Is Your Relationship Stuck? Here’s How to Break Out of the Boredom

Maybe you feel like everything is going along “fine” in your relationship? Perhaps you’re feeling comfortable and safe in a long-term connection…but are you really just stuck?


Is your relationship stuck? This couple is stuck in boredom, not intimacy.


 

Maybe you’re wondering how to move forward in a relationship. How does your partner feel?

If you feel stuck in a relationship, it’s time to face the truth: If one of you feels stuck, you’re BOTH stuck.

But the good news is, just because you feel stuck in a relationship doesn’t mean that it’s doomed. It means you may be looking to your relationship for fulfillment when REALLY you should be taking a look inward. Happiness isn’t dependent on being in (or out) of a relationship. Each person is responsible for his or her own happiness.

How to Know if You’re Stuck in a Relationship

Are you wondering if your relationship is stuck in a rut? Well, ask yourself:

  • Is it exciting?
  • Is it engaging?
  • Are you growing?

If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on ways to move forward in your relationship. Relationship boredom can cause us to seek novelty elsewhere. Many times, it’s not because the relationship is irrevocably broken or damaged, but it’s because we need to work on finding novelty and fulfillment within our own lives. We get bored because we feel we aren’t personally growing. Rather than doing the internal work, we shift the blame to our partner.

Have you ever thought, “He doesn’t make me happy,” or, “I wish she could make me feel better?” If we’re looking for someone else to bring us satisfaction, we’re setting ourselves and our partner up for disappointment. When it doesn’t happen, we feel stuck in a relationship or wonder where we’re going.

It makes sense that we’ve adopted this idea of fairy tale romance, considering that we so often see it portrayed in romantic movies, books, TV, and more. The idea of finding someone who “completes us” or who exists to make us happy is appealing, but of course, it’s also false. Happy relationships take work on both sides independently. No one else is responsible for our happiness.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few months or married for 30+ years, you still need to focus on finding a constant state of growth—within the relationship and beyond. As humans, we’re continually evolving, learning, and changing. We’re seeking new stimuli and new experiences. It’s those new insights and happenings that help us discover more about ourselves and strengthen our connection with our partner.

Are You Learning and Growing Together and Separately?

We often start dating someone because we have a lot in common—typically, that means we like the same activities, live in the same area, and go to the same spots. But how important are those commonalities? Do we really need to enjoy the same activities as our significant other?

Common interests are well and good, but they don’t form the core of your relationship. We all enjoy doing things with our spouse or partner that we both find mutually entertaining and fun. Conversely, if we don’t feel excited about the same interests or share the same tastes, that doesn’t mean a relationship is doomed or can’t work.


Life is busy and complicated, but the capacity to learn and grow is always within our ability. With that comes our capacity to love and engage in a fulfilling relationship.


Cheering for the same sports team or enjoying the same music may seem like a common bond, but a strong connection runs deeper than that. We can enjoy completely different hobbies, a different type of job, and different friends and still share a deep connection. Conversely, we can enjoy all the same activities and still feel like strangers.

Relationships should be nurturing—a womb—safe place to grow and find sustenance for your soul. They can be a refuge and a place to help us. At the same time, our relationships should be a crucible—a place to shape and mold us into what we can potentially become. These two sides are not mutually exclusive but rather working in tandem.

That growth comes from learning, sharing, and working on goals together. When you talk to your partner, do you share your hopes and dreams? Do you tell them about the plans you’re working toward in the future? Or do you find yourself discussing the logistics of the day? If your conversations stay in the shallow end of the pool, then it’s time to dive in.

You may even want to approach time with your partner with an agenda! Now, that may sound like the opposite of exciting, but when you go into time together with an intention to share and connect, you’ll find even stronger engagement. Having an agenda helps you set that intention and maximize your engagement, especially if the two of you are busy and those precious moments together go by quickly.

Consider working on a personal goal together by holding each other accountable. If you want to learn something new, be more outgoing, or explore a new interest, set a goal together. You don’t need to complete each step of the activity with each other, but reporting and sharing your experience can help you discover more profound insights and form a more robust partnership because you’re working on a new “assignment” TOGETHER.

Is growing and changing always easy? No, but you should always be in a place of transition and transformation, rather than somewhere you feel “stuck.” If you’re still feeling stuck, it’s time to get to the real underlying issues within yourself.

Don’t Shy Away from Conflict

If we’re feeling bored in a relationship, it may also be an indication that we’ve stopped rocking the boat. If you’re avoiding arguments with your spouse by silently stewing alone—don’t! It’s time to start battling towards bliss!

Many of us were raised to avoid conflict. Avoidance leads to stunted emotions, withholding, and resentment. If you’ve ever given your significant other the silent treatment or felt irritated as you did something for them, you’ve experienced the dangers of staying silent. After time, passive-aggressive actions and reactions start to erode trust in the relationship. We’re constantly frustrated but refusing to express that frustration and get it out in the open.

We need to allow ourselves to feel the whole range of human emotions and express those emotions. Arguing is perfectly okay, as long as it is with intention. Believe it or not–arguing can actually strengthen a relationship. When we argue, we express truth and authenticity. We’re telling someone how we really feel, and that expression is key to building a stronger connection.

Now there are ways we can fight FOR the relationship rather than fighting against our partner. In the book The Heart of the Fight, we explore many common fights and how to set up basic rules of engagement. It’s not about avoiding the conflicts or smoothing things over, but about opening up to each other and finding even more intimacy during our arguments.


Passion is a state of being alive—being emotional and feeling. Sometimes opening up that conflict and expressing those feelings can help us engage more deeply and feel even more passionately about our partner than we did before.


We have different wants and different needs, and those differences lead to conflict. It’s just a fact that all humans face—but a couple that is growing together uses that conflict to connect, understand, and find common ground.

Look at your emotional core and the work you need to do. We often reach to our partners for our own happiness and validation, which can lead to blame and resentment. Take a long hard look at your historical patterns in your relationships and make sure you aren’t falling into common traps like codependency or emotional withdrawal. Try to understand your role in the conflict and how you are reacting to your partner.

Often when one partner is experiencing strong conflict and an emotional reaction, it can stem from our history, our relationships with our parents, siblings, and past interactions we’ve had with others. If you’re feeling that your relationship is fraught with arguments or continuously leaving you feeling frustrated, then you may have some serious reflection and work to do on your own.

The Need for Attention

We all need attention, and our partners do, too. Sometimes the way we acknowledge our partner, their feelings, accomplishments, and disappointments, might not be the way they’re hoping for. Sometimes they may not acknowledge us in the way that we desire either.

Expressing your needs to your partner and engaging in a dynamic relationship is part of the process. The other part is taking personal responsibility for our OWN happiness and our own need for attention. Realizing we have to manage our internal conflicts first is an important step.

Quality communication—talking, touching, supporting, listening, and relating—are at the basis of a strong relationship. We need to examine the ways our partner fills our needs and the way we fill our partner’s needs. Relationships need to nourish us and help us grow and evolve. As you work with your partner and work within your relationship, you may find that those “stuck” feelings quickly dissolve as you both start to evolve.

When we feel boredom or dissatisfaction, it can indicate we need to explore ways to bring MORE learning, more experience, and more purpose to our own lives. We can set these goals for more personal discovery, regardless of our relationship status. Working on ourselves can happen on our own or with a partner, but it’s the counterfoil to our feelings of restlessness.

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, order The Heart of The Fight. We’ll explore how you can get yourself back on track to move forward in a relationship toward the life you both want.

 

 

How to Deal with
Passive-Aggressive
Actions in Relationships

Everyone is guilty of passive-aggressive actions now and again. How many times have we been mad at our partner and chosen to enact the silent treatment?


Or how many times have we done something we just KNOW is going to piss them off (…without being too obvious about it)?

Unfortunately, we don’t always take the high road in our partnerships. Sometimes we engage in unfair warfare.

I’m not talking about those moments when you’re too mad to say anything and you need a little break or some space to cool off. In such a case, articulate, “I need some space,” and take a breather. Taking a quiet moment can be healthy.

I’m talking about the times when you decide to stop talking because “that’ll show her”—or those moments when you bring up something to “shame” your partner in front of others because you know he’s not in a position to fight back with an audience. Yes, these are those passive-aggressive actions, or as we like to call them: “The Hidden Middle Finger.”

Hidden Middle Fingers

We’ve all been there before: we’re no longer fighting fair and we’re not following the rules of engagement. In our new book, The Heart of the Fight, we explore 15 common couples’ fights and reveal the skills you need to navigate successful, growth-focused conflict in relationships.

When you choose to shut down and stonewall your partner, you’re not just making yourself “feel better” by “showing” him or her. These silent middle fingers to our partner send a powerful and not-so-subtle message. Unfortunately, the message isn’t one of love and engagement—it’s not a message articulating our yearnings to see and be seen, to need and be needed. Instead, it’s a way of trying to force our partner to feel bad.

Silence speaks volumes in relationships; it’s much more damaging than healthy conflict. It sounds counterintuitive, but un-hiding your “middle finger” and getting that conflict out in the open can help things move along in a more engaged, productive manner.


Available NOW on Amazon.com: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer.


Life = Conflict

Every relationship has conflict—friendships, marriages, parenting, and partnerships. It’s a natural part of life. Any time we interact with others, there are both expectations being met and expectations not being met. Desires are realized and broken.

Conflict comes up when two people have a different viewpoint, a different desire, or a different need. If you’re engaged, fully involved, and honest in your relationship, then conflict should be a regular occurrence. None of us is so keen at recognizing every need of our partner (or of any other human being) that we can sail through life conflict-free. We all have desires and yearnings.

The key to dealing with conflict is to recognize it can be a productive way to learn and grow within our relationships. Biologist Elisabet Sahtouris discusses how conflict is a natural and inherent part of life itself. Even cells are in a state of division and reproduction, as they split during mitosis and develop into more cells. Conflict is a natural and necessary part of growth and development.

Passive-Aggressive Act…or Honest Mistake?

When you find yourself thinking, “That’ll show him,” or, “She did [x], so I deserve to do [y],” you’re not engaging in productive discussions that move the relationship forward. Burning your husband’s steak when you know he likes it rare, or bringing home your wife’s car with an empty gas tank—these little acts can seem so small they almost become invisible.

They are all, however, small acts of warfare. Withholding our emotions and affection and ignoring the yearnings of our partner on purpose are small ways we erode the strength of our connection and the trust of our partner.

Now, perhaps you didn’t fill up the car just because it didn’t occur to you. Perhaps you lost track of what was cooking on the stove and you accidentally burned the steak. Those things happen. You are not responsible for your partner’s emotions and they aren’t responsible for yours. As long as your intentions are good, mistakes happen.

However, if you both follow the rules of engagement, you should be interacting with each other in an honest, open manner and always assuming goodwill. Passive-aggressive acts don’t fit. If you’re assuming goodwill and you and your partner are both being honest, then little acts of war won’t and can’t happen.

This means when your partner does something to really push your buttons, you have to speak up and tell them. Rather than not calling them back or being a little quieter than usual and hoping they’ll notice, you have to pipe up and say, “I don’t like this. This made me angry.”

What Are You Holding Back?

Being honest doesn’t mean always saying what makes the other person happy, or telling your partner exactly what they want to hear. It means you’re going to say some things that will make your partner angry—and that’s perfectly okay.

Flipping the silent middle finger never resolves an issue or deepens the relationship. Issues must be brought out into the open to be expressed and addressed. As your social and emotional intelligence grows within your relationship, so does your ability to communicate openly with your partner.

Just like compounding hurts and resentments can drive you apart, addressing these feelings can help bring you back together. It might be easier to just burn the steak or ignore the gas warning light, but in truth, these passive-aggressive acts mean you’re just spinning your wheels and going nowhere. Bring your feelings out in the open and make them known so you and your partner can focus on all the things that really matter and continue to grow—together.

To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

About the Author

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Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

The Kama Sutra
of Conversation

The Kama Sutra, the ancient guide on making love and sex, seems far off from the topic of workplace conversation, at least at first mention.


You’re probably wondering what on earth one has to do with the other.

What is conversation? Conversation is engagement between two people, where desired outcomes are expressed, where people are connecting verbally and stating their yearnings and longings (or sometimes adding them to the sub-context). Great conversationalists listen, they engage, they make eye contact, and they care about the other person’s desired outcome as well as their own.

What is intercourse? Well, besides the obvious, intercourse is engagement between two people moving toward a desired outcome and mutual pleasure. Great love-makers are connected physically and emotionally. Their yearnings and longings are being realized and they’re meeting the yearnings and longings of the other person. Just like great conversationalists, they engage, they make eye contact, and they care about the other person’s enjoyment and pleasure as well as their own.

Unfortunately, there’s no Kama Sutra for conversation, but the same guidelines and principles apply. Truly connecting with the other person, expressing your desire, listening and moving together to a desired outcome—those are the components of amazing conversation.

How to Be a Great Conversationalist

What are the qualities of a great conversationalist? They’re interested in others, they’re curious, they’re good listeners, and they pick up on social cues while maintaining rapport and conversational flow. They understand when to share, and when to hold back. They clarify and ask questions.

Too often in conversation, we zone out or catch ourselves going through the motions. Sometimes we open our mouths and start blabbering on about OUR WANTS and OUR NEEDS with no regard for the other person, or the desired outcome and shared vision. These things don’t make for great conversation. They make for BORING conversation.

When you meet someone who is truly versed in how to make a conversation interesting, they know exactly when it’s time to share and relate. The person they’re engaging with feels listened to, even if they weren’t agreed with. They might say, “Tell me more about that.” They clarify and try to get more information.

A great conversationalist brings their own stuff to the table as well. We’ve all met someone who’s able to fall into a rhythm in any conversation and keep it going without dominating the conversation. It comes back to the Kama Sutra of conversation—understanding when to engage and up-regulate the conversation and when to down-regulate the interaction.

What it really comes down to is excellent social and emotional intelligence—understanding others and caring about them and their humanity, while still understanding ourselves and caring for ourselves; learning to express our desires and feelings without trampling down or disregarding the yearnings of our conversational partner.

Getting Conversations Back on Track

Sometimes you might find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone who scares you. Perhaps you feel they don’t care about your feelings or you can’t figure out the right way to engage with them. Maybe they’ve disregarded you, assaulted you emotionally or said hurtful things to you in the past. They might remind you of someone else who’s made you feel small or disregarded, and you might be projecting your memories of that person onto this new conversational partner.

Any time a conversation is running off the rails, you can always steer it back with honesty. Use the opportunity to be honest, explain, regain your steering, and assess everyone’s alignment.

When you have to engage with someone whom you dread, get the conversation back to the productive range by saying, “Look, I don’t understand what you want from me and I can’t read you. Help me understand your expectations and what I can do to make you satisfied with my work. I want you to be satisfied with me. Help me understand the vision of what that looks like.”

If you’ve made a mistake, apologize and move on. Take personal responsibility. Learn what you need to in order to come out of the mistake, fix what you can, and move forward. When we make a mistake, we have a tendency to see ourselves as victims, to long for a rescuer, and to start down the path of the drama triangle. Don’t do it. Instead, use honesty to regain your steering.

When it comes down to it, conversation is back and forth engagement. It’s connecting with another person. It’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to engage openly and honestly with someone else from a place of confidence and authenticity. When we’re seeking a mutually beneficial outcome and we’re honest about our desires, the confidence and ease comes naturally, and we find we become well versed in the art of conversation.

Listen to past episodes of Wright’s Lifestyle Podcasts here on BlogTalkRadio.

 

To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our More Life Training workshops. Kick off the year by engaging in what I promise will be one of the best weekends of your life. It will give you the tools you need to go forth and ignite your world.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s book: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available now on Amazon!)

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About the Author

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Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

3 Keys to Better
Communication
in Relationships

Everyone knows that committed relationships take hard work, open communication, and self-reflection.


Sometimes someone says or does something the other person doesn’t like. Sometimes we end up thinking, “I wish I wouldn’t have said that.” We try our best to be loving and supportive partners, but during heated moments it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture or to let something slip we didn’t really mean.

Within any relationship, there are always opportunities to improve your communication with your partner. Here’s how…

1. Remember Where Your Emotions Come From

When you’re in a conflict, you can use the fight as an opportunity to grow, learn, and develop. 80% of hurt in fights is historic: something happening now reminds you of the past and brings up those old feelings. For example, an interaction with your partner could stir up feelings of embarrassment due to a similarly embarrassing experience from your childhood. This emotional charge could prevent you from equipping yourself for the conflict and cloud your judgment. Be assertive with your feelings and make them known. If you need to, take a break from the conflict to get your bearings straight.

2. Stop Managing and Communicate What You Yearn For

During any sort of conflict, it’s important to keep the focus on your feelings and the feelings of your partner. The goal is not to change them. Instead, it’s about finding common ground. It’s easy to get into the bad habit of trying to micromanage your partner and the way he or she does things. You may be doing it subtly or even subconsciously. The other person may be feeling managed due to the words or body language choices you’re making. Stop and take the time to understand their reactions. Then you can both communicate what you’re yearning for and reveal the true roots of the conflict.

3. Don’t Forget the Rules of Engagement

There are actually 7 ground rules for conflict, which we will reveal in our book,  The Heart of the Fight from New Harbinger Publications. Available now from Amazon!

For now, let’s break down 3 of the big ones:


Each person is responsible for 100% of their own happiness.

It’s not up to your partner to make you feel satisfied. It’s completely up to you. Reflect on the things you yearn for in life: what really makes you feel engaged in this world? When you understand how to make yourself happy, you’ll no longer need to rely on others. Yes, your partner may make you feel emotionally, sexually, or socially satisfied—but only YOU are behind the definition of what that really means.

Nobody gets more than 50% of the blame in a fight.

It may be tough at times, but regardless of what the fight is about, no one gets more than half of the blame. Period. There may be times when you could easily admit your part in a scenario. For example, you know that you did in fact leave the car windows rolled down when it was raining. However, when conflicts are deeper or when you feel you own none of the blame, it’s time to get completely honest with yourself about the situation. Ask yourself what your role in the conflict was, even if it seems minute at the time. If the roles were reversed, what could you have done to prevent the situation from happening? Own up to your part in the fight, whether it’s obvious or not.

Agree with the truth, always.

This can be quite difficult, because it means admitting someone else may be right. Sometimes the truth hurts, but you have to face the facts when your significant other makes a statement you know isn’t false. Instead of getting defensive, once again look within and own the truth. It’s been said that it shall set you free, after all—so make every effort possible to keep the facts straight and the drama down low.


It’s not always easy to be in a relationship and it can be really easy to feel as though you’re not communicating with your partner. Communication is about honesty, both within yourself and with your partner. Keep your personal emotions in check during times of heated conflict or things could be become much worse. Remember the rules of engaging in conflict. Focusing on these 3 keys to better communication will ensure you and your partner will be able to learn and grow from each new situation.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Image courtesy: Flickr user 34316967@N04.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential the a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.