You and your partner are in love. You've been together for a while now, and everything is going great. But suddenly, things start to feel a little old. You wonder what the difference between being bored and comfortable in a relationship is. Am I truly bored? Is my partner not the right one for me?
Well, hold on a second. It could be that your partner isn't right for you and that you're just plain bored of a not-so-perfect relationship. Or, it could be that you two are great together, and you've just hit a new level in your partnership — a level that involves less butterflies and more cozy love. But how can you tell?
There are a few simple signs that can help you distinguish whether it's boredom or comfort. One (boredom) isn't ever desired in a relationship (even though, sometimes, it happens). If you've hit a long, long rut of boredom, you might just be at the end of the line with this relationship.
The other (comfort) is actually wonderful. It means you and your partner are being yourselves, and you are happy together. It's something that naturally happens in a loving relationship.
So which is it? Below are five differences between boredom and comfort. Through these, you'll be able to tell what the right next step is for your love.
Boredom comes with a desire for something new. Comfort doesn't.
Boredom essentially means that you're, well, bored. It means you feel stuck, and you really want something new and different. The key with boredom is that it'll feel like you've exhausted all of the options with your partner.
This feeling commonly sets in as a couple transitions out of the honeymoon phase into a period of steady stability. "[There is] a feeling of safety and predictability — fertile ground for boredom to grow in," Daniel Sher, clinical psychologist and a consultant for the Between Us Clinic, previously told Elite Daily. "Safety and predictability are important, but it’s possible to experience this while also having a relationship that feels enlivening and exciting."
Comfort, on the other hand, doesn't come with a desire for anything new. The feeling of comfort is more like you're finally home and able to relax after a long day. It's kind of like your partner is your "home." They're the person you want to be with to let your guard down from the outside world.
Between the two, comfort is definitely the better emotion for long-term love. If you feel like you're looking for something new, though, you may just be bored.
Boredom requires a solution. Comfort isn't a problem.
When you're bored, you'll probably find yourself desperate for a solution. After all, boredom usually means you are lacking options and excitement, so you'll naturally want to remedy that. In a relationship, the "solution" could either be trying to spice things up with your partner, or it could mean ending it and finding someone new. You won't know unless you explore the emotion.
“If the relationship is stagnant, often the individuals also feel stuck in their life,” relationship and intimacy coach Megan Lambert previously told Elite Daily. “Ask yourself, ‘What do I really want? What is a secret dream of mine I could explore?' Then go out and try it. Often, couples are afraid that if they follow their dreams, it will pull their relationship apart. But you have to risk losing the relationship and follow your interests to keep the spark alive.”
When you're comfortable with another person, however, you'll just feel great. You'll feel like the two of you were meant to be together, and you won't be searching for anything. If comfort is what you feel, it's likely your relationship will last for the long haul.
Boredom is restless. Comfort is peaceful.
Boredom naturally comes with a feeling of restlessness. But shifting your mindset can go a long way here.
“Couples get boring because they assume they know each other already," Lambert previously told Elite Daily. "They don't. In every moment, your partner is a new and unique human. Imagine you are an alien meeting your partner for the first time. What would an alien be curious about? What would you want to know? Explore each other as if you were two aliens, totally new, totally fresh.”
Fresh conversations and new ideas can keep the spark alive, which creates a tremendous feeling of peacefulness. When you're comfortable in the right relationship, you'll wonder what you were doing in all of those other relationships. And you'll wonder why you never experienced this awesome feeling of peacefulness before. The short answer is that it's because you weren't with the right person before.
Although it may seem subtle, the truth is that the difference between a bored feeling and a comfortable feeling in a relationship is actually quite stark. Comfort comes with a lot of other positive emotions; boredom mostly comes with negative ones.
This post was originally published on Oct. 9, 2017. It was updated on Aug. 30, 2019 by Hannah Orenstein.
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