You once sat in a Starbucks for seven hours with this person discussing your hopes, dreams, and GoT fan theories and now you’re…bored? How the eff did this happen? Where did the spark go? And more importantly, will it ever come back?
“Oftentimes I hear from young couples a couple years after the wedding that they feel a little bored, and it’s kind of a let down,” says Rachel A. Sussman, L.C.S.W. and author of The Breakup Bible. “The excitement of dating has passed, the excitement of falling in love has passed, the excitement of the engagement and the wedding has passed, then it gets stale."
Here's what it means if your relationship is giving you the yawns—and how to break out of a rut without breaking up.
Step 1: Stop Worrying
If you two have been together for a while, getting bored at some point is pretty inevitable. Phew. Our brains are hardwired to look for the newest, most exciting things, says Sussman. (Hello, why do you think Apple gets away with putting out a new iPhone every year?) We get tired of the same old, same old in every aspect of our life—jobs, fitness routines—and that goes for our relationships, too. “Expect it to happen, notice it, and try to make a change,” says Sussman.
So what do you do? Well, you could break up and flit from relationship to relationship, always ending it once you get bored. Or, if you value your S.O. and want to make it work, proceed with the next two steps. After all, runners don’t quit running, they just find a new path.
Step 2: Figure Out the Root Cause
First, determine if this is mere boredom or something bigger. While this problem is super common, it could also hint at underlying issues. Sussman suggests asking yourself these questions to assess the damage: Are you still having sex? Are you questioning whether or not you’re attracted to this person? Are you on the same page when it comes to family and friendships? Do you argue over finances or work/life balance? Are you questioning if you have anything in common? Do you feel yourself growing apart? If the answer is yes to any of these, then you’ve got more than just a snoozefest on your hands.
If you're just feeling a little restless, ask yourself if you're also feeling lost in other areas of your life. “You have to have balance, relationships can’t be your everything,” says Sussman. “Make sure you feel stimulated in your job, in your friendships, and in your relationship. If you want to have a stimulating and exciting life, it’s each person’s responsibility.”
If you're feeling pretty solid in other areas of your life, it's time to have an honest discussion with your partner about what you can do to spice things up.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Now, the fun part. Sussman says she and her husband solved their relationship boredom by planning a vacation together. “Not only did we plan a trip to Italy, we decided to take Italian lessons for the whole six months leading up to it," she says. "We studied together, we quizzed each other, we cooked Italian food on the weekends. So by the time we got on our trip, it was so enhanced because of that.”
Try and pinpoint what part of your relationship is boring you. Is it the lulls in conversation? Hit up a museum or read a book together to get things flowing. Has your sex life become routine? Change things up with naked Sundays. No shared hobbies? Try something new, like running a half-marathon together. Whatever the case, the key is to get out of the ordinary and mix it up.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up—this happens. Use it as an opportunity to have fun and learn a thing or two.