By Kristen Mark, Ph.D.
Sex therapist Ian Kerner and I recently conducted a survey to examine relationship boredom, and according to 3,341 readers in committed relationships, half reported either being bored or on the brink of boredom in their relationships. Further, 24% of people reported having engaged in infidelity due to boredom.
"Boredom is basically like an attack on our relationship's immunity system - once weakened we're all the more susceptible to a cascade of ailments," said Ian Kerner.
Some of the top factors leading to relationship boredom include:
It sounds like the the longer your relationship goes on, the more likely you are to become bored, but listen up: when it comes to relationship boredom and infidelity, women may be more vulnerable than men. Maybe that's because men tend to cheat opportunistically ("There she was just'a walking down the street") whereas, for women, infidelity is more related to overall relationship satisfaction. Any woman will tell you that boredom strikes at the heart of contentedness and can quickly turn satisfaction into dissatisfaction.
Here are some tips to boredom-proof your relationship:
Ask your partner to try something new in the bedroom. The majority of the respondents were entirely interested in trying something new in the bedroom to combat boredom. So, get going. Need some ideas? Check out the Good in Bed Guide to 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex. Start with sharing a fantasy, or try a sex toy such as a vibrator. You may be surprised to find out that your lover actually does want to try a new position, play a sex game, use a lube (or even an enhancer).
Maintain your individuality. For many people, this wasn't the first relationship in which they've felt bored, and most also felt bored both at home and work. In this sense, boredom is contagious, and you have to start with yourself. From your career, to your friends, to maintaining your own personal passions and interests, being a strong couple requires being a strong individual.
Keep finding things to talk about. At the end of the day, it's easy to feel that communication is a chore, that talking to your partner is boring or routine and that there's nothing new under the sun to possibly talk about. When you're feeling this way, nodding and half-listening, with no real interest in how your partner's day went, you're in serious danger of getting too detached and disconnected and becoming vulnerable to things like infidelity, depression and indifference.