Relationships go through a variety of phases. There is the excitement at the beginning, the ups and downs as things progress, and probably some rough patches along the way. But what does being bored in a relationship mean?
Being bored is one of the most frustrating circumstances that one can experience. Boredom is devoid of passion or urgency in any particular direction and can leave us feeling empty and restless. But it can be more complicated than just that. Boredom in a marriage can mean that communication within the marriage doesn’t look the same as it did in the beginning and you may be worried that you have fallen out of love with your partner. If you are at a loss and wondering what feeling bored in your relationship means, consider some of the following.
Are You Bored Or Comfortable?
Yes, there is a difference. There may be some similarities when it comes to the behaviors associated with boredom and comfort, things like routine and predictability, the real difference, however, is in the feelings. Relationships, especially love and marriage, have many aspects and feelings can become complicated. Boredom generally comes with an overwhelming desire for change and sometimes a restlessness that can’t be settled. Being comfortable, however, can make you feel at worst okay and at best relatively happy.
Many couples look forward to and appreciate that comfortable place within a relationship. It means you trust each other and can enjoy life together without feeling anxious about defining the state and status of your relationship. Be careful though, comfort can turn into boredom if you stop making an effort at things. Being happily comfortable together does not mean you quit trying to pay attention and appreciate each other. Keeping your relationship interesting and staying engaged is still a crucial part of the equation.
So if you are wondering if you are bored or just comfortable ask yourself these questions.
- Do you want to do something new or be with someone new?
- Are you still interested in spending time with your partner – just in different activities, or do you want to do things without them?
- Do you feel stuck and yearning for something different, or do you feel like you and your partner need a vacation or a new hobby – together?
If the answers to these questions include your partner, or could include your partner, you are likely just comfortable and wanting a change of pace for the two of you. If this is the case, take some time to discuss with your partner some new ways to connect. New hobbies and activities are a great way to get closer and bring new dimension to your relationship.
If the answers do not include them, however, you may actually be bored in your relationship and facing bigger issues.
Dr. Kurt has dealt with this in his practice. According to him,
It's not uncommon that when one partner is bored and dissatisfied with the relationship that the other partner is totally fine with the way things are. Boredom can be a symptom of deeper problems in the relationship. It can also cause additional problems as it often leads are partners to seek relief in destructive ways, such as by abusing alcohol, obsessing on social media, or watching porn.”
What Kind Of Bored Are You?
So what does it mean if you are bored in your relationship? Well that depends on the type of boredom you are facing. According to Canadian psychologists Cheryl Harasymchuk and Beverley Fehr, “relationship boredom” can take one of several forms:
- State of atrophy associated with the ending of a relationship, sometimes called the “empty shell.”
- Negative emotional state characterized by lack of excitement and stimulation, called a "relationship maintenance challenge.”
- Dynamic tension between a desire for predictability and a desire for novelty.
No matter the type of boredom you are experiencing, you are probably wondering what being bored in your relationship means. Does it mean the end of your relationship? It doesn’t have to. In most cases you can overcome the boredom you are experiencing and get your relationship back on track. It takes work from both of you, however.
The key here is both of you. Boredom is subjective. What one person sees as boring another might find comfortable. Understanding on your part how you define boring will help when figuring out what should happen next.
How To Overcome Boredom In Your Relationship
The first step to overcoming any issue in your relationship is to talk with your partner. They may not be feeling the same way. It is possible that your partner feels that your relationship is in a comfortable spot and they are unaware that you are feeling restless.
Before you begin this conversation, however, be prepared. Try writing down the things that you would like to see changed or have an issue with. For example, are you frustrated because you two have nothing to talk about, or you don’t enjoy things together anymore, or the sex has gotten uninteresting and stale and there is no longer any intimacy in your marriage? Knowing what things you find boring rather than just saying “I’m bored” will help you both determine the best way to address change.
It is possible that your partner has also been feeling bored in your relationship. If they are, the things that they want to see changed could be different than those you want to change. You will need to have an open and honest conversation to determine what changes you each would like to see. In this case being prepared also will serve you well.
If you find yourself at an impasse with neither husband nor wife wanting to change to save the marriage, consider counseling. Sometimes a third party with experience and professional training can see things differently and help you get back on track. Most people think of couples counseling when they are fighting or suffering a great betrayal, but boredom that can’t be overcome is a valid (and common) reason for seeking the advice of a counselor.
Regardless, if you have found yourself frustrated and wondering what being bored in a relationship means, take heart. It does not have to mean the end. More likely it indicates a need for change within your relationship. While change can be difficult and scary, it can also be fun and offer new opportunities. Without change there is no growth. And after all, that is a big part of what makes a happy relationship – growing together.
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