When it comes to being in a long-term relationship, there are quite a few
ways to bond with your partner, as well as several boundaries you should never cross. And, when you think about it, a lot of them occur at home — especially when it comes to sharing intimate spaces, like the bathroom.
From brushing your teeth together, to being more open about your bathroom habits, that tiled room can serve as the perfect place to talk about boundaries, while also providing a space to
feel more comfortable around each other.
"One sign of a mature relationship is that you can be yourself around your partner," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "This includes becoming more comfortable with your partner’s 'grosser' side, like the normal functions of the human body."
That doesn't mean you have to be OK with peeing with the door open, if you don't want to be. And it certainly doesn't mean you need to give up your privacy. But you
can spend some time talking about what you want to share, and what you don't want to share. Here, a few things experts say you should consider doing together in the bathroom, as well as a few things you may want to talk about first — in order to feel closer together.
Do: Brush Your Teeth Together
To start the day in a super couple-y way, try brushing your teeth together before heading off to work. "Brushing teeth together is an act of bonding domesticity, which neither person is likely to have issues with,"
relationship coach Adrienne Gusoff tells Bustle.
While it's not something you need to do
every day, it can be a small way to get "real" with each other — and it can help you both ease into more intimate moments that are likely to come along down the road.
Do: Get Ready At The Same Time
While you may want a few moments of private bathroom time in the morning, it can be a fun bonding experience to share the bathroom during other times of the day — such as before heading out on a date.
"Some couples share the bathroom while getting ready to go out and have no problem when one partner walks in and out of the bathroom while they are getting ready,"
psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle.
Not only is this a sign of comfort — as you shave, do your hair, and/or apply makeup in front of each other — but it's also just a sweet way to kick off a romantic evening together.
If you're both are into it, showering together can make for some incredible bonding time as well — with a hint of extra intimacy. As Gusoff says, "If a couple is looking for some 'safe' intimate bathroom bonding early in a relationship, taking a shower together is probably the most comfortable place to start."
Again, not something you need to do each and every time you bathe. But what could be more bonding than showering at the same time?
Do: Wash Each Other's Hair
Whilst in the shower, consider doing something loving, such as washing each other's hair. It may sound strange, but there's a reason some folks are into it.
"There’s lots of nerve endings on our scalp and a great hair wash with lots of scalp massage can relax [you both],"
Xanet Pailet, a sex and intimacy educator and coach, tells Bustle. "Bathroom activities can be very intimate and by their nature can make couples feel much more connected."
Stepping away from the grooming for a second, remember that even simple things like cleaning up together can provide important bonding moments.
"If partners clean up the bathroom together — take turns cleaning the toilet, shower, sink, and mopping the floor — it can make them feel like they are truly a couple," Rappaport says. "When couples share the household chores, neither of them feels resentful about having to do all the housework, especially the dirtier chores."
Don't: Be Super Open About Personal Grooming
While it's up to you and your partner to figure out what feels comfortable, some experts say couples should try to tread lightly when it comes to being
too open about your grooming routine.
"Many couples do everything together in the bathroom, including taking care of their business while the other is brushing their teeth or washing up," Pailet says. "One person’s boundary is another person’s comfort or even turn on."
It is possible, however, to become
too familiar, and that "can ... start to drain the mystery and eroticism from the relationship," Pailet says. "But if clipping your partner’s toenails feels intimate and is a turn on, then go for it!"
Don't: Open The Door Without Knocking First
Sure, you may feel comfortable around each other. And you may be inclined to burst into the bathroom, without knocking first. But, as Gussof says, "the most important issue is that each person respect the other’s boundaries."
Certain lines may be crossed as the years go on, especially as you become even more comfortable with each other. But it's always a good idea to allow each other some privacy.
Don't: Pee With The Door Open If It's Not Something You've Discussed
While every couple is different, it's never a good idea to assume something's OK without asking first. And going to the bathroom in front of them may be at the top of that list.
"Some couples do and some don’t. Some people feel comfortable and some don’t. This is private," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of
The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "Don’t assume anything. Talk it over, and respect your partner’s wishes.
Don't: Invade Their Space
While sharing the bathroom can provide sweet bonding moments, it is important to know when to give each other space — such as during your nightly grooming routines.
"As much as you may want to bond with your partner over this, many people like this time as private time," Dr. Klapow says. "If your partner simply wants privacy as they wind down for bed, respect that. Doing these things together is not critical to the relationship."
It's all about figuring out what works best for you, and communicating. "Your love and closeness as a couple does not mean you lose personal boundaries," he says. "No matter how connected you are as a couple, you are still individuals. Individuals need time to themselves, space for themselves, and privacy." So don't force it, if these things feel unnatural or if they don't work for your relationship. There are, after all,
so many more ways to bond.