So you’re in a healthy, loving relationship and feel secure with your partner, but you feel bored and restless. You wonder why you’re feeling this way when this is all you’ve ever wanted. Perhaps you recall, with a shudder, all the conversations you’ve had with friends and family about how frustrated you were by unsatisfying relationships in the past that were “full of drama.” You thought you finally cracked the code when you met your current partner because things didn’t feel as hard as they did in previous relationships and for perhaps the first time, you feel emotionally safe in a relationship.
Many people assume that if they’re feeling bored in a relationship, that means the relationship is doomed and that they should break up with their partner when it could potentially mean that they’re in a healthy relationship.
If you’re feeling bored in a relationship, it may be due to your relationship template. If you didn’t have a healthy role model for a romantic relationship growing up then a healthy, consistent relationship may feel boring to you or as if “there is no spark.”
A relationship template is often the basis from which one interprets a partner's compatibility and contains the core beliefs that were learned early on about love. Research has demonstrated that it’s common to be drawn to romantic partners who appear to exhibit similar qualities as your primary caregivers.
When you meet someone who reminds you of a significant person in your past, you may feel immediately connected to them if the relationship dynamic mirrors your early relationship template.
If you’re feeling bored in your relationship, consider whether any of these reasons may be playing a role:
1. You’re used to relationships that feel like emotional rollercoasters.
If your previous relationship had a lot of highs and lows, you likely experienced a phenomenon known as intermittent reinforcement.
Similar to gambling, there is quite a bit of anxiety involved in intermittent reinforcement due to the uncertainty of when the next “hit” or relationship high is coming. Even if there are more lows than highs, someone may hold onto the relationship hoping that they can get back to the relationship highs they previously experienced.
Given that research has shown an increase in anxiety may increase feelings of attraction towards a potential partner than a person would have experienced otherwise, the same phenomenon could occur when you’re in a relationship that feels like an emotional rollercoaster.
Since our brains are hardwired to pay attention to novel stimuli, a stable and consistent relationship may be taken for granted because your brain has become adapted to the excitement that comes with experiencing a new relationship. This can be particularly true if you’re used to relationships that often feel like emotional rollercoasters.
Relationships that feel like an emotional rollercoaster often evoke anxiety and uncertainty about what will happen in the future or when the next relationship high will occur and consequently, these feelings may be misinterpreted as excitement, passion, and strong chemistry.
If this has been your experience in previous relationships and you meet someone who is stable and does not elicit the same type of anxiety, you may erroneously assume there is no chemistry or perceive the relationship as boring.
2. You learned early on that you had to over-function in a relationship at the expense of yourself.
If you grew up in a home where one parent adopted the role of being the caretaker or enabler, you may have learned that love equals staying in a relationship at the expense of yourself, that love has to be earned, or that you need to prove yourself or “fight for it” for the relationship to last.
As an adult, you may find yourself most attracted to relationships where it feels natural for you to convince another of your worth, adopt the caretaker role, or attempt to manage your partner’s mood by walking on eggshells around them.
When you adopt the same role you witnessed growing up in your adult relationship, you feel at home because it feels so familiar. The pull towards this type of relationship dynamic and the chemistry you experience may feel particularly strong, making it even more difficult to let go of an unhealthy relationship that mirrors the same dynamic you witnessed growing up.
Consequently, when you encounter a healthy, balanced relationship that doesn’t require you to over-function or sacrifice your authentic needs and feelings to maintain it, it may initially feel boring to you because the relationship is not being driven by a subconscious desire to save someone else or prove your worth.
3. You’ve been conditioned to view consistent and healthy relationships as boring.
If you learned early on that romantic love often involves unpredictability or inconsistency, you may be most drawn to partners who are avoidant or emotionally unavailable.
When you have unresolved feelings about the relationship dynamics you experienced growing up, there may be a part of you subconsciously hoping that maybe this time around, your experience will be different, which may look like hoping you can move a partner from emotionally unavailable to available or proving your worth so they don’t abandon you.
Consequently, when you encounter a healthy, consistent relationship that doesn’t require you to repeat the same dynamic, it may feel like “something is missing” because the usual tension isn’t there and the relationship is not being driven by a subconscious desire to have a different experience. As a result, you may perceive the relationship as boring because it’s not eliciting the same level of anxiety and uncertainty your prior relationships did.
The article is prepared as a draft to work on this site. The source of the article is Psychology Today.