As much as we’d like them to be, our relationships are never perfect. We all thrive in the honeymoon phase, experiencing that head-over-heels puppy dog love we see in movies, but it eventually comes to an end and we get into the real stuff. If you’ve been with your partner for a year or more, you’ve probably surpassed your honeymoon time and have settled into your routine as a couple. Routines are great, but sometimes your routine becomes too, well… routine, and you’re left feeling bored or wondering why you don’t feel the spark you once felt in your relationship. This, my friends, is the age-old relationship slump, and it happens to the best of us.
As we become comfortable with another person, especially if we’re living with them, it’s easy to get caught up in the mundaneness of our day to day lives and things can quickly veer off and head straight for slump city. If you’re feeling like your relationship isn’t what it once was, or that you’ve hit a lull, have no fear! Here are seven foolproof ways to say sayonara to your slump and steer you and your boo back into the blissful romance you deserve.
1. Bring Back An Old Routine
Sometimes the key to getting out of a routine is to get into a new one. Often times couples create little rituals when they first get together and then life gets in the way and they get pushed to the wayside. Maybe you used to have a date night every Thursday or tried a new restaurant once a month. Make a pact to reintroduce this routine! Not only will it provide designated time to spend together, but it will bring back memories from early in your relationship and help you both find that spark again.
2. Try Something New
According to research shared in a great New York Times article, novelty is the key to reigniting the spark in your relationship. When we engage in new experiences with our partners, it triggers a surge in dopamine and norepinephrine which, in plain terms, recreates the butterflies and excitement we feel at the beginning of a new relationship.
Trying something you’ve never done, especially if it’s out of your comfort zone, can be an amazing bonding experience for you and your partner. It will leave the two of you feeling like you just conquered a metaphorical obstacle as much as a real one. Bonus points if you choose to do something active – extra endorphins means an extra boosted mood!
Try hiking a mountain, learning a new sport or activity, trying a new food or cuisine, exploring a new area of your city, or check out this couples bucket list.
3. Take a Trip (Even if it’s Small)
The ultimate way to share a new experience with your partner is to travel together. Although not everyone has the financial means to just jet off at the drop of a hat, even the smallest of getaways can be the cure to your dreaded rut. Regardless of whether you’re going on a small road trip to explore a local camping spot, or headed off overseas, sitting down and planning your adventure together fosters an environment of excitement and change, and the trip itself will only bring more!
Taking the time out of your daily lives to switch things up, take a break, and just have fun together can be a wonderful remedy, not to mention an amazing way to make new memories together.
4. Put the Phones Away
This is a small change that can have a big impact on your relationship. Our phones tend to become a part of us, and I know I’m not the only one who’s guilty of zoning out while scrolling through social media. Making a conscious effort to put your phone away and be present with your partner is a great way to make space for conversation and a stronger feeling of closeness. Even if you’re just having a quick bite to eat, or watching your favourite TV show, you’re both down one distraction and have more energy to focus on each other.
5. Make Time For Yourself
Even though it sounds backwards, making time for yourself can often be the missing piece to curing your relationship roadblock. When you spend the vast majority of your time with your partner, especially if you live together, you naturally start to spend far less time alone. Even though it’s great to have someone by your side, we all need time for ourselves. If we’re not getting this time by ourselves, it can manifest as unnecessary resentment toward our partners and cause a slump where one doesn’t need to be.
Take an evening to treat yourself to a guilty pleasure solo, and encourage your partner to do the same. When we take the time to take care of ourselves, it becomes a lot easier to care for another person!
A lack of communication is usually at the heart of almost any relationship issue. If you feel your relationship is in a rut, it’s likely your partner feels the same and the best thing you can do is be honest and talk about it. No, it’s not a fun conversation to have, but it will get rid of the underlying pressure you’re both feeling and open up a space to figure out how to move past it. Make a plan together on how you want to move forward, and hold each other accountable if one of you is not following through.
Getting through a rough patch in your relationship will take work, but maintaining solid communication will make it a whole lot easier and a whole lot less stressful.
7. Don’t Forget to Laugh
Even if it’s a cliche, laughter truly is the best medicine. If you and your partner aren’t laughing together, you’ve lost the bread and butter of your relationship and the absence of this can have you barrelling toward a slump in no time! My best advice? Go back to basics. Do something silly and fun like building a fort, or having a tickle war or a dance party. Sometimes, it’s the things that seem childish that bring you back full circle and remember why you love and care about each other.
Make an effort to lighten the mood and laugh daily, and your relationship will reap the benefits, trust me!