When it comes to relationships, time is the ultimate friend, but also - it’s the ultimate enemy.
Many couples, even ones with the healthiest relationships, go through a stagnant phase after some time.
Most couples even get to the point where they feel like they are going backward.
The excitement is gone.
The playful teasing and chemistry have faded.
The spontaneity is lacking.
When this happens in a relationship, there is usually a lack of communication.
Instead of talking things over, many couples just accept boredom as normal.
They stop trying.
If you're facing this problem, you're not alone.
Our brains are hardwired to get bored.
Research suggests that happiness levels go back to baseline after time has passed or a change has occurred.1
This is why people take things for granted.
Getting rid of boredom is possible, even when the situation feels hopeless.
17 Signs You’re Bored In Your Relationship
There are some obvious symptoms of a monotonous relationship.
Here are the 17 most obvious ones you can recognize:
- You think date nights are a chore.
- You’re not having sex often.
- You don’t talk anymore, even over dinner.
- You stop asking each other how’s your day.
- You lash out at each other over trivial things.
- You just don’t care about the stuff you used to care about.
- You start fantasizing about being single.
- You stop discussing your long-term plans.
- You haven’t done something exciting in a while.
- You’d prefer to do things on your own.
- You don’t feel like you want to go out of your way to do things for each other.
- You're engaged, but you still haven’t set a date for your wedding.
- You stop feeling grateful for each other.
- You start feeling lonely and indifferent.
- You stop initiating physical contact, even hugs and kisses.
- You've become emotionally distant.
- You’re not laughing anymore.
Does that sound familiar?
That’s the first step to knowing you need to change something.
Is It Normal To Get Bored In A Relationship?
Boredom it’s more normal than not feeling bored in a relationship.
What do we mean by this?
When you’re in a new relationship, things are always new.
There’s so much to discover about each other, and the passion is always there.
You're always excited about seeing each other again.
Humans have an innate need for variety and novelty.2
However, as time goes by, this isn’t the case anymore.
Everyone becomes more familiar with the other person.
You have already discovered the best in each other, and the spontaneous nature of your relationship is gone.
There’s no more, “Oh my God, I can’t wait to see them again!”
Everything feels a little more “same old, same old.”
You fall into a routine.
This is when things start to fizzle out and show signs of boredom.
However, experiencing boredom doesn't necessarily mean it's always going to be that way or that you've fallen out of love with each other.
One study showed that married couples who experience boredom at year seven also experience less relationship satisfaction nine years later.3
When you are bored, simply take it as a sign of a bigger problem you need to figure out.
Try to see boredom as a warning sign of what’s to come if you don’t make a change.
15 Ways to Deal with Boredom in Relationships
Here are 15 things you can do to deal with boredom in your relationship.
1. Make a Relationship Bucket List
Bucket lists aren’t just for people who are about to “kick the bucket” – it’s also for people who are alive and want to ensure their life doesn’t remain stagnant.
A relationship bucket list is a list of experiences that you've always wanted to share as a couple.
And you'll tick them off together as you go along!
Common themes of bucket lists involve:4
- traveling (78.5%)
- accomplishing a personal goal (78.3%)
- achieving life milestones (51%)
- spending time with friends and family (16.7%)
- and achieving financial stability (15%)
For your relationship bucket list, you can try building a treehouse, taking a tandem bicycle ride, backpacking in Indonesia, taking salsa classes, watching the sunrise, visiting Paris, and so on.
These things may seem silly and unnecessary, but they are powerful ways to reconnect and make your relationship exciting again.
2. Change your Routines
Unpredictability is crucial for relationships.
It allows both you and your partner to be more spontaneous and engaging.
Think about it, when you’ve already established routines, you know what to expect.
This doesn't just concern your relationship but your personal routines as well.
If you're feeling bored, you should look at your relationship from a fresh perspective to see what you can change.
When you change your routine, you change how you and your partner think about things.
Eventually, everything will start to feel new again.
When thinking of new activities to try, prioritize self-expanding ones, or those that are positive, arousing, or novel, instead of ones that are already familiar to both of you.
These are the ones that offer significant benefits you'll immediately feel.5
3. Set unique relationship goals together
This ties in with making a relationship bucket list and changing your routine.
Now that you have decided on something fun to do together, you can work together to achieve it.
In doing so, you'll work together to build a deeper connection and a stronger bond.
In a relationship, there needs to be constant growth, continuous improvement, and new challenges for both people to feel happy.
You can set individual or specific goals as a couple.
If you have decided to go to Bali for one of your bucket list items, you can set a goal to save up enough money to go there together.
You can also set goals that are tied to your values. For instance, you can volunteer in a shelter if you love animals.
Married couples who have shared values not only experience happier marriages but also improved individual well-being.6
4. Try out new things or hobbies/skills together
Try something new that you might not have the courage to do alone.
If you want to eat healthier, take a cooking class together.
If you want to live a more meaningful life, volunteer at the same organization.
A growing body of research shows that planning and doing real-life activities together can create closeness and relationship satisfaction.7
Especially activities that are in line with “play” or any use of discretionary time in a pleasurable way. Other things you can try together include:
- Learn a foreign language
- Try hiking
- Go on a food adventure
- Write a book together
- Take up a new sport (surfing, tennis, track, etc.)
- Go to the gym together
- Start a business together
- Travel together
As much as possible, stick to activities that do wonders for your endorphins. This can include:8
- Getting acupuncture
- Eating chocolate (perhaps attend a chocolate-tasting event?)
- Having sex
5. Go out with friends
Just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean you have to spend 100% of your time together. It also helps to maintain your friendships with other people.
However, be careful who you hang out with. As much as possible, spend time with other happy couples.
A study from Wayne State University found that dating couples that integrate other couples into their social lives are happier and more satisfied.9
Not only will this help you feel less anxious about your relationship, but you'll also be exposed to more useful relationship skills and tips.
6. Have regular date nights
One of the best ways to ward off boredom is to spend quality time together.
You can do this in many ways, and one of them is having regular date nights.
According to a new study from the University of Virginia, designating a weekly slot for date nights can keep your relationship healthy.10
Don't use the term date night too loosely, though.
It should be used for ACTUAL dates.
In other words, plan, talk on the phone, and dress up.
7. Make time for deep conversations
Did you know that people enjoy deep talks with strangers?11
If you can open up to strangers, why not do the same to your partner?
Although this might be a challenging task for many, it's worth the risk.
Deep conversations don't have to be long or drawn out.
They can be short yet meaningful.
If you're bored in your relationship, there's a good chance your partner is, too.
And when you're both feeling bored, it's difficult to think of things to talk about together.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to dramatically improve your communication and talk about topics that aren't always easy to discuss.
Making a concerted effort to have deep conversations in your relationship is a sure sign that you're still into each other.
Deep conversations can be about anything, such as things like family, plans for the future, fears and hopes, long-term goals, or insecurities.
What matters is that you sound like you care and that you're being vulnerable.
8. Recreate your first date and early dating experiences
We've all been that couple that's "so in love."
Hanging out every time we get a chance and texting each other every other minute.
Once that stage ends, you may be asking yourself some tough questions.
Is this relationship still going strong? Have we "peaked?"
Inject some fun back into your bond by remembering the beginning of your relationship.
Think back to when you were getting to know each other first - when you were embarrassed and awkward and tried to impress each other.
It might be a little awkward now, but it will show you how far you've come and how much you've grown.
Have dinner where you had your first date, or where you had your first anniversary, or cook your first meal together.
You’ll be surprised to see how something as simple as food can trigger deeper feelings, emotions, and memories.12
Even if you can't literally go back in time, this can bring the spark back.
9. Write weekly journals for each other
Keep an ongoing journal for your partner.
Write about why you love them, what they mean to you, your plans and dreams, your favorite memories, and your craziest moments.
The purpose of this exercise isn't necessarily to tell each other everything as much as it's to exercise self-discovery.13
Journaling allows you to reconnect with yourself and learn your preferences, fears, and dreams.
If you both feel like you've lost the closeness you once had, this is a great exercise to help reinvigorate your relationship.
10. Take good care of yourself
One of the most important things you can do to spice things up in your relationship is to take good care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.
A healthy you is a happy you.
And as you well know, a happy you is an attractive you.
According to researchers, professors, psychologists, and clinicians, some things you can do to take care of yourself include:14
- Listing your priorities
- Creating a separate workplace
- Not skimping on the basic
- Limiting social media and news consumption
- Being mindful of substance abuse
- Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques
- Learning something new
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to practice self-care by enjoying a bubble bath, buying yourself something fancy (as long as it’s within your budget!), and going to your favorite spa.
11. Ask more questions
If you feel there's nothing left to talk about, then instead of sitting in silence, use online prompts, apps, or game cards to get the conversation going again.
Open-ended questions are great to keep conversations going.
Try the questions that are part of the viral NY Times Modern Love essay by Mandy Len Catron entitled “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This” – a fantastic read, by the way.15
The questions are based on Arthur Aron’s study “Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.”16
While these questions are geared toward people on their first date, they will do wonders for you to get to know your partner more.
In the 36-item list, here are our few favorites:
- Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
- If you could live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
- Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
- What is your most treasured memory?
- Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ...“
- Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
12. Get out of your comfort zone together
Familiarity is a breeding ground for boredom.
So if you want to stay engaged, don't be afraid to do something out of the ordinary.
Studies prove that getting out of your comfort zone results in personal growth and improved motivation.17
You don't have to travel to a foreign country to do this.
Suppose one of you has a fear of heights, for example. In that case, it could be as simple as visiting the highest building in your city and having your partner support you as you conquer your fear.
13. Spend some time apart
It's a good idea to spend some time away from your partner from time to time.
This will allow you to do things by yourself and re-evaluate what you want and need in a partner.
If you constantly spend time together, you'll get sick of each other.
A few hours or days apart won't kill you.
It can reinvigorate individuals, especially women, who usually bear the brunt of home responsibilities and have sacrificed their leisure time in the process.18
You don't have to spend a month apart to follow this tip. It can be as simple as going to a coffee shop to work instead of staying at home together. You can also meet your friends and catch up over dinner and drinks.
You'll come back with a fresh perspective and maybe even some new experiences to talk about with your partner.
14. Work on a new project together
Working on a new project with your partner will help you connect on a whole new level.
This can be redesigning your home, planning an adventure, or even building something together.
If you're feeling disconnected, figuring out how to accomplish goals together can be a great way to reconnect.
One study proved that when you overcome a crisis together, your brain releases more oxytocin, making you feel good.19
The possibilities are endless.
All you need to do is decide what you want to do and go after it.
15. Change your perception
We tend to perceive our partners through a negative lens.
Both of you have seen each other at your worst.
Because of this, you’re likely experiencing what's called negative bias.
But when you focus on the bad, you might inadvertently become more critical of your partner.
To get out of this negative cycle, ask yourself: "What's beautiful about my partner?"
The more often you ask yourself this question, the more often you'll see the positive in them. The trick is to consciously be positive.
It doesn't stop there.
When you see something positive about your partner, tell them. This can be as simple as "you look good today!" or "I appreciate you cooking for me."
Being optimistic can impact not only your relationship but also your well-being.
One study has found that optimistic people are less likely to suffer from stroke, heart disease, infections, respiratory diseases, and cancer.20