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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Relationship Boredom

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Fighting Relationship Boredom

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Boredom in relatiionship

How do you fight boredom in a relationship?

Last installment I wrote about the many practical things for which singles can be grateful this Thanksgiving season. This time around I’m going to answer a common question in an uncommon way – by discussing boredom in relationships in the context of Thanksgiving Day.

The rule-of-thumb many dating sites promote for selecting a compatible partner is the notion that “birds of a feather flock together.”  In other words, daters are encouraged to find partners that are highly similar to themselves. While much research suggests that the similarity principle predicts relationship satisfaction, it’s important to note that this principle is also a huge oversimplification. The degree of similarity observed depends on the particular trait considered – with romantic partners showing strong similarity in age, political, and religious attitudes; moderate similarity in education, general intelligence, and values; and little or no similarity in personality characteristics. You see, too much similarity can and does lead to boredom. If you two people in a relationship are extremely close in their traits, then one of those individuals is unnecessary. The truth is that a relationship needs a mixture of sameness and difference in order to provide a sense of adventure and spice for the couple. A degree of dissimilarity in the couple helps fight boredom.

All that said, another good way to help combat boredom is to periodically contemplate six questions about your partner. These questions will help remind you of the impact and influence of your loved one in your life. Reminiscing privately in this way can be a powerful reality check and help inject some passion and appreciation in an otherwise “predictable” relationship. If you’re really open and adventurous, share your thoughts on these questions with your partner:

What originally attracted you to this person?  
Really think about this one – was the attraction instant or did it come over time? Was it due to the person’s looks or some combination of traits that took you by surprise?

How does this person bring balance and stability to your relationship?
What does this person do for you on a daily basis that you often take for granted? In what major ways would your life be different without this person?

What qualities does this person have that grab your attention every time and feed that feeling of passion?
What aspects of this person do you get to see that others will never have the privilege of seeing?  What are the little things about your partner that turn you on?

 How are you a better person with this person in your life?
What changes have you made for the better due to the direct influence of your partner? How does this person motivate you every day?

What has this person taught you about yourself or about life in the past year?
What gifts did your love bring to your life that before were missing?  How has your partner helped you to understand your priorities in life?

What sacrifices has this person made for you and the happiness of the relationship?  
Do you really know all of the little things your partner has done and continues to do for you?  What difficult choices has your love made for the good of your happiness?

Taking time to reflect on questions like these will help guard against taking your partner for granted. It’ll help put your relationship in perspective, and more importantly, it’s a process to help challenge the notion that your relationship (a.k.a – your partner) is “boring.” Relationships are not static; they’re dynamic, ever changing interactions. You impact your relationship every day with the overt and covert choices you make, and the attitude you choose to have about your partner. It’s easy to focus on how you and your partner are alike – and that’s where feelings of boredom, otherwise known as extreme predictability, often emerge. Instead, contemplate how your differences work for you both. Those differences contribute to healthy chaos. Healthy chaos is the root of romantic sparks and anticipation. When you think of it that way then you’ll probably appreciate just how exciting, alive and fulfilling your partner is.

Be thankful and relish the gifts you have in your partner – gifts that aren’t immediately apparent because of life’s hectic nature. Relationships aren’t usually what get tired and lazy; a person’s thinking about his/her partner does.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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