One of the biggest milestones for any committed relationship is that moment when you finally feel comfortable enough to be gross with your partner. While you may not ditch all your boundaries, or lose all sense of privacy, you know it’s the real deal when it feels like you can officially relax and get real with each other behind closed doors.
Your grossest habits are most likely to occur in the evening hours, when you’re both settling in for the night, as this may be when you can assume your truest forms. This is when the zit cream comes out, and the ratty pajamas go on. It’s the time when you can get comfy, both physically and mentally. And it’s a truly beautiful thing.
“As you fall more deeply in love, you develop a higher level of comfort with the more ‘gross’ or awkward aspects of your partner,” Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. “This usually happens because of a greater trust level. Also, as you get more comfortable, you feel less need to constantly impress your partner.”
While you definitely don’t have to go this deep, if it’s not in your nature, fully relaxing in front of each other can be a sign of a mature, happy relationship. Here are a few gross things many couples do when they’re home alone, according to experts.
1. Using The Bathroom In Front Of Each Other
It’s inevitable that, at some point in your relationship, you’ll give in and start using the bathroom in front of each other — especially when you’re getting ready for bed. You might get into the habit of continuing conversations whilst one of you pees, or brushing your teeth while your partner uses the toilet. And that’s perfectly fine.
“It’s part practical and part comfort/fondness,” Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. “But just know that it’s very common and that there’s nothing wrong with it.”
2. Applying Various Creams & Ointments
Part of being in a “grown-ass” relationship means letting your guard down and accepting that neither of you wake up flawless. And that often means letting your partner see you in zit cream, and loving them even when they slather on something medicinal.
Getting ready for bed “usually involves putting creams on your face and body,” Bennett says. “So, many couples go to bed covered in some type of cream and smelling of various ointments.” While it may not be “sexy,” this is something pretty much all mature, long-term couples do.
3. Sharing Intimate Details Of The Day
“It’s sometimes difficult to have uninterrupted conversation during the day due to work, hobbies, and other conflicts,” Bennett says. “However, healthy couples will use the time before bed to discuss the day in some capacity.”
Sure, sometimes it’s just surface-level stuff, like what you ate for lunch. But other times these conversations can be incredibly intimate, where you share things you wouldn’t want to discuss with anyone else.
4. Cuddling Up (Even When You’re Sweaty)
Sweaty after a workout? Smelly after a long day outside? If you’re in a long-term relationship, you and your partner aren’t likely to notice or care.
“After a long day, people can be a little sweaty and smelly. And, if you’re a morning shower person, it might mean those night cuddles can be a little… gross,” Bennett says. “But, mature couples who are comfortable with each other never let a little grossness get in the way of a bedtime cuddle.”
5. Giving Massages
Part of that sweaty cuddling time might include getting up close and personal in the form of giving massages, playing with each other’s hair, or rubbing each other’s feet — even when you aren’t at your freshest.
“One way to show a significant other love and affection is through action,” Justin Lavelle, relationship expert and chief communications officer for BeenVerified, tells Bustle. “This can be as simple as stroking fingers through each other’s hair to massaging sore muscles after a grueling work day. Whatever action couples decide upon, they should make an effort of doing so for five or more minutes with no distractions.” Connecting physically can really bring you closer together, and help make the most of the evening hours.
6. Eating Off Each Other’s Plates
While some people might view this habit as gross, it’s actually an incredibly intimate and loving act to feed your partner — or to be gracious enough to let them eat right off your plate. (Because let’s be honest, sharing your food is an act of true love.)
This is one habit that can happen at home, in bed, or even out in public. “If the couple decides to eat out, they may even pick a restaurant that they can share their meals with each other, even eating off of each other’s plate, if they are that comfortable,” Davida Rappaport, a psychic and spiritual counselor, tells Bustle. “If they want to turn it up a notch, they may even feed each other.” It’s all about doing whatever feels right and loving in the moment.
7. Having A Date Night On The Couch
Once you reach a certain stage of a long-term relationship, it becomes completely OK to forgo fancy date nights in favor of staying in. “Rather than go out to a movie theatre, they may opt to stay home and binge-watch a series they like, stream a movie, and spend the evening together cuddling on the sofa,” Rappaport says. This is often when the old pajamas come out. Because in long-term relationships, you really will wear anything in front of each other — all in the name of being comfy.
8. Grooming Each Other
The moment your partner leans in to pop a zit, or wipe food off your face, is the moment you know you’re in a “grown-ass” relationship.
As Rappaport says, “Some couples may be very comfortable asking their partner to do things for them such as popping their zits, combing and/or brushing their hair, clipping their toenails, and other things of a more personal nature. When they are comfortable with their partner, they may have very loose boundaries in this area.”
It’s a sign you’re comfortable with each other, and care enough to help out, even if it means doing something “gross.”
9. Popping In Your Retainer
Whether you’re scraping out your contacts, popping in a retainer, or applying a thick layer of foot cream, your partner’s likely seen it all before. And doing these things in front of each other not only shows that you’re mature, but likely in a very trusting and comfortable relationship.
The same may even be true for more personal habits, such as taking medications. “Taking medications/vitamins together […] can show that you’re both comfortable disclosing what you take,” as well as being open with any health issues, psychotherapist Jennifer L. Silvershein, LCSW, tells Bustle.
This level of comfort likely followed a talk about your mental health, or other health issues you’ve been dealing with — which aren’t always easy things to share. And yet, the fact you can talk about it now shows there’s a healthy level of support in your relationship, and that your relationship is going in a mature direction.
Certain “gross” habits may not be easy to admit to in the beginning of a relationship. But mature couples know that eventually, you’ll both let your hair down — to one degree or another — and begin to embrace each other as you truly are