The attraction was instant. Those lips, hips and fingertips–head to toe perfection.
The smile melted your heart and those eyes stole your soul.
It was like finding the perfect piece of fruit at the Farmer’s Market. An unblemished apple. Deep-red, shiny, polished and juicy.
You had to have that one.
Then one day–six months or so down the road–you happen to see an orange.
Your eyes are open and begin to wander and you discover other tantalizing delights. Mangos, pineapple, strawberries, bananas and other exotic fruits.
Your apple goes from shiny, red perfection to old, boring and unappetizing.
The brain loves surprises
The brain craves excitement and novelty. It’s how we’re wired. In fact, studies show that the brain’s pleasure center “turns on” when we experience new and pleasurable events.
The problem with this natural tendency is it leads us into believing that the relationship is somehow flawed because the feeling of excitement and intense passion has faded.
Once the excitement and passion die, you tend to lose interest in the relationship and then your partner. You stop working. You stop seeking common ground and to understand each other.
In fact, six out of ten couples are unhappy with their relationships, citing lack of spontaneity, romance and sex as the primary factors contributing to their dissatisfaction.
Once the romance dies and you begin to lose interest your relationship will begin quickly tumbling towards its demise unless you proactively begin to work to counteract and embrace this new slower pace.
When deciding how to handle the boredom and salvage your relationship there are a few things you should avoid doing:
1. Ignoring the issue
- Keeping the same routine after realizing that you and your mate are bored by the relationship is a bad idea. Things don’t just get better. You have to make them better.
- Refrain from adopting the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it attitude.” You know you and your partner are both a bit underwhelmed by the relationship but you may feel that things are ok the way they are. Nothing’s wrong per se, so you feel you shouldn’t fiddle with things and end up making the situation worse. However, when it comes to a relationship “ok” doesn’t equal good. A relationship is perpetual work.
2. Seeking excitement outside of your relationship
- Don’t stay in a relationship simply because it is the safe thing to do. Choosing to stay in a relationship because it’s safe and even comfortable is selfish and unfair to your partner. You’ll end up wounding your spouse with “extracurricular” activities. The old cliche, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” definitely applies here.
- Dating other people or seeking other forms of excitement outside of your relationship will provide you a temporary reprieve from the boredom. But it won’t last. And you will create an infinite loop that will have to be repeated over and over. The only way the loop ends is with heartbreak and your partner feeling betrayed and emotionally crushed.
3. Ending the relationship out of boredom
- Love trumps excitement. Choosing to end your relationship simply because you are bored could cost you a once in a lifetime opportunity. In every relationship, the honeymoon will end. It is inevitable and unavoidable. Understanding and accepting that your relationship will become stable and a bit routine is the first step towards experiencing pure love and having a mature adult relationship.
- Moving on when excitement wanes also drives you towards another infinite loop. You will go from partner to partner and end relationship after relationship searching for excitement. You may achieve pockets of excitement but you will forfeit true love. True love emerges in the everyday grind. When the relationship becomes monotonous that’s a sign that it’s time to work not run.
The key to combating boredom and keeping the relationship healthy is in doing a couple of things:
1. Accept that boredom is a part of a healthy relationship
Boredom in a relationship signifies that you and your partner are comfortable with each other and you know each other pretty well. This is a good thing. It signifies that the relationship is stable and both partners are at ease. You have a routine and routines provide stability and a sense of security and calm. These are good things.
However, acceptance doesn’t mean that your relationship should stay in a stagnate and uninspired state. It simply means that you should look at boredom as a positive part of a healthy relationship and then work to deepen your bond and spice things up.
2. Get out of the rut
Relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala believes that when couples engage in new, challenging and exciting things together they can reignite the passion and invigorate the relationship. She suggests that both partners try new things and tackle a task together as a couple. Below are a few examples:
- Go camping
- Recreate your first date
- Take a class together such as a couples’ painting class.
- Do something adventurous and a little scary. Go to an amusement park, bungee jumping, skydiving, go-carting, zip-lining or something else that excites and excites you both.
- Plan and go on a staycation.
- Surprise your spouse with a romantic evening. Pull out all the stops and surround them with all of their favorite things.
- Try a 30-day challenge where you do something different–outside of your normal routine–every day.
- Commit to a standing date night. Go out, stay in, whatever a date means to you as a couple–commit and make it happen.
In the end, you decide the type of relationship you have. Whenever you hit a time where the fun, spontaneity and excitement seem to dissipate just remember that it just a phase and all relationships experience the dreaded rut. Then find creative ways to spice things up.
Couples who find ways to add novelty and excitement to their relationship report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Once you embrace the fact that boredom will come and go throughout your relationship you can proactively attack it and live happily ever after.
Reprinted from Hill Writing & Editing