Slipping into the ‘Comfort Zone’

The Honeymoon Period is defined as the period in a relationship when romance outweighs comfort, when love is still fresh and when the sparks, fireworks and butterflies in your stomach still exist. But as we have probably all experienced at some point in our lives, romance can be tiresome, and it often isn’t long before we exchange saucy underwear for comfy pants and risqué night garments for comfortable pj’s.

But how long does it take before we feel fully comfortable in front of our partner? New research has found relationships hit the ‘comfort zone‘ after 11 months and 24 days, at which time we’re ready to squeeze each other’s spots, leave the loo door open and tell all about ex-partners.

The study of 2,000 couples found there are ‘key signs’ that you have entered ‘the comfort zone‘ which include allowing your other half to see you when you’re ill, without make-up on and in your lounging clothes. Using the toilet without locking the door, feeling free to cry in front of your partner and letting them look after you when poorly are other sure signs of being in a comfortable relationship, with breaking wind also featuring in the top 5.

The research also examined the point at which couples feel comfortable discussing health issues with one another and was commissioned by Measure, a new non-invasive home test that can detect bowel cancer. Results showed that having the confidence to speak about health worries featured inside the top 10 signs of being comfortable in a relationship, while leaving the toilet door open and even sharing a toothbrush when necessary was high on the list.

Aisling Dillon, who is launching the new Measure digital bowel health test said:  “It’s interesting to see that it takes nearly a year for people to feel they can really be comfortable around each other. At first we’re very conscious and don’t want to be seen as anything but our best, but gradually over time we let people in more and more as our trust and confidence builds.

“Some might say the signs you’ve reached that place in a relationship can signal an end to the romance, but it’s a good sign that you’re comfortable in your partner’s presence and can share any topic or worry with them without fear of being judged.”

The poll also found having the confidence to tell a partner if their breath is a little smelly or if they need a squirt of deodorant without them taking offence is a strong sign that a relationship has serious potential. Squeezing each other’s spots or plucking stray hairs is another health-related sign a relationship is definitely comfortable. And the cliché of finishing each other’s sentences still rings true – appearing inside the top 30 signs of a comfortable partnership.

Body confidence was a continuous theme, with being more relaxed about shaving, physical appearance overall and wearing swimwear in front of your partner all being cited as good markers for a relationship lasting the pace. It’s not always smooth sailing though – a third have been in a relationship where their partner got too comfortable too quickly and the illusion of a perfect relationship is most commonly broken when the man breaks wind in front of his partner.

Nearly a fifth said a new partner had overstepped the mark by getting in touch with their family members too early, or asking about ex-partners. The average woman said she’d go around four months before going make-up free around her partner.

Aisling Dillon from Measure added: “There is still a stigma around health issues and the results show that even with our partners, we sometimes still feel there are topics we cannot share. It’s important those barriers are broken down and people are able to be open about any concerns they have, or simply have their loved one there to give support and peace of mind, rather than keeping secrets.

“We can see from our survey that a number of ‘excuses’ or responses seemingly originating from the natural British reserve appear to block the way to early diagnosis of potentially serious conditions. Detecting these warning signs earlier really makes a difference to cure rates and treatment outcomes.”


1.      Not wearing make-up
2.      Not locking the bathroom door
3.      Wearing pyjamas/lounge wear
4.      Breaking wind in front of them
5.      Not shaving your legs/face
6.      Wearing your less attractive/non-matching underwear
7.      Doing his/her laundry
8.      Going to the toilet with the door open
9.      Confiding in them over health concerns
10.     Letting them look after you when you’re ill
11.     You don’t mind crying in front of them
12.     Taking calls/visits from their family
13.     ‘Letting yourself go’ without worrying about it
14.     Laughing when they take the mickey out of you
15.     Letting them have house keys
16.     Happy to have a conversation while naked
17.     Knowing their views on marriage and kids
18.     Telling them when they need a mint/deodorant
19.     Shaving in front of them
20.     Asking them to squeeze a spot/pluck a hair
21.     Not fretting at the prospect of being in swimwear in front of them
22.     Showering together
23.     Going clothes shopping together
24.     Making their lunch to take to work
25.     Answering their phone
26.     Leaving clothes at each other’s houses
27.     Telling them your hang-ups
28.     Finishing each other’s sentences
29.     Calling them by a pet name
30.     Talking about/knowing about ex-partners

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