It's that time of year again...
For many of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, it's cold and gray outside most of the time. Of course, this varies by region and from year to year, but especially here in the Midwest U.S., frigid temps and dreary, sun-less skies have become the norm.
It's estimated that around 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as "Winter Depression." This can be a serious condition and is best addressed with help from a qualified mental health professional.
If you're not careful, the winter blahs can seep into your relationship. You might start to wonder what's wrong with yourself (or your partner) and why you don't feel the same excitement and passion you used to. This sense of boredom and lack of romance may have been present in a subtle way all year long, but the dreary winter has made it impossible to ignore.
You look at your partner and ask yourself, "What happened?" and "Where is the passion and heat I used to feel?"
The relationship winter blahs aren't just a drag on your mood, they can lead to problems like...
- Anxiety and worry that you're not exciting enough.
- Jealousy and mistrust for fear that your partner is also bored.
- Irritation that solidifies into anger and resentment.
- Urges to look outside your relationship for something new and seemingly more exciting.
Unfortunately, the winter blahs can put even more distance and chill in your relationship and can even contribute to its end. It's important for you to acknowledge how you feel and make an internal shift, just be sure to do so in a way that truly will make things better.
One huge mistake that people make when they feel bored with their relationship are that they assume it's their partner's fault that passion has faded.
Maybe it's human nature, but it seems that when something is not working the way we want it to, we look for someone (or something) external to blame. A lot of people come to the conclusion that their partner just doesn't thrill them anymore and proceed to focus on all of the ways the other person falls short, is lacking, or utterly disappoints.
While it may be true that your partner is far from perfect, resist the temptation to place blame for the winter blahs you feel on your partner. It's most helpful to move past searching for reasons why either of you is to blame and, instead, reach for a solution.
Another big mistake people make is that they make it their partner's responsibility to entertain and excite them.
Often, without meaning to, people come to the conclusion that it's their partner's job to do something to fix the boredom they feel. This can come through in the way the person thinks about, talks to, and acts with the one they love. The silent or spoken message is, "I don't like the way I feel and YOU need to do something to change it."
The big problem with making it your partner's responsibility to banish your blahs is that whatever they try, it's usually not quite right. You are the one who can best address the way you feel, and it's not only unfair to put that on your partner, it's also an impossible task.
Here are six things you can do to avoid making those mistakes:
1. Check your expectations.
Right after you notice that you're feeling blue, bored, or stir-crazy and need something to perk up your relationship (and your life) right now, take a look at your expectations. If you're thinking mostly about how, if only your partner would do it differently or somehow be different, things would be better-- stop right there. Remind yourself that no matter what's going on with your partner, the way you feel is YOUR responsibility and the path to feeling more interested and excited starts with you.
2. Light your own fire.
The next step is to remember (or discover) what sparks your inner fire. This could involve making time for an activity or interest that you set aside years ago or it could be stepping out of your usual routine to try something new. One facet of stoking more relationship spark is you creating the space to nurture your individual spark as well.
3. Explore your community.
Become an adventurer, on your own and with your partner. Most cities and towns have a calendar of events listed in a community newspaper or on a local tourism website. Sit down with your partner and pick something that peaks interest in both of you and then go do it.
4. Explore your partner.
To combat stale intimacy, make a date to explore each other too. This can start out with non-sexual touch (cuddling or massage) and, if you're both in the mood, progress to lovemaking. Set aside your usual way of physically connecting and discover something new!
5. Make an appreciation list.
A great way to get unstuck from the winter blahs is to intentionally look for things to appreciate. Make a list and be sure to include yourself. Create an appreciation jar and write down on a slip of paper that you store in the jar anything you feel genuinely grateful for each day. Whatever helps you shift your focus to appreciation, do it.
6. Savor the spark in each moment.
The weather may still be cold and the skies gray, but you can build momentum that dissolves the relationship winter blahs. Your relationship and life may not be high-thrills, but passion will be easier to find and to savor when you do.
Susie and Otto Collins have been helping men and women all over the world create true breakthroughs in their relationships and marriages since 1999. They want to help you create the relationship of your dreams too with their books and coaching available on their website www.RelationshipGold.com.