5 Things That Are Okay To Normalize In Relationships
FG Trade/Getty Images

5 Things That Are Okay To Normalize In Relationships

Tailor the relationship to the couple rather than society.

Love & Relationships

Relationships can be complicated, this is for certain! But, they get even more complicated when we keep trying to go with the flow of societal norms rather than doing what feels good to both ourselves and our partner(s). Yes, this is easier said than done and it also requires us to acknowledge limiting beliefs that we may hold about ourselves and our relationships. Fortunately, more and more people push the boundaries and norms in order to create a relationship that is tailored to the couple in it rather than greater society. We hear of more couples opening their relationships to polyamory (not to be confused with polygamy) and actively choosing not to have children and so much more.

Personally the more I know, the more inspired I become to live my truth and extend that truth into my relationship. Living and loving outside the lines really forces us to unpack what we once knew to be true in an effort to unearth what actually holds true for ourselves. For our relationships. But maybe you’re someone who doesn’t know the ways in which your relationship might look different, you simply know something is missing. For those of you feeling that way, here’s a list that hopefully serves as a catalyst – 5 things to normalize in your romantic relationship.

I encourage you to take meat and leave the bones – meaning take what works and leave what doesn't agree with you. However, whatever you do, don’t write it off without giving it some thought.

1.Prioritizing Partnership Over Marriage

I am paraphrasing but I once read something that said: we must learn to love people for as long as we have them or for as long as it feels good for both of us. Though this may sound finite and morbid, I’ve also come to understand that we must stop forcing relationships. Marriage, like death, can be very final and the vows don’t allow much space for a change of mind. Modern marriage is led by affairs of the heart, in my opinion. Thus it doesn't speak to those who choose to be around people for as long as it feels good rather than sticking it out through thick and thin, which has come to be interpreted as sticking around through some bullshit in relationships.

I want us to realize that relationships can be recognized in so many formats and the importance of doing what works for you. Depending on circumstances, marriage may feel necessary but there are also many people who opt out of marriage and those relationships also deserve to be acknowledged and respected in their own right.

2.Keeping Friends on a Need to Know Basis

You’ve likely heard this since you were younger, but I’m going to say it again: do not tell your friends all the dirty details of your relationship. Dirty good or dirty bad! It’s far less about not trusting your friends, and more so to do with trusting your partner and maintaining both privacy and intimacy. Additionally, we’ve all had to learn the hard way how to recover from diarrhea of the mouth in our relationship. You run and tell your friend everything in a fit of drama, only to work things out with your partner – now your friends are side-eying him while you’ve got heart eyes.

If you do choose to talk to your friends about your relationships, try not to seek them out for validation regarding the way your relationship operates. For instance, if you’re in an open relationship it’s likely that many of your friends won’t be in agreement with that. However, if you’re aware that this is an enjoyable aspect of your relationship, don’t allow them to make you feel shameful for deciding to try something out of the heteronormative…norm (?).

3.Being Together While Living Separately 

Though it’s generally important to take space and have a life outside of your partner – people still get ostracized and judged for making space in living arrangements. For many reasons, many couples have either stopped cohabitating altogether or in some relationships even sleep in separate rooms. Those reasons might have to do with differences in household cleanliness, sleeping habits/hours, or even attachment styles. Personally, the sharing of a bed makes separate rooms super appealing because I have a difficult time sleeping with someone else in my space. And, I’m certain sleep isn’t the type of thing you’re meant to be sacrificing in relationships.

Don’t be afraid to speak up about what it is you feel you need or try new things that could actually enhance your relationship. Admittedly, this living arrangement requires you to be intentional about initiating sex – particularly maintaining separate places of residence, but that’s a bonus if you ask me. Keeps things fresh!

4.Loving From an Authentic Place Instead of Ego

Not all relationships are meant to go the distance. Some relationships are here with a quick turnaround time and lifelong lessons. With that said, it’s important that we normalize letting go once the season has come to an end. I truly believe we all know when it’s time to let go of a relationship but we’re so ego-driven that we try to hold on. It’s ego, rather than love because love alone would allow us to realize that authentic love for both ourselves and our person means letting go and making space for something that is far more compatible than what is currently present.

5.Talking About Sex Outside of the Bedroom

Make it a habit to talk to your partner about sex! Not in the dirty talk way, but in a way that allows you to communicate what you like and don't like during sex, as well as what you did and didn’t like with past partners. What would you like to try in the future? What would you absolutely not like to try? What are some things that are necessary in order for you to feel turned on? Too many people go on to marry or commit to a relationship thinking that sexual compatibility isn’t important, when in reality it can cause quite the jolt in relationships when one partner comes out of the blue and shares they’ve been cheating because all of their needs haven’t been met – needs that had never been expressed, usually due to fear and shame.

Creating a safe space to discuss these things is a must and having deeper discussions around the type of sex you want to have needs to be normalized in relationships.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

December is a powerful month for the world and a month where love, power, and connection are all coming together as one. With the Astrological transits that are happening this month, true gifts are appearing to tap in to, and the possibilities are truly endless right now. Sagittarius Season is always a time when there is more hope and excitement in the air, and December is no different. There are a lot of opportunities this month if you open your heart to receiving them.

Keep reading...Show less
Here's The Real-Life Story Behind Netflix's 'From Scratch'

If you’ve recently heard the loud sobbing of women across social media, you can thank Netflix’s new romantic drama From Scratch for that. The series, based loosely on the memoir of the same name, which was written by Tembi Locke, centers on the story of a Black woman named Amy (Zoe Saldaña) who leaves behind her life and budding law career to move to Italy to study art. While there, she meets a local professional chef named Lino, and the two begin a romance that brings together two different cultures.

Keep reading...Show less

Hair porosity is a puzzle constantly making its rounds on every social media platform from YouTube to TikTok. And it's for a good reason. Knowing your hair type is essential. Most hair gurus will tell you your hair porosity is a key component in the products you use and how you layer them.

Keep reading...Show less
Real-Life Teachers Share Their 'Abbott Elementary' Experiences

There’s an embarrassment of riches that comes with being a fan of ABC’s hit comedy Abbott Elementary. The show, which stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, and Janelle James as Principal Ava Coleman, is about a group of mostly Black educators at a predominately Black elementary school in Philadelphia and has captured audiences for its tender, hilarious, and lighthearted depiction of what it's like to be a Black teacher to young Black students.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts