If you're in a long-term relationship, you're probably waiting for that fateful day when you finally feel bored with your partner. And hey, if you're truly honest, you might already feel that way. This is a normal phase of all long-term relationships, and it's not usually something to worry about. But it is great that you noticed.
"When things get boring, there needs to be an effort made to make things fun and exciting again," relationship therapist Carolyn Cole, LCPC, LMFT, NCC tells Bustle. "Things won't become exciting without putting in some work. But, it can be fun and doesn't need to feel like work!" In fact, this is normal maintenance all couples have to go through eventually.
"After you've been with your partner for a considerable amount of time, it's normal for the honeymoon phase to end," says therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. "As we get into daily routines and have outside responsibilities — such as work, our social life, and self care — we often find our relationship becomes stale. If you prioritize and focus on getting the spark back, it certainly can be fixed."
If your relationship is feeling a bit boring or predictable — or simply not quite right — here are some things you should do ASAP to get things back on track.
1. Tell Your Partner What's Up
You can't expect things to get better if you keep your partner in the dark. So let 'em know what's on your mind — in a nice, caring way, of course. "Instead of blatantly telling your partner that you are bored, perhaps you suggest that you’ve been stuck in [a] rut ... and you think it would be fun for the both of you to do something new together," says clinical psychologist Dr. Sarah Williams. This will kick off a conversation, and allow you both the chance to make any necessary changes.
2. Break That Boring Daily Routine
Once you're both on the same page, it's time to do whatever you can to switch up your predictable routine. "Routines can kill even the most loving relationships and make them feel boring. Bring back the spontaneity," dating coach Shawnda Patterson tells Bustle. Even little things, like meeting for dinner at a new restaurant, can make things fun again.
3. Make An Effort
Remember the amount of effort you made in the beginning of your relationship? With all those date nights and sweet phone calls? Now's the time for both of you to bring that back. "Never stop dating your mate," Patterson says. "Never stop putting in the effort to let them know that you are still the guy or girl they fell in love with."
4. Seek A Change Of Scenery
It doesn't matter what you do or where you go, but a change of scenery is a must. "Changing your environment will help create new emotional responses to your partner, instead of triggering old undesirable ones," says relationship expert Miyoko Rifkin. If things have been feeling stale, or even negative, a new scene can make you both feel so much better.
5. Create A Relationship "Bucket List"
It's never too late to create new goals, or come up with new, fun things to do together. As therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW says, "Come up with a 'bucket list' and think about things you've always wanted to try that you can do together." And really think outside the box. "Doing something out of the ordinary can add both excitement to the relationship and help you feel more connected to your partner."
6. Touch Each Other More Often
Established couples often breeze past one other without so much as a hug or a kiss, totally forgetting about the importance of touch in a healthy relationship. "Whether it's a kiss hello or goodbye, snuggling on the couch, or holding hands — even non-sexual touching builds connection between partners," Hershenson says.
7. Start Going On Dates Again
Your busy lives might be getting in the way, but you both need to make date nights a priority — by going out on the town once a month, or simply doing something low budget and staying in. "Set the table, put out candles, and have a delicious meal together," Hershenson says. It's an easy way to reconnect and remember that you're still totally into each other.
8. Encourage Your Partner's Hobbies
Remember, you two don't have to do everything together. And, for a healthier relationship, you really shouldn't. As dating coach Denny Jones says, "Those who maintain excellent relationships really take they're partner into consideration and encourage them to explore their own passions." Shoo them away and allow them time to pursue things solo. At the end of the day, you'll come back together with fresh stories to tell.
9. And Don't Forget To Do Your Own Thing
If you're no longer charmed by your relationship, don't immediately assume it has to do with your partner. It could simply be your own lack of hobbies and personal goals. "When you are bored, you are boring," author and therapist Richard Matzkin tells Bustle. "So, when you become bored, don't look to your partner to be your entertainment. Search for things that stimulate, uplift and excite you. When you find meaning and excitement in your own life, the honeymoon doesn't have to end."
10. Remember To Flirt
Once couples get comfortable in their relationship, they often stop flirting. And that's not OK. Flirting keeps things fun, and reminds you both why you got together in the first place. So go ahead and bring it on back. "Flirt. Court each other," says Cole. "Act as though you are starting to date again." It might feel silly, but it can help put a spark back in your relationship.
11. Try Something New In Bed
Sex can get a bit vanilla as the years wear on, but keep in mind that's a) totally normal and b) totally fixable. In fact, often all it takes to bring the fun back is doing something out of the ordinary. As relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, LCSW says, "Try out some sex toys, dressing up in costumes, acting out fantasies, and having sex in new places. Having care-free, fun sex can make you feel close as a couple and more confident and secure in your relationship."
Fixing a bout of boredom doesn't have to be difficult. If the issue doesn't correct itself on its own with time, talk with your partner and be straight up about it. (Hey, they might be feeling bored, too!) And then work on fixing it together.
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