Signs You're Getting Too Comfortable
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Over Easy1 of 11
By Natasha Burton
Being entirely comfortable around your spouse is one of the great perks of married life. However, there's a big difference between feeling content and relaxed in your relationship, and just being plain old lazy. We asked Heather Porter, author of the upcoming book Body Back, a comprehensive how-to guide for women adjusting to motherhood—and happily married mother of four—for her perspective on 10 signs that your relationship is too comfortable, and to share her tested tips for breaking out of these ruts.
Only Talking Logistics2 of 11
"With careers and kids, couples can slip into a parallel existence," says Porter. Often, this leads busy parents to chat solely about carpool schedules or who's in charge of packing lunches, leaving little room for real conversation. To remedy this, Porter suggests making time to talk about non-family related issues so you can reconnect as a couple.
Skipping Romance3 of 11
Another consequence of a busy household and getting too stuck in your routine is forgetting the romance that brought you together as a couple in the first place. "Plan a night to get away together or for kids to be away so you can have a romantic night in," recommends Porter. She also advises keeping the conversation positive. "Don't talk about the kids or the person you dislike at work all night."
Dressing Down4 of 11
Sweatpants may be much cozier than those form-fitting jeans, but if you're perpetually donning clothes you wouldn't be caught dead wearing out in public, then you may be a little too comfortable in your relationship (and that goes for men, too!). Getting dolled up daily is a little unrealistic, so try swapping your flannel PJs for a more feminine alternative, says Porter, who suggests getting a pretty night gown instead. "It can still be a little sexy, just not see-through, if you have kids."
Not Making An Effort5 of 11
Like clothing, your beauty routine can easily hit slump mode as time to primp gets harder to come by. But just taking five minutes to spruce yourself up shows your spouse that you still want to look good for him. On date nights, "book the babysitter to come early so that you have time to get ready," says Porter.
Lashing Out6 of 11
It's all too easy to go for the jugular when you're angry with your partner: Knowing him as well as you do, his insecurities, vulnerabilities and shortcomings are at your disposal and, in the face of conflict or hurt feelings, it can be difficult not to use them as ammunition. However, "respect is very important in a relationship," Porter says. "If that slips, you must concentrate on getting it back." Being aware of your words and talking openly about how you speak to each other when you're stressed or fighting will allow you to work together to solve the issue.
Losing Outside Interests7 of 11
Your marriage and family are the cornerstones of your life. That said, having other things going on in your life—hobbies, passions, projects—help you continue to grow as an individual and stay interesting to your partner, says Porter. "You are still an individual, albeit part of a couple. And, because your partner isn't doing them with you, your interests are something different you can enjoy chatting about."
Ignoring His Passions8 of 11
In the beginning of a relationship, we happily engage in all sorts of activities just to spend time around the person with whom we're smitten. As time goes by, we get less tolerant of indulging our partners, or we start complaining the moment we're not having fun. Try straying from your comfort zone to show your spouse that you care about his interests. "Do something together that he would love, like going to a soccer game or a restaurant you're not keen on," Porter says. "Enjoy the fact that he's delighted you've gone."
Getting Lazy With Affection9 of 11
When young and in love, most couples can't keep their hands off each other. But, as the novelty of your spouse wears off, your desire to smother him in kisses may wane too. Porter advises keeping affection as a daily part of your relationship. "Give him a big hug when he comes home this evening or, if you come home last, go find him for a hug," she says. "Be attentive and make him feel special, as he should you!"
Not Wooing Each Other10 of 11
Just because the honeymoon period of your relationship is long past, that doesn't mean you should stop courting your partner. Porter suggests surprising your husband with a gift. "It doesn't need to be expensive, just a token that you care, like a book on a subject he is interested in," she suggests. "Buy it out of the blue and sit together when you pass it to him—don't just hand it over the kitchen table, as you will downgrade the moment." For a totally free gesture, "send loving texts during the day when you're apart."
Forgetting Where You Came From11 of 11
In addition to bestowing little tokens of love, actively remembering the times when your relationship first began can also stave off feelings of monotony. "It is most important to remember who you both are and what made you fall in love in the first place," Porter says. "Reminisce about fun times you had together."