When you’re totally bored with each other, your disappointment and unhappiness may make you worry.
Is it over? What can you do to boost your interest in each other and your relationship?
First, don’t panic. Boredom is normal, even in a loving relationship. Our brains are wired for new experiences. There’s even a fancy name for it: hedonic adaptation. We get used to the most positive experiences and no longer feel the zing we felt when we first experienced them. Unfortunately, even the buzz we used to get from being with the one we love is susceptible.
Generally, most of us want both the comfort, security, and predictability of the everyday routine and the adventure and challenge of something new. Getting the right amount of both into your relationship is a balancing act.
When things begin to seem a little boring, you may be leaning too far in the direction of security and comfort. It’s time to add the excitement of interesting, new experiences to help recreate the feelings you had when you first met.
Try these 5 activities when you’re boredom sets in:
1. Do Something Surprising for Each Other
Think about something your partner has been complaining about you doing or not doing and do the opposite. Repeat. Don’t speak of it, just do it. Something they’d appreciate – put your shoes away so your partner doesn’t trip on them, leave a romantic note where they will find it when you’re not around, buy theater tickets and don’t tell them where you’re going, take the dog to the vet without being asked.
Little gestures can go a long way – they can flip the vicious cycle to a slow spin.
2. Plan a Weekly Stare-Fest
Schedule a 15, 20, 30 minute (whatever agrees with both of you) and put away all electronics. Pick a place and just be alone with each other without distraction. Make it consistent, make it weekly, make it the same time. Stare into each other’s eyes. No touching.
How long can you do it? Who looks away first? What are the feelings? Talk about it, laugh about it, but be together. This is similar to Ellyn Bader’s “constant contact” that she instructs her couples to do – and it works!
3. Keep Date Night Interesting
Many relationship experts suggest date nights, but if you go to the same old places you’ll feel the same old boredom. Planning fun things for your partner gives you both something to look forward to if you’re bored with each other. Sign up for an activity together: something new or that you’re both interested in, like a cooking or art class. Try to do things that keep you engaged, cooperative, or communicating.
Take turns planning the date. You can use the opportunity to plan dates that reflect your knowledge of each other, share activities that are important to you, or introduce completely novel experiences. But don’t just go, go, go. Be creative about adding small, romantic gestures to remind you that you love sharing activities you love with each other.
Making date night fun and fresh will keep you both tuned in and interested. Soon your relationship will be restocked with new experiences, memories, and great stories to tell.
4. Leave Your Comfort Zone and Leave Each Other
Leave each other temporarily, that is. Do something exciting that you’ve always wanted to do, alone. The more unusual or adventurous by your own standards, the better. When you separate and come back together, you’ll have new things to talk about with each other
Changing things up in your personal life can rejuvenate your love life. To build your confidence and sense of adventure, take on a challenge. Afraid of being in front of people? Take an improv class. Thinking about changing the world? Become a part-time political activist. Or keep it simple and just try a new kind of exercise class.
There’s a domino effect. When you do things you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try, you attract new friends, infuse a bit of mystery into your relationship, and your sex life might just pick up, too.
5. And What About Sex?
Are you having sex these days? Is it the same each time? Are you both satisfied? When you first met, sex was probably new and exciting. You were more willing to try new things? But like every other area of your relationship, sex can become rote if you let it. Think about what you’d like to do differently and approach your partner about it when you’re NOT in the bedroom. Ask them what they’d like to try – come up with a plan – trip to the sex shop? A new toy? A different room? Pretend you are strangers and meet again outside the home?
Spend time planning it out and create anticipatory pleasure.
Boredom in a relationship may be typical, but doing new, challenging things with your partner can relight the spark that used to make your life fun and exciting. Do the things you love—apart and together. Stay curious and keep communication as open as you can.
These may seem obvious and simple, but they may not be so easy to accomplish. If you find reviving your relationship is more difficult than you thought, consider couples counseling as one of your first shared experience to bring you closer. Having that regular “alone” time together to reflect and learn about your relationship can be the first step towards rediscovering your love for each other. I’d love to help you reconnect and refresh your connection.