If You're Bored By Your Relationship, You'll Notice These 8 Things About Yourself
Relationships ebb and flow — that's simply a fact of being in a partnership with another person. You'll have your golden honeymoon phase and it will fizzle out. From that point forward, you and your partner will have to put in effort to keep your relationship fresh, fun and sparkly, even when you don't feel like it (because you love each other). But if the ebbs are longer than the flows and the phases where not too smitten with your partner look more permanent? There's a chance you're bored by your relationship. And there is a difference between being bored vs. being comfortable. When a plateau in your relationship feels more stagnant than peaceful or welcoming, that's when you have a problem. If your conversation lags and the monotony of life with your partner is unbearable, spoiler alert: boredom is on the menu.
But what's more is that being bored in a relationship makes you feel unlike yourself. You'll likely be over sex, over date night and over your whole dynamic, even if you don't feel like calling it quits with your partner. And that lack of satisfaction can sometimes be more frustrating than being fed up with your partner and ready to break up. Frustration due to relationship boredom can come in many forms — whether it's the little changes you notice in your moods or the shift in behavior toward your partner. If this frustration doesn't come out as irritability with your partner, it can come out as sadness, anxiety or feeling "stuck."
Here are eight things you'll notice about yourself if you're bored with your relationship.
You're picking unnecessary fights.
Dr. Binita Amin, a clinical psychologist, says getting into arguments for innocuous reasons might be a sign that you're bored. If you find yourself bickering with your partner often over the little things, you might want to step back and assess why. Disagreements happen in any relationship. But, Amin says, it's worth seeing if the arguments are fueled by boredom (because you're frustrated with the relationship as a whole).
Sara Oliveri Olumba, a life coach who runs Sara Oliveri Coaching, notes that being frequently irritated or even repelled by your partner is a sign that you're bored with your relationship. You might catch yourself snapping at your partner because they're getting in your way around the house or because they did something as innocent as ask to make plans together. "Since being in a relationship is a big commitment, when we feel bored we will have strong negative feelings due to the fact that the commitment no longer feels worth it," Olumba says. You'll lash out at your partner because your commitment to them feels like a burden.
Your silences are no longer golden.
Amin also points to mostly silent meals and other activities with your partner as a symptom of boredom with your relationship. "Comfortable silences can be healthy, but if you are going out to dinner and have nothing to talk about or are staying within safe and predictable confines," Amin says. "This is a flag."
Sex with your partner isn't exciting anymore.
If you're bored with your romantic relationship, you might find that the boredom trickles into the bedroom. "Sex may start to look more routine or recede altogether," Amin says. " There may be less interest in putting toward effort to please a partner, spice things up, or even engage." You might even find yourself passively saying "yes," as opposed to being rearing to go. Montrella Cowan, a social worker and life coach specializing in relationships, also says that a decrease in sex drive can be symptomatic of relationship boredom. You'll stop experimenting sexually because "sexual appetite, passion and longing has taken a dive in the wrong direction." Another thing is that you'll probably never want to initiate sex if you're not too keen on sex (because you're not keen on the relationship).
Although, that isn't always the case. Olumba says a change in your sexual dynamic truly depends on the individual. "I have known many couples who report having great sex right up until the day they got divorced and others whose sex life dwindled even during the best, most deeply connecting times in their relationship," Olumba recalls. That's why she's a big believer that sexual satisfaction and emotional satisfaction ought to be worked on separately in relationships.
So, if you and your partner are experiencing trouble in both areas, the two can be connected — but you'll definitely have to work on both.
You DGAF anymore and it shows.
If you're bored with your relationship, chances are, Amin says, you've stopped putting in effort. Instead of the "best self" you put forward in the early stages of your relationship, you've started asking yourself, "Why bother?"
You're simply not having fun anymore.
Cowan says, "If you find yourself frowning more often than smiling, including those fake grins, you are likely bored in your relationship."
A complete absence of fun in your relationship can be reflected by your tendency to focus on the monotony of your relationship. Normally, routine and structure are beneficial, Amin says. But, she says, "If we are struggling to find things to look forward to as a couple, or wishing back to the 'good old days,' it might be time to re-examine the script."
You start daydreaming about someone else...
Do you ever catch yourself thinking that your work crush or IG crush would be a better girlfriend or boyfriend than your actual girlfriend or boyfriend? Yeah, well, that might be another sign that you're just not there with your relationship. "While it is natural find attraction to more than one individual in our lifetimes, we want to be mindful of what is causing us to look outside of our relationship," Amin says.
... or simply: Anyone but your partner.
What's worse is that sometimes, you're not even pining after a specific Instagram baddie or IRL temptation. You might often find yourself straight-up wishing that you were single. Another clue that you're bored with your relationship Amin says is that you catch yourself "envying the single status of friends." Don't get it twisted: It's healthy to have an independent identity outside of your relationship with your partner. "However, if you more often find yourself feeling you are missing out on the fun or glad your partner is otherwise occupied, take a closer look," Amin says.
You'll be emotionally conflicted.
Cowan says that people generally experience a downward spiral of emotions when they're bored with their relationship. Though it can vary from person-to-person and depends on the circumstances, Cowan explains, "This emotional escapade can go from one being happy and enthusiastic, to antagonistic, to angry, to bored, to sad and even as low as apathy." It can happen very subtly. "The next thing you notice is that you are not yourself and you cannot figure how you got here."
And while all the signs may point to you being bored in your relationship, the answers still might not be clear. You'll feel a lot of negative emotions not just because you're bored, but because you're conflicted — you love your partner and you made a commitment to them, but you're also dissatisfied. Of course, that dissatisfaction can either be externalized (directed to your partner) or internalized (bottled up inside). And either way, Amin says, you will feel paralyzed when it comes to making major decisions regarding your relationship.
So, what to do?
"Relationships are like a garden that require consistent nurturing," Amin reminds us. "What may have worked early on may need revising and updating from time to time. Avoid complacency." Cowan echoes this, saying, "Perhaps you have changed and/or your partner has changed. This does not mean you are doomed."
The solution she presents is both acknowledging you're bored and seeking support. Don't let it be the elephant in the room. "The sooner you acknowledge and name it, in this case 'boredom,' the sooner you can do something about it," Cowan says. And likewise, getting help for the boredom can make all the difference.
Amin, on the other hand, cautions against putting all your hopes in someone else or a different partner. "Be careful of the 'grass is greener' syndrome. All relationships require work, including relative areas of challenge," Amin says. "What may seem light and easy in comparison will inevitably come with its own challenges as relationships become grounded in security. Be conscious that you are not swapping out for something you later wished you hadn’t."
As long as you and bae are "in it to win it," you can work through it. Amin also recommends counseling — especially since it will give you a safe space to explore your dissatisfaction. A few short-term adjustments you can make are reminding yourself of and appreciating the qualities that drew you to your partner in the first place instead of "focusing on all the things your partner is not." Amin also recommends amping up your communication and trying new things with your partner.
On the communication front, Amin says, "Research suggests that keeping current in your partner’s world — interests, friends, stressors — maintains strength in the relationship by promoting intimacy." It also helps keep conversations alive, and fixes that problem of awkward silences and having nothing to talk about. "Reserve at least 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time per day to really listen and communicate about your days," Amin says. Don't be afraid of bringing up tough subjects and asking directly for what you need in these scenarios, either.
As for switching things up, planning an event like a double date will bring fresh energy to the relationship. "Novel and stimulating shared activities inspire cooperation, make us feel happier in general, and in our relationship," Amin says. "Seeing new sights and experiences inspires awe, and play simply brings a grounding joy. Our minds often attribute the feelings of arousal toward our partner which can help reignite the flame."
Just because you're currently bored in relationship doesn't mean that the love you have for your partner and your attraction to them is gone. If you're willing to make it work, it's just a matter of addressing the problem head-on and going from there. All hope isn't lost!