What's normal and what's not when it comes to dating, love and relationships? Think you and your partner align with the average couple? Or are your relationship behaviors totally out there? We've asked several therapists, marriage counselors and relationship experts from around the country to shed some light on relationship behaviors that seem odd at first, but are actually quite normal. Take a seat and see how you and your mate compare.
1. Changing Feelings
Once upon a time you loved rocking the highest of high heels. These days, however, you're much more apt to throw on a pair of flats. It may sound simple, but your ever-evolving feelings on shoes can help to serve as a reminder that feelings come and go and that's ok.
"Love is a living entity," explains Karen Sherman, Ph.D. "And just like people have good days and bad so will there be periods where the lovin' feelings just won't be there. Hang in, focus on the positive, and the feelings will come back."
2. Going Through "Adjustment Periods"
"If you decide to marry, even if you've lived together, the first year is likely to be bumpy," warns Sherman. "You are now in a legally committed relationship, the dynamics change and there is a period of adjustment. Having lived together doesn't prevent this adjustment period."
So, if you and your better half are not in a state of bliss at every moment, if doesn't mean your relationship is doomed – it just means you're normal.
3. Enjoying Different Hobbies
He's into fantasy football and you're into shopping? Better yet, you're into fantasy football and he's into shopping? Either way, it's totally normal for you and your main squeeze to have different interests. "You don't have to like all the same things to have a healthy relationship," notes Sherman. "What matters is having the same values." So go ahead and enjoy your fantasy football draft, and then swoon over the new shoes your man just bought online. You both deserve to enjoy your hobbies without feeling guilty.
4. Needing Alone Time
Are you the kind of person who would take yourself out for a date night for one? If so, you are not alone. "Washing a car, walking a dog, or exercising alone are signs of a healthy relationship with a secure attachment," says Lanada Williams, a licensed counselor in Washington DC and Maryland. "Remind yourself, the individual you met still needs time to breathe and thrive."
5. Being Slow to Compliment
When is the last time you told your partner how hot they looked? We're all guilty of holding back compliments, and, according to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Holly Cox, it may even be something you're doing on purpose!