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Why Your Relationship Has Become Boring (And How to Fix It)

Why Your Relationship Has Become Boring (And How to Fix It)

Esther Perel says that we need two things in relationships: stability — knowing your partner has your back, and desire.

Unfortunately, stability kills desire. Conversely, what creates desire? Risk.

In the beginning of a relationship, we have plenty of risk. What if you get your heart broken, what if the other person doesn’t like you as much as you like them? Is this the one? Are you wasting your time?

There is the thrill of the chase in the beginning stages of romance. It’s exciting and creates the butterflies, the intoxicating feeling of love. Love conquers all.

This new love high usually lasts 1to 2 years and then we settle in and become comfortable in the stability of the relationship.

While the stability is important and imperative to the success of a relationship, it’s not very exciting. We have a home to take care of and bills to pay. This isn’t the sexy side of being in relationship. We may not always agree on things which can cause additional stress and strain on the relationship too.

Is It Normal to Be Bored in a Relationship?

It’s completely normal to become bored at some point in your relationship and it’s not your fault.

We work hard to find the one. The person who completes us, then what? We live happily ever after in a blissful state of union of course. This is what we’ve learned from fairytales and Hollywood. Most of us were never taught how to maintain a relationship nor did we have great role models to show how to keep the romance and passion alive.

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Unfortunately, this stuff isn’t taught in school and most of us didn’t receive a reference book for guidance. Although it probably should be with divorce rates in the US still hovering around 50%.

Why Do Relationships Get Boring and Lose Their Luster After Time?

In the beginning of a relationship, many times we put forth so much effort to woo our potential partner; planning activities, experiences and even surprises for one another. We go to dinner and talk for hours because we have so much to share and learn about one another. We have engaging conversations about everything, inhaling and soaking in the essence of one another.

Then life happens. We settle into our daily life and routines, maybe throw in a couple of kids and the busyness of life allows us to easily put our most important relationship on the back burner.

Date nights are now relegated to dinner and a movie if we make it out of the house at all. I get it, you’ve worked hard all week and planning a date night probably seems overwhelming and putting on your pj’s ordering take out and watching Netflix seems like the path of least resistance.

When the word date or dating is mentioned, most people conjure up images of single people who are dating and looking for that special someone. Rarely do we as a society think beyond to the fact that we should never stop dating our spouse or long-term partner.

The reason many relationships become routine and boring is that couples stop dating each other. It’s as simple as that.

Giving your relationship scraps of time can lead to its demise. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s very easy to be intentional but over time if you don’t pay attention to it, it’s easy to get into a relationship rut.

How Long Does It Take for a Relationship to Become Boring?

We’ve all heard of the 7-year-itch. The estimated time when the happiness of a couple diminishes.

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Every couple is different and it really boils down to how exciting you keep your relationship. If you quickly get into a relationship rut of doing the same boring things, you will become bored with your relationship more quickly. However, if you are committed to avoid falling into this routine and are intentional about keeping the desire alive in your relationship, you can avoid becoming bored for the most part.

Relationships do have ebbs and flows and of course, there are times your relationship will be more interesting. The problem arises when your relationship becomes stale for long periods of time.

In most relationship studies, romantic love dwindles over time and we lose the butterflies we once had in the beginning. In a relationship study conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron at the University of New York at Stony Brook, it was determined that novelty or trying new things can create the chemical surges of courtship and can significantly increase the satisfaction in relationship when practiced consistently.[1]

Life can be messy and even great relationships can become stale and boring at times; this is absolutely normal. You won’t be at risk of abandoning your relationship if you’re aware of this and have a plan to get out of your rut when you see this happening.

What to Do If You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

Plan a date of course! I’m a fan of surprise dates. In fact, I recommend this to my clients. Commit to plan one surprise date for your partner every month and have them plan one surprise date for you each month.

Preferably an interactive or doing date. Then when you grab a bite to eat, you’ll have something to talk about, the new experience you just created together.

When is the last time you really had a great conversation? A conversation that doesn’t involve talking about work or the kids?

When you share a novel experience, this gives you something new to talk about after your date. It’s great to print out a few questions to take on your date. You can find some great ones on the web or another option is TABLETOPICS Couples: Questions to Start Great Conversations if you need more inspiration.

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You can keep it light with something like “If you had a super power what would it be?” to something a little deeper such as “If today were the last time we saw each other what would you want me to know?” These probing questions provide greater insight and awareness into your partner and them of you.

The great thing about taking turns planning dates for each other is that you eliminate the age-old question, “What do you want to do tonight?” which is usually followed by, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Then after debating for 45 minutes, you may end up doing nothing.

This is the secret sauce of the surprise date. Just tell your date when to be ready and what to wear and there’s no debate or resistance. No shooting down your date ideas. Just the addition of novelty and doing something different together to increase connection and romance.

Once a month, you get to give the gift of adventure and surprise and once a month, you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the date.

If you’re on a budget, no problem. There are numerous free date ideas. Some of my favorites are building a tent over your bed, a scavenger hunt, or dance lessons using free YouTube videos.

If you’re still craving more date night inspiration check out 32 Cheap and Uniquely Fun Date Ideas for Couples, it’s filled with date ideas you can do on any budget.

Final Thoughts

When your relationship becomes stale, you may feel like the solution is to find a new one that’s more exciting, which is the easy way, but it’s only a temporary fix.

If you continue with your same patterns in your new relationship, you’re bound to end up in the same predicament months or years later.

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While relationships take effort, they are so rewarding when you are in a good one. My hope is that you create an amazing relationship, and that you never settle for one that’s just good enough.

Innovation in relationship is the key to avoiding boredom, and ensuring that you have a relationship that will go the distance and last a lifetime.

One of my favorite quotes by Tony Robins is,

“If you do what you did in the beginning of the relationship there won’t be an end.”

Create the relationship of your dreams by being intentional about adding novelty and surprise through interactive date nights. You’ll be happy you did!

Featured photo credit: Vince Fleming via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dana Lam

Dana is a busy mom of two boys, author and co-founder of the Surprise Date Challenge.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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