What to Do About a Boring Relationship

Young couple obsessed with social media ignoring each other in a cafe

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Every relationship has its ups and downs. The early stages are often marked by intense and passionate emotions that gradually temper with time. As your relationship grows steadier and more comfortable, you might start to fear that it is growing a bit too well-worn—or even a little boring. 

Your relationship might be mostly free of conflict, but you still might find yourself feeling unsatisfied, tired, or just plain uninspired. So can you inject some excitement back into a monotonous relationship, or is it time to move on and find a fresh start?

This article discusses some of the signs you are in a boring relationship and some of the reasons why the shine often starts to wear off. It also covers steps you can take to fix boredom in a relationship and know if it is time to move on.

Signs of Boredom in Relationships

Some signs that you might be in a boring relationship:

  • You don't feel interested about your partner's life, feelings, or interests.
  • You don't pay as much attention to each other as you did at the beginning of your relationship.
  • Thinking about the future of your relationship makes you feel uneasy or unhappy.
  • You find spending time with other people much more enjoyable and exciting.
  • You wish you could change your partner or your relationship.
  • You feel like you have nothing in common.
  • You have a hard time finding things to talk about.
  • You don't enjoy spending time together.
  • You often feel irritated or annoyed with your partner or vice versa.
  • You don't feel attracted to them anymore.
  • You don't appreciate each other anymore. 

It is important to remember, however, that boredom is not the same thing as being comfortable. After all, it's important to feel comfortable with your partner. It means that you trust them, and you feel like you can just be yourself when you are with the other person.

If you and your partner are happy, content, and satisfied with your relationship, then occasional less-than-exciting periods are normal and probably not harmful.

And even if these bouts of boredom are more serious and disruptive, it isn't necessarily a sign that your relationship is doomed to fail. Instead, it might indicate that it's time to make some change or invest more energy into spicing up your dating or married life.

It's when boredom signifies stagnation or lack of growth that it becomes a problem. If you aren't showing each other the time, attention, and affection that you need to thrive in a partnership, boredom can mean your relationship is heading in a negative direction.

Recap

A boring relationship is often characterized by a loss of interest, affection, and attention. Being comfortable in your relationship is a good thing—but boredom can signify that things need to change.

Why It Happens

The early days of your relationship with your partner were likely filled with feelings of excitement and an intense urge to spend time with one another. However, the intensity of those initial feelings often wanes over time. Instead of powerful passion, your relationship develops an increased sense of closeness, trust, and intimacy.

This is a typical sign that your relationship is moving from what is known as passionate love (which is usually more fleeting) into what is known as compassionate love (which is more enduring). 

Passionate and Compassionate Love

Feelings of excitement and ardor characterize passionate love. It can be an almost all-consuming type of love that makes you want to be with the object of your affection as much as possible. You're still getting to know one another, and everything you learn about the other person seems new and fascinating. 

When you are in the midst of passionate love, you also tend to idealize your partner. Their habits and quirks are endearing, and you tend to overlook their shortcomings. 

The fact is that while passionate love feels great, it's perfectly normal for these feelings to lessen over time. Research suggests that these early stages of passionate love begin to decline by about 12 to 18 months after starting a romantic relationship.

Compassionate love is more profound and much more intimate. It is marked by commitment, trust, and affection. People who have reached this stage of their relationship care deeply, understand one another, and support each other. 

But this doesn't mean that long-term relationships have to be boring or lack in passion. The strongest relationships strike a balance between the excitement of passionate love and the intimacy of compassionate love.

Other Reasons Why Relationships Grow Boring

Boredom in relationships can also be caused by other factors beyond this natural shift from passionate to compassionate love. Other problems that might play a role in sapping the excitement from your romantic relationship include:

  • You have different interests: Your relationship can grow weary if you lack basic compatibility. If you don’t share the same goals and interests, it can be challenging to find common ground to keep you connected to one another.
  • You don’t have deep or meaningful conversations: Communication is critical to a healthy relationship. If you aren’t talking seriously about your goals, feelings, opinions, and other topics, you may find that you start to grow apart over time.
  • You’ve given up your own goals to stay in the relationship: If you’ve abandoned your own interests, hopes, or dreams in favor of someone else’s, it is only a matter of time before you start to grow weary of suppressing your own wants and needs. 
  • You don’t have your own interests and hobbies: You also need to focus on having your own hobbies outside of your relationship. Doing so will help you feel more excited about your life in general, but it will also give you something you can talk about and share with your partner.
  • You stop putting effort into your relationship: Keeping a relationship interesting means that you need to show each other interest, attention, and affection. Ignoring feelings, not spending time together, and neglecting each other’s needs are bound to contribute to feelings of boredom. 
  • You don’t make an effort to combat boredom: When you start feeling bored, it is important to take steps to add excitement back into your relationship. This might involve finding new things to do together or even making other changes in your life that will address the underlying feelings of discontent. 

Recap

It's perfectly normal for relationships to settle into something more stable and steady over time. But more complicated factors such as poor compatibility, lack of communication, and lack of effort might also cause boredom.

How to Fix a Boring Relationship

Boredom can have a severe negative impact on a relationship. One older study found that people who reported feeling bored in their marriage were less satisfied in their relationship nine years later. More recent research has found that people may have an inherent psychological need for variety and novelty, which explains why boring relationships can be challenging.

There are strategies that you can utilize to infuse some excitement and energy back into a boring relationship. To improve your relationship, you should start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Are you bored, or are you just comfortable? If you are confusing the two, it might be worth spending some time thinking about your expectations and what you hope to get out of a relationship.
  • What aspects of your relationship feel humdrum? Knowing what areas you'd like to focus on can give you a sense of direction when coming up with solutions.

Once you better understand the problem, you might consider implementing one or more of the following solutions.

Change How You Think

Research suggests that a strategy known as cognitive reappraisal can change how people think about love and their relationship. This process involves interpreting situations in different ways to change how you think and feel about them.

With this strategy, you might focus on looking at your partner's positive qualities and think about how those characteristics contribute to your relationship.

Change Your Routines

Feeling bored in your relationship may be a reflection of being bored in general. One way to change this is to shake up your everyday routines. Instead of eating at the same places, consider going somewhere new as a couple. Find a new hobby that the two of you can try together. Or even look for ways that you can spice things up in the bedroom. 

New Things to Try Together

Many factors can contribute to boredom, but researchers have identified two that are common in relationships: lack of stimulation and lack of novelty. Exploring new things together is a solution that can help. Things you can try include:

  • Start working out together
  • Visit new places together
  • Find new tv shows to watch together
  • Go to a sports event
  • Attend a concert together
  • Go hiking 
  • Sign up for a couple's cooking class
  • Try a new sport like skiing or kayaking
  • Create a scrapbook or photo book of some of your favorite memories as a couple

Research suggests that shared activities can be an effective way to combat boredom in relationships. For example, one 2013 study found that couples who tried a four-week online intervention to increase relationship excitement reported feeling greater excitement and relationship satisfaction four months later.

Self-expanding activities—or those that are novel, arousing, and positive—tend to offer the most significant benefits.

Go on Dates

If you’ve fallen into a rut as a couple, it might be time to take things back to basics and repeat some of the activities you enjoyed when you first began dating. Going out on a date once a week can be a great way to reconnect and talk. Focus on those feelings you had at the beginning of your relationship and practice thinking of your partner with a similar sense of excitement. 

You might make it more exciting by surprising one another. Buy tickets to see your partner’s favorite game or suggest a spontaneous adventure that you’ve been thinking about. The key is to find time for one another to focus on your relationship without other pressures or distractions.

Work Together

It’s important to remember that you should be working together to find solutions to your feelings of boredom. While you can take steps on your own to liven things up, your efforts will be much more effective if both of you are on the same page and working together to bring the excitement back into your lives. 

Get Counseling

In some cases, you might find it helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor about your relationship issues. This can be particularly true if your feelings of boredom connect to a deeper issue like a lack of communication or how you think about your relationship.

Relationship counseling can also be a great way to improve your connection to your partner and satisfaction with your relationship. One study found that people who had couples therapy reported improvements in communication and relationship satisfaction and better intimacy and responsiveness.

If you've lost interest in more than just your relationship, it is essential to realize that it might be a sign of something more. Loss of interest, also known as anhedonia, is a cardinal symptom of depression and other issues, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and stress. Talk to a healthcare professional if you are concerned that your feelings might be more than regular boredom.

Recap

Feeling bored doesn't mean your relationship is doomed. By working together, you can find ways to bring passion and excitement back into your relationship. Spending time together, changing your thoughts, and trying new things are strategies that can help.

Is the Relationship Worth Saving?

Just because the initial excitement of your relationship begins to dwindle does not mean that love fades or lessens. When it comes to relationships, you might be motivated to reduce boredom in a variety of ways. 

  • First, you might choose to invest in the relationship and find new ways for you and your partner to connect. 
  • Some people might feel that the situation is hopeless and live with the boredom, contributing to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. 
  • Finally, some people resolve the problem by ending the relationship and pursuing potentially more exciting alternatives.

Suppose you decide that your relationship is worth saving. In that case, it is important to cope by taking the first option—invest in your relationship in ways that will increase your happiness and improve your relationship. Suffering in silence will only lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction that will negatively affect your relationship more in the long run.

But if you decide that the relationship is not worth saving, you may find that it is better to break things off now and begin looking for other relationships that are better suited to your needs and your life. Calling it quits once you recognize that a relationship is not suitable for you is often the best choice.

A Word From Verywell

It isn't unusual for relationships to get boring from time to time. Sometimes it can be a sign that you need to take steps to reinvigorate the relationship, but at other times it can be a sign of something more serious. 

The key to addressing it is to open up a line of communication with your partner. Be open and honest about how you feel. Once you both understand what is going on, you can either work together to address the problem or talk about other options, which might include couples counseling or potentially breaking up

Ultimately, remember that relationships aren't always effortless. They take work—even when it comes to keeping the spark alive. There's no single, simple solution that is right for every couple. However, if you are both willing to commit the time and effort, you can work together to get your relationship back on the right (more exciting and satisfying) track.

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