another, after a year, you and your partner might feel comfortable talking about these things as well.
"You might be willing to have conversations while one of you is peeing," Lords says. "Alternately, you might be willing to talk about your poop habits (even if you still prefer privacy)." Whatever feels right for you and your partner, this can mean breaking down another barrier of comfortability around one another.
7 Cleaning Up After Each Other
After the first anniversary, it's a good sign if you're no longer fazed by your partner's hygiene or other
daily habits. Being able to go about your daily life, and even do favors for them, that might seem "gross" to outsiders may mean that you're taking an extra step of kindness and care with your partner.
"[It's a good sign to be able to use] the restroom after your partner has used it without being bothered about it,"
dating and relationships expert Sonya Schwartz, tells Bustle. "This denotes you two are comfortable with each other and don’t mind taking care of your ‘nest.'" Whether or not you live together, being able to help out without being "grossed out" is a nice sign of intimacy. 8 Taking Care Of Them When They're Sick
Perhaps most important of them all is the ability to take care of your loved one when they're sick, even if whatever bug they have seems "gross" to you.
"Cleaning puke and assisting your partner when they are ill [...] shows love, care, and commitment," Schwartz says. So although it's important to maintain your own hygiene and protect yourself from getting sick, you can really show your partner how you love them by picking up tissues, washing their bucket of vomit, or even cleaning a toilet when they're very ill. Hopefully neither of you will get sick very often, but a long-term partnership often does involve some of these things.
However you and your partner decide intimacy works best for you, it's important to break down some boundaries around the one-year mark. Showing your partner that you're comfortable with their vulnerabilities is a really small but powerful act of love.