8 signs you’re getting bored in your relationship, according to psychology

Relationships are lots of things. They can be hugely exciting, especially when they are new.

When you first meet a person that you are deeply attracted to and who seems to understand you on a level most people don’t. And when they go right, relationships can be life-enriching, making you happy in a way few other things have the power to do.

But sometimes, they can also be boring.

Sooner or later, passion fades. No matter what you try to do to preserve it, your relationship will eventually become another part of your life. And when that happens, a lot of relationships run into trouble.

It’s hard to make the transition from the mad passion of the early stages of a relationship to the more subtle but more profound connection you can develop with another person.

Hard enough that when boredom sets in, that’s where a lot of relationships fail.

It’s not always easy to tell that you’ve gotten bored. After all, it’s a hard thing to admit, even to yourself. While you might know that something is wrong, you might struggle to put your finger on it.

So here are some signs that you’re getting bored of your relationship, according to psychologists.

1) You’re not excited about the future

Being in a committed relationship means planning a future together. And at its best, that can be exciting.

Nothing makes the future seem brighter than being with a partner you want to spend the rest of your life with. When the two of you are happy together, it’s hard not to plan for the life you want to live and your happily-ever-after.

Once you start to get bored with a relationship, all that goes out the window.

In fact, as psychologist Kendra Cherry points out, thinking about the future of your relationship may actually make you uncomfortable or uneasy.

“Boredom in relationships can also be caused by other factors beyond this natural shift from passionate to compassionate love,” Cherry explains. “There are a number of other problems that might play a role in sapping the excitement from your romantic relationship.”

These include:

  •       You have different interests
  •       You don’t have meaningful conversations
  •       You’ve abandoned your own goals for the relationship
  •       You don’t have your own interests
  •       You stop making the effort to keep things interesting.

2) You’re less interested in spending time together

Perhaps unsurprisingly, once boredom sets in to a relationship, you can quickly lose interest in spending time with your partner.

When we first meet and fall for someone, it’s natural to want to spend every minute of the day around them. We find them so interesting, so fascinating, so attractive that we can’t help but want to be beside them 24/7.

It’s natural for that feeling to fade as the first flush of love turns to something more like companionship. But it can also be a bad sign your relationship.

“It suggests that there’s a disparity in what you both want this relationship to be,” says clinical social worker Aimee Hartstein.

Now, no one’s saying that to have a happy relationship, you need to be around each other every moment you can. In fact, in lots of ways, that’s unhealthy and can actually cause you to get sick of each other faster.

However, if you don’t want to spend time with the person you’re in a relationship with, you have to ask yourself, what’s the point of being in a relationship at all?

3) You don’t talk as much – at least not about anything meaningful

One of the many aspects of a relationship that changes with time is the conversations you have.

We’ve all seen those old couples who can go out to dinner and never say a word to each other because they’ve already said everything they could possibly have to say.

We all think it won’t happen to us. But communication can easily break down in relationships, leading to frustration and disappointment.

And sometimes, it’s not about how much you talk, but what you talk about.

In a long-term relationship, you may have plenty to talk about when it comes to bills, work, family, and other issues. But if you never talk about anything more meaningful, it’s easy to start to feel like your partner doesn’t really see you anymore.

“If partners are willing to try new things and stay curious, then that’s a good sign,” says therapist Merissa Goolsaran. “If partners are starting to close off and refuse to try new things, then that might be a red flag.”

In other words, watch out for this tendency to stop talking to one another. Because if it happens, it may be a sign that you have grown bored with your relationship.

Problematic marriage 8 signs you’re getting bored in your relationship, according to psychology

4) Physical intimacy declines

Yes, I’m talking about sex. But I’m not talking about just that.

Sex is an important part of any romantic relationship, but everybody’s drive and desire to have sex is different. Plus, for both partners, sexual desire changes over time, making things even more complicated.

But beyond sex, there are other forms of physical intimacy. Hugs. Kissing. A gentle touch that just reminds you that your partner is there, that the two of you are connected in a way nobody else is.

“For many people, emotional connection in a relationship inspires physical intimacy. If they don’t feel emotionally connected, they may feel uninterested or uninspired to reach physical intimacy,” writes psychologist Deborah L Davis.

“For other people, it’s the opposite. Physical intimacy is how they emotionally connect, and if they can’t be physically intimate, they feel emotionally disconnected.”

That can make it extremely difficult to keep the passion alive in a relationship. And if you have lost interest in having sex or even touching your partner, it may be because you’re getting bored.

5) You get upset over small things

We can overlook a lot in the people we are attracted to. When you first start falling for someone, even their flaws can seem cute.

But what seemed endearing at first can become irritating and aggravating. And if you find yourself getting upset over small things your partner does, it might be because you are getting tired of your relationship.

As psychologist Charlie Bloom points out, this can sometimes be a defense mechanism. If you feel your partner pulling away from you, you may get angry at them as a way of convincing yourself you don’t really care.

6) You fantasize about other people

This time, I’m not talking about sex.

I’m talking about imagining what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone else. Maybe someone you know, that cute guy at the office or that sexy girl at the bar.

While it’s perfectly normal to be attracted to other people when you are in a relationship, it’s not normal to fantasize about being with them in a relationship.

“There is a danger, though, that infidelity fantasies become gateway drugs for actual infidelities,” writes psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne. “In this case, rather than just try to fight back these thoughts, it might be worth trying to examine what might be prompting them.”

That’s not always easy. But it’s worth considering that if you regularly fantasize about relationships with other people, it’s because you are bored with your current situation.

7) You feel unfulfilled

This can be a hard one to put your finger on. But sometimes, you may experience a general feeling of being unfulfilled in life, without knowing why.

Maybe you feel that this isn’t the life you had planned. Maybe you have the feeling that you’re missing out on something that could be better than what you currently have.

There can be lots of reasons why you may feel like this, and it’s not always a sign of a relationship problem.

But our romantic partnerships are supposed to fulfill us, and if they don’t, it might be because you are getting bored.

8) You’re always looking for something new

Sometimes, people divert their feelings into avenues they think will be less harmful.

So if you’re bored in your relationship, you may look for more novelty in other areas of your life.

Maybe you start a new job. Maybe you take up new hobbies, especially exciting ones. All to shake off the sense of being bored that you get at home.

“As proven by research, the best way to avoid the stagnation of your relationship, and to determine whether you’re bored with or of your partner, is to do something new together that neither of you have tried before,” says researcher Mariana Bockarova.

In other words, trying new things can actually help save your relationship from stagnating.

But if it doesn’t, you may have to consider the possibility that it’s your partner you’re really bored of.

Boredom in relationships

If you recognize these signs, you have a decision to make.

Are you going to work to inject the excitement and fun back into your relationship, or call it quits?

Unfortunately, only you can decide that for yourself.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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