Don't freak out just because you're feeling kind of yawn-y in your relationship. There are approximately a million things to do when you get bored in your relationship. Or — 17, to be exact. A million, 17, what's the diff? In all seriousness, boredom in a relationship is often cause for alarm, but there's really no need: Most of us get bored with everyday routines, because we are human and we crave variety. It's totally normal to feel a little stiff, but you know what is not OK? Just accepting it and complaining and becoming complacent.
According to 17 dating and relationship experts, psychologists and other love gurus, there are plenty of ways to combat the day in, day out lull of life. If you're feeling a bit stultified by the daily grind, stop fussing and start trying these 17 baller suggestions. You'll be feeling much peppier in no time. In fact, even if you're quite satisfied in your relationship, you wouldn't lose out by trying these activities, because — why not? Relationships are never hurt by trying new undertakings, shaking things up, and generally moving and shaking everything around. And you'll probably learn something about yourself in the process. Win-win.
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1. Get Your Binge-Watching On
"Watch a TV series together," Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Grant Me a Higher Love, tells Bustle. "In the past, there was one TV in a household and not that many shows to choose from, so couples sat in the living room or the den watching a show together," she says. "Now there are a gazillion shows to choose from and every room has a TV set, and television has become a solo activity."
But you can use TV as a way to connect with your partner. "If you find that you and your partner are growing further apart and bored with each other, than why not use this medium as a means to reunite?" Braff says. "Choose a show that you both can watch together. For instance, The Voice is a great choice because you can watch it from the start of the season to the end. Talk about the singers, root for them, guess who will stay or go, and later on, purchase the songs you both loved and incorporate these songs into your life," she says. Bonus points if you watch it live, which will enforce a specific time to hang together each week.
2. Go Within And Get Curious
If you're bored, that may say something more about you than your relationship. "My mother, my first and most prominent mentor, used to say, 'Smart people don't get bored, they get curious,' which aligns with zen psychotherapy," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "A Buddhist mind is a curious mind." If you're feeling stagnant, you might be unhappy with yourself, she says. "I often tell my clients who state that they are bored, 'Please keep a child's mind in your relationship. Look inward to see if you are unhappy with yourself and creating a scapegoat in your relationship, and maybe you simply need to look within.'"
Once you give this some thought, you might find that the problem is not without, but within. "The client who states they are bored — over 80 percent of the time — will see that it is their own self that needs to be explored, and the relationship is a nice container and space for their growth and nurturing." So "it's not you, it's me" can apply to boredom within a relationship as well.
3. Look Forward To Something
"Plan something together," life coach Kali Rogers Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "Just like people need promotions in their work in order to feel challenged and rewarded, couples need to feel that same adrenaline rush in a relationship," she says. So look to the future to make your present more fun and exciting. "Planning dates, an event or a project together ignites companionship and appreciation," she says. Even if it's just a quick weekend trip out of town or a little dinner party, if you have something to be excited about on the horizon, it'll make your relationship more interesting.
4. Take A Staycation
Take a staycation, relationship coach Jessica Brighton tells Bustle. "I love these because they are a great relationship booster and require very little travel, money or excessive planning," she says. "Go to any discount hotel site and book a one-night hotel stay in your city or another city within close proximity to you," she suggests. Since you'll only be staying one night, splurge and book a place with high thread count sheets and cushy robes: "Often, you can get a room at a nicer place for around $150," Brighton says.
Next step: Get ready. "Pack a weekend bag, make some dinner reservations at a new restaurant close to the hotel and get ready for some relaxation and fun," she says. "This brief change of venue gets both of you out of your normal routine and element, and allows you to have new experiences and build new memories together." You'll "return home" — aka go back to your normal apartment or house from the hotel nearby — feeling more stoked about your relationship.
5. Take It Back To Basics
"Go back to the basics," Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. "Think about what brought the two of you together in the first place and then try doing some of those activities together," she suggests. "This might ignite a spark that had been gone for awhile and might help the two of remember activities that you used to really enjoy doing together."
So if you used to play tennis together, dust off those rackets; and if you used to love watching old movies together, get yourselves to the local revival cinema. "Going dancing to the music the both of you really like or traveling back to a place where you had a great time or a great vacation together" are all good ideas too, says Daniels. Stick to what works — or has worked in the past.
6. Be Goofballs
The fastest way to stop snoozing is to start being silly, Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle. "Make [them] laugh, think of things that are fun, meet some new friends, do something different," she says. If you're clowning around, you'll be too busy laughing to be bored.
Tessina also agrees with Daniels in terms of bringing things back to the beginning: "Replicate some of the things you did when you were first dating," she says. And don't just sit around hoping your partner will liven things up. "Take the lead, don’t wait around for him to do it and don’t nag him to do it," she says. Just do something different, and plan an adventure for the two of you.
7. Do Something New Every Day
"Take one whole week to do one thing a day that breaks your routine, even small things," Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. If your normal day looks like waking up, going to work, working out, meeting up with a friend or your partner later on in the day, eating dinner and going to sleep, find some way to add something new to that schedule. "Skip the laundry, try a new restaurant, read out loud to each other from your favorite books, take a walk and play FMK with characters from the last TV show you watched together," Sepulveres suggests.
The list goes on and on and on. "Look up a crazy recipe and make something together," she says. Whatever you do, find that "one thing that makes the day feel different which can change up your routine for the better, or become a new tradition and make you feel less like you're in a rut doing the same things over and over," she says. And don't just find it — do it.
8. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Together
"Get the freak out of your comfort zone," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "When you feel bored in your relationship, it is time to introduce something new, a new activity, hobbies or a class are great ways to bring more life into your relationship," he says.
Lots of people will tell you to try something new — and many of my experts did just that — but Alex provides a little context as to why it's worth doing. Edging out of your comfort zone "gives you something new and exciting to talk about, and great conversation is usually lacking when relationships start to seem boring," he says. "Stepping out of your comfort zone together as a couple can really be like a breath of fresh air and breath new life into your relationship."
You'll have newfound conversation topics, and you'll be happier and healthier. And don't shy away from nutty things, like taking salsa lessons or even diving out of an airplane. "The crazier the thing you do, the better, and together you can hold hands and step outside the comfort zone, and in doing so feel your relationship thriving again," Alex says.
9. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Solo
Also helpful: Shaking things up in your personal life, which can have an effect on your love life. You don't have to do new things just with your partner to have a positive impact on your relationship. "Do what’s uncomfortable," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "If you’ve been fearful of facing crowds, take an improv class. If you’ve always felt self-conscious about your appearance, go blonde (or red or brunette — whatever you’re not!)." Yes, it'll take a little courage — but it'll result in a better time with your partner, not just a different take on yourself.
10. Replicate Your First Dates
Remember those first 10 or 15 dates that were so crazy and amazing? Yeah, do those again. Literally. "Go back to the activities that you both enjoyed at the beginning — those first fun dates," relationship coach Melinda Carver Melinda Carver tells Bustle. If, on your first few dates, you took in a dance performance, ate at three particular restaurants and watched a certain movie, see that same dance troupe, eat at the same restaurants and rent that same flick.
11. Don't Just Sit There, Do Stuff
The bottom line with pretty much all of these suggestions? Action, action and more action. "Take a class, volunteer together at something you both feel passionately about, learn a new skill, such as cooking, wine tasting, rock-climbing, ballroom dancing — whatever floats both of your boats," Carlyle Jansen, author of Author, Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms, tells Bustle. Jansen echoes Carver's plan of pounding the pavement together: "Start working out together or even going for regular walks in different neighborhoods. Build adventures that are both fun and bonding." And you'll totally forget about being bored.
12. Make Date Night Obligatory
We've all heard that regular date nights are smart. But psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle that they really should be mandatory. "You should have a set weekly date night," she says. It shouldn't just be a night set aside for some TBD event, she adds: "You have two different ways you can go with this. You can sign up for something that is a mutual interest, a cooking class for example. Or, and I like this better, you get to alternate weeks where one person chooses the activity, and the other person promises to go along with it."
13. Never Let Date Night Get Stale
Along the same lines, be sure that you're not just phoning it in when it comes to date night. "Mix it up," Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist, tells Bustle. "Each week, or every other, depending on your schedules, one person has to take full responsibility for a date — but it has to be something new." You're not allowed to just plan a date night that involves going to your favorite Thai restaurant, in other words. "It could be tickets to a concert, a poetry reading, a hike," and the list goes on, she says.
14. Look For Adrenaline
"Seek adrenaline and adventure through novelty," relationship counselor Crystal Bradshaw tells Bustle. "This promotes the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone often referred to as the 'love hormone.'" This is so important that I'll repeat it: When you're doing new things together, you're actually releasing a hormone that results in bonding! Oxytocin is essential in attachment, Bradshaw says. "It flows through women after they give birth and when breastfeeding; it also flows through men and women after orgasm."
15. No, But Really: Find Something Exciting To Do
Like Bradshaw, Kia Grant, Lovapp's relationship correspondant, tells Bustle that you must, above all, do new, exciting, interesting things with your partner. "Find new exciting things you haven't done before," she says. "Could be rock climbing, zip-lining, etc." The activity doesn't matter — and if you're in need of some ideas, see No. 14 on this list for tons of options. The point is, do something different. What it is specifically is not important — that part "just depends on what the two people in the relationship are interested in and find fun," Grant says. And if you always do the same kinds of things together, sign up for that pottery class or running club. You never know what might happen — and at very least, you'll have a nice vase or a newfound love for running at the end of it.
16. Explore Mutual Interests
Yes, it's fun to find totally new and zany ways to pass the time, but don't forget to do lots of things together that you both love, dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "If you are both outdoors enthusiasts, you may find clubs that cater to things you both might want to try, such as rock climbing or kayaking," he says. "If you are both a bit more intellectually oriented, then visiting some museums or taking in a lecture series could be just right for you." And even though activities are vital, don't just do, do, do without any thoughtful gestures. "Whatever your interests are," he says, "you can also spice it up with romantic gestures along the way just keep a good balance." So buy your partner a rose, or get your partner a little gift on the way home.
17. Acknowledge That Boredom Is Normal
The preceding 16 suggestions have all been about changing things up, shaking yourself out of a daily grind, and the like. But it's also necessary to realize that boredom is totally normal in the average relationship, relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. So don't panic. "A little effort can get a couple out of that rut," Chlipala says.
Just acknowledge that you're not the only ones in the world who have experienced a rut in the first place. "Doing novel, challenging and exciting things with your partner can invigorate passion," she says. "Couples who do novel and exciting activities report higher levels of relationship satisfaction." Once you are OK with the fact that boredom will float in and out from time to time, you can address your yawns and find a fun way to do something new.
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