Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Boredom Can Creep in Anytime, Even After Years, to Destroy Your Relationship or Marriage

It may only take a few weeks, or it may take years, but sooner or later virtually every couple falls prey to boredom, unless you understand a few basic things about attraction and intimacy and can avoid it. Once lost, you can get it back if you act in time, but it’s far easier and loads more fun to keep it going, like an eternal honeymoon, instead of watching the slow decay of something wonderful and then having to go through heroic efforts to heal the wounds.

This edition could rightly have been part of
my free “What Women Want” report, because one of the biggest things that women really want is to avoid being bored, but the issue and message here is bigger than that. In case you’ve only been following for a short while, boredom is a woman’s most dreaded state, and is at the most negative end of her emotional range, like fear, anger, and frustration are at the negative end of men’s emotional range.

Interestingly enough, the physical manifestations of either gender being at the negative end of their emotional range are the same: extreme agitation, tendency to be entirely illogical and act out of desperation, physical symptoms like sleeplessness, nausea, tremors, etc.

Boredom’s effect on women is grossly misunderstood by most men (and some women as well) because it doesn’t affect us the same way, so for future reference, Gentlemen, imagine the feelings you would experience in losing your job, having difficulty getting another, watching the bills pile up, and suspecting that your wife is about to leave. Those feelings build up over time and eventually can make you entirely unstable. Those sensations of depression, desperation, fear, agitation, etc., that you would feel under those circumstances are what a woman feels as she gets more and more bored.

Borrowing from medical terminology, “acute boredom” is a short-term severe problem with an immediate symptomatic cure usually gained from radical treatment: a fight, usually over nothing. “Chronic boredom” is a bigger problem. It develops over months or even years of very gradual decline in the excitement level in a woman’s life caused by routine, lack of “adult time,” career stagnation, and watching her partner grow apathetic, fat, lazy, and desirous of spending evenings drinking and channel surfing too much and talking with her too little. Yes, months or even years, and when it builds up enough pressure, fights won’t cure it, and affairs and divorce start slipping into the picture as options, options that look dangerously alluring and even rational when a woman gets too far gone.

The following letter caught my attention, not because of the decay of the relationship or its resurrection after reading and applying what’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” but the amount of time it took for the relationship to fade! Meet Karen:

Dear David,

I have been in a love relationship with my best friend for seven years now. I have always tried to take care of myself and be attractive to him. Last year I began to think that maybe we should have just stopped our relationship at being friends and never become lovers. I found myself looking at other men and wishing that Jack had some of the qualities I found so attractive in them. I made one last attempt at talking and trying to tell him that we were no longer attractive to each other and one way or the other something would have to change or we were over.

He came across your website and bought your book a short time later. Within a few days I noticed a big difference and within a month I was not living with the same man I was thinking of leaving the month before. I was living with the guy I fell in love with 7 years ago! No one could prepare me for the changes not only in Jack, but myself as well. “Taking it to the next level,” whatever that would be, wouldn’t begin to cover what happened to us over the next couple of months, and we’re getting married this weekend, after living together seven years and almost losing it all!

I can not understand why anyone would pass up the chance to have the kind of relationship like what we have after reading your book. The words “thank you” seem so little compared to what your book as done for us. My whole life is right out the dreams I had as a young woman.

Karen B.


Well Karen, dreams do come true, but you usually have to take charge of making it happen like you and your husband-to-be did, and congratulations for doing so!

Folks, what kills me about this letter is that most relationships die of boredom somewhere between a few minutes and two years, yet this one survived six years before the couple started drifting. Some would blame something once known as “the seven year itch,” and I couldn’t argue with that, but these days I mostly see people who either make it or don’t very early in the relationship.

Indeed, I’ve been working with couples who have been together as long as 57 years, and the most common thread in all of them is boredom. What’s shocking is how quickly a woman can build up a head of steam after all that time and start moving for separation; one went from “status quo” to out of the house in four days!

I spoke with her in a counseling session, and she said that she still loved her husband deeply, but after 37 years of marriage, the idea of him disappearing into his study to spend the remainder of the evening with his carving hobby until bedtime even one more time was too much to bear, and at 61 years of age, she was ready to start over if that was the only way to escape the nightly abandonment and boredom. I will never forget her saying that she felt like she was already a widow. The problem has been resolved and they are again happy and reengaging one another, but it was a VERY close call.

Let me be clear; I’m not saying divorces happen that fast, it’s that couples report settling into routine, losing excitement, get lazy, and the magic goes away that fast, even though they may remain committed to each other (or the institution of marriage, the kids, or whatever they cling to in order to hold it together) for decades, like my grandparents did. Karen says they had fun and excitement for six years, and then trouble started.

Boredom is insidious, covert, unpredictable, and deadly to your relationship, and it can slip in unnoticed the minute you drop your guard, just as it did with this couple. The trick is to know the opponent, and know how to guard yourself against it, which in this case is by remaining aware of each other’s needs, lives, excitement level, and having fun and growing together in ways that keep you close, intimate, excited, etc.

As Karen said, what’s in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” is information for men about women, but a lot of it is also information that women aren’t aware of about themselves and men! It can do you both a world of good to read it, because it will let you keep the home fires burning bright instead of having them go out and having to rebuild and reignite them in the dark and under duress later. Do yourself a favor and go to http://www.makingherhappy.com/ and download your copy right now, because life is definitely too short to spend it bored and doing all the ridiculous things people do to fight boredom (like affairs, or weekends in a therapy retreat!), especially when you have such an option that is so easy and affordable as this.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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