1. Having friends of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you’re attracted to them). Everyone has friends when they enter a relationship, and no one should have to give up half of them because they’re the wrong gender. In fact, sometimes you can even have a whole new group of friends via your SO, if you’re not threatened by them. (Full disclosure: I am still good friends with the best friend of an ex. He didn’t work out, but she was awesome.)
2. Solo vacations. Taking a vacation by yourself is an awesome experience, and something that shouldn’t stop as soon as you get into a relationship. When you trust the other person entirely, them being gone alone or with friends can be awesome! (You get some cool alone time to explore your own interests back home, and get to go on your own vacation later.)
3. Having hobbies that don’t involve the other person. If you’re happy with your personal lives as well as your coupled lives, the idea of one person finding joy in something solitary is totally cool. In fact, the more people can feel fulfilled as an individual, the better they will be in the relationship. Not everyone needs to go to couple-friendly activities.
4. Sacred friend time. To me, there are few things sadder than girls who get irrationally angry and jealous when their boyfriend goes out with his guy friends, or insists on joining them and awkwardly chaperoning it. Everyone is a little different with their friends and their SOs, and that’s totally normal, and fun! Just because your partner can have fun with other people doesn’t mean they have any less fun with you.
5. Leaving the other person’s phone/computer alone. It doesn’t matter if you are totally innocent in every way, no one likes someone looking through their shit. It’s just an awful feeling. If you feel like you have to check on what someone is doing, read through their texts, or check their internet history, maybe you shouldn’t be in the relationship in the first place.
6. Disagreeing about personal life choices. If you think your SO should do one thing at work or with friends, and they make a different choice (for their own reasons), you should be able to trust that. Maybe you don’t get it right away, but if you have confidence in them, you know that even if they make mistakes, they are their mistakes to make. And they are probably smart enough to make their own decisions about things.
7. Being cool with an ex. I know that this one is a little controversial, but in my opinion, if an ex is cool and there are no feelings (and you trust your partner enough to know that this is true), being friends or friendly acquaintances with an ex can be fine. I have some I don’t see, and some I will grab a drink with if I’m in town, and honestly it’s great to have someone who was a part of your life who is now on friendly terms. I want my boyfriend to have the same freedom.
8. Looking at other people. I know my boyfriend loves me and wants me, but I also know that he is a human male who notices pretty women (or, yes, watches porn sometimes). And me getting angry is not going to stop that, it’s just going to make him hide it. And I check out guys, it’s normal. We both know that we are happy in the relationship, and a little eye candy is totally healthy.
9. A past. I’ve never asked my boyfriend his number, because I don’t really care. But if we did, we would be honest with each other. But none of that matters, because we accept and love each other for who we are today. If I had a problem with his past, I wouldn’t be with him — since we’ve decided to be together, that means we take all of who we are. If you’re hung up on someone’s past, you probably shouldn’t be together.