Divorce

Here's How To Save Your Marriage When The Thrill Is Gone

The good news? Falling in love again is possible.
02/17/2016 08:42pm ET | Updated February 18, 2016
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You knew your marriage was never going to be as passionate as it was in the beginning -- but somewhere along the line, it became downright dull.

There's a way to reignite the flame, though. Below, experts share six signs you're bored in your marriage and what you can do to reinvigorate it.

1. You’re feeling more withdrawn, indifferent or want more space.

There's nothing wrong with needing alone time to recharge or reconnect with the person you are outside of the relationship. In fact, it's healthy. But if you're actively avoiding spending time with your spouse -- or staring at them blankly when they tell you about their day -- you may have a problem.

Marriage therapist and author Sheri Meyers recommends trying a new, decidedly non-boring activity together to get you out of the rut. Depending on the couple, that could mean rock climbing, or simply deciding to skip the Netflix-and-fall-asleep routine come Friday night.

"It's amazing what pushing your comfort boundaries will do for your love life," she said. "Sharing activities of mutual interest is the glue that makes relationship work."

2. You don't feel physically attracted to your spouse.

At some point, the passionate part of your relationship died a slow, sad death. And you don't even mind; when you're not physically attracted to your S.O., sex can feel more like a marital chore than something to get excited about.

Don't be so quick to assume the passion can't be brought back, though; it's natural for couples to experience peaks and valleys in their sex lives, said Alexandra H. Solomon, a psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.

"The reality is, most sexually monogamous couples experience changes in sexual desire over time, whether because of aging, work stress, parenting stress, medication or simply being with the same partner in the same way for years," Solomon told HuffPost. "It's both partners’ responsibilities to work on it. Couples who can talk together about sex tend to have happier sex lives."

3. You barely talk.

Forget about long, late-into-the-night conversations with your S.O. These days, you only communicate about the essentials: paying the bills, who's picking up the kids, what to grab for dinner.

"As familiarity sets in, it isn't unusual for conversation to turn to logistics," said Erika Myers, a couple's therapist based in Bend, Oregon. "If, however, you find that you can't remember the last time you had an actual conversation with your partner and you haven't missed it, your relationship may be in trouble."

To change that, intentionally bring up the big conversations you used to have about your shared dreams and passions, she said.

4. You're highly critical of your spouse.

Eye rolls and constant criticism will get you nowhere in your marriage -- except maybe one step closer to divorce, said Bruce Derman, a Southern California-based psychologist with 40 years of experience working with couples.

"People tend to be critical of their spouses to hide their lack of [romantic] feelings," he said.

Instead of using criticism as a means to express your disappointment in the marriage, have an honest discussion with your spouse about what's really upsetting you, Derman said.

5. You're sharing emotional details about your life with someone else.

Your new friendship with a work colleague, fellow parent at the kids' school or an old high school acquaintance on Facebook may be less innocent than you realize, especially if you're prioritizing them over your spouse, said Meyers.

"Often, this happens when there is a deficit of the three A’s at home: attention, appreciation and affection," she explained. "Be sure to carve out time during the day (even for a few minutes) to be present and intimate with your partner. It's all about eye contact, touching each other when you are in the same room together and expressing gratitude."

6. You're living parallel lives.

Becoming completely disengaged from your spouse and actually enjoying your separate lives is a very dangerous thing, Solomon said.

"When a couple feels this way, it's time to hire a couples therapist, for sure," she said. "Feelings of disengagement tend not to resolve on their own. If both partners are willing to engage, couples therapy has a very high rate of success. Falling in love again is possible."

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