As a relationship progresses, it’s completely normal for feelings of comfort and familiarity to replace novelty and passion. But if that sense of safety turns into complacency, you might end up getting bored in a relationship.
At the start of a new relationship, you’re still getting to know your partner and experiencing a lot of “firsts” together. But as time goes on and you get to know each other better, you might go into autopilot and stop putting as much effort into it. When that happens, boredom can set in.
“There may not be much conflict in a boring relationship, so from an outside perspective, everything looks just fine, but on the inside, everything feels too predictable and monotonous,” she adds.
Boredom isn’t necessarily a red flag, and occasionally feeling bored in a relationship doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to fail. But when things feel so stagnant that you and your partner start drifting apart, it’s time to do something about it.
Below, we asked experts what to do if you’re getting bored in a relationship and how to reconnect with your partner.
If you’re bored in your relationship, you definitely aren’t alone. “Boredom is common in all relationships,” says Johnson.
“During the dating phase, we’re actively trying to impress the other person — getting dressed up, going out on exciting dates, etc. But after a while, those things start to fizzle and schooling, jobs, and kids start to take priority,” she says.
“This happens at a variety of times in different relationships, but the key factor is that couples start paying less attention to one another, and more attention to other things.”
If you and your partner are happy and overall satisfied with your relationship, then occasional bouts of boredom aren’t a cause for concern. It could just mean that you need to invest some time to reconnect with one another and inject some excitement into your relationship.
“Boredom is not categorically good or bad. It’s part of life,” explains Johnson. “Boredom in a relationship is typically a sign that couples need to pay a bit more attention to one another and make attempts to reconnect. The important thing is recognizing it and knowing what to do about it.”
You no longer get excited thinking about a future with your partner.
Thinking about a future with your partner makes you feel uneasy or uninspired.
You and your partner don't have anything to talk about.
You’re disinterested in what your partner has to say.
Spending time with other people feels more exciting and enjoyable.
You find it difficult to spend time alone with your partner.
You find yourself thinking about how you could change your partner or the relationship.
Forgetting things about your partner or relationship, such as anniversaries or birthdays.
To be clear, there’s a difference between feeling comfortable and getting bored in a relationship. “Boredom in a relationship is the sneaky cousin of feeling comfortable,” says Johson. “When we feel comfortable, we are still content and happy with the trajectory of the relationship. Boredom, however, is characterized by questioning and a yearning for something more exciting or different.”
Many people mistake feeling comfortable in their relationship for a lack of passion or excitement, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Feeling comfortable with your partner is a sign of true intimacy, and you and your partner can get to know each other on a deeper level.
“Feeling comfortable in a relationship means you can be authentically yourself around your partner and that you trust them — and yourself — in their presence,” explains Brooke Schwartz, a therapist at Choosing Therapy.
“It may be mistaken for boredom when comfort becomes familiar and even expected. The difference, though, is that boredom in a relationship has stagnant, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and uninspired qualities that don't necessarily exist when feeling comfortable in a relationship,” she adds.
“Boredom can set in at any point in a relationship and is dependent on a number of factors,” explains Schwartz.
“For example, someone with avoidant attachment tendencies may become bored after a few dates as a way of protecting themselves from intimacy, whereas someone else may become bored after 30 years because the relationship has grown stale or hasn't met their intimacy needs.”
Some other causes of boredom in a relationship are:
Not spending enough quality time with your partner.
Ignoring each other’s needs.
Lacking spontaneity in the relationship.
Avoiding arguments with your partner.
Not being ready to be in a relationship.
Lacking shared interests.
It’s natural to experience less-than-exciting moments in the course of a relationship, but if boredom is starting to affect the quality of your relationship, there are things you can do.
“Boredom doesn't have to be ‘bad’ or an indication that the relationship is destined to fail. Instead, it may be an indication that something needs to change and an opportunity to practice self-advocacy and problem-solving with a partner that ultimately brings you closer together,” says Schwartz.
“Start by differentiating between whether you're feeling bored or comfortable. If you determine you're feeling bored, identify the areas in the relationship that have become boring to you. Have they always been that way or has something changed?
Knowing which areas in your relationship need some attention can help you tackle boredom. Try to pinpoint where this sense of boredom is coming from. Do you want to spend more quality time with your partner? Are you not having sex anymore? Have you stopped communicating?
“Identify ways to bring excitement or new opportunities to your relationship,” says Schwartz. “These don't have to be drastic or expensive — it may just mean listening to a podcast rather than music in the car, or trying a new recipe for dinner.”
Research shows that having new, shared experiences can help combat relationship boredom.
“Try something new and different, attempt to get out of your rut, and step out of your comfort zone,” adds Johnson. “Our gut instinct may be to go on more date nights, and then go out to dinner at the same old steak house that we’ve been visiting for 10 years,” she says. “I encourage my clients to try a new experience — go to a cooking class, a theme park, an exercise class, or a fundraiser.”
As for the day-to-day? “Start noticing your partner,” Johnson adds. “Pay attention and acknowledge the little things. To chase away the boredom, make a point each day to invest (even in small ways) in your relationship.”
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