QUIZ: Are You Bored To Tears With Your Relationship?
Are You Bored To Tears With Your Relationship?
Llet me help pull your relationship out of the doldrums
I don't believe previous showbiz rumours that someone like Catherine Zeta Jones-Douglas could ever get a touch bored with Michael Douglas's cocoa-and-slippers lifestyle because they strike me as having a solid marriage and they always have positive body language between them. But it's certainly true that many good relationships end up in the doldrums. Partners end up gazing at each other askance silently thinking, "I'm so bored - there must be more to a relationship!"
I come across many people in essentially good relationships that go down hill due to being stuck in a rut and through feelings of boredom. Psychological research has found a wide variety of reactions to boredom - factory workers get depressed by boring routines, bored adolescents become restless and even aggressive, and bored rats end up binge-eating. You may not be a factory worker, an adolescent, or a rat, but boredom can have a powerful and negative affect on your relationship.
Take my quick quiz to gauge whether your relationship’s hit the critical boredom threshold.
1/ When was the last time you two tried a new hobby, interest, or sport?
A/ We never have
B/ In the last month
C/ In the last year
2/ How often do you give each other little surprises?
A/ We never do
B/ We constantly surprise each other
C/ Occasionally one of us gives a little surprise
3/ Can you predict what your next four weekends will be like?
A/ Yes, can completely predict them
B/ No, as we often change our plans
C/ I've a good idea what we’re doing
4/ When was the last time you tried a new sexual position?
A/ We always stick to the same one
B/ Within the last week
C/ Within the last six months
5/ Do you celebrate important anniversaries?
A/ No, they're like any old day
B/ Yes, we really "go to town"
6/ Do you know what your partner will order when you go to a restaurant?
A/ Yes, always the same things
B/ No, they try all sorts of new things
C/ I’ve a fair idea what they’ll order
7/ Does your partner ever surprise you with a new view/opinion?
A/ No, I can guess with 100% accuracy what their views are
B/ Yes, they constantly update their views
C/ Sometimes they come out with something surprising
8/ Do you always watch the same television programmes?
A/ We have absolute must-watch favourites
B/ We vary our viewing but have little time for TV
C/ We have some favourites
9/ How does your household routine work?
A/ Like clockwork
B/ We like to vary it
C/ Fairly predictable
10/ A new restaurant opens nearby, do you -
A/ Not even discuss trying it
B/ Definitely make a reservation
C/ Talk about going but take forever to go
Mainly As - Bored To Tears
You've crossed the boredom threshold and your relationship is at risk of developing the cocoa-and-slippers syndrome. You may not argue - and it seems like you get along - but boredom is a guaranteed relationship killer. Try these boredom-busting techniques:
* Agree that each week you’ll vary your routine in some way. For example, try going out midweek instead of always going out for Sunday lunch. * Take turns suggesting a new sexual position. If you feel shy, buy a sex guide and simply point to the passage describing what you'd like to try. * Swap roles for one day when it comes to household chores/what’s expected of you. This can help you break free from your normal roles. * Together decide one new hobby or activity to try. If you don't enjoy it, try another! * Dine in a restaurant you've never visited, preferably one with an ethnic cuisine you've never experienced. * Choose somewhere completely different for your annual holiday. * Give each other one little surprise each week - it needn't be expensive but it should exercise your creative juices dreaming it up. * Do something quirky and dream up a unique "anniversary" to celebrate. For example, the first time you venture somewhere new in the next couple months make it a day you forever celebrate. * Be daring - do something completely out of your comfort-zone like going to a rock concert. Or take turns blindfolding each other (or closing your eyes) and giving a sensual massage to wake up your nerve endings.
Mainly Bs - Never A Dull Moment
Your relationship will stay fresh and fun because you're open-minded and happy to try new things. You haven't forgotten the importance of surprising each other. You keep things fresh enough that you can’t guess each other's every little thought and behaviour. You’re also prepared to be a little bit devilish in bed. Keep up the good work!
Mainly Cs - A Bit Bored
Ho hum, you've reached the boredom threshold and it's important not to cross it. Use the boredom-busting techniques above that apply to you.
Finally, changing your relationship may seem daunting but I'm not asking you to live a rock'n'roll lifestyle or swing from chandeliers to stave off boredom. But, admit it, it's time to shake things up before resigning yourself to the cardi-brigade!
A version of this was published in The Express Newspaper