Don't freak out if you've been feeling kind of yawn-y around your partner. There are approximately a million and one things to do when you get bored in your relationship. While boredom in a relationship can be cause for alarm, there's really no need to panic. Most of us grow tired with our everyday routines, including our connection with our partner, because we are human and we crave variety. But it can be easily remedied — with a little effort.
According to relationship experts, there are plenty of ways to combat the day in, day out lull of long-term relationships. If you're feeling a bit stultified by the daily grind, make the decision to do something about it. You'll be feeling much peppier in no time.
In fact, even if you're quite satisfied with your relationship, keep in mind it never hurts to try new hobbies, shake things up, and learn more about each other, as a way of staying close and having fun again.
That said, don't be afraid to call things off if the boredom seems deep and unfixable. If you try the tips listed below, talk to your partner, and still don't see any improvement, "it may be time to ask yourself if the energy you're investing is worth the return," Cyndi Darnell, a sex and relationship therapist, tells Bustle.
Below, 30 things that will help shake things up if you’re feeling bored in your relationship.
1. Make Sure You're Taking Good Care Of Yourself
If you're all but falling asleep in your relationship, it may mean you're actually bored in general, and not necessarily bored with your partner, Darnell says. So start by taking a look at your current goals.
"Is there something you could do to enliven your own life? Is there a little whisper within you that you are ignoring about how you want to change yourself? A creative project that you're not nourishing? Heed that first before jumping on the relationship," Darnell says.
Once you give it some thought, you might find that the problem is within. "The [person] who states they are bored — over 80% 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," Michele Paiva, a licensed psychotherapist, tells Bustle.
Basically, the saying "it's not you, it's me" applies, and means it's time to work on yourself in order to have a more fulfilling relationship.
2. Be Curious And Ask Your Partner Questions
While it may seem like you know everything about each other, there's always more to learn about a partner, even in a long-term relationship. And according to Melissa Wesner, LCPC, a licensed clinical professional counselor and owner of LifeSpring Counseling Services, it's only when you stop being curious that boredom sets in.
There are plenty of prompts online, such as the Card Decks App from the Gottman Institute, Wesner says, that can get things going. "They have open-ended questions for couples to take turns asking one another," she says. "This is a great tool to use while on a long car ride, while waiting for your food at a restaurant, or while hanging out at home."
As you ask questions, it'll feel like you're getting to know each other all over again. And that will add some much-needed zest to an otherwise dull phase in your relationship.
3. Find Something To Look Forward To As A Couple
If you two are doing the same thing day in and day out, you will start to feel bored and "stuck." So don't forget to plan something fun for the future, such as a vacation or a project you can work on together.
"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," Kali Rogers, a relationship expert and life coach, tells Bustle.
Choose a goal, and chat about the steps you'll take to get there. "Planning dates, an event, or a project together ignites companionship and appreciation," Rogers says. Even if it's just a quick weekend trip or a simple dinner party at home, if you have something to be excited about on the horizon, it'll make your relationship that much more interesting.
4. Try A Staycation With Your Partner
Have you ever been on a staycation? "I love these because they are a great relationship booster and require very little travel, money, or excessive planning," Jessica Brighton, a relationship expert, tells Bustle. And it might be just what your relationship needs.
Choose a time to "get away," then hide your phones and focus on each other for the whole day by making dinner, choosing the perfect movie, or going for a walk in the park. Or, do it up a bit more by booking a hotel room for one night in your city, and treating yourselves to room service.
"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," Brighton says. You'll "return home" — aka back to your apartment — feeling more stoked about your relationship.
5. Think About What Brought You & Your Partner Together
If you aren't sure how to start fixing a sense of boredom, you can always go back to the beginning of your relationship, Samantha Daniels, a professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, says, and think about what brought you together in the first place.
"This might ignite a spark that had been gone for awhile and might help [you both] remember activities that you used to really enjoy doing together," she tells Bustle. Plus, it's simply fun to reminisce.
It's so easy to take each other for granted, but thinking back to those early days can produce all sorts of warm, fuzzy feelings, and before you know it you'll be full of joy and appreciation again.
6. Be Silly Together
The fastest way to stop snoozing is to start being silly, Dr. Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle, which is why she recommends looking for ways to make each other giggle, if you aren't already.
"Make [each other] laugh, think of things that are fun, meet some new friends, do something different," Tessina says. Or simply get more joke-y in your everyday lives.
It's so easy to fall into a dull routine, especially when you've been together long-term. But you can always inject silliness back into your lives by making an effort to do so. If you're clowning around and trying to make each other smile, you'll be too busy laughing to be bored.
7. Do Something New Every Day
Sometimes you have to be very deliberate about turning a dull period around, which is why making a pledge to try one new thing a day may be your best best, Danielle Sepulveres, a sex educator, tells Bustle.
If your normal day looks like waking up, going to work, working out, eating dinner, and going to sleep, find ways to add something new to that schedule. "Skip the laundry, try a new restaurant, read out loud to each other from your favorite books," Sepulveres says. The list of possibilities goes on and on.
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.
8. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Together
It isn't always easy to do, but stepping outside your comfort zone is a surefire way to add more excitement to your relationship, Kara Lissy, LCSW, a psychotherapist at A Good Place Therapy and Consulting, tells Bustle.
It can be as easy as watching a new TV show together, she says, instead of the same program you've seen 100 times. But also think along the lines of cooking dinner instead of ordering out again, or seeking adventure on the weekends instead of staying in.
As far as cooking goes, "spending time in the kitchen together can not only give you an opportunity to bond and relax," Lissy says, "but it’s a great space to practice communication skills and working together to achieve a common goal."
9. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Solo
Since trying something new by yourself is another way to breathe life back into your relationship, think about something you've always wanted to do, but have been putting off due to fear, and do it.
"If you’ve been fearful of facing crowds, take an improv class," April Masini, a relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. "If you’ve always felt self-conscious about your appearance, go blonde (or red or brunette — whatever you’re not!)."
While you might be wondering what improv or hair dye have to do with your relationship, it's all about trying something new, and the domino effect it can have on your relationship, Masini says.
By challenging yourself, you'll bring a new energy back to your life, which in turn will impact your partner. You'll have stories to tell, and a new sense of confidence for having overcome a fear.
10. Replicate Your First Dates
Remember those first 10 or 15 dates when you were freshly in love and head-over-heels for each other? Yeah, do those again. Literally.
"Go back to the activities that you both enjoyed at the beginning — those first fun dates," Melinda Carver, a relationship coach, tells Bustle. If, on your first few dates, you watched a certain movie, ate amazing Indian food, and walked through the park while eating ice cream, go ahead and do it all over again.
Even if it isn't a perfect recreation, the point is to get the feeling of new love flowing again by triggering old, happy memories. It's about remembering why you fell in love in the first place, so you don't become complacent in your relationship.
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, a sex coach, tells Bustle.
Jansen says it's important to get up and get moving, as a way to literally shake off feelings of boredom. "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
"You should have a set weekly date night," she tells Bustle, and it shouldn't just be a night set aside for some TBD event. "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, alternate weeks where one person chooses the activity, and the other person promises to go along with it."
That way you'll both know there's not only a date on the horizon, but one that could potentially be a surprise. Relationships take effort, so don't feel bad about having to "plan" your fun. This trick will ensure you both have a good time and stay connected — and that'll leave little room for boredom.
13. Mix Up Date Night So It Never Feels Stale
Along the same lines, be sure that you're not just phoning it in when it comes to date night, but mixing it up, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. "It has to be something new."
Don't just order from your favorite Thai restaurant for the hundredth time in a row, but instead make an effort to think outside the box. Again, it's all about being game and ready to try something new.
Even if the plan sounds a bit different, "the other person goes, no questions asked," Durvasula says. You can keep up your Thai restaurant tradition, but adding in a few out-of-the-box dates here and there will keep you both on your toes.
14. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping With Your Partner
There's something to be said for a dose of adrenaline every now again, especially if you're both bored out of your minds. So think about what might get your blood pumping — like kayaking down a river, going to the top of a skyscraper, or even watching a scary movie — and give it a try.
A thrilling experience, big or small, "promotes the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone often referred to as the 'love hormone,'" Crystal Bradshaw, a relationship counselor, tells Bustle. And once that's flowing, it's darn near impossible to feel "blah" about anything.
Oxytocin is also essential in attachment, Bradshaw says. It quite literally bonds you, since your brains will experience the same rush of adrenaline as you "survive" something mildly scary together.
15. Start A New Hobby Together
If you don't currently have a hobby you can share together, it's time to start one. Again, "this works because it takes you out of your comfort zone," Joseph P. Coleman, PhD, LP, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. This is when you might sign up for an online class, attempt new recipes in the kitchen, or take up hiking in the woods.
Find something you both enjoy, and make it your own. Do this new hobby on a regular basis, and take it seriously. "Before you know it," Coleman says, "you’re talking about new topics and connecting on a whole new level."
16. Give Each Other's Hobbies A Try
Be willing to try out each other's hobbies as well — or at the very least show support. Not only will it be horizon-expanding for you both, but it'll send the message that you're invested in each other's happiness.
Let's say you've always been super into hiking, but your partner isn't much of an outdoors person. There's so much bonding to be had if only they'd join you on occasion and give it a try. And vice versa.
By introducing each other to your own, personal hobbies, you'll be getting a glimpse into what makes the other tick, which can be exciting and eye-opening. Plus, it's fun to teach each other the ropes, hear what they think about your hobby, and bond over a (potentially) new, shared passion.
17. Try Something New In The Bedroom
According to Dr. Lauren Cook, a therapist and author, boredom in a relationship is often a good sign. "It's an indication that you're building comfort with each other," she tells Bustle. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to sit back and accept it — especially in the bedroom.
Cook suggests letting a "blah" feeling motivate you to have a conversation about reconnecting, including what you'd like to do to spice things up. Talk about fantasies, have sex in new and interesting places — like a hotel room or in the back of your car — and get more comfortable talking about sex in general, so that you both know what the other wants and needs.
A boring relationship can lead to boring sex, and vice versa. But if you both strive to make improvements in this particular area, you'll likely feel better overall.
18. Spend A Little More Time Apart
If you're hanging out 24/7, and/or living together, you're going to get sick of each other. So before you start blaming your boredom on a lack of love or chemistry, try spending time apart. By cultivating your own hobbies, interests, and friendships, you'll feel refreshed — and have fun stories to tell each other, once you reunite.
There's also something to be said for injecting a little mystery into your relationship, clinical psychologist Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, tells Bustle. She recommends couples not "be too available" to each other, on occasion, as a way of reigniting a sense of appreciation.
This might mean spending an evening apart while you go out with your own friends, and not texting for a few hours. Or going away for a solo weekend trip and saving up all the fun details to share over dinner, once you get back home again.
19. Get To Know Your Partner For Who They Are Now
If you've been together for a few years, chances are your partner is way different now than they were when you first met. But have you updated your opinion of them? Have you acknowledged all the ways they've grown and changed? If not, you'll both benefit from a check-in.
"People want to be seen and valued," Cassandra LeClair, PhD, a communications professor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "We often get stuck in our relational routines and we fail to notice our partners for who they are as individuals."
So sit down and have a chat. Ask your partner what they currently like and dislike, LeClair says, even if you think you know the answers. Learn new information about each other's lives, and make a point of catching up more often.
20. Find New Things That Make You Happy
If you keep thinking about how bored you are in your relationship, it’s only going to lead to more dissatisfaction. If you still love your partner but you’re just feeling like you need more excitement, try finding new things that make you happy.
“When we're in a relationship we often forget to take care of ourselves properly as we become absorbed in the relationship,” Katie Lasson, sexologist and relationship advisor, tells Bustle. “If you find yourself getting bored take a step back and spend some time making yourself feel good. We've all heard the saying you cannot give from an empty cup well that is especially true in a relationship. Spend time filling your cup and doing things you really love doing.”
21. Conquer A Fear Together
Are you terrified of rollercoasters? Try going on one with your partner one weekend. If your partner has a fear of flying, maybe you can try taking a short flight somewhere.
“Embarking in novel experiences has many positive effects,” Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University in New York City, tells Bustle. “When you engage in a fresh new activity, you can capitalize on beginner’s energy and displace the familiar and worn-out roles you occupy with your partner.”
22. Go Away With Friends For A Weekend
Although going away for a weekend with your partner can be bonding experience, it’s also not a bad idea to go away with some friends. Sometimes you just need some time apart to really miss and appreciate each other. According to Romanoff, traveling can bring out new sides of your personality just by experiencing new things. Plus, you can come home with fun stories to tell.
23. Dedicate Yourself To A New Project
If you’re starting to feel bored in your relationship, invest more time towards your passions and start a new project. According to Romanoff, we need a little “healthy insecurity” in our relationships to revitalize them, which comes from focusing on situations and experiences outside of your relationship. “Cultivate your own passions, and bring that energy back into your relationship with your partner as a cyclical life source,” she says.
24. Reminisce About The Past
It can be fun to reminisce about the early days of your relationship. According to Dr. Jess O’Reilly, dating expert and resident sexologist for Astroglide, “When you reflect upon happy and exciting memories, it offers a reminder of the passion you experienced early on and can help to re(ignite) the spark.”
25. Exchange Funny Stories
Finding things to laugh at together is a great way to avoid boredom. You can do this by challenging your partner to make you laugh or by exchanging funny memories. “Being playful helps to promote both a passionate connection and an active sex life,” O’Reilly says.
26. Stare Into Each Other’s Eyes
This might sound cheesy or awkward, but O’Reilly says staring into each other’s eyes for 30 to 60 seconds can be a powerful experience. “Some studies have suggested that eye contact results in heightened oxytocin levels and another revealed that couples who remain deeply in love also maintain eye contact more often while talking,” she says. If it feels weird at first, just keep going. According to her, pushing your comfort zones as a team is essential to maintaining excitement and feelings of passion.
27. Walk Your Dog Together
Finding time in your schedule to be together can help you avoid a relationship rut. If you have a dog together, why not walk your dog together? “Multiple studies suggest that dog owners are more active and report lower stress levels than non dog-owners,” O’Reilly says. “Both of these measures are associated with a more active sex life.” You’ll be spending time together, and possibly be having better sex.
28. Share Your Sexual Fantasies
Being vulnerable and opening up about subjects that might make you uncomfortable is a great way to keep the flame burning. It can reveal a whole new side to your partner that you didn’t know was there. According to O’Reilly, “Sharing sexual fantasies can strengthen your connection and add a spark to your relationship.” You don’t necessarily have to act on them, but it is something you should be talking about as a couple. You can even have this conversation more than once as tastes do tend to change as time goes on.
29. Talk About Your Childhood Dreams
Talking about childhood dreams and allowing your minds to wander together in a non-sexual way is another thing you can do when you’re getting bored. For instance, did you dream of making it to the Olympics when you were a kid? Maybe becoming a famous comedian is a fantasy your partner secretly has. “Sharing these vulnerable and ‘inner child’ parts of ourselves builds intimacy,” O’Reilly says. “By allowing partners to see new sides of us, we can enjoy a dopamine high from the anticipation, just like when you’re getting to know a potential partner for the first time.”
30. Acknowledge That Boredom In A Relationship Is Natural
The preceding 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, Anita Chlipala, a relationship coach and therapist, tells Bustle. So if you hit a snooze-y patch, don't assume you're heading for a breakup. "A little effort can get a couple out of that rut," she says.
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.
Cyndi Darnell, sex and relationship therapist
Michele Paiva, licensed psychotherapist
Dr. Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author
Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author
Kara Lissy, LCSW, psychotherapist
Carlyle Jansen, a sex coach and author
Dr. Nikki Martinez, psychologist
Joseph P. Coleman, PhD, LP, licensed psychologist
Anita Chlipala, relationship coach and therapist
Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, clinical psychologist
Cassandra LeClair, PhD, communications professor and relationship expert
Dr. Lauren Cook, therapist and author
Melissa Wesner, LCPC, licensed clinical professional counselor
Kali Rogers, relationship expert and life coach
Jessica Brighton, relationship expert
Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker
April Masini, relationship expert and author
Melinda Carver, relationship coach
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, relationship expert and author
Crystal Bradshaw, relationship counselor
Katie Lasson, sexologist and relationship advisor
Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University in New York City
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, dating expert and resident sexologist for Astroglide
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