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Psychology
Published: June 07, 2017

An Underrated Relationship Killer: Boredom

What’s the most common way people describe their relationships?

Fun? Exciting? Interesting?

Nope.

A study of couples by researchers at the University of Winnipeg found that the most common way for people to describe their relationships was ‘dull.’ 1

People also said that their relationships lacked fun, romance, and conversation, and felt ‘like a chore.’

The results showed that while dating, men are more likely to be bored, but while married, women experience more boredom.

Getting worried?

Luckily, there are loads of simple ways to keep your relationship fresh, interesting and exciting, whether you’ve just met or been married 30 years.

Relationships take work – and that’s okay.

Is boredom more damaging than arguments?

Arguing with your partner might seem like the worst thing that could happen, but boredom in a relationship can actually be even more damaging, according to some psychologists.

A study carried out by the University of Michigan and Stony Brook University found that couples who felt stuck in a rut after seven years of marriage were much more likely to feel unhappy in their relationships after sixteen years. 2

If you’re feeling bored, the best time to take action is now – don’t let your relationship continue on a downward spiral.

What causes boredom in a relationship?

When you have a new experience, your brain releases feel-good chemicals.

That’s why a first date, a meal out at a new restaurant, or a trip to a new city can feel so good.

However, when you repeat an experience, your brain processes it in a different way. Instead of getting a boost of happy chemicals, you might not feel much at all. 3

That’s why it might seem like the second date is never as good as the first, or like that delicious meal tasted so much better the first time you tried it.

It also explains why doing the same things, with the same person, day after day, can start to feel boring – it’s all down to the brain.

To keep your brain interested and stimulated, you need to make an effort to introduce new experiences into your relationship.

Common signs of relationship boredom

Wondering whether or not your relationship is suffering from boredom?

Here are some telltale signs:

  • You no longer get excited to spend time with your partner.
  • Your relationship feels like a chore, or another thing to check off your to-do list.
  • You feel like your relationship used to be fun and exciting, but isn’t any more.
  • You can’t remember the last time you had fun with your partner.
  • You make excuses to avoid spending time with your partner.
  • You don’t feel optimistic about the future of the relationship.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to reconnect with your partner and make the relationship fun again.

How to stop your relationship from getting boring

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and expert on love and attractions, recommends three things to avoid boredom in your marriage. 4

We’ve listed them below, along with some suggestions to get you started.

Step 0: Choose the right partner!

Being with the right person is key if you don’t want your relationship to get boring. If you’ve tried everything and still don’t enjoy your relationship or feel a strong connections to your partner, you may not be right for each other. Try having some honest conversations about what you each want from life, and how you’d like the future to be.

Have a shared hobby

Having a shared interest or hobby is a great way to connect with your partner and have fun. If you’re both beginners, you can bond over the learning process and help each other to improve.

There are so many hobbies out there that there’s bound to be one to suit you and your partner.

You could try:

  • Rock climbing
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Dance classes
  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Astronomy
  • Camping

Try to plan a date night each week, and try out something new each time. One of your dates could develop into a full-time hobby – and if not, you’ll still be having exciting new experiences together.

Be intimate regularly

Regular intimacy has been shown to have all sorts of benefits, including:

  • Better health
  • Stronger relationships
  • Longer life expectancy
  • Strong immune system
  • Greater feeling of connection

Make some time for intimacy each day, even if it’s just a quick kiss or an evening cuddling in front of the TV.

Your relationship will feel stronger, and there’s less chance that you or your partner will feel bored or unappreciated.

Bored of your partner? Fix it now and your relationship will be stronger than ever.

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