Are you happy in your current relationship? It’s a question that we often avoid. But with the rush of the holidays finally over, we have the emotional room to take a look at our partnerships without rocking the boat of family dinners and New Year’s Eve kisses.
Most answers to this question fall somewhere between “things are amazing – I’m in a constant state of swooning” and “relationships suck.” Or you might have a great partner, a great life and a decent sex life, but you feel like you’ve fallen into a rut.
Whatever kind of relationship (dating, marriage, serious, casual) you’re in, everyone gets bored (and everyone becomes boring) if you let them. Romance fades if you become too comfortable. Sex is a practice and it’ll become mundane if you don’t work on your moves (and sexual intelligence).
And ruts happen. It’s completely understandable, and in Maine in the winter it should be expected! But taking responsibility for your happiness and your partner’s happiness is what sets you apart. Don’t accept that relationships just fizzle over time. That’s something that happens to those with low standards. This is the time to raise those standards, not on your significant other, but on yourself and your relationship.
Here are a few ways to keep your relationships fresh and pull yourself out of a rut:
A change of scenery may be all that you need. If you’re weekly routine is predictable and boring, you may just need a new set of regulars. Do you have a regular brunch spot, a regular movie night, a regular bedroom routine? Get out of town for a few days. Keep expectations low. Just take a long weekend to visit Montreal or Burlington, VT. Or if you’re self-employed, work from Bali for a few weeks. You’ll feel amazing coming home and be able to set a new routine to keep things interesting for another few months.
You might need a break from each other. Not a “BREAK” break, just a few days spent apart to see friends and have different conversations. We fall into conversational routines with our partners and that can lead to stagnant romance. Learn a few new jokes. Read a new book or take an interesting workshop. Come back to the relationship with tons of new things to talk about. Take a week or two of mandated of celibacy. You’ll come back to things ready to pounce on your S.O.
Your partner is so funny and interesting, sometimes it takes a group of people to bring it out of him. And that’s not a bad thing. Extroverts come alive in a crowd and need that attention to re-energize their personalities. That’s just their nature. So take another couple out for a regular date (newly married couples are great for this). You can feed off of their glowy lovey-dovey nature and take it home to your bedroom.
What do you want to do? I don’t know… what do you want to do? (silence… cricket, cricket)
Sometimes we just need a break from deciding what to do. As a couple, take on a home project or a weird creative venture. Joint creativity has a profound way of bringing couples back together. It’ll make conversation flow easier and you’ll always have something new to do together. Searching for materials, scanning craigslist for the perfect deals, learning a new skill and supporting each other as you grow is the most amazing way of spending time as a couple. And you’ll have an upgraded home, a new business or a creative art project at the end.
A successful relationship is one that you get out of when the time is right. If you’re in a rut and it seems unlikely that any project, trip or bedroom moves will re-spark the love, maybe it’s just time to pursue something new. There’s no harm in that! Maybe your mind-blowing relationship has settled over the years into a PGR (a pretty good relationship) and that’s worse than a bad relationship. Talk it over with your partner. Maybe the relationship has just run it’s course. Or try the collaboration, seriously!