What was hot in love and relationships in 2015? Some trends that should be kicked to the curb, and others worth keeping. Check it out:
The social media EKG: Teens and 20-somethings often use social media to suss the possibility of a crush turning serious, or to DTR: define the relationship. It’s easy, they say, to find your crush online, and search posts for clues. If you’re already talking, but want to become a thing, you can drop memes that hint at what you hope will happen. If you think he’s cheating, or that she’s lost interest, you can subtweet about what you would do to someone who cheated or abandoned you. (Subtweeting is gossiping about or bullying someone without mentioning their name, but doing it in a way that is obvious who you are talking about.) Clicks are simple, but a conversation can be awkward and uncomfortable—that’s the excuse, anyway.
Unfortunately, the practice of using social media as an EKG grew among middle-aged adults this year. Hey, why tell someone things aren’t working out when you can send a text, or just post a photo of yourself with your new bae? Yes, it’s true—that was the sad state of the human heart in 2015.
Single and satisfied: More people are choosing the single life over marriage, or even dating. These individuals enjoy career, family and friends without succumbing to social pressure to be in a committed, long-term relationship. Other single adults are content to date casually without demanding that the relationship morph into anything more. It’s not the end of marriage, but the arrival of less judgment toward people who choose a different lifestyle. Young women have even embraced the title of “spinster,” acknowledging that the label originally signified a career woman capable of taking care of herself.
The stayover: A staycation at your significant other’s home that’s not as casual as hanging out, yet less formal than cohabitating, or getting hitched. The stayover has been popular with 18- to 29-year-olds since 2010, but this year the trend spread to adults, especially the recently divorced. When physical and emotional closeness with their partner became too intense, they headed home for solitude. Problems erupted for couples who never defined the terms of their relationship (dating? friends with benefits?), and were heartbroken to discover their partner was also involved with someone else. The other stayover mess occurred with couples who slid from stayover to staycation, and then into cohabiting without ever discussing commitment or fidelity.
Toxic friendships: More people became aware of the qualities of unhealthy friendships through the proliferation of online blogs, and made the move to end those connections. Others opted to understand the challenge was personal. They learned to connect differently with a difficult friend by managing confrontation, engaging clear communication and practicing compassion. These individuals gained powerful interpersonal skills and self-awareness in the process.
As 2015 ends, let’s initiate a new trend: a commitment to grow in intimacy by listening deeply, loving widely and being transparent in all of our relationships.