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An Underrated Relationship Killer: Boredom

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Reference

[1] The Daily Mail: 70 ways boredom can kill a marriage
[2] Science Daily: Boredom Can Hurt A Marriage
[3] Psychology Today: Why People Get Bored
[4] Wardheer News: Boredom Kills Marriages

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Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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