One of the best parts of a long-term relationship is feeling totally comfortable with your sweetie. Gone are the masks and the incessant need to be your best self. You can ugly cry in their arms, have sex with the lights on, and have them check out that thing going on down there without feeling too awkward or embarrassed. At the same time, one of the biggest challenges of a LTR is not getting too comfortable.
Intimacy and comfort aren’t the same thing.
Intimacy is closeness. It’s knowing (and loving) each other’s good, bad, and ugly. It’s sex, yes, but it’s also inside jokes, just-for-you traditions, and cuddles after a stressful day.
Comfort is ease. It’s freedom from your inhibitions. It’s sleeping with your blankie or teddy bear, going makeup free, and taking care of each other after you get food poisoning. There’s nothing wrong with these but…
Unlike intimacy, you can get too comfortable with your partner.
This looks different for every relationship. It may mean you…
- never try new things together
- primarily talk about upcoming plans and not the details of your day
- only touch for sexy time
- think quality time = being together in the same room, doing separate activities
- regularly use the bathroom with the door open or while they get ready
- take the little things they do for granted…or don’t even notice
A colleague recently called this “comfy relationship hell” and I think it’s the perfect description! If you find yourself there for a visit, or if you’ve been camped there for a while, here’s how to breath life back into your relationship that’s too comfortable.
Your 5 Step Plan to Break Out of Comfy Relationship Hell
1) Figure out what “too comfortable” means to you. This differs for everyone and every relationship. The bathroom is a great example of this. The beau and I keep the door closed and only discuss our bodily functions in general terms a la, “My stomach hurts.” Meanwhile, some of my friends find it hilarious to dutch oven each other all. the. time. Really spend time digging into what bothers you and what doesn’t, not what works or doesn’t for other couples.
2) Then, share it with your partner. You can use this article to start the conversation (see how here). Or try, “Hey [babe/other pet name]. Something’s been bugging me lately and I feel a little [silly/awkward/whatever you feel] bringing it up. Can we setup a time to talk?” OR “Lately I’ve noticed we’ve gotten into a routine with x. I’m not totally comfortable with it. Can we talk about it?” During the conversation, ask where they feel your relationship is too comfortable.
Feel nervous about this conversation? Click here to download 6 Ways to Make “the Talk” Easier.
3) Setup relationship agreements. Together, create some rules around the areas bugging you. You can decide to not share the bathroom, only use that nickname when you’re alone, or go out for a date once a month. Personally, I love the practice of warm hellos and goodbyes. Write these agreements down and create a plan to put them into action, if necessary. For example, research restaurants and make reservations for the next three months.
4) Remember things change and there are always exceptions. Like that morning you both need to GTFO at the same time and they *really* have to pee but you’re still brushing your teeth. What feels too comfortable now, might be a total non-issue in the future. And vice versa – that thing that doesn’t bug you, might become a huge source of angst and tension. Like sex, keeping the relationship from getting too comfortable comes down to talking about what feels good and what doesn’t.
5) Do something new and different ASAP. Regardless of what you decided in steps 1-3, celebrate and spice things up by doing something new together. Be a tourist in your own city or town. Go on a day trip. Host a sex toy party. It can be elaborate or simple, expensive or free. Just do something to break out of your routine.