For a couple to go the distance, it's necessary that both partners learn how to feel comfortable in a relationship — and that includes doing and saying a lot of seemingly awkward, embarrassing, and over-the-top cutesy things. Being able to "do you" reveals a sense of security, support, and trust, that usually only forms once you past certain relationship milestones, and realize you'll be together long-term.
"When we get past the first three months, there is a safety that forms, that allows us to truly just be, without any pretense," Allen Wagner, a Los Angeles-based licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "There is an honesty and a playfulness that comes with this. Being able to cry in joy or pain, without fear of judgement, can be freeing."
This is a stage you and your partner might reach naturally, or one that you may need to work on cultivating. If you feel like you can't fully relax in front of each other — for whatever reason — set aside time to talk about it. What's holding you back from being yourselves? Why do you feel like you have to hide certain things? Or act a certain way?
Starting a conversation can set the stage for a more comfortable, lived-in relationship, where you can both relax. Here are a few awkward things you should be able to do and say in front of each other — if you're planning on being together long-term — since they all show just how much you love each other, and just how comfortable you are.
Being Chill About Bodily Functions
If you're planning on being with someone long-term, there will come a day when you'll both have to be more open about bodily functions. And that's a good thing Not only will it make for a better life — where you're not always hiding or feeling embarrassed by natural bodily processes — but it'll be a sign you're truly starting to feel comfortable.
"When we feel safe, we can pick our nose, use the toilet with the door open, or get ready naked, and just feel OK and not vulnerable but rather accepted for who we are and how we look," Wagner says. This is a place some couples reach naturally, while others may need to work on it, over time.
Revealing Your Little Quirks
In the early days of dating, it can be mighty tempting to put your best foot forward, and perhaps hide the quirkiest aspects of your personality. But since these things will come to light eventually — especially if you're with someone long-term — the sooner you can both be honest about them, the better.
"When you can be your true self around someone without fear of judgement, it's a good sign they are 'The One,'" Hershenson says. "You should be able to express your opinions, thoughts, and needs and feel confident in doing so."
Grooming Yourselves In Front Of Each Other
Not everyone's going to be 100 percent into sharing their bathroom time, or grooming in front of their partner, and that's fine. You both have a right to boundaries and privacy, so it certainly doesn't mean your partner isn't "The One," just because you like to pee in peace.
It shouldn't, however, feel like you need to hide these things from your partner, or worry about them falling out of love with you, just because you need to pop a zit.
"Whether it's shaving [or] popping pimples ... being able to take care of your private business in front of a partner shows you're comfortable," Hershenson says. There won't be any shame in this, if you're with the right person.
Kissing Before Brushing Your Teeth
Nothing says "I love you" quite like going in for a kiss, even though you both have morning breath. Not only does this show a level of comfort you might not afford to perfect strangers, but being with someone long-term means letting your guard down. And this is often the first place couples start when they realize they're truly in love.
"If you and your partner are able to have that first kiss with morning breath and not worry about how awful it is, you have a great relationship," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. It's simply one of the many kind of cute, kind of "gross" things couples do, when they're truly comfy with each other.
Having Sex Without Showering First
Everyone's different when it comes to cleanliness preferences — both for themselves and for their partners — when it comes to sex. If you and your partner like to be cleaner, or want to rinse off for health reasons, then go for it.
But when you're with "The One," you might notice there's a level of comfort regarding sex, where neither of you feels the need to impress the other with sweet smelling armpits, or freshly washed nether regions.
Again, this is a sign of comfort, and a "what's mine is yours" mentality. "You should be able to feel free enough to ... have sex with your partner when you both are sweaty and in need of a shower," Rappaport says. If someone is shaming you, or you're worried about what they think, they may not be the right person for you.
Talking About Your Insecurities
As the relationship progresses, and you both start to realize this is going to be long-term, you might begin to feel more comfortable opening up about your deepest insecurities.
And that's great. This is the type of comfort-level you'll want to develop, as it shows that security and support are major parts of your relationship. "Safety allows us to talk about our insecurities and perceived weaknesses, so we can test the water, and in many ways feel better about ourselves," Wagner says.
By sharing with each other your hopes and fears, worries and insecurities, you will not only feel closer as a couple, but you'll also be better able to help each other through things.
Coming Clean About Mistakes From Your Past
Admitting you made mistakes in the past — perhaps mistakes that were made before you even met your partner — can be tough, and even a little bit embarrassing. And yet, this is just another one of those conversations that shows just how comfortable you are as a couple.
As Wagner says, "Being able to open up about our mistakes in the past where we may have hurt people or [embarrassed] ourselves, allows us in many ways to accept ourselves as well, and normalize our life experience."
Laughing Off "Awkward" Moments During Sex
Sweat, gassiness, the occasional queef — these things may be downright embarrassing when you're with a new partner, or someone who doesn't make you feel comfortable in your own skin. So be on the lookout for your partner's reactions to these seemingly awkward moments during sex, as they can reveal a lot about how comfortable you are as a couple.
"Sex has some elements that are awkward and even somewhat gross," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle. "But, when you love someone, you don’t expect sex to be a perfect experience, like something out of a movie. There will be a few awkward smells, noises, and mishaps. Individuals who are in love will accept that this is the reality and still be attracted to their partner."
And really, that's what a healthy, supportive, long-term relationship is all about. While you can certainly work on becoming closer and more relaxed around one another, it should be something that doesn't require too much struggle. When someone is "The One" there will be a level of comfort there, no matter how seemingly gross, embarrassing, or awkward things may get.