Boredom May Actually Be Good For Your Relationship

Although you might think feeling bored in a relationship is a kiss of death, it might be completely the opposite. Psychologists have a new take on feeling bored — that it can actually help your relationship. The question is, how you use it. If you think about how you're bored when you're by yourself, you don't normally just sit around remaining bored — you change what you're doing and normally find something good in the process. Well, according to the Wall Street Journal psychologists are thinking that boredom can act "as a powerful signal to pay attention and step up your game... It may even help you rekindle your connection".

So the idea is basically that you use boredom as a catalyst to do something new and better, to try harder. It's an interesting theory, but it also requires you to choose to take action. Although, it turns out your brain actually helps you out with this when you're bored. Because as much as we tend to think of boredom as a negative, it turns out the way that boredom affects our brains makes it easier for us to come up with new things to do. The Wall Street Journal Explains:

The bored brain may be up to something good, some scientists now think. When we feel bored, our prefrontal cortex—the area in the brain associated with consolidating memories, processing emotions and making decisions—is highly active. In addition, when we experience boredom, two areas of the brain may be busy working closely together—the executive network, which solves problems, and the so-called default network, which takes over when your brain isn't involved with something external. The result is enhanced creativity.

This is good news — your brain is helping you out. But what should you do if you feel bored in your relationship? Here's what they suggest:

1. What Kind Of Bored Are You?

The first step is to figure out what kind of bored you are. There are five different types of boredom: indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant, and apathetic. They range from the sort of little niggling of wanting to try something new, to feeling helpless, even to that anxious, angry feeling when someone is droning on about themselves in a social setting.

2. What Can You Do About It?

The Wall Street Journal suggests once you determine what kind of bored you are, it's easier to figure out what you need. Are you searching for something new? That's easy to fix with a new hobby or restaurant. Feeling helpless? That may require something more rigorous, like therapy. But not thinking of it as an overwhelming, diffuse wave of "boredom", and picking out exactly what that specific need is, it's easier to fix it, and even turn it into positive changes.

3. Let Your Partner Know

Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, a marriage therapist, explains that if you're feeling bored, you may need to talk to your partner about it — But tread lightly. "They might be perfectly happy with the same-old routine, and you might insult them, particularly if you use the word 'bored,' O’Neill says. Suggest a new activity you could try together. Never blame."

4. Be Prepared To Compromise

If your partner is happy in the current routine and you're not, that doesn't mean you get to shake their foundation completely. Try to find a way that incorporates your need for something new with the things that they need to feel comfortable.

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