Welcome to Sex and the Campus, a weekly column where I discuss all things love and relationships. It should be noted that I do not claim to be any kind of expert in either area. Dating is hard, but hopefully reading this column won’t be.
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This week we’re talking about getting comfortable. Is it really so bad, and when should it happen in a relationship?
In every relationship there comes a time when the honeymoon phase wears off and you become “comfortable.” This looks different for every couple, but it comes with the same negative connotation for all. Most people believe that when someone gets comfortable (normally the guy) it means they stop trying. Flowers and extensively planned date nights become a thing of the past, and you’re left with getting ignored for football games and guy’s night out.
Okay, getting comfortable doesn’t always have to be that grim, but just like with all things in life: Moderation is key. The fact of the matter is, it’s a good thing to get comfortable with your partner; it’s healthy. It means you trust them can be vulnerable. It means you can actually be loved for you. It even means that you can pass the dreaded gas in front of them — maybe keep this one to a minimum.
It doesn’t mean you stop trying, or that the romance suddenly dies off completely. It may take a little more forethought and effort on both partner’s ends, but it’s not impossible. Actually, this is when things become more fun. Instead of crafting the perfect texts or dates, not knowing if they’ll even like it, you know what will make them happy. You know their favorite foods, colors, and that they’d almost always rather stay in, watch a movie and order UberEats.
Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an action. Once those butterflies and daydreams start to subside, you have to become more of an active participant in your relationship. It takes work, determination and a willingness not to give up when things get hard. You’re going to be disappointed and hurt sometimes by your partner, but you’re also going to be the one disappointing and hurting other times. Being comfortable with someone means that when those times arise, your first instinct is to apologize and figure out how you can make things right.
Compromise is key, and so is communication. When you’re comfortable with someone, you know all of their little tics. You know what certain body language means, and you understand how to read between the lines of what they’re saying. You know how to make your partner laugh, cry and everything else in between, and vice versa.
Everyone gets comfortable at different speeds, and it looks different on everyone. For example, recently I have found out what my boyfriend looks like when he’s comfortable. He’s not any less amazing, or loving, or supportive, or caring— he’s just safe. He’s happy just spending time with me at home watching Hulu, sending me little affectionate texts every day and doing the dishes because he knows I hate them.
See, none of this is bad. However, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. I like letters, flowers and date nights. I’m happy when I can explore places with someone and get out of the USC bubble. I like surprises.
This is where communication is so important. Now, I could be extremely passive aggressive, not tell my boyfriend how I’m feeling and leave him to guess what it is I need. Or, I could just explain to him how I’ve been feeling and what it is I need out of the relationship to feel more fulfilled. I chose the latter option. And guess what? My boyfriend was really glad I talked to him and went on to make more of an effort on the little things.
Comfort doesn’t have to be scary, and it definitely doesn’t have to be where romance goes to die. It’s just another phase of the ever ongoing relationship process. As you grow with a person, it’s easy to feel safe with them and get comfortable. Just remember to talk to them about how you’re feeling and what you need, and ask them to do the same.
Remember this equation: Comfort + Communication + Action = Romance.
Keep it comfy ‘SC.