What parent or grandparent hasn’t heard a child declare he or she has nothing to do? While anyone with even the slightest imagination, or a few dirty windows, could remedy that situation, boredom can become problematic if it creeps into a relationship.
When a couple has been together for a long time, some boredom may be inevitable, especially if you’ve fallen into a routine that never changes. For some, security and predictability may be more important than adventure and challenge. Boredom may seem like part of the package.
Randi Gunther, PhD, writes in Psychology Today, “Too much predictability can lead to indifference. Over time, apathy can turn to exasperation, annoyance, and irritation.” She believes couples “unwittingly become bored and boring to each other.”
As time goes by, and the excitement of a new relationship wears off, couples may accept a life without emerging newness. “Though mutually committed to life’s external challenges, they have become uninterested in their relationship.”
- Gunther suggests taking these steps if your relationship has lost its luster.
- Evaluate how far you have allowed your relationship to get out of balance.
- Assess your motivation to change.
- Recreate your initial desire for discovery.
Gunther says, “You may feel like you won’t see any changes no matter what, but when you try, your attitude will change, even with small differences. Hope creates energy, and you will not need much to get your relationship going again.”
Maybe you don’t find your partner very interesting. Or maybe you’re the one who has become predictable and dull. Gunther suggests adding the excitement of unexpected and interesting new experiences in order to “recreate the best of what you once had with the joy of what you already have.”
So, where to start?
Being bored may have more to do with you than with your relationship. There is a saying, “Smart people don’t get bored; they get curious.” It might be you, and not the relationship, that needs some fine-tuning.
Try planning something with your partner or spouse that you can both look forward to. A special date, a dinner party with interesting guests, a home project, or a weekend getaway might get things going.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of places around town where you can book a one-night stay. Toss in a nice dinner and a Jacuzzi if that isn’t part of your normal routine.
What is it that brought the two of you together in the first place? Go dancing, see a foreign film in an artsy theater, make a golf date—or try something you’ve both been wanting to do but never got around to doing.
Don’t wait for your other half to do the planning, or worse, nag about it. Make the reservation. Buy the tickets. Plan the picnic. Do it “just because.”
Assuming you already have a regular date night, now could be the time to arrange to do something out of the ordinary. Make it a surprise. Go to a poetry reading. Walk in a neighborhood you’ve never explored. Make an agreement that no matter what the other person plans, you both go. Of course, you will take turns with the planning and execution.
Look for ways to break out of your routine. Try a new recipe together. Experiment with going to a restaurant or a concert that is opposite of what you would normally enjoy. Step out of your mutual comfort zone and look for a new activity, hobby, or class to add some zest to the relationship. At least it will give you something different to talk about.
Is there a cause that arouses your passion? Try volunteering together. You may even meet new friends and discover other interests.
If your partner isn’t enticed, you can always make some changes in your personal life. Try something that interests you, like taking up yoga or learning to play bridge. A new haircut and color may make you feel like a “new you.” That might get your partner’s attention.
Thoughtful and romantic gestures can go a long way. You can never go wrong with a single rose or a little gift that says, “I was thinking of you.”
Still bored? Try cleaning your house together. It may not be exciting, but you just might find yourselves bonding over those dirty windows.
Judith A. Rucki is a public relations consultant and freelance writer. Readers may contact her via the editor at email@example.com with ideas for making the golden years sparkle, sizzle, and shine.