While it would be nice to keep that initial spark you and your partner shared alive forever, the reality is you may eventually start to feel bored in your relationship. This doesn't mean it's falling apart, necessarily. But it may mean you both need to make a few changes.
After all, in any relationship, there's "a constant dance going between safety and novelty," Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR, a licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. "If you have too much safety, you are likely to feel bored, stuck, and uninspired."
And once you fall into a rut, it's easy to forget what brought you together in the first place, you might begin to lack appreciation for each other — and then boredom finds its way on in. It can, however, be remedied by first noticing these signs, and then intentionally trying new things.
Striking a nice balance between safety and novelty "can help couples learn new things about each other and amp up the fun," Scott-Hudson says. This might mean going on more dates, treating yourselves to a trip, and having interesting experiences together, all in the name of casting a fresh light on your relationship. If any of the things listed below sound familiar, experts say it may be time to try something new, so you don't feel bored.
You Tune Out While Your Partner's Talking
"If you’re having trouble staying focused on the conversation in your relationship, you’ll often find yourself mindlessly browsing through your social media feeds," Lauren Cook, MMFT, a clinician practicing emotionally-focused therapy, tells Bustle. And this is far more likely to happen if you're bored.
Boredom can come about for any number of reasons, but many times it's because the relationship is officially stuck in a rut. You may feel like you've heard all their stories before, or as if you've talked about the same topic 55,000 times.
So remember, relationships require maintenance, and that includes doing new things both together and separately, so that you'll always have something to talk about.
You Don't Make Them A Priority
"When there’s boredom, you’re often not attempting to see your partner as much," Cook says. "Everyone else seems to make the cut but them." If a friend calls, you drop everything to see them. And if your coworkers want to get together, suddenly you have all the energy in the world.
But if you feel as if the relationship has become a "chore," and no longer make the same effort, it may help to focus some of that energy back towards your relationship. See your friends and have fun, but also move your partner higher up on the priority list, and see if it makes a difference. You'll likely be glad you did.
You're Mentally Checking Out
If you don't really look forward to seeing your partner — or worse, if you don't really think about the relationship much at all — it can be an indication that stagnation is present, Cook says. It might even mean you've run out of things to do and say, and thus have begun to mentally check out.
"It’s only natural that once the honeymoon stage wears off (which is about two years), a couple settles into comfortability and companionship," Cook says. "However, this does not mean that either of you should feel stifled in the relationship and boredom is an indication that you need to be more intentional about your bond or reconsider the health of the relationship."
You Wonder About Your Other Options
If boredom has put down roots in your relationship, don't be surprised if you start wondering about other options. "You may begin to visualize what could, should, or would be if things were different," Ashley Vives, a self-love and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "You may wonder how things would change if you were with someone else. Or, even begin to compare previous relationships to yours."
While it's only natural to to think like this on occasion, boredom can definitely make the curiosity even stronger. If you catch yourself wondering if the grass would have been greener and all of that, check in with yourself and figure out what it is you might need, Vives says, or what might be missing from your relationship.
You Prefer To Spend Time Alone
"Being bored with one’s partner sometimes shows up through a lack of interest in sharing activities," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. You might make more time for friends instead, as mentioned above. Or you may simply want to spend time alone.
This can stem from a lack of inspiration. "It’s also important to note that sometimes we think we are bored with a relationship when we are actually bored with other aspects of life and then unconsciously project the boredom onto our partner," Manly says. Keep this in mind, and it may help you to figure out what's going on.
You Feel Restless
"Restlessness may be a sign that you’re wanting more fun, excitement, and adventure as part of your relationship," Heidi McBain, licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in women’s mental wellness, tells Bustle.
This could be stemming from other areas of your life, so be sure to check in with yourself and think about why you might be feeling "blah" about life. But also be sure to talk to your partner. "Chances are, they may be feeling bored too," McBain says, "so this might open up a two way conversation about how to improve things overall."
You Feel Disconnected
If you feel lonely or disconnected, even though your partner is right there, boredom is definitely taking hold. It is, after all, tough to maintain a connection when you don't have anything to build on, like a spark, or novelty, or shared experiences.
But that can be an easy fix. "Feeling disconnected from your [partner] may be a sign that you need to spend more quality time together," McBain says. For example, you might chat about the all the fun things you've been meaning to do, but have been putting off. And then find a way to make them happen.
You Entertain The Idea Of An Emotional Affair
The thing about boredom is it can make the idea of an emotional affair seem like a good idea. "You may entertain more fantasies of someone at the office," Scott-Hudson says. Or find it thrilling to get a text from someone your partner doesn't know about.
But if that's not cool in your relationship, take it as a sign something needs to change ASAP. Is an emotional affair really the right way to fix the situation, or cure a sense of boredom in your relationship? It may help to talk with your partner, and figure out what to do.
It is, after all, only natural to feel bored at times, especially once the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over. You might fall into a groove, take each other for granted, and put less effort into keeping things fun. But it is possible to feel inspired once again, and bring that spark back.