Think back to how you were with your partner and your first, second, third, fourth, thirteenth date. Early days are amazing, but regardless of how instantly relaxed around them, you may have felt, regardless of how much it just ‘clicked’, regardless of how it felt like you had known them your whole life, I bet you weren’t as relaxed as you are in your own company. You were, quite understandably, presenting the best version of yourself. You weren’t doing or talking about all the stuff that everyone does and thinks behind closed doors. (1)
But real life kicks in, as it should. A major part of having a serious partner is that support, is that rock, is that therapist. Where then should you strike the balance between wanting to impress and attract your partner, with being a real human being with real things going on.
Well, that’s not necessarily an easy one to answer as it is going to be different from couple to couple. But there are some general ‘rules’ about what you could be doing to ensure you are being honest and real with your partner whilst still keeping the flame burning.
11 things you should never do in front of your partner (some surprising);
1) Pick your nose. We are all animals, and as such, we all need to go to the toilet, we all might fart in our sleep, we all might get a bit snotty when we’ve got a cold. And that is absolutely fine. But there’s just something about picking your nose that goes from ‘basic human function’ to ‘child being a bit gross’. Really not going to make someone look up to you or feel attracted to you.
2) Details about past lovers. I believe it’s healthy to be able to talk about past relationships, to be able to say their name without any fallout, or even to be able to wish an ex a happy birthday (if done from a place of friendship). But no matter how cool you and your partner are with the fact that each other have a past, it’s the detail that they don’t need to hear. “oh my god, Dan used to do this thing with ice cubes’, ‘it was always hilarious when Jen did her impression of a frog trying to order in a drive-thru’. It’s a turn-off, a big one. (2)
3) Take a swipe at his family. The mother-in-law may well be an absolute fruit-loop. Her brother might well just be a thug who you would rather never have met. But these are thoughts that should remain private, and if they do have to be aired for family politics reasons, do it tactfully and respectfully. An attack, no matter how mild or ‘funny’ can be taken very personally and just push your partner away.
4) Share your friend’s secrets. Your friends are close to you and would like to think they could tell you anything without it going anywhere. As would your partner, so if you’re spilling the beans about Melissa’s affair or Ryan’s questionable rash, it’s only going to make you seem untrustworthy. Are the details of your sex life also to be discussed next time your partners go for drinks with friends?…
5) Show off about being hot. Yup, it feels good to have a stranger flirt a bit with you. It’s nice to know you’ve still got it. But to brag about that to your partner is off limits. It throws up all sorts of questions in their heads that will just generate insecurity and damage your intimacy. Is it just flirting or are they hiding things? Am I not attractive enough for them? Do they want to see other people? Do not brag about all the matches you got when you had your match.com free trial for a few days.
6) Details about the gross stuff. As mentioned, we are all animals. So we all go to the toilet, we all get sick, we all get spots and we all get infections. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to recognize that. For the first few months of my relationship, my partner was physically incapable of going to the toilet when I was in the house – he would pretend we needed something from the store so that he could use the bathroom in Walmart. True story. He spent about $40 a month of chewing gum and eggs. Thankfully he has now acknowledged that as a human being, I have no issue with him having a functioning digestive system. Where I would not be ok, is if they started to get relaxed about giving me details. I don’t want them. You can acknowledge you might be having tummy trouble, you can feel OK about needing a cream for something. But no matter how close you are to your partner, they don’t need to know details if you want the spark to remain. (3)
7) Using the toilet in front of each other. There’s a door for a reason. Barging in on your partner whilst they take a shower so that you can pee is not cool. You might be OK with it, but for me, it is the type of barrier that shouldn’t be crossed if you are looking to keep the dream alive.
Like I’ve said, this will vary from couple to couple. But do remember, just because someone doesn’t say they don’t have a problem with something you’re doing doesn’t mean they don’t have a problem with something you are doing! A good rule is this, ‘would I have done this on the fifth date?’. First, one or two dates are different. By the fifth, you’re more relaxed but you’re still presenting yourself in a good way. Keep it in that sweet spot!
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.