Feeling bored in your relationship might feel inevitable. After time, relationships tend to fall into predictable patterns, which can be beneficial if you crave stability, but can also lead to relationship boredom. Especially if you have been with your partner for a while, you may feel that you are in a rut. This feeling is also common if you are just moving beyond the honeymoon phase of your relationship. After the initial infatuation fades, boredom can set in.
In this post, we examine relationship boredom based on our work with clients at Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, and how you can overcome it for greater relationship satisfaction
Examine the Root Cause
Sometimes, you may mistake the feeling of boredom with your partner with just being bored with life in general. Examine whether you might be projecting your own internal struggles onto external factors (ie. my relationship is making my life boring) instead of owning, evaluating, and working to change your own situation and feelings.
Ask yourself if you are truly losing interest in the relationship because it is too repetitive, or if instead, your boredom is a result of:
A mundane career or not feeling challenged at work
Friends and family who are settled into patterns and habits that you find boring
Your own repetitive choices and routines that aren’t stimulating newness or growth
Instead of making your relationship the scapegoat, you might instead need a new hobby or goal, or need to make changes in your life that are completely separate from your partner. Sometimes, you also may rely too much on your partner for your entertainment and excitement when you can also generate those feelings for your own life and relationship.
Boredom as a strategy
Attachment theory, a philosophy that the way you connect with others in adult relationships is based on early childhood experiences, suggests that experiencing relationship boredom could actually be a coping mechanism. This less obvious root cause of relationship boredom can be a relationship distancing strategy. For those who are avoidantly attached, this might happen after the honeymoon phase. For those who are avoidant or anxious, this feeling might arise when you are dating someone who is more securely attached. The consistency and clarity that often comes with a securely attached partner can be too unfamiliar, based on early childhood experiences, and it might feel boring to you compared to more toxic, unhealthy dynamics. When this happens, you might find yourself complaining that the relationship is “boring” as a way of distancing yourself from an otherwise wonderful relationship.
Therapy can help you determine if boredom is really about attachment dynamics, and help you lean into discomfort with getting close or remaining close after the honeymoon or initial phase of the relationship has ended.
There are a number of ways to overcome relationship boredom and help you stay engaged in the relationship long-term. To reignite the passion and excitement in your relationship, start with yourself. Recall some of the activities and events occurring during times in your life when you felt stimulated and less bored:
Were you learning or doing something new?
Did you and your partner participate in activities that you don’t do now?
Were you more spontaneous, risky, adventurous, and carefree?
Were your responsibilities different?
What is different now and why have you stopped doing those things or started doing less fulfilling things?
Making any changes to your life or relationship begins with small steps in a new direction. After you examine your own life and potential to create new, stimulating experiences, begin to repattern with your partner by doing things like having a date night once a week where you do something new together or set new goals together. Set aside “spontaneous time” with your partner for time that is unstructured, which is especially important if you have kids. It also may be re-energizing to create a shared vision for the future by reflecting on what you want out of life for the next 5, 10, 20 years (if you are dating, maybe just 3 months, 6 months, and one year). Consider what choices, activities, and goals will get you there. Don’t forget to set aside time for yourself to personally reflect on your relationship and brainstorm ideas to create new experiences for you and your partner.
Overcoming relationship boredom starts with your role and effort in making the relationship more interesting. Your partner shouldn’t be your primary entertainment and you co-create an exciting or boring relationship. Individual therapy can enhance your relationship satisfaction by giving you a place to discuss and overcome your ruts with work, professional development, personal goals, and more. Focusing on yourself within the partnership makes you a more interesting partner and can fulfil your need for new experiences. Contact us for a free consultation and understand how therapy can provide you with a new perspective on relationship boredom.