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Bored In Your Long-term Relationship?

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Thinking about leaving your long-term relationship, trading in, trading up or down?

Been at your marriage 25, 30, 35+ years? Been dating your partner for a while? How many times can you hear the same story? How many times can you laugh at the same, not so funny to begin with, joke?

For some it can be tricky staying within the confounds of a singular relationship.”

I’ve been in a partnership for a while now… years. No, not 35+ years or anything crazy like that. But, in the double digits. We moved in together almost six years ago and it is well past the new relationship energy stage. 

For some it can be tricky staying within the confounds of a singular relationship. If you are a novelty seeker, it can feel restrictive and limited. Once we’ve selected someone, by definition in our more stereotypical monogamous relationships, it literally means no more choices to be made in that category.

For some that is pure relief, for some it may feel suffocating.

Box Checking:

Interestingly enough this seems to be an overriding theme of aging. At times it feels like all the fun boxes of choices have already been ticked off. Education. Partner/Marriage. Kids/No Kids. Residence. Profession. Yes, I know that is not a hundred percent accurate. Many of us women in midlife and beyond are all about the pivot, the redefinition, the awakening. 

And executing on some of those new desires and dreams can look chaotic and irresponsible to those on the outside. What happens when you realize that part of your metamorphosis is a disentanglement from your primary relationship?

Women Initiate Divorce:

Numerous studies show that women are more likely to initiate a divorce.  In fact, nearly 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women. This is according to a 2015 research study conducted by the American Sociological Association (ASA) which suggests two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. The percentage jumps to 90% among college-educated women.

And it’s not just any aged woman asking for the end of marriage. Past research published in The Journals of Gerontology found that more than 25% of people getting divorced in the United States are over 50. Moreover, research data from Pew Research found that the rate of divorce almost doubled between 1990 and 2015. That’s a lot of re-birth.

My contention is that our long-term relationship can offer us way more excitement than continuously looking for a brand new one.”

What if we turned this paradigm on its head? And I am not suggesting this can work if too much damage has been done. If we are far down Resentment Road, there may not be any other way out than….well, OUT. 

But, what if we are only slightly bored? Does it make sense to start anew? Is the idea of starting fresh exciting to you? Are you jonesing for a dose of new relationship energy? 

Here’s a thought. My contention is that our long-term relationship (as long as it is not dead) can offer us way more excitement than continuously looking for a brand new one. Whenever we begin a new relationship, we play the “Greatest Hits” of our life. Once those are used up, what’s left? We eventually run out of tracks and have to dig deeper – if we are going to stay.

So how do we do it? How do we ignore the pull of novelty for the safety of the known? In the interest of sharing with you all, I took a peek at what the experts recommend.

Here’s a few ways to inject your long term relationship with some new vim and vigor:

  • Hold hands, believe it or not. Affectionate physical contact, whether sexual or not, gives you the natural high your body’s hormones produce and can help you get into the right frame of mind to rekindle love.
  • Travel together. Building good memories that you both can reflect on when you’re struggling helps tremendously in the re-kindling department.
  • Exercise together. ​​Thanks to endorphins, exercise makes us happier people individually. If we participate in physical activity with our partner, we share that experience. Encouraging each other to perform, then experiencing results, generates positivity to bond over.
  • Don’t avoid conflict with your partner. Dealing with conflict in a healthy way leads to growth. If we can look for humor in situations we can diffuse the tension and severity of the issue at hand. Hard to dislike someone when you’re laughing with them.
  • Seek therapy. Even if nothing is wrong in your relationship, regular therapy sessions can help maintain and enhance what you already enjoy. Most of us wouldn’t think twice about hiring an executive or life coach or a personal trainer – for that matter. Hiring a relationship expert really makes sense if we are in the market for some new moves to level up our coupledom.

Sometimes the best song is on the b-side – past the greatest hits. We just have to hear it.

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