There are many underlying reasons for boredom in a relationship. Certified coach and counselor Yvonne Yeow explains that as relationships progress through the years, it is common for the “initial excitement and passion to fizzle out”. This is because couples start to focus on the “tedium of routines and errands” when they grow complacent in the relationship and no longer put in the effort to make things interesting.
Qualified counsellor Martin Williams also points out that physical intimacy may “become stagnant” if partners are overly familiar and do not take active steps to rekindle “a healthy interest” in each other. This often happens for couples who have been living together for a long time and do not know how to voice out their concerns in this area.
In addition, some people lose themselves in the relationship, relinquishing their own hobbies and interests. This causes the relationship to grow stale quickly as one or both partners no longer have a life outside the relationship.
If you find yourself stuck in a boring relationship and wonder what your next steps should be, here are some tips to tackle the problem at its roots.
Explore the New and Relive the Old
When it comes to being in a boring relationship, many would assume the partner has to liven things up and make things exciting again, but boredom often stems from a general lack of exploration in life. As Martin puts it, when we stop trying new things, the “parts of our brain that give us that feel-good factor and repels boredom” are no longer activated. As a result, we can get trapped in the daily routines that cause us to feel less engaged.
To break the cycle, Yvonne lists “embarking on a new hobby together” as an effective way to “rekindle the relationship”. For couples who have stopped going on date nights, she suggests restarting what has worked in the beginning to refresh the relationship. Simple romantic gestures such as buying flowers and fetching a partner from work can also work wonders.
Communicate with Compassion
You may feel the urge to let your partner know how you feel. Martin warns that it can be very difficult to open up about boredom in a relationship because using the wrong vocabulary can cause our partner to feel “alienated” or “attacked”. Therefore, it is more advisable to start the conversation by being vulnerable and exploring the reasons behind such feelings rather than using an accusatory tone.
Yvonne suggests that you schedule a private time for the conversation so that it is given its proper importance, and will not be overheard by other parties. The key is to communicate from a place of support for the relationship as a whole, rather than a “you versus me” dynamic.
Think About What You Like in Your Partner
A boring relationship can compel us to call it off in search of greener pastures. Before making any big decisions, remind yourself of the things you do like in your partner and what has motivated you to get together in the first place. Being together for too long may cause us to focus on the day-to-day inconveniences and forget what we do appreciate in each other.
Principal Counselling Psychologist Eugene Chong emphasises the importance of reappraisal by focusing on the “positive qualities of your partner” and the ways they “contribute to the relationship.” Making a change from this place is often more effective as it does not come from bitterness. Looking at the relationship from a place of gratitude can also bring back pleasant memories and give you warm and fuzzy feelings again.
Try Thrilling Activities Together
When you have had a relationship for years, it is easy to feel bored doing the same things every day. Shake things up by trying daring activities together, like going for an adult Escape Room experience, going for scary water adventures, and even jumping off the plane if you truly feel like it. It would be more effective if the activity involves both of you.
Supporting each other in a scary situation helps you to bond as you release oxytocin together, according to Bustle. It makes you feel as though you have “survived” something together. Having such an experience is the antidote to routine and boredom.
Move to a New Environment
Boredom in a relationship likely also corresponds to boredom in other aspects of your life. When you stay in the same city for a long time, you can run out of things to do. You may even feel that every day becomes “Groundhog Day”. This is when changing the environment you live in comes in handy.
Whether it is going on a long holiday or even moving to that city you have always wanted to live in, a change in scenery will likely create new responses to your partner and your relationship. As you navigate the new environment together, you can feel enlivened again.
Assess Your Overall Compatibility
If your relationship is rapidly fizzling out after just a few months of being together, the issue may not be too much familiarity but a state of genuine incompatibility. Honestly evaluate your relationship, and look at where you and your partner’s values and lifestyle preferences intersect and differ. Having significant differences in both these areas is a cause for genuine concern.
This is because having vastly different values and lifestyle preferences means that you likely do not have the same life direction. Over time, the differences can become too alienating to ignore.
For instance, one partner loves going on adventures while the other stays home most of the time. One partner believes in the importance of religion while the other is an atheist. A significant difference in lifestyle and values cannot be resolved through compromise without hurting one side or the other. If boredom is the result of not being able to relate on a core level, you are advised to consider if the relationship is worth holding on to.
Ask Yourself if You Are Just Comfortable
If there are no serious compatibility issues, ask yourself if you are truly bored or just feeling comfortable with your partner. If you have an insecure attachment style and a history of being in toxic relationships, the initial experience of security with someone may seem “boring” because consistent love and attention is not something that you are accustomed to.
If you are feeling bored not because your partner does not interest you, but because he does not provide you with the highs and lows in your previous relationships, perhaps the relationship itself is not the issue. It takes time to be used to the security and over time, you are more likely to move towards a secure attachment yourself.
Encourage Your Partner to Fulfill His Dreams
Boredom in a relationship often comes from a place of stagnation. If you find yourself, your partner, or both giving up your own hobbies and dreams over the years, this may be a root cause of boredom in the relationship. When one’s life is not aligned with one’s passion and purpose, it is easy to feel listless and unfulfilled in general. This in turn contributes to the relationship dynamic.
If you see that your partner is lacking purpose in life, encourage your partner to fulfill his dreams. Do the same for yourself. When you align your life to things truly important to you, you will be less likely to feel bored and bring more to the relationship as well.
Try New Things in the Bedroom
While it can be difficult to discuss physical intimacy with your partner, it has a significant impact on the closeness that partners feel towards each other. Boredom in the bedroom easily translates to overall dissatisfaction, as sex is a key component in a healthy relationship.
Do not be afraid to initiate trying new things in the bedroom. It takes time to get to know your partner’s sexual needs, and for your partner to know yours. Give it some time to find out if you can improve things in the bedroom through practice, or whether you are too sexually incompatible. Then, you can decide if the relationship is right for you.
Give Couple Therapy a Chance
Eugene explains that couple therapy is useful in helping the couple explore ways to improve the relationship with the help of an unbiased professional. This applies to any stage of the relationship, addressing a range of issues such as “conflicts, feelings of disconnection, issues related to sex, or difficulties due to external stressors”.
Boredom in a relationship can be caused by many reasons, depending on your experiences with your partner. Communicating with your partner alone can seem daunting and risk spiralling into a conflict. If you and your partner are both open to the idea, a therapist can help to assess the state of the relationship and provide the tools for you to work on the relationship together.
A Space Between has established itself as a safe and trustworthy facility for therapy, offering you an array of therapists from varied fields, including those specialising in couple therapy. Our free client-matching service highlights the specialty of each therapist and efficiently directs you to the ones that cater to your condition. Check out our therapist directory today.
Eugene Chong is the Director / Principal Counselling Psychologist with Seeding Minds with 16 years of experience. He is also an adjunct lecturer at various schools that offer approved psychology and counselling training programmes, from Diploma to Masters Levels.
Yvonne Yeow is a certified coach and counsellor based in Singapore, with 22 years of experience. She is also an MOE-registered instructor. She works with both adults and youth, with a focus on navigating change and overcoming obstacles.
Martin Williams is a qualified counsellor with 4 years of experience. He draws on his extensive real-life experience to influence his unique style of counselling and ensure that all clients receive the personal attention they deserve.
Yimin is open to new experiences and perspectives. She is most passionate about psychology and creative writing and hopes to publish a novel someday.