How to Tell the Difference Between a Boring and a Comfortable Relationship
One of the most crucial distinctions you will ever learn.
You and your partner have been dating for a while now. You’ve done dozens of activities together, have been on hundreds of different dates, and have met each other’s families.
And although everything seems to be going great between you, the initial spark has gone away and things have started being a little stale. You can’t help but wonder whether, after all, you’re right for each other.
Will routine kill your relationship? Is that boredom you’re feeling or is it something else?
Although boredom and comfort are two entirely different things and elicit entirely different feelings in a relationship, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.
The differences between those two come down to:
- feeling stressed vs feeling calm
- having a desire for change vs being content
- being overwhelmed with a need for action vs being able to relax
- feeling trapped vs feeling safe
Let’s take a look at them and hopefully make it easier for you to identify whether your relationship is boring, or just comfortable.
#1. Feeling Stressed vs Feeling Calm
The first thing you should do is ask yourself whether your relationship currently makes you feel stressed or calm.
For example, how does the idea of seeing your partner make you feel? Do you look forward to making plans with them or do you anxiously try to come up with an excuse for a rain check?
It might sound strange, but boredom in a relationship elicits feelings of stress and anxiety. You might also feel:
Comfort, on the other hand, elicits positive feelings of calmness and security. You feel at peace with your partner and are happy to spend time with them, even if that means staying at home and watching Netflix for 5 days in a row.
You don’t feel dissatisfied, restless, or nervous when you’re with your partner. Instead, you feel completely at ease.
#2. The Desire for a Change vs Being Content
Do you long for a change in your relationship or are you just happy to be spending time with your partner regardless of what you do? The answer to that question might help you distinguish between boredom and comfort in your relationship.
Because, sooner or later, genuine boredom wakes in you a strong desire for change. You start feeling stuck, trapped, and suffocated. You might start having overwhelming thoughts about:
- your exes
- what it would be like to be single
- what it would be like to be in a new relationship
When you’re comfortable in your relationship, on the other hand, you don’t feel this urgent need for change. Sure, you might feel the need to spice things up once in a while, but won’t start thinking about other people, or feel like you’re missing out.
When comfort exists in a relationship, you will be content with the sense of safety and predictability it provides you. In other words, you’ll feel as if finally coming home after an exhausting way of work.
#3. The Need for Action vs the Ability to Relax
Do you constantly feel like you need to act and do something about your relationship? You might not have the slightest clue of what it is you should do, but you know you need to do SOMETHING.
Well, that’s a sign that indicates you’re bored in your relationship.
Most would associate boredom with dullness, steadiness, or stillness. Maybe that’s why it’s often confused with comfort. But that’s wrong.
In fact, boredom, especially in a relationship, comes with mental restlessness and a need for action. You’re desperate to act, to do, or change something.
As professor of cognitive neuroscience James Danckert explains in his article:
“Failing to satisfy our need for agency is one of the driving forces behind the discomfort that is characteristic of boredom. When we’re feeling bored, it is uncomfortable precisely because we want to be doing something — we just can’t figure out what that something might be.”
But, if you’re not consumed by that urgent need to act but rather feel you can relax completely and just enjoy your time with your partner, it means you’ve reached that level of comfort everyone desires in a relationship.
#4. Feeling Trapped vs Feeling Safe
The last thing that distinguishes boredom from comfort is whether your relationship makes you feel trapped or safe.
While you may find yourself feeling frustrated in your relationship every once in a while, let’s say, whenever you have to deal with conflict, you won’t feel trapped or suffocated, as you will do when you’re bored.
Boredom comes with feeling like your relationship isn’t going anywhere; like you’re stuck in the bottom of a creepy pit and no one is willing to toss a rope and pull you up.
Comfort makes you feel something entirely different: safety. You feel emotionally safe, like you’re home, and everything makes sense. Like you finally can let down your guard and be your authentic self.
Confusing comfort with boredom is bad because it can lead you to unintentionally sabotage, hurt, and even end a relationship with potential.
I hope that this article made it a little easier for you to distinguish between these two.
Please keep in mind that if you feel like your relationship has become a little repetitive or has lost its spark and if things between you and your partner are a bit “old”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time for a breakup. It could just mean that your relationship is in another stage, one with less excitement and butterflies but with more comfort and security.
And let’s not forget that there will be boring times when you’re not gonna “feel it” with your partner — it’s something normal. Passion can be re-ignited. There are always things that can be done to get the spark back in your relationship — as long as both you and your partner are willing to put in the effort required.
My advice? Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t rush to make decisions. Always study your relationship and talk things through with your partner before taking any major actions that could have a big impact on it.