People are reconsidering their relational health with others and with themselves, focusing on their overall wellbeing and self-growth. A new solo-lens for self-betterment and wellness is shifting the way consumers operate in relationships.

Many couples are taking relationship gap years by scheduling time apart to prioritize self-discovery and growth. The BBC featured two couples in May: one pair took time apart after pandemic restrictions were lifted, and another decided to begin their time as a married couple apart to pursue personal goals. Both couples remain happily married and expressed how the break made their relationship stronger. Marc, a partner from one of the featured couples, told the BBC that be believes “Marriage isn’t about letting go of the things that you feel passionate about, but about finding someone you can support – and be supported by – to pursue those passions.”

Other relationship dynamics are moving away from traditional two-partner formats. Solo polyamorists are choosing to explore ethically open, or non-monogamous, relationships, wherein their primary partner is themselves. In March, the BBC reported on communities that support such relationships, made up of members who appreciate the ability to find romance while living independently rather than intertwining their life with another person. In India, a 24-year-old woman announced plans in June to marry herself in the country’s first case of sologamy.

These relational formats share a common theme of self-awareness, wellness, wellbeing, and a yearning to focus on self-growth. Resetting relational boundaries has evolved for some time now: long-term social media breaks can lower feelings of anxiety and depression, according to a new study published by Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking in May. Even the travel industry saw a rise in solo travel in the last year due to consumers taking time to disconnect from others and be alone with oneself.

Gucci x Oura Ring, courtesy of Oura

These patterns also indicate a common emphasis on self-discovery—one that brands are beginning to tap into. In May, Gucci launched a ring with the wellness tech company Oura that claims to support the wearer’s “journey of self-discovery.” The ring offers a “time-loop story line” of the wearer’s “fast-paced daily routine and highlights how she maximizes her day with the ring and app’s guidance,” according to a press statement.

People are centering their lifestyles around themselves: self-betterment, self-awareness and self-growth are at the top of their list of priorities. Sologamists are outlining a new template for relational wellbeing, accepting that the way we relate to others is determined in large part by the way we relate to ourselves.

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