Don't let your relationship get stale.
Coupledom can be a fragile thing. There are threats everywhere, and even the strongest relationships need to be monitored and protected on a daily basis. From flirtatious friendships and infidelity to blowouts over friends, relatives, and money, relationships are all too easily toppled by big issues.
But it's not just the biggies we need to worry about. There are also smaller, more insidious threats to relationship satisfaction — threats we take for granted as being a normal part of a relationship.
According to a study conducted by Good in Bed, (with the support of K-Y Brand), the biggest threat to long-term relationship satisfaction may be boredom. In a survey of 3,341 people in monogamous relationships (1,418 men and 1,923 women), we found that a full 25 percent of those surveyed were bored in their current relationship.
Beyond that, another 25 percent of respondents reported being on the brink of becoming bored. That's nearly 50 percent of all couples, and boredom is basically like an attack on our relationship's immune system — once weakened, we're all the more susceptible to a cascade of ailments.
For example, 20 percent of respondents had been unfaithful to their partner at some point as a result of being bored.
Certain relationship milestones can exacerbate boredom. Top factors cited include:
- Getting older: 38.5 percent
- Having kids: 32.2 percent
- Moving in together: 15.6 percent
- Marriage: 13.8 percent
- Getting pregnant: 8 percent
So how do you maintain optimum relationship health and protect yourself from the boredom virus? Here are 6 ways to beat bedroom boredom and spice up your marriage:
1. Ask your partner to try something new in the bedroom with you.
The majority of the respondents (69 percent of men and 50 percent of women) were entirely interested in trying something new in the bedroom to combat boredom. So get going. Start with sharing a fantasy, or try a sex toy such as a vibrator.
Nearly 55 percent of our respondents were interested in incorporating toys into sex, and nearly 50 percent also saw lubes and enhancers as viable ways to decrease boredom.
2. Ask your partner to try something new outside of the bedroom with you.
"Try a new activity together or take lessons in something you aren't familiar with," says Good in Bed researcher Kristen Mark. "A significant body of research suggests that trying new things together can increase excitement in relationships — and that's bound to decrease boredom."
3. Maintain your individuality.
For about 40 percent of our respondents, this wasn't the first relationship in which they've felt bored. Not only that, more than 50 percent of respondents reported feeling bored at work at least once per week while nearly 48 percent indicated feeling bored at home the same amount of time.
In this sense, boredom is contagious, and you have to start with stopping it in yourself. From your career to your friends, to maintaining your own personal passions and interests, being a strong, engaged couple requires being a strong, engaged individual.
4. Get in the 5-to-1 zone.
Studies show that the difference between those relationships that succeed and those that fail is the ability to have a high ratio of positive to negative interactions. It's believed that the ratio should be 5 to 1: five positive interactions for every negative one.
Of course, you can't go through life tallying every interaction, but you can know whether you're fundamentally in a positive or negative territory and start swinging the pendulum back to where it belongs. When you think of a boring moment as a negative moment, it helps you stay aware of this threat.
5. 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.
6. Finally, be selfish about your relationship.
Couples end up having a lot of combined obligations and responsibilities, way more than we ever had as individuals — to family, to friends, to children — and it's easy to put everyone else first as you try to maintain a master schedule.
Don't stop putting your relationship first. From date nights to vacations, to making time for each other, stay selfish. Happiness trickles down to everyone in your life and starts and stops with you.