Burnout is a term often used to describe the feeling of exhaustion and boredom related to dissatisfaction at work. Even when you really love your job it is possible to experience burnout, can the same be true for relationships? Perhaps you have recently been through a stressful time, a job loss, an illness or another major life event that rocked the boat a bit. Or maybe the opposite is true, you’ve just been sailing along managing the daily tasks and have lost inspiration about your marriage. Relationship burnout can be a significant problem for couples who have been married for a number of years. It is not usually because of outright conflict, more often it is a slow separation of interests, time spent apart, lack of positive input into the relationship and a lack of skills necessary to keep the love alive.
You may be feeling some sense of disenchantment with your partner, the truth is though that relationship burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It is cumulative like a bucket getting filled over time, eventually one more drop in the bucket is enough to spill over and you have a mess on your hands.
Either way, relationship burnout can be a major red flag that you are headed for trouble. Take action now so you can get back on the right path forward together!
Here are 5 ways to nip relationship burnout in the bud!
1. Be brutally honest (with yourself) Relationship burnout is a signal that it may be time to take stock of how things are going. What is causing burnout? Are you unhappy at work? Has your home life become overwhelming? Is it really relationship burnout? Or is there some other cause for the feelings you are having and the relationship is an easy target. Once you’ve determined the underlying cause of the burnout you can start to dig into those feelings. If it is relationship burnout, what about the relationship feels stale? Do you see yourself getting back on track or have you grown apart significantly. Do your values still align? All these questions will help you determine a course of action.
2. Be skillfully honest with your partner. It’s one thing to sit down with yourself and look at the good, bad and the ugly when it comes to your life and how it’s going. It’s another thing entirely to sit down with your partner and talk openly. Honesty is essential, yes, and at the same time, sharing your feelings and thoughts skillfully is going to open the door to a constructive conversation. Dumping it all out on the table is likely to leave you partner surprised and defensive. Instead take some time to brush up on your communication skills so that when you do sit down to talk you are able to with a calm and collaborative spirit.
3. Don’t be afraid to look for help. Once you have arrived at potential relationship burnout, you might feel like the hole is too deep and it may be easier to go your separate ways. While that may be the case for some couples, it is absolutely possible to shift gears and start working together to make positive changes. Help can take many forms; talk with a trusted friend of loved one, look for online relationship help or you can seek a qualified counselor or therapist in your area.
4. Focus on the bigger picture. When your day to day starts to feel like drudgery it is important to change your scope. Take some time to think about the big picture. Are you achieving your personal goals? Is the current path you are on aligned with your values? When did you start to veer off course? Don’t be afraid to change direction. Write a family mission statement, get clear about what sort of life you want with your spouse and you may find renewed purpose together!
5. Reconnect! Reconnect! Reconnect! Maybe you’ve stopped spending time together, maybe you’ve developed separate interests, friend circles and leisure activities. How can you get back on track? Start small, up the positivity, aim for a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. Choose a new activity to try together, make sure you are both interested in the activity and give it a go! Have sex. For many couples dealing with relationship burnout, sex left the building long ago. You don’t know how to start being intimate again so you simply don’t. Well, simply do! Just do it. There is often a mistaken belief that arousal has to come first, for many people arousal is a result of being intimate.
The most critical part is that you take action! Don’t sit idly by while your relationship deteriorates to the point of no return.
If you’re still stuck and want some more ideas check out this comprehensive list of the best advice from 58 relationship coaches!!