• aghinshaw

Reconnecting With Your Partner When You’ve Hit a Relationship Plateau

Updated: Jan 5


Relationships go through many cycles: dating excitement, honeymoon phase, periods of conflict...they can feel like roller coasters. One strange phase is hitting a plateau, which may feel peaceful, or it may feel boring. The relationship may not be as exciting as it once was and is feeling very blah. Here are a few ways that you and your partner can work through a relationship rut.


Ask yourself how you got here

Try to understand how you arrived at where you’re at in your relationship. Are there factors outside of yourself that “snuck” into the relationship? These might include a demanding work schedule that ate away at quality time, major stressors such as caregiving for a sick loved one, or maybe even a physical illness or injury.


It’s also important to explore factors within oneself that may have impacted the relationship. Have you been feeling more stressed, anxious, or depressed lately? Have insecurities soured the way you communicate with your partner? Noticing your own attitudes, behaviors, and emotions can be difficult, but fortunately they are the factors that are more immediately within your control to work through.



Try to reframe this plateau as an opportunity for growth

Relationship ruts are totally normal, and sometimes they may not even need to be treated like a problem. But if left alone, the rut may become a major issue. Ask yourself what you can do to improve as a partner. Do you need to work on being more assertive in your communication (rather than passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive)? Is there an area of your relationship that has been lacking effort on your part? Do you find it difficult to practice compassion for your partner? Explore potential areas for growth and focus on solutions for change.


Try something new together

  • Take a fun class on something neither of you have done before. You could try a fitness class or a painting course. Whatever it is, take on the challenge together.

  • Travel to a place you both have always wanted to go. Even the act of planning is a great way to get some communication and quality time together.

  • If date nights were not a thing for you, now might be a good time to start. Set up a weekly time where you are both being intentionally present with each other. (That includes setting the cellphones aside!) If you can turn it into a full day event, such as going on a day hike on the weekend, go for it!



Try something new apart from one another

  • Connect with friends, family, and other support, especially those that you have not spent time with in awhile. It’s important to foster relationships outside of our romantic ones.

  • Pursue your interests, such as playing a sport, joining a book club, or traveling somewhere on your own. If you recognize that you have been neglecting your “me time”, taking some space to focus on yourself may do wonders for your relationship.

  • Focus on an area of your life that you may have been neglecting. This might include professional growth by taking a business course, connecting with your community by volunteering or returning to church, or even taking some respite by going on a solo trip.


Explore ways to reconnect with each other

  • I’m a huge fan of The Skin Deep’s {THE AND} cards. These are question cards that you can ask of your partner to reconnect and explore your relationship more deeply. Alternatively, check out their YouTube channel to see other people communicate in their relationships. You might be surprised at your reaction and at what you learn!

  • Express love based on the other person’s love language. If you don’t know your partner’s love language, read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book on the 5 love languages or take the 5 love languages quiz.

  • Try thoughtful gestures, no matter how small. For instance, if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, send a cute note or text saying that you love them and are thinking of them.

  • Talk about the past and revisit places that carry good old memories. If you met in college, visit the campus and checkout places that you enjoyed hanging out in. Or go to a restaurant where you had a memorable date.



Seek individual or couples counseling

Talking to a therapist may help to uncover underlying issues that are severely impacting the relationship. Sometimes we may not know how or why we’re stuck in a rut. Talking to an objective third party can help us to gain more insight. However, taking this step may be difficult for some. (After all, who wants to air their dirty laundry to a stranger?) But remember that you cannot expect things to change in your relationship unless you are willing to make some changes yourself.

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