Last year I met Susan, and she described to me what couples in their early thirties are experiencing, but not willing to share with their friends.
Susan felt that her relationship with her partner of four years was going sour. She emphasised that she was madly in love with him, but recently she felt bored and disinterested.
Being in a romantic relationship requires two people to be willing to commit to furthering the relationship through loving, challenging and growing together.
Over the years, I’ve read articles on problematic and abusive relationships, but less on the ominous side, and by that I mean the disappoint of being in a union lacking in excitement and passion.
It’s easy to feel like we’re trapped and stuck in a sort of relationship rut. It’s frustrating, depressing and just drains our soul and spirit.
While we can live in hope that it will get better over time, the truth is its not “the actual relationship” but our expectations, motivation and innovation. It’s the blocks that prevent us from welcoming new ideas into our relationship and lives.
A very important question I like to ask clients is, “Are you tired of being with each other or are you tired of your lifestyle? I mean the life you’ve both created together.”
In other words, is your day to day living as predictable as the sun setting in the sky; because if you say “yes”, then my hunch is that you are stuck in a boredom rut.
What’s a boredom rut?
I believe that feeling bored in your relationship is a sign that you’ve moved from the “honeymoon phase” and into a more “comfortable phase” of the relationship. It’s in this phase you can feel like you are having the same day over, and over again.
Why am I stuck?
Of the clients I’ve seen, I believe the reason is that as human beings we like to follow routines to feel safe and secure. To be comfortable, we can create very predicable patterns of behaviour i.e. thinking, being and relating. It’s to make life easy, but it can keep us comfortably trapped.
Do you know why you are feeling bored? That’s the first question I would be asking. And most importantly, what do I want to do about it?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we mostly want to ignore the signs, go into denial or look for love elsewhere. Now some of the reasons can be that we don’t want to be made fun of, risk rejection or hurt our partner’s feelings. Or quite commonly we don’t want to start an argument, so we choose to stay quiet.
If you are finding your relationship uninteresting, then I would suggest you begin to address those uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt. Start with understanding why you feel this way and solve the problem by being open to new ideas, risk-taking or trying something different.
Here’s 3 ways to get unstuck from your boredom rut!!!
# Sex and intimacy – Getting the passion back starts with you both agreeing to make a few changes around your lifestyle to increase physical intimacy or to simply move it higher on the priority list. Spice things up by breaking any routines and rules to create a new sexual adventure. One idea is to think back to your courtship days and what sort of activities you both enjoyed. It will give you clues to both what you liked about each other and what you did (and could do again).
# Expectations on relationships – By the time we’ve navigated through our twenties we’ve picked up a lot of unresolved childhood hurts, and these can be at the root of boredom. We each carry these unresolved feelings of rage, abandonment, anxiety, grief, hatred from past experiences that have not been fully expressed and experienced. We can form beliefs about how a union of two people “should be” based on the neglect or over adornment by our parents.
Now an adult, you are completely unaware of these feelings, which give rise to present day self sabotaging behaviours, negative mindsets and compulsions that are carried into the relationship.
Boredom can be an unconscious self sabotaging strategy to distance yourself from those painful feelings of sadness, regret, and frustration. When these feelings are not fully expressed to your beloved, overtime they can turn into physical and mental illnesses.
# Less talk and more listening – As I’ve mentioned, in the early phase of your relationship, you both listened intently to one another and hung on each other’s word. You’d find fascinating all his little quirks and habits, and you were happy to hear the same story over, and over again told to your friends.
Fast forward today and you are going nuts. The conversations are too long winded, boring topics and trivial. You’re not interested in each other’s opinion anymore and that’s what’s missing. You need to create time to listen, find the best times to engage in conversation. Listening sends the message that you are interested in your partner. It shows your partner how much you value them.
I believe relationships go sour not because of what couples say to each other but what is left unsaid for fear of rejection or confrontation. There is no need to continue to sit in silence with feelings of resentment and self pity.
Make it your mission and a priority to address the boredom you are experiencing in your relationship. I’m sure your partner is feeling the same and would welcome reawakening the curiosity, adventure, and passion you once had for each other.
Fiona Craig is a life coach, psychotherapist and published author of the award winning self-help book, “Stuck in a Rut – How to rescue yourself & live your truth” rescuing women out of a career or relationship rut and onto confidently taking the steps towards creating the life they want to live.
Fiona has been interviewed by The Australian Women’s Weekly, and The New Daily and written articles for Collective Magazine, Herald Sun Melbourne, Sunday Life Magazine, Career One, I Am Woman Magazine and Women’s Fitness magazine plus several online publications. You can learn more about working with Fiona at www.lifebalancecoach.com.au or call 0405 433 217.
Image: Chris Rout/Alamy Stock Photo