8 Huge Relationship Trends of 2013
Sexier sex! Very public proposals! Nearlyweds! It was a pretty busy year for love and relationships. As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at the best trends that made headlines.
Matching OutfitsYou know how everyone jokes that a couple's been together too long when they sport matching wardrobes? Well, thanks to Kim and Kanye, coordinated clothing is actually on trend these days. Last month, the duo stepped out in Brooklyn, NY, in white tees, long black coats and ripped denim jeans, and on more than one occasion, they’ve been spotted in head-to-toe white, head-to-toe black and, of course, matching leather pants. In China the trend is so popular it even has a name, “qing lu zhuang,” and retailers are marketing matching outfits to newlywed couples who want to wear their hearts on their sleeves -- literally!
Spicier SexFrom Miley’s foam finger and sledgehammer-licking antics to the hotly anticipated (and hotly debated!) 50 Shades of Grey movie, kink kept a handcuff-tight hold on the spotlight this year. And as it continues to enter the mainstream, more couples are channeling their inner Anastasia and Christian! Whether it’s playing with blindfolds and crops or trying out bondage, kink expert Nina Payne is glad to see this trend is on the rise. “Experimenting with kink takes a lot of communication and trust and that ultimately helps bring couples closer together,” she says.
Social ProposalsRemember when the Jumbotron proposal was the only flashy, public way to profess one’s love? Well, social media has shot that idea right out of the ballpark. Why share your happiness with one stadium when you can tweet it to the (virtual) world. This year saw a huge surge in creative online proposals—from Rhett Hildebrandt (he crowdsourced his proposal and got all his tweeps to tweet about his girlfriend’s favorite things using #marrymemaryday) to Denis Lafargue (he popped the question to Elizabeth Wisdom, whom he met on Instagram, with an Instagram–themed proposal posted on--what else-- Instagram!) And let’s not forget all the amazing viral video proposals like the recent flash dance mob at Home Depot. All we have to say is #keepthemcomingplease!
Separate BedsSleeping separately used to be a sign that a relationship was in trouble. Today, it’s a practical solution for many couples, including celeb pair Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. But they’re not the only ones sharing the merits of sleeping apart. For New Yorkers Dan, 30, and Christi, 26, the decision to sleep in separate bedrooms helps keep the romance alive. He says it’s exciting when Christi asks, “Do you want a woman in your bed tonight?!” And science is getting on the solo-bed bandwagon too. A study earlier this year out of Ryerson University in Toronto found that couples who share a bed don’t slip into the necessary deep stages of sleep like those who sleep apart do.
NearlywedsGoldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been doing it since the ’80s, then Brangelina put it on the map, and now it seems like nearlyweds are everywhere! In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, close to three-quarters of women have lived with a significant other by the age of 30 (up 19 percent from 1995), and twice as many women under 45 move in with a significant other as those that get married first. There are plenty of good reasons these days to live in this kind of perma-engaged state. For some, shacking up makes financial sense and is less of a risk than marriage. For others, like 25-year old Dana from Oregon who coparents, owns a home and finances a car together with her long-term partner, it just works. “We have a great relationship. Why compromise it for a piece of paper?!” she says.
E-FightingE-Fighting 2013 is the year we were introduced to @wefoughtabout. Started by a couple that takes their (mostly funny) trysts to cyberspace, this Twitter presence is going strong with more than 21,000 followers and counting. We also witnessed the “rooftop” breakup this year; though in fairness, the couple arguing had no idea a nearby eavesdropper was tweeting a play-by-play of their entire fight! Social media thrives on drama—the juicier the better—so we totally get this trend of couple’s airing their dirty laundry online. But what’s next? Live-tweeting divorces? We seriously hope not!
Sexy AnalyticsThink numbers and charts are boring? Think again! According to a recent trend report, put out by trend spotters Sparks & Honey in collaboration with the Museum of Sex, tracking and measurement devices are the hottest things to hit the sheets since those warming sensation lubes. Now couples don’t have to ask or guess, “Was it good for you?” They can get numerical proof from sensors and apps like Spreadsheets, which provides insights into your “performance” and helps couples keep a record of what’s working—and what’s not!
Separate Bank AccountsWhile it’s a popular notion that sharing a bank account is better for a relationship, more couples are going against the grain and not showing each other their money. Carmen Wong Ulrich, host of Money Marketplace, traces the growing trend to the fact that people are marrying later in life. As we become more educated and put off marriage longer, she says, many couples have dual-income and dual-career households from the start. So it makes sense they’d want to maintain that autonomy with their bank accounts.