Finding love is one of the best feelings in the world. When you're in a long-term relationship, though, things can start to feel bland sometimes, no matter how much you love each other. It could leave you wondering about how to fix a stale relationship. But luckily, if things have gotten kind of "blah" in your relationship, it doesn't necessarily mean it's over. In fact, many long-term relationships go through ruts occasionally, and it's totally normal. It's hard to imagine being with someone for years or even just sometimes months without feeling like you're sometimes living the same day over and over again.
The good news is that none of this spells doom for your relationship. It just means that you might need to put a little extra work into it for a little while, until the two of you get back to your normal, exciting selves. But, how? Well, luckily, the things you can do to add some life back into your relationship aren't really that hard; they just require dedication and energy on both your parts. And if you truly love each other, a little work on your relationship to get it back to where you want it shouldn't feel difficult at all.
Without further ado, here are seven great ideas for getting your relationship back on track when you feel like it might be getting a bit stale:
First thing on the list is not so hard, right? Well, yes and no. When I say "communicate," I don't mean do your usual chatting about how the day was and what you're doing that weekend. Instead, really communicate about what the two of you are feeling. Chances are, your partner might be feeling stuck in a rut, too.
Before you can get to solving the problem, you both have to be able to talk about it openly and honestly. Not only that, but just starting a conversation about what's wrong may help you find a solution that you didn't know was lurking just beneath the surface.
So go ahead: Open up and communicate with your partner.
2. Make A To-Do-Fun List
Make a to-do-fun (TDF) list. Not a to-do-chores list or a to-do-work list like you might make any other day, but a serious TDF list for you and your partner.
It could include big things like going skydiving together; it could include just small things like having an evening happy hour together once a week. It doesn't have to be huge, and it doesn't have to be anything fancy. It just has to be things the two of you want to do together.
When you're stuck in a rut, you might have forgotten that your relationship is supposed to be about fun and not about adulting and other terrible, boring BS. Making a TDF list will help pull you out of your momentary staleness, so pull out a pen and paper and sit down to do it together.
3. Spice It Up In The Bedroom
Handcuffs? Fuzzy high heels? See-through lingerie? Yes, please!
If you are feeling like your relationship overall has gone stale, chances are you also aren't feeling great about what's happening in the bedroom. There's no better way to spice it up than to... well, spice it up!
Try new things. Introduce new elements. Talk dirty. Sext. Play teasing sex games. Spill your fantasies. Basically, get open with your partner about what new things would turn you on in the bedroom and then try. Them. All.
4. Talk About What You Like
Getting stuck in a relationship rut sometimes means that we forget what we love and like about our partner in the first place. A great way to combat this is to spend time sitting around chatting, just the two of you, about what you like about each other.
My husband and I sometimes play a game where we just go back and forth with one sentence that starts with "I love you because..." So I'll say, "I love you because you are the best puppy dad in the world." And he'll say, "I love you because you're the most supportive woman I've ever met." It's just fun, but it's also incredibly romantic, and it never lets us forget why we fell in love.
Give it a try. You'll likely find that you and your partner will have created a lot of intimacy and romance through this little game.
5. Schedule A Lot Of Dates
Dates, dates, and more dates! Too often in long-term relationships, we get caught up in just "hanging out." Whether you live together or not, it's easy to start to just spend time on your couch because you're comfortable.
This can be one of the things that leads to a rut in the first place. Instead of being content just continuing to "hang" without really doing anything, schedule some dates! They don't have to be crazy; they can be as simple as getting up and going for a walk instead of sitting around watching tv, or grabbing a Sunday breakfast out instead of lazily staying home with coffee. Just being in new environments will excite you both and make you feel more alive.
6. Get Off Your Phone
Phones, tablets, and other screens are pretty much the death of the modern couple.
One of the reasons you might feel like your relationship is in a rut is because the two of you might actually just not be focusing on each other anymore. It's more likely than not that the two of you are spending a lot of time on your cell phones because, well, we all do!
One of the easiest ways to start to pull your relationship out of its rut is to get off your cell phone. Create special "no cell" times where the two of you leave your cell phone in another room or in the car and only pay attention to each other and what you're doing. No TV. No iPad. Just you and your love.
7. See A Therapist
OK, OK, right off the bat, this is probably not something you want to do. The thing is, though, seeing a therapist really isn't as bad as you might think (if you've never been to therapy), and it especially isn't that bad for couples (if you've never been to couples therapy).
If you've tried many of the other things on this list, and it feels like it still isn't working, a therapist might be a great way to go. You'll be surprised to find that a couples therapist can help you open up in ways you might otherwise not have, and it can help create a safe space for you and your partner to talk.
You might find, unfortunately, that at the end of your couples therapy, you decide to go separate ways. Or you might find that it's exactly what you needed, and it's gotten the two of you back on track. Either way, it's a great option to help figure out what's wrong.
Feeling like your relationship is getting stale isn't great, but it's also not that uncommon. For long-term, committed couples, sometimes you have to do a bit of extra work to make sure the excitement stays in your relationship. Follow the tips on this list, and you'll start to feel that spark again in no time.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!