No matter your relationship status, romantic goals, or feelings about dating in general, fact remains that 2018 offered a lot of information to consider about that good, old battlefield of love. During the summer, for instance, many of our celebrity friends made the case for just doing the damn thing. And when the sprint to matrimony didn’t pan out for some, they taught us to find the empowering silver lining.
Aside from star-powered relationship advice, expert-backed tips to increase happiness and health also came to light this year. Of the bunch, my personal favorites include the health reasons to never hold in your poop around your significant other (let nature take it’s course, people!); some real talk about what to do if you just can’t sleep around your snoring special someone (because, seriously, I’ve wondered how many divorces citing irreconcilable differences are just thinly veiling a deviated septum issue); and sex-free ways to build intimacy with your partner (because who’s always in the mood?). But those are just three of a whole corpus of stellar dating and relationship tips from 2018. Rounded up below are the takeaways that stuck with Well+Good staffers that you can bring into 2019 and beyond.
Don’t expect perfection
“It was a big year for me and my boyfriend: We moved into our first apartment together and learned a lot about each other. Nothing ended up being a deal-breaker (phew!) but the shakeup that comes with sharing so much more space and time did sometimes prove challenging. So when I stumbled upon Kristen Bell’s six love tips, I appreciated how relatable and helpful they were—especially number four: Love everything about them, including faults. This resonated with me in so many ways—even when it comes to lighthearted faults (like leaving the sink running way longer than he needs to while brushing his teeth)!”—Celine Cortes, audience development associate
Hello, hygge sex
“This year I learned about karezza, which is pretty much sex that focuses more on the pleasures of sex and not the orgasm. I’ve been preaching this gospel for years—I just didn’t have the word for it! Karezza is about building intimacy by experiencing the sensations of sex instead of racing toward an orgasm. That’s a 2019 resolution if I ever heard one.” —Maria Del Russo, contributor
Loneliness doesn’t discriminate based on relationship status
“When you’re single but want to be in a relationship, it’s easy to think that once you find that ideal partner, you’ll be living your happiest life ever. But I learned that being in a relationship isn’t a cure for loneliness—in fact, many feel lonely in their relationships. Furthermore, if you still feel lonely despite having the most wonderful partner ever, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your relationship.” —Emily Laurence, senior writer
People do often mean what they say
“There’s a famous Maya Angelou quote that goes, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ That’s the best relationship advice I’ve received because of how I apply it to dating: Basically, when someone tells you they don’t want anything serious, or to DTR, or to be in a relationship—believe them.” —Gabrielle Kassel, contributor
Exit plans are basically self care
“The key to any successful relationship—be it romantic, friendly, or familial—so often comes down to just showing up. Sometimes, in order to keep your bond strong, even the best-laid JOMO plans need to be pushed aside when someone you care for calls. But that doesn’t mean you need to hang out with them interminably. Well+Good assistant style editor Tamim Alnuweiri (unwittingly, I think) reminded me of the importance of a good exit strategy with her piece rounding up seven real excuses she’s used to get out of bad dates. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell my husband “I’m allergic to the sun” the next time I don’t love his choice for an afternoon activity, but I’m certainly into the idea of having exit strategy—an errand that needs to be run, a dog that needs to be walked—at the ready whenever I’m on a friend date with someone who’s lacking in the boundaries department.” —Abbey Stone, managing editor
Nice people do exist
“This year, I’ve learned to stop doubting the nice guy. When I started dating someone new, I caught myself continuously looking for a catch when there really wasn’t one at all. If you find yourself not believing that you deserve a truly nice significant other, remember that just because you’ve been hurt in the past doesn’t mean you’ll get hurt again. And you don’t have to prevent yourself from loving just to avoid pain. You could be really missing out.” —Rachel Lapidos, associate beauty and fitness editor
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