All relationships go through periods of fun and excitement, and periods of stagnation and boredom. For a tiny example, think about a weekend where you went out to dinner and had a great time with your partner, but then spent the next day sitting around paying bills. It's typical to feel
bored in a long-term relationship, as you go about your daily lives. But that doesn't mean you have to get stuck there.
By knowing what types of
mistakes can lead to boredom in a relationship, you'll be better equipped to keep things fresh and fun — even if every single day can't and won't be the most thrilling. "Relationships typically start out in a flurry of passion and excitement," therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT tells Bustle. "It's natural that those feelings may wane after settling into a life with someone that involves daily routines."
But again, that doesn't mean things are all downhill
once the honeymoon phase is over, and the years go on. Experts say avoiding boredom is simply about making an effort to keep things fresh, avoiding complacency, and remaining individuals — despite the fact you're very much together. Here are a few mistakes you and your partner should avoid making, to keep boredom out of your relationship.
While you should both be willing to occasionally agree to disagree, for the sake of harmony in your relationship, going with the flow 24/7 can get old
fast. "Sometimes people get so set in their ways that they just don’t disagree or discuss things with their [partner]," Samantha Daniels, Dating Expert and Founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle. Life becomes about agreeing to go to certain restaurants, even when you don't want to, simply because you're trying to be the "good partner." And where's the fun in that?
Part of keeping a relationship fun is speaking your mind, and sharing your opinions. If you've gotten in the habit of being super agreeable, it may help to shake things up, and speak your mind. Your partner — that person you're trying to get along with, by being so chill — may actually really appreciate it.
Sticking To The Beaten Path
Once you find a restaurant you enjoy, or a coffeeshop you love, it's
easy to fall into a rut, and go to these same places every single day. But there's something to be said for stepping outside your comfort zone as a couple, and trying something new.
"I know it’s easier to go to that same place again and again because you both know it and like it, but it is much more fun trying something new and exploring it together," Daniels says. "This bonds you, makes you more intellectually curious, and gives you more to talk about." And all of that adds interest back into your relationship.
Giving Up On Your Personal Goals
For some reason, many couples make the mistake of screeching their lives to a halt, and settling for their current selves, as soon as they enter a long-term relationship. Some may put grad school off, for example, or become complacent in their career. But this is a big mistake.
"We often think, 'Oh well at least we have each other,'" clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of
The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle. "You do have each other but if you are not pushing for the kind of life you want to live together, you will get bored."
Just because you've settled down, in other words, doesn't mean you have to settle. By going after your goals — and hey, now you have the support of your partner! — you'll be keeping
your life interesting, as well as your relationship.
Never Taking Time For Yourself
In a similar vein, it's easy for people who are part of a couple to forget about their own, individual lives. So don't forget that your hobbies and side projects still matter —
especially if you're feeling bored in your relationship.
"If you are bored in your life, if you don’t have activities that engage you as an individual, that boredom will bleed over to the relationship and/or it will put unfair pressure on the relationship," Dr. Klapow says "The relationship is not the only source to rescue you from life boredom."
Both of you need to make sure you've still got stuff goin' on outside the relationship, in order to keep things fresh. "Do you have hobbies, friends, activities, career etc. that engage you? You each must have that," Dr. Klapow says. "Two individuals who are engaged in life in addition to their lives together are far less likely to get bored."
Getting Too Comfortable Around Each Other
You might think the goal of a healthy, long-term relationship is to become as comfortable as humanly possible. And you definitely should, to a degree.
But allowing yourselves to get
too comfy can lead to complacency, and even feelings of boredom. "Whether we recognize it or not, we like to be challenged because we innately want to grow by design," Julie Pham, an international personal development coach, tells Bustle. "It is in our genetic disposition to want to evolve and grow, which requires an environment that is challenging and not always too comfortable."
So even though you might like the idea of doing the same thing every day — and yes, having a routine is definitely a welcome benefit of being in a LTR — don't be afraid to shake things up, and occasionally add new elements and experiences to your lives.
Focusing On Only One Aspect Of Sex
For many couples, sex is all about getting that orgasm. And that's great. But when you're with someone long-term, sex can and should start to be about other things, too.
"If your sexual activity is fixated and dependent on orgasming, you can expect boredom to take over," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness coach for
Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "On the other hand, if you and your partner use sex as a tool instead of a means to an end, you can expect your relationship to withstand the test of time." Basically, you'll want to cultivate intimacy beyond the surface layers, so sex can remain a fun and fulfilling way to connect, long after the honeymoon stage of your relationship.
Speaking of sex, many long-term couples forget that foreplay doesn't just happen in the moments right before doing the deed. "It's every single moment of your interaction together," Pham says. "
Are you playful with one another? Or is everything serious all the time? Is everything about to-dos? Do you still flirt?" If not, it may be worth it to bring these elements back into your lives, so you can have more fun.
Letting Emotional Intimacy Fall To The Wayside
"If you feel a lack of emotional intimacy, or inability or lack of desire to share your emotions with your partner, this may lead to stagnation," Williamson says. "When we are vulnerable with others, we create a deeper bond with them, especially if they respond in validating ways to us opening up. Busyness, exhaustion, fear, etc. may keep us from initiating emotional conversations with our partner, which in turn, may make us feel emotionally distant and therefore bored with our relationship."
If you feel disconnected from your partner, it may just be a phase. If it lingers on, though, definitely do what you can to fix the situation, ASAP. Taking time to connect may help, as can couples' therapy, where you can learn to listen to each other — and appreciate one another — once again.
Spending Every Waking Moment Together
Even though you love your partner, and want to spend every day with them, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort to peel yourselves apart, and spend some time doing your own thing.
"When you spend the vast majority of the time with one person, it's easy to get tired of being with them," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of
Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle. "So take some time apart (like making more time for friends and activities you enjoy) and you'll appreciate the time you do spend with your partner more."
Having Completely Separate Hobbies
That said, if you've been feeling bored in your relationship, it may be a sign you aren't doing
enough together. And that's where things like shared hobbies can come into play.
"If you spend most of your time away from your partner, engaging in your own separate interests and hobbies, it may be a challenge to find something to do together," Williamson says. "A good remedy might be to take turns doing something the other person enjoys. You're getting to experience your partner 'in their element' and you may even find something new that you enjoy!"
Assuming Things Are Going Well
Long-term relationships take a lot of work. So even though you're together, and things are officially official, that doesn't mean it's time to kick back and stop making an effort.
"Couples often make the mistake of assuming that their relationship is going well, so they can just coast and it will keep going well," relationship counselor Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, director of the
Baltimore Therapy Center tells Bustle. "The truth is that all relationships take consistent work and input to remain vital and satisfying."
And that can be accomplished by making a few simple changes. "If you haven't spent any time this week thinking about what you can do for your partner or your relationship — start now," Bilek says. By making the health of your relationship a priority, you'll keep it from getting stuck in a rut.
Failing To Be Present In The Moment
When you're in a LTR, it's easy to become used to your partner's presence, and take them for granted. You might stop asking them questions, or wondering about their day, or inquiring about their inner world.
But worst of all, you might forget to be present with them, and mindful. And (you guessed it) all of these things can lead to boredom. "When you are together, don't have your mind elsewhere," Pham says. "That's the quickest way to feel alone while in the company of another. The more present you are, the more you allow for the opportunity of connection to happen!"
Lots of folks think of arguments as something to be avoided, whenever possible. And it's certainly true that you want to avoid fighting like cats and dogs. But there's something healthy and invigorating about the occasional debate, and even the occasional argument.
"Very often in an attempt to make the relationship 'good,' we compromise, we let things go, we 'ignore' issues that we believe will lead to conflict," Dr. Klapow says. "On the surface it looks like things are great because we never disagree. But the reality is that to never disagree typically means we are not engaged deeply enough, intimately enough with our partners."
The occasional, healthy argument prevents this from happening. So if you're feeling impassioned, or have somethin' to say, go ahead and say it. It's moments like these that keep a relationship on its proverbial toes, so that you and your partner don't fall victims to boredom.