When it comes to relationships, everyone seems to have an opinion about what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. Even though every relationship is different because it’s a unique union between two people, society seems to think there are certain rules to follow, and there are definitely certain taboos.
However, if you pause to think about them, there are many relationship ‘taboos’ that you actually shouldn’t be avoiding. In fact, embracing some of those taboos might just make your relationship much healthier and happier. The only challenge is that you need to shake off societal expectations and question your notion of what exactly a relationship should look like. I mean, who hasn’t seen what seems like a picture-perfect relationship and questioned why theirs doesn’t quite measure up to that unattainable ideal?
In reality, what works in a relationship has to be decided by the people within it. If there are certain taboos that you just don’t see fitting into your relationship, you don’t need to embrace them — but, there just may be a few that have a positive impact on your relationship, and perhaps may even salvage it.
Here are 15 taboo things that just may improve your relationship, even though you wouldn’t expect it.
15Sleeping In Separate Beds
For most people, once you’re in a serious relationship, sleeping in the same bed seems kind of like a requirement. After all, intimacy is a key factor in any relationship, and who wants to miss out on all that pillow talk where you share your dreams and secrets? However, it’s actually becoming increasingly common for couples to decide to sleep separately — and it’s not a bad thing.
As the clinical psychologist, Dr. Josh Klapow said in an interview with Bustle, “if you are sleeping in separate bedrooms because you don’t want to be close or intimate with your partner, for example, then you have a problem.”
“But what if it’s mutually agreeable?”
“Does sleeping separately make you both happy? If it’s strengthening your relationship, then it’s not taboo.”
After all, everyone has different needs when it comes to their nightly shut-eye.
14Pursuing Different Hobbies And Passions
Everyone knows those couples that seem attached at the hip and seem to have perfectly overlapping interests. Perhaps they both love art and make it a priority to check out a new gallery exhibition every weekend. Perhaps they’re both outdoorsy types who go hiking or mountain biking at least once a month. However, just because you have vastly different interests than your partner doesn’t mean your relationship won’t work — in fact, pursuing different things might actually be good for your relationship. You definitely need to make time for your partner and find things that you can do together, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with both spending time doing certain activities that the other person just doesn’t like to do — that is, as long as your partner is supportive and doesn’t make you feel bad about pursuing your own interests.
13Not Texting One Another During The Day
We know, we know — something amazing happens to you, or something frustrating happens to you, and the first person you want to text is your partner. Or, perhaps it’s more mundane — you’re looking to make some dinner plans or ask a random question that popped into your mind. Either way, it’s not uncommon for couples to feel like they should be checking in with their partner on the regular because, well, isn’t that what people in relationships do? Not necessarily.
Certified counselor, Johnathan Bennett dished to Bustle, saying that while it may seem romantic to be constantly staying in touch with your partner, you don’t necessarily always need that kind of instant access in your life.
In fact, it might be a whole lot better to wait until you have quality time to focus on them than to shoot them a quick text while you’re walking to the office kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
12Talking About Uncomfortable Subjects On The Regular
There are certain subjects that no one really loves talking about because they’re just plain uncomfortable — and it can be easy to fall into the trap of just avoiding those subjects altogether because you don’t want to spoil the bubble of your romance. However, don’t be afraid to approach those tricky subjects if you want a healthy, strong relationship. Conflict isn’t always the most pleasant experience, but as psychologist Dr. Julie Gurner stated in an interview with Bustle, “you shouldn’t have fear or reticence in bringing up something or someone in your relationship, and your partner shouldn’t make you feel bad about doing so. You have a great opportunity to become closer when you realize anything can be on the table, and it’s OK to put out there: there is a freedom to that.”
11Going Out Without One Another
Many people try to make it seem like you should only be hitting the town with your partner by your side, but we’ve got a news flash for you — even if you’re in a happy relationship, you still need to make time with your girls! Now, in certain situations, it makes sense to attend a social event with your partner — for example, a party for a mutual friend. However, if you’re invited to a party that your partner doesn’t really have any interest in attending, you definitely don’t need to force him just because you’re worried people will think there’s trouble in paradise if you show up alone.
Go solo, or grab your BFF, and have an amazing time!
After all, the people in a relationship are still individual people — they don’t always have to be a package deal!
10Keeping Secrets (Sometimes)
Okay, we’re definitely not saying that you should be lying to your partner on the regular or keeping major secrets from them. That level of deception is not cool. However, don’t let yourself be shamed by the taboo that, in order to have a healthy relationship, your partner needs to know absolutely everything about you. There are many people who are total open books with their partner, and that’s great. However, if there’s a particular situation in your past or issue you have, that you’re just not quite comfortable sharing with your partner yet, that is absolutely okay. Perhaps you’ll tell them one day, perhaps you never will, but the point is, at the end of the day it’s your decision about what you want to share with the person you’re sharing your life with.
9Taking A Solo Vacation
Unless you’re going on a trip that’s specifically female-coded, like a bachelorette party, most people assume that you’ll go on vacation with your partner. Sure, you may turn it into more of a group vacation by inviting a few friends along, but your partner will be there by your side, sharing the same hotel bed with you every night. At least, that’s what many people assume, which is why it’s become a bit of a taboo to go on vacation solo.
However, we’re here to say that it’s absolutely fine to go on vacation without your partner.
After all, you had a life and went on vacations before you met him or her, so why ban yourself from enjoying solo travel ever again? The saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder exists for a reason.
8Spending Time Alone At Home
There are some days where you absolutely can’t wait to see your partner when you get home, and you want to hang out watching Netflix together all evening. And then, there are some days when you’re exhausted and can think of nothing better than just spending some time doing exactly what you want to do, solo. Many people will resist the latter desire because they feel like they have to spend time with their partner if they’re both home, but that’s silly — even if you’re living in the same space, you’re still allowed to have alone time! As therapist Kimberly Hershenson said to Bustle, “having your own life, including seeing friends and doing activities you love will keep you from losing your identity.” If you need a little time to recharge, that’s okay!
7Agreeing It’s Okay To Eat Separately (Or Eat Different Things)
We’ll be honest — sometimes, it can definitely be tough when two people in a relationship have totally different eating habits. Perhaps you’re a vegetarian and your partner is a total carnivore, or you love to try super adventurous foods and your partner doesn’t really love to venture far from his favorite dishes and restaurants.
If you find yourself constantly sacrificing your eating habits to bend to your partner’s habits, that’s bound to cause resentment, and that’s toxic in a relationship.
Instead, free yourself of the taboo that you need to be adorably eating the same home-cooked meal together or going out to restaurants for date night, and find a solution that works for you. Perhaps your BFF becomes your new restaurant date for when you want to try exotic dishes — that’s fine!
6Going To See The Movie You’re Excited About Solo Or With Friends
While it’s certainly possible that you have the exact same taste in movies as your partner, often that isn’t the case — many people in relationships have totally opposite taste in movies than their partner. One absolutely loves horror films while another is all about rom coms; one finds action movies thrilling while the other thinks they’re boring and pointless. One loves blockbusters while another is all about indie movies. Whatever your situation, don’t feel like you need to sit through movies you hate (or make your partner sit through movies they hate) just because you want the cute couples’ date night at the movies. I mean, that’s what friends are for! He can catch the latest horror movie with his bestie, you can grab a group of girls for that comedy you’ve been dying to see, and everyone is happy!
5Being Super Open About Money And Everything To Do With Personal Finance
Money becomes a huge issue in countless relationships because so many people grow up with it as a bit of a taboo subject. Sure, you know it’s an important part of life, but it’s not something you feel comfortable bringing up and discussing ad nauseum. So, you avoid it, because it’s taboo — and that’s the worst possible thing you could do.
Sam Schultz, the co-founder and CAO of money app Honeyfi, spoke with Bustle about the subject and stressed that while many people think of discussing money and finance as a bit of a taboo, in his experience, breaking that taboo will actually help a couple become closer.
After all, how are you going to plan your future and make big life decisions if you’re not willing to approach the subject of money?
4Being Totally Open About Everything That Goes On In The Bedroom
When it comes to the bedroom, everyone is a little different. Some people are totally in command of their sensuality and have no qualms about telling their partner exactly what they want in explicit terms. However, the vast majority of people find the topic a bit uncomfortable to approach — even if you’re doing the most intimate thing you possibly could with a person! No one is saying you need to be a drill sergeant or insult your partner’s performance, but you should absolutely be open with your partner about what you like — after all, physical intimacy is a huge part of your relationship, and staying silent about things that are bothering you in that arena is definitely not the way to build a strong relationship. It’s not always easy, but it’s important.
3Talking About Your Exes
We know, we know, we know — talking about your exes with your partner seems like the worst idea in the world, which is why it’s become such a taboo. Many couples basically operate under the mutual lie that no one existed in their past and they have no relationship history because it’s easier than sorting through all the failed relationships and going through exactly why things didn’t work out. And yes, it’s a whole different issue if you find yourself or your partner talking about an ex day in and day out — that’s a sign that they’re not quite over an ex.
However, knowing a person’s past can really give you a good idea of who they are, and the act of discussing an ex definitely makes you more vulnerable.
It’s just another one of the difficult subjects you have to approach in order to have a strong, healthy relationship.
2Slapping The Label On Things
We’re pretty sure everyone has seen a television show episode or movie at this point where some hijinx occurs because someone in a relationship doesn’t want to put a label on things. And, often the person asking for a label is painted as nagging, or desperate, or needy — and that’s a taboo we need to erase from our minds. Communication is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of any strong relationship, and refusing to put a label on things basically means you’re not properly communicating. If you’re not quite ready to be exclusive and call someone your girlfriend or boyfriend, tell them that. If it’s really important to you to get that commitment, and you’re not willing to continue on without a label of some sort, tell them that. The point is, you need to express what it is you want.
1Showing Your Emotions Freely In Front Of Your Partner
Your partner should be the person you can totally be yourself in front of, and be vulnerable in front of — but unfortunately, many people (guys in particular) still feel that they need to keep their emotions hidden to some extent. You can’t have a strong relationship if you’re afraid to open up to your partner, but that’s exactly what being reluctant to share your emotions does! So, shake off that taboo and get comfortable.
As psychology lecturer Andy Duggan told Bustle, relationships in which one person closes themselves off to their partner result in break-ups far more often than relationships where both people are open and honest with one another.
Forget what society tells you about women always crying or men not being allowed to cry and just express yourself in front of your partner without worrying about all those taboos and societal restrictions.