My relationship feels stagnant – we’re just going through the motions. Is it too late to start having fun again?

My girlfriend (28) and I (31) have been together for 5 years, and although we started off having a lot of fun together, going out, dinner, movies, holidays, now it just feels boring. We still love each other and I wouldn’t dream of looking elsewhere, but there are days where I imagine what life would be like if I was single again. My girlfriend just wants to stay home, she doesn’t feel like going out or doing spontaneous things anymore, and when I try she makes up excuses. Same for when I want to be intimate. I have tried the usual stuff – date nights, games to spice things up in the bedroom, etc – but I’m getting quite bored and frustrated that she isn’t making the same effort. Are we past saving? We’re still young and I didn’t expect to get to this point after just 5 years (3 years living together). – Mark, UK

Dear Mark,

Given the situation you’ve described, it’s clear you’re at a crossroads where the initial zest of your relationship has dulled, leading to a sense of dissatisfaction and longing for the excitement of your early days together. That’s completely understandable, and actually pretty normal in relationships. 

With that being said, there’s no reason to accept the current state of your relationship as something that’ll last forever.

You mentioned your girlfriend not wanting to go out much – is she going through something? A rough time at work? Body image issues? Insecurities? Family problems? Often people lose their lust for spontaneity and fun when they’re dealing with issues that are usually hidden under the surface.  

Now, it’s great that you’ve tried things to spice up the relationship, but I have to ask the question:

Have you asked your girlfriend what she needs/wants in order to feel good about herself? To feel good about getting out of the house and doing the things you used to do? 

Because it’s all very well that you’ve tried games to spice up intimacy or planned date nights, but if what she needs is some honest communication, a space to vent her feelings, and a chance to reconnect with you emotionally, none of the other tactics will work well.

That’s why the best thing to do is sit down with her and have a frank talk about how you’re both feeling and how you can both support each other through this slump in your relationship. 

While these conversations are happening, don’t forget to focus on your own self-development. Cultivate your own hobbies, spend time with friends, and encourage your girlfriend to do the same. In spending time apart, you might find you indirectly strengthen the relationship by bringing in new and exciting experiences to share together. 

Ultimately, this can go two ways, Mark.

Your honest conversations will reveal the issues that are holding your girlfriend back from embracing the fun, spontaneous life you once shared, and you can work through them to get back to a better place. This will require patience and understanding.

On the other hand, you might find that your girlfriend prefers a slower, calmer pace of life now, which is a possibility as people get older and settle into their routines of work, home, and family. 

If the latter is true, it’ll be up to you as to whether you can adapt and create a “new normal” or if you truly require a bit more adventure and fun in your relationship (which is perfectly valid, too. We all have our unique desires and needs in relationships so don’t feel bad if this is the case). 

Best wishes, 

Evie

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

 

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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