9 Things To Do In Your Relationship So You Can Be Truly Comfortable
If you aren't 100% comfortable in your relationship, it may be something you and your partner will want to start working on. Not only can a lack of comfort hold you back from growing as a couple, but it can also lead to larger problems down the road. For example, "without comfort, how can there be trust? If you are going to walk on eggshells around someone all day, [you can't be truly] intimate with them," Jorge Fernandez, LCSW, an individual and family psychotherapist, tells Bustle.
A lack of comfort can be a tricky situation to navigate, but it's one that's possible to overcome with better communication. "One way to try to increase comfort is to do what therapists call 'talking about the talking,'" Fernandez says. "Begin introducing to your partner that you'd like to [start] talking about things that are bothering [you], but don't know where to begin because you want to make sure it's a positive conversation."
First, remind them that you're coming from a place of love and a desire to improve your connection. Then, "ask them how you both can successfully have these conversations," Fernandez says. "What else would they need from you?" In what areas can you both improve? And how would you like the relationship to look going forward?
For a few ideas, here are some things experts say you should be able to do and say in your relationship, in order for it to be as comfortable and secure as possible.
1. Define Cheating
In order for your relationship to be comfortable, you and your partner will want to establish a few boundaries, and "these can be defined as what [...] you will not tolerate in the relationship," Nicola van Dyke, an intuitive life coach with years of experience counseling couples, tells Bustle.
For example, you might discuss what cheating looks like, so you can both be on the same page, and come to an agreement on what is and isn't OK. As van Dyke says, "Ground rules are important so that you can both trust and feel safe," which can add up to a greater sense of comfort overall.
2. Discuss What "Love" Looks Like
"We all come into relationships with different values as to what love actually means, and how it's expressed," Fernandez says. "Your partner may not prefer hugs and kisses but, rather, that you remember to pick up [their] dry cleaning on the way home without a reminder."
But since you may see it all differently, you'll never really see eye-to-eye until you talk about it. "Couples can increase comfort by learning how to express themselves in the other's love language," Fernandez says. "It's a simple compromise everyone should be willing to make."
3. Be Your Most Genuine Selves
If you feel like you're holding part of your personality back — for example, maybe you aren't as open as you'd like to be, or as outgoing — you may want to ask yourself why.
"You shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone else around your partner," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "This lack of authenticity is exhausting. Your relationship should be strong enough that you express your true feelings and opinions around your partner without judgment."
It can take time to get to this point. But by prioritizing being open and sharing your truest selves, you can create a greater sense of comfort within your relationship.
4. Show Your Flaws
In the early days of dating, you and your partner might be tempted to put forward the best versions of yourselves. Think along the lines of dressing up for dates, and making sure things are just so around your house before hanging out.
That's all perfectly fine to do for a while, but you will want to work on showing your messy sides — including your quirks, bad habits, and anything else that makes you both unique.
"It’s normal to want to keep up an image in the beginning and impress your partner," Bennett says. "But, at some point, both partners have to accept the authentic versions of each other, which includes 'flaws' and the normal aspects of life."
5. Be Fully & Openly Sick
Similarly, if either of you feels the need to hide when you're sick, it may be a sign you need to work on your comfort levels. And that's because nothing says "we're together" quite like sneezing and blowing your nose in each other's presence.
"Sickness is a fact of life and, if you’re together long enough, you and your partner will go through bouts of various illnesses, some more gross than the next," Bennett says. "Ideally, you will both be comfortable enough with the grossness to support your partner and take care of [them] during times of sickness."
This might include not seeing each other at your best — and that's OK. Part of bonding as a couple means letting your guard down and taking care of each other in these less than ideal moments.
6. Talk About Money
"When it comes to finances, it’s important to be upfront with your significant other about student loans, credit card debt, savings, and income," Jaclyn Witmer Lopez, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. So if you and your partner are constantly tiptoeing around these topics, take note.
"It can bring up a lot of fear and anxiety to be open and vulnerable with your partner about topics that are hard for many to talk about," Witmer Lopez says. "However, vulnerability is a huge contributor to intimacy and connection so one must fight the urge to shut it down."
You can ease into it by having smaller financial discussions to start, and as your comfort levels build, bringing up larger topics — like student loan debt — as your relationship goes on. It may not be easy, but the more open you are about money, the closer you'll feel.
7. Share Your Opinions
While you don't need to talk about everything, you should both feel as if it's OK to share your opinions without fear of judgment. "If you do not feel comfortable doing this, it can lead to you not being true to yourself and this can cause resentment and later compatibility problems," Nicole Issa, PsyD, psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle.
Again, this is about not walking on eggshells around each other, which is pretty much the opposite of the way a comfortable relationship should be. To get to this place, it can help to communicate more openly and honestly, even if it's a bit clunky or "weird" at first. Because the more you do it, the easier it will feel.
8. Talk About Your Concerns
It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to create a more comfortable relationship, you may need to discuss things that make you uncomfortable — including what may be bothering you in the relationship.
Do you feel misunderstood? Are you worried about how you argue? Or is there some other area that doesn't feel quite right? As Issa says, "It is essential that you are able to tell your partner what you need or voice discomfort. If you are not able to communicate openly and honestly, there is potential for negative feelings to build up and come out sideways."
9. Chat About Your Sex Life
It can be awkward to talk about sex with your partner, especially if you've gotten into a groove. And yet, in order to be fully comfortable and fulfilled within your relationship, you may want to have an ongoing convo.
"As humans, we all have desires, fantasies, and sexual preferences," Witmer Lopez says. "However, many people struggle with feeling comfortable identifying their sexual interests to a partner, let alone to themselves."
If you haven't talked about these things, you may want to work up to doing so. As Witmer Lopez says, "Talking openly and honestly with a partner about sexual needs and desires can not only promote closeness and improve one’s sexual experience but can also translate into how a person openly expresses themselves with their partner in other important areas of the relationship."
It's topics like these that you may find yourselves avoiding or sweeping under the rug. But if you and your partner want to create a more comfortable relationship, it can help to work on these areas, and ensure that these are all things you can easily do and say in front of each other.