When you start a new relationship, everything can be exciting. Those early flickers of attraction, feeling butterflies, your first kiss… it can be a rollercoaster of emotion.
But after you’ve been together for a while, things tend to level off a bit. The fizz and pop are replaced by a sense of partnership and familiarity. As the routines of life, work and living together begin to settle, your relationship might start to feel a bit more predictable.
And while there’s nothing wrong with not always feeling like you did at the start – after all, falling in love is only the beginning of building a long-term committed relationship – if being settled also means starting to feel bored, you might soon start to wonder whether there’s anything more interesting out there. You may even start to question if you and your partner were ever that compatible in the first place.
But looking for solutions elsewhere is rarely the best place to start. It’s much better to begin by thinking about what’s happening in the here and now.
Boredom can be linked to bad habits when it comes to communication and maintaining your connection as a couple.
If you aren’t regularly talking openly and honestly about the things you like and don’t like about your relationship, or one or both of you are preoccupied with your own concerns and perhaps aren’t as emotionally or physically available as you could be, it’s easy to start to feel a little disconnected from your partner.
Try to express gratitude for the things your partner does that you like. Let them know you’ve noticed if they’ve made an effort and pay them compliments from time to time. These frequent positive interactions are important when it comes to feeling like you’re on the same team.
Likewise, don’t allow negative feelings to fester. If there’s something that’s bothering you, try to talk about it at an early opportunity – before resentment start to build up. If you’re feeling tense about your relationship, it can make you forget what it is you like about being with your partner.
Build in the positive beats
As counsellors, we often think of a relationship where one or both partners are bored as like a heart monitor that’s almost flatlining. You might get the occasional blip of activity, but for the most part there’s not a lot going on. For a relationship to be vital and interesting, you need to put in the effort to build in those positive beats.
This could be something as simple as a day or evening out together. You could try an activity together that you haven’t done before or just spend a few hours of quality time in each other’s company. It doesn’t have to involve spending money: you could just stay in bed on a Sunday reading the papers together. It’s about giving yourselves something to look forward to and taking the time to bond without interruptions (and that includes TV and phones!).
Likewise, boredom can be related to problems when it comes to sex. If you find you’re always doing the same things, you might like to try something new together.
Dealing with change
Sometimes, boredom can also be linked to difficulties or changes outside of your relationship. If you’re struggling financially, you might find that the only conversations you’re having with your partner are ones about money – and fraught ones at that. If you’re working all the time, you may be feeling tired and frustrated.
Or if your role in the family has changed – you’re at home all day looking after the kids, for instance – you might feel like you’re losing your sense of place in the relationship. Think about any external factors that could be causing tensions – and whether these could be at the root of how you’re feeling.
How we can help
If you’re finding it hard to talk about any tricky issues, Relationship Counselling offers a safe and confidential space where you can be open and honest.