Esther Perel says that we need two things in relationships: stability — knowing your partner has your back, and desire.
Unfortunately, stability kills desire. Conversely, what creates desire? Risk.
In the beginning of a relationship, we have plenty of risk. What if you get your heart broken, what if the other person doesn’t like you as much as you like them? Is this the one? Are you wasting your time?
There is the thrill of the chase in the beginning stages of romance. It’s exciting and creates the butterflies, the intoxicating feeling of love. Love conquers all.
This new love high usually lasts 1to 2 years and then we settle in and become comfortable in the stability of the relationship.
While the stability is important and imperative to the success of a relationship, it’s not very exciting. We have a home to take care of and bills to pay. This isn’t the sexy side of being in relationship. We may not always agree on things which can cause additional stress and strain on the relationship too.
Is It Normal to Be Bored in a Relationship?
It’s completely normal to become bored at some point in your relationship and it’s not your fault.
We work hard to find the one. The person who completes us, then what? We live happily ever after in a blissful state of union of course. This is what we’ve learned from fairytales and Hollywood. Most of us were never taught how to maintain a relationship nor did we have great role models to show how to keep the romance and passion alive.
Unfortunately, this stuff isn’t taught in school and most of us didn’t receive a reference book for guidance. Although it probably should be with divorce rates in the US still hovering around 50%.
Why Do Relationships Get Boring and Lose Their Luster After Time?
In the beginning of a relationship, many times we put forth so much effort to woo our potential partner; planning activities, experiences and even surprises for one another. We go to dinner and talk for hours because we have so much to share and learn about one another. We have engaging conversations about everything, inhaling and soaking in the essence of one another.
Then life happens. We settle into our daily life and routines, maybe throw in a couple of kids and the busyness of life allows us to easily put our most important relationship on the back burner.
Date nights are now relegated to dinner and a movie if we make it out of the house at all. I get it, you’ve worked hard all week and planning a date night probably seems overwhelming and putting on your pj’s ordering take out and watching Netflix seems like the path of least resistance.
When the word date or dating is mentioned, most people conjure up images of single people who are dating and looking for that special someone. Rarely do we as a society think beyond to the fact that we should never stop dating our spouse or long-term partner.
The reason many relationships become routine and boring is that couples stop dating each other. It’s as simple as that.
Giving your relationship scraps of time can lead to its demise. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s very easy to be intentional but over time if you don’t pay attention to it, it’s easy to get into a relationship rut.
How Long Does It Take for a Relationship to Become Boring?
We’ve all heard of the 7-year-itch. The estimated time when the happiness of a couple diminishes.
Every couple is different and it really boils down to how exciting you keep your relationship. If you quickly get into a relationship rut of doing the same boring things, you will become bored with your relationship more quickly. However, if you are committed to avoid falling into this routine and are intentional about keeping the desire alive in your relationship, you can avoid becoming bored for the most part.
Relationships do have ebbs and flows and of course, there are times your relationship will be more interesting. The problem arises when your relationship becomes stale for long periods of time.
In most relationship studies, romantic love dwindles over time and we lose the butterflies we once had in the beginning. In a relationship study conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron at the University of New York at Stony Brook, it was determined that novelty or trying new things can create the chemical surges of courtship and can significantly increase the satisfaction in relationship when practiced consistently.
Life can be messy and even great relationships can become stale and boring at times; this is absolutely normal. You won’t be at risk of abandoning your relationship if you’re aware of this and have a plan to get out of your rut when you see this happening.
What to Do If You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
Plan a date of course! I’m a fan of surprise dates. In fact, I recommend this to my clients. Commit to plan one surprise date for your partner every month and have them plan one surprise date for you each month.
Preferably an interactive or doing date. Then when you grab a bite to eat, you’ll have something to talk about, the new experience you just created together.
When is the last time you really had a great conversation? A conversation that doesn’t involve talking about work or the kids?
When you share a novel experience, this gives you something new to talk about after your date. It’s great to print out a few questions to take on your date. You can find some great ones on the web or another option is TABLETOPICS Couples: Questions to Start Great Conversations if you need more inspiration.
You can keep it light with something like “If you had a super power what would it be?” to something a little deeper such as “If today were the last time we saw each other what would you want me to know?” These probing questions provide greater insight and awareness into your partner and them of you.
The great thing about taking turns planning dates for each other is that you eliminate the age-old question, “What do you want to do tonight?” which is usually followed by, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Then after debating for 45 minutes, you may end up doing nothing.
This is the secret sauce of the surprise date. Just tell your date when to be ready and what to wear and there’s no debate or resistance. No shooting down your date ideas. Just the addition of novelty and doing something different together to increase connection and romance.
Once a month, you get to give the gift of adventure and surprise and once a month, you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the date.
If you’re on a budget, no problem. There are numerous free date ideas. Some of my favorites are building a tent over your bed, a scavenger hunt, or dance lessons using free YouTube videos.
If you’re still craving more date night inspiration check out 32 Cheap and Uniquely Fun Date Ideas for Couples, it’s filled with date ideas you can do on any budget.
When your relationship becomes stale, you may feel like the solution is to find a new one that’s more exciting, which is the easy way, but it’s only a temporary fix.
If you continue with your same patterns in your new relationship, you’re bound to end up in the same predicament months or years later.
While relationships take effort, they are so rewarding when you are in a good one. My hope is that you create an amazing relationship, and that you never settle for one that’s just good enough.
Innovation in relationship is the key to avoiding boredom, and ensuring that you have a relationship that will go the distance and last a lifetime.
One of my favorite quotes by Tony Robins is,
“If you do what you did in the beginning of the relationship there won’t be an end.”
Create the relationship of your dreams by being intentional about adding novelty and surprise through interactive date nights. You’ll be happy you did!
Featured photo credit: Vince Fleming via unsplash.com