Relationships

Here's Exactly What Causes Boredom In A Relationship

The thrill of your honeymoon phase doesn't last forever.

Here's what causes boredom in a relationship.
Ashley Batz/Bustle
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By knowing what types of mistakes can lead to boredom in a relationship, you and your partner will be better equipped to keep things fresh and fun — even if every single day can't and won't be the most thrilling.

While relationships typically start off in a flurry of passion and excitement, also known as the honeymoon stage, says therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT. But, she explains that such a high level of joy and newness simply can’t last forever. "It's natural that those feelings may wane after settling into a life with someone that involves daily routines,” she tells Bustle.

The honeymoon stage fades away, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. According to Dr. Marisa T. Cohen, a relationship expert at the couples app Paired, you’ll eventually start moving into a phase that includes getting to know each other on a deeper level. For some couples, it may be interpreted as “boring.” But there are ways around it.

“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,” Cohen says. It’ll be up to you both to keep an eye out for unhealthy patterns and habits that suck the joy out of the room or make you feel stuck.

With that said, here are a few mistakes that have a way of contributing to a boring relationship that you’ll want to avoid.

1

You Only Have Surface-Level Conversations

Many couples make the mistake of only having surface-level conversations. They talk about the day, the weather, and what they did at work, but never go any deeper than that. And according to Cohen, it’s a habit that can easily create a sense of disconnect — and even boredom — because you’re never talking about anything new.

If you’ve fallen into this rut, it’ll help to ask each other more open-ended questions, Cohen says, as a way to have conversations about meaningful issues and topics you haven’t necessarily covered before. While you can’t expect to get deep and philosophical every single day, you can prevent boredom by having better convos on a more regular basis.

2

You Stop Making An Effort

Another common mistake is thinking your relationship will naturally continue in a positive direction. "The truth is that all relationships take consistent work and input to remain vital and satisfying,” Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, a relationship counselor and director of Baltimore Therapy Center, tells Bustle.

Even if you’re happy, you can’t just sit back and coast. Instead, it’s important to invest energy into each other by talking more, supporting each other, and checking in. Do these things, and it’ll help your relationship stay fulfilling and happy.

3

You Put Off Personal Goals

Of course, while investing in a relationship takes up a lot of time and energy, it doesn’t mean you should forget about or put off your personal goals. In fact, “if you are not pushing for the kind of life you want to live, you will get bored,” Dr. Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle.

Do you want to go to grad school? Write a book? Travel more often? Don’t forget about your goals just because you have a partner. If you have something you’re working towards it’ll help keep life interesting, and that will in turn keep your relationship interesting.

4

You Don’t Have Hobbies

In a similar vein, “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," Klapow says, which is why it’s so important to maintain a personal hobby or two.

Cohen says this can also include self-care, which might mean meditating, journaling, hiking — whatever feels good. “If you don’t practice self-care, whatever that is to you, you are going to have difficulty with relationship-care, and as such experience detachment and/or boredom,” she says.

5

You Do Literally Everything Together

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You love your partner and want to spend every day with them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort to peel yourselves apart and do your own thing — even if it means sitting at home alone.

"When you spend the vast majority of the time with one person, it's easy to get tired of being with them," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle. "If you take some time apart you'll appreciate the time you do spend with your partner more."

6

You Don’t Hang Out Often Enough

Of course, it all depends on your personal situation. If you've been feeling bored in your relationship, it may also be a sign you aren't doing enough together. And that's where things like shared hobbies come into play. "A good remedy might be to take turns doing something the other person enjoys,” Williamson says. “You're getting to experience your partner 'in their element' and you may even find something new that you enjoy!"

7

You Don’t Talk About Your Feelings

It may be tempting to hide the fact you’re having a bad day, maybe because you’re too busy to talk, are afraid your partner doesn’t want to hear it, or because you want to seem easy-going. But that’s yet another mistake that can lead to detachment and boredom over time.

“When we are vulnerable with others, we create a deeper bond with them, especially if they respond in validating ways to us opening up,” Williamson says. So work on opening up more often not only to get things off your chest, but to feel closer and more connected to your partner.

If it’s a struggle, chat with a therapist about why you don’t want to share. You may find that, once you practice opening up, your relationship feels brand new.

8

You Always Go To The Same Favorite Places

It’s always nice to be a regular at your local coffee shop or favorite restaurant. But purposefully stepping outside your comfort zone as a couple, and trying something new, is important. "This bonds you, makes you more intellectually curious, and gives you more to talk about,” Samantha Daniels, a dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle.

9

You Never Argue

While it may seem like a good thing, never arguing is actually a big mistake, Klapow says. It’s often done in an attempt to keep the relationship “good,” when in reality it keeps you from engaging deeply enough as a couple. Sure, it may seem like you’re playing it cool and letting things go. But in reality, you’re driving a wedge of resentment between you.

This doesn’t mean you have to pick fights, bicker 24/7, or have major blow-ups in order to prevent boredom. You should, however, speak your mind if something is bothering you, share tough emotions, and learn how to have healthy disagreements whenever necessary.

10

You Stopped Flirting With Each Other

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According to Julie Pham, a personal development coach, it’s important to keep flirting no matter how long you’ve been together. So ask yourselves, are we playful with one another? Or is everything serious all the time? Is our life all about to-do lists? Do we still flirt? If you’ve stopped being fun and flirty with each other, it may be worth it to bring these elements back into your lives.

11

You Forget To Go On Dates

According to Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist specializing in marriage counseling, you also won’t want to forget about dates. “Couples need variety and to have fun together to keep things fresh,” he tells Bustle. So if it’s been a minute since you went out to dinner and a movie, make an effort to go more often.

You can even schedule it into your routine, however “predictable” that may sound. Choose a night of the week that works well for you both and plan something fun, even if it’s simply cooking dinner at home.

12

You Ignore Each Other

Be careful about checking out and not being present, especially if you live together and see each other every day. "That's the quickest way to feel alone while in the company of another,” Pham says. “The more present you are, the more you allow for the opportunity of connection to happen."

13

You Expect The Boredom To Go Away

If you keep thinking, “My relationship is boring,” don’t expect it to magically go away, Isabelle Morley, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle — because it won’t. If you feel blah, it’ll be necessary to plan new experiences.

“Put the phones down, turn the TV off, and go for a walk or try a new restaurant,” she says. “The same setting, and technology as a distraction, is going to lead to a feeling of monotony.”

You could also create traditions for yourselves as a couple, including doing fun things on birthdays, holidays, or Friday nights. Remember, it’s up to you to make life interesting.

14

You Don’t Address Hurt Feelings

If your partner does something that upsets you and you brush it under the rug — or vice versa — it can start to create a feeling of boredom in your relationship. But according to Debra Fileta, MA, LPC, a licensed professional counselor, that feeling of boredom is actually due to a lack of emotional intimacy.

“When you hold onto hurts without dealing with them and expressing them in a healthy way, you can find yourself pushing your partner away and losing the feelings of intimacy and excitement,” she tells Bustle.

15

You Expect The Honeymoon Phase To Last Forever

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The honeymoon phase, AKA the early days of dating when everything feels exciting and new, simply can’t last forever. But if you expect it to, especially without making any effort, boredom will strike, says therapist Kate Engler, LMFT. “Relationships require some intention and effort to stay fresh,” she tells Bustle, so don’t be surprised if you start to feel bored.

16

You Don’t Listen To Each Other

“If you stop listening to each other, which can easily happen over time, [it’s] a mistake that can lead to relationship boredom,” Laurel House, one of eharmony’s relationship experts, tells Bustle.

It all goes back to the idea of prioritizing communication, and this is never more true than when in this scenario.

Communicating isn’t just talking but actually hearing what your partner is saying. If you don’t listen, you’ll miss out on their experience, which (you guessed it) will make you feel distant.

17

You Forget What Brought You Together In The First Place

To ensure you never take a relationship for granted, don’t make the mistake of forgetting why you and your partner fell in love in the first place, House says. If you feel it slipping away, revisit all the reasons why you’re compatible. You could also make an effort to venture back to the early days by recreating your first date.

Again, the balm that solves it all is effort. “By far the biggest mistake you can make is when you recognize that you are getting bored or not fulfilled and choose to do nothing about it,” House says. “You are choosing to stop making the effort, and that will be the end of your relationship.”

Experts:

Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT, therapist

Dr. Marisa T Cohen, relationship expert

Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, relationship counselor

Dr. Josh Klapow, clinical psychologist

Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor

Samantha Daniels, dating expert

Julie Pham, personal development coach

Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed psychologist

Isabelle Morley, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist

Debra Fileta, MA, LPC, licensed professional counselor

Kate Engler, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist

Laurel House, relationship expert

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Dr. Marisa T. Cohen. It has been updated to include correct information.