We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which things about dating and relationship should be de-normalized — and people made a ton of points that are worth thinking about.
Here are some of the most eye-opening ones:
1. "Trying to emulate relationships you see on social media."
"Also, reprimanding your partner for NOT emulating what you see on social media. Don't try to copy other people, because not everything you see online is perfect."
2. "The idea that their world must revolve around each other."
"I am a part of my S.O.’s world, and he is a part of mine. Together, our experiences outside of our relationship contribute to it, good or bad, whether we like it or not. How we use/apply those to make it better is up to us."
3. "The 'clumsy husband' and 'annoying wife' cliché."
"No, constant complaining about what your spouse did 'wrong' isn't cute and isn't normal, even if it's just made up for a stupid Twitter joke."
4. "The idea that cheating is part of the 'highs and lows' of a relationship."
5. "Fighting about small things. I hate hearing a friend of mine saying that fighting about the little things is normal and healthy."
"You shouldn't be fighting about small things; you should be fighting about big things, like having kids or buying a house — not who left the milk out. Fighting about little things shows how little patience and tolerance you have for each other."
6. "I hate how common ghosting has become."
"Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times where ghosting is okay (like in the very beginning stages of online dating or when a situation is potentially dangerous). But ghosting when you've spent considerable time and energy on someone is rude and immature. Just a simple 'Hey, you're a great person, but I don't think we're compatible' is better than suddenly dropping the other person, leaving them wondering what went wrong."
7. "We should normalize healthy discussions around boundaries and expectations and consent."
"And we should normalize being straightforward in discussions, instead of assuming adults can't handle their emotions, and hiding things from them or [avoiding] issues."
8. "Women in male-female relationships doing all of the emotional labor."
9. "Clocking each other’s location in a relationship."
"It's not normal. I mean, maybe it is for some, but I really think it’s mostly controlling."
10. "'You have to love yourself before someone will love you.' I hate that mentality."
"I get it to a small extent, but I don’t love myself all the time, and that mentality makes me feel like my boyfriend won’t love me the days I don’t love myself. Like, you’re important, and you should feel important to yourself, but don’t ever think you can’t be loved when you don’t love yourself. An AA meeting said it best: 'Let us love you until you love yourself.' That’s a way-better mentality."
11. "Making fun of your partner, putting them down, or insulting them and playing it off as a joke."
"My ex did this all the time; there wasn't a single day in 10 years that he didn't make fun of how short I am, and he would tell his friends that I was 'insane' or 'a psychopath.' I let him get away with it for so long because I was used to it."
12. "I feel like a lack or fear of communication is sometimes normalized, and it shouldn't be."
13. "Outdated gender roles that somehow still exist."
"I had bariatric surgery, and now I can only eat very small meals and just don't care to cook. Why should there be any expectation for me to make dinner if I hardly eat???"
14. "'All you need is love' to solve your problems. I hate that idea. While love in a relationship is important, so are trust and respect."
"When things aren’t working, and one person doesn’t love the other person 'enough,' it is so damaging. Love doesn’t mean you have to toss your boundaries, be belittled, gaslit, or put down because someone claims to loves you. The most common thing I heard, as a former domestic violence prosecutor, from victims who went back to their abusers was that they were 'in love, and that’s all that matters.' It’s so hard to make someone see the danger in something when they have been manipulated by the media and their abusers into thinking love is enough."
15. "The idea that couples should be together 24/7."
"Like, when you plan to hang out with your friend, they automatically bring their partner without asking. I would feel so suffocated if my BF joined me in literally everything. Give each other some breathing space."
16. "Going through your significant other's phone."
17. "Faking a personality or lying about your intentions to manipulate someone."
"Again, you can just be single, and you could also find what you want a lot easier if you'd stop lying."
18. "Saying, 'You guys never fight? It’s healthy to fight sometimes!' Um, no, it’s not."
"My husband and I have never fought (as in, been mad enough to not talk for days) in our four years together. Communication, honesty, and trust go a long way. If you are honest in your feelings and communicate, you should be able to come to a resolution and compromise."
19. "Sharing a bedroom! I think it's weird that if you're in a relationship, sharing a bedroom is what you're supposed to do."
20. "Policing who your partner follows on social media."
"I was with my ex for a year, and it never even occurred to me to think about who he followed on Instagram, but I have a friend who regularly checks who her boyfriend follows. If you can't trust them, why are you with them? And if you do trust them but are still that insecure, are you really in a good place to be in a relationship?"
21. "Those cringey 'I hate my spouse'–type jokes."
"Tends to be common in heterosexual relationships the most — guys ragging on their friends about being 'whipped' or complaining about what a nag their wife or girlfriend is. They aren't even funny or original jokes, and they just make it seem like the relationship is unhappy."
22. "Having specific timelines for relationships."
"Such as the third date is for sex. Every person and relationship is different; do things when you feel comfortable, and don’t worry that it’s too fast or too slow."
23. "Becoming totally absorbed in your partner and ghosting friends."
24. "Not talking about important things on a first date."
"Obviously, don’t bring up what you want to name your future kids, but it’s so much better to know up front where someone stands on the big things."
25. "Couples should be in constant contact with each other."
"It’s not healthy to be texting every half hour. I hate the trend of people getting worried about the other not texting back if it’s been a few hours. I’m a medical student; I will answer anywhere between 6 and 24 hours later. This has nothing to do with the other person — I’m just busy. I get yelled at constantly for not replying, and it’s honestly so overblown. We should be able to date while still being respectful of each other’s boundaries. You don’t need to be in constant contact. It’s healthy to give each other space. I know couples who text each other all day long, and if the other doesn’t reply, they freak out. And I’m supposed to think that’s #RelationshipGoals? That sounds suffocating."
26. "Feeling you need to get in someone's car or let someone buy you a drink on a first date."
27. "Laughing off things that make either party uncomfortable."
"Even if it’s meant as a joke or 'That’s just how they talk,' it’s better to talk about it quickly and understand each other, rather than let it be the foundation of a larger argument later."
28. "I wish that women did not believe that the man should pay for everything. Dating when you’re younger and trying to establish yourself can put a huge and unnecessary strain on someone’s finances."
"It’s okay for the guy to pay for dinner and the woman to pay for the entertainment. Maybe the guy pays for this date and the woman pays for the next. This allows you more opportunities to go out and enjoy each other without him always feeling like he has to show that he could be the 'provider.' I’ve been married for 14 years, and everything that we have, we built together!"