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Relationship Rut: The Many Types, Why It’s Common & How to Admit and Fix It

Relationships ebb and flow. It’s normal for the passion to calm and you find yourself in a relationship rut. Learn how to dig out and renew the fire.

Relationship Rut

Relationships go through different stages, including the dreaded relationship rut.

At first, everything is super-passionate. You can’t keep your hands off each other and butterflies are a regular occurrence. You’re walking on air and can’t believe your luck. Of course, this type of emotional high simply can’t last forever.

You might watch films and wonder why your relationship isn’t as exciting, or why you’re not still tearing each other’s clothes off.

The truth is, real life is nothing like the movies, and thankfully so. It is natural for the passion to wear off a bit- otherwise no one would get anything done! [Read: The relationship stages all couples go through]

The different types of relationship ruts

Once things start to calm down, you might find yourself falling into a routine. This is pleasant at first, but nothing erodes excitement like routine.

Relationship ruts are extremely common, but it’s important to try and get yourself out of it. Otherwise, you could take your relationship for granted. [Read: Tired of your relationship? Here’s how to fix it IF you want to]

1. The boredom rut

It’s easy to fall into a routine. Essentially, you do the same things at the same time, you don’t try new things, and you talk about the same subjects. It’s easy and it’s comfortable, but where is the excitement?

Sure, life is boring sometimes, but you can always try and make things a little more exciting by focusing on new things. Everything becoming super-repetitive and predictable is one of the signs you’re in a boredom relationship rut. [Read: All the signs of a boring relationship and how to bring back the fun]

2. The sexless rut

This is especially common for couples that live together. You get comfortable and stop trying to put your best foot forward. You two are so familiar with each other that you stop seeing them as a sexual being.

It’s not that you don’t love your partner, but you just don’t get the same thrill that you used to. It’s hard to feel sexy when neither of you puts any effort into being sexy.

It’s normal for the butterflies to reduce drastically, but they shouldn’t ever go away completely. [Read: How to make sex more interesting when it’s boring and really lame]

3. The fighting rut

Do you find that you and your partner no longer act like lovers? If you two bicker like siblings, it kills the romance of the relationship. You start seeing your partner as your enemy instead of the person in your corner.

If you find that you do more fighting than talking, it might be that you are in a fighting rut. [Read: Here is what to do when you need to reconnect with your partner]

4. The general rut

It might not be one specific thing, but a collection of little things that led to your relationship rut. The sex has become boring and unsatisfactory, you have an unfulfilling routine, etc.

When you fall into a relationship rut, you don’t have much to say to each other. This is probably because you’re stuck in a routine and really have nothing to talk about.

Of course, it’s normal to have problems for a short period of time, e.g. a week or two. That could be down to one of you feeling stressed at work or having a problem of another kind. This normally passes. However, if it’s longer lasting, that’s a common sign of a relationship rut.

Ways to get out of a relationship rut

A relationship rut doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end, and in most cases, it’s not. It’s simply a sign that you need to give your relationship a little TLC and work on strengthening your bond.

We take things for granted when we don’t have to work for them anymore, and that’s what it’s like once a relationship has been going on for a while.

You’ve gone past the stage where you’re on your best behavior. You’re now comfortable and in a regular routine. That can easily lead to taking each other for granted and not paying as much attention. [Read: 20 very ingenious ways to keep a relationship exciting and fun]

1. Brainstorm on how to improve the relationship together

You two got into this rut together, and you need to work together to get out. Sit your partner down and gently explain that you feel that you two have fallen into a rut.

Don’t lay blame, just ask what your partner thinks you two can do to get the fire back. If they are resistant to this, it might signal the death of the relationship. [Read: 15 rules to follow to be a good partner in your relationship]

2. Shift your perspective

Try to see your partner as others do, or how you saw them in the beginning of the relationship. Many people would love to be in a relationship with someone caring who makes them happy. Be grateful for your partner and don’t take your relationship for granted.

3. Make an effort to connect with your partner

Spending time together is not the same as connecting with each other. Instead of sitting on the couch and scrolling through your phones, go out and do something together.

If you can’t go on a date, at least set time aside for just the two of you with no phones or distractions. In order to get out of a rut, you have to see your partner as a human being with thoughts and feelings. Talk, ask questions, and listen to each other. [Read: 50 warm, feel-good questions to ask a girl to get to know her better]

4. Evaluate external stressors that are contributing to the relationship rut

This is especially good for a fighting rut. You and your partner need to determine what outside forces are causing strain on your relationship.

What are you two arguing about? By getting to the root of the issue, you can determine if this is a problem your relationship can overcome. After all, life is too short to be constantly bickering.

5. Discuss your needs in a relationship

Relationships don’t always last. It’s sad to say, but it’s the truth. It may be that you feel that you are in a rut, but your partner is perfectly happy where they are. If that is the case, you two might just be incompatible. [Read: Is it time to end it? The signs your relationship isn’t working out]

The only way to know for sure is to discuss your feelings and needs for a relationship. It may be painful, but it is better to know before you waste too much time with someone who is not a good fit for you.

6. Seek professional help

If you are serious about getting out of a relationship rut, a professional counselor can do a lot to help. Most people only seek professional help when their relationship is already dying, and at that point, it is often too late.

Some people feel ashamed to see a couples counselor, but they shouldn’t be! Professional counseling is a great way to invest in a happy, long term relationship.

If you and your partner can agree to see a couples therapist to help get out of a rut, you not only help your relationship- you learn valuable tools that you can use next time a relationship rut comes around.

7. Try to think positively about your partner

Familiarity breeds contempt. If you spend a lot of time with your partner, you may begin to see only the negative things. You hyper-focus on the little tics and habits that annoy you while ignoring the overall good of the relationship. Over time this erodes your relationship until you have almost no choice but to break up.

If you are in a relationship rut, try to focus on the positive things about your partner. Make a list of things you love about them, and try to remember all those things. [Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive]

8. Think about your partner when you are apart

Falling into a relationship rut can mean forgetting your partner exists. Try to think positively about your partner throughout the day, and wonder how they are doing.

9. Don’t forget affection

To end a relationship rut means more intimacy in and out of the bedroom. I don’t suggest aggressive PDA, but more simple acts of affection.

Hold your partner’s hand when you are in public, and put your arm around them when seated together. These small acts of affection remind you how important your partner is. [Read: 28 cute ways to show affection in a relationship even if it feels awkward]

10. Plan adventurous and sexy dates

This is the most common advice to get out of a relationship rut, and there is a reason for that. Relationships require work, but that doesn’t mean they are miserable. Plan some fun new activities for you and your partner, and rekindle the spark by having fun together. [Read: Cute date ideas – 15 really sweet date ideas to try with your boo]

11. Give each other space

Are you and your partner feeling bored? You might just be spending too much time together. The best relationships allow for space and time apart. Time apart allows you to grow as an individual, and gives you something to talk about when you see each other again.

Are relationship ruts normal?

Yes! All relationships lose passion over time, and that’s perfectly normal. You should be prepared for relationships to ebb and flow- the passion will come back, but it might take a backseat for a while. And that is to be expected.

You also need to accept that you will need to put effort in when the rut returns. A good relationship is like a car that requires regular maintenance.

You need to check in with each other and see how the relationship is going, and if you have fallen into a rut. If you don’t you might not realize there is a problem until it is too late.

What’s the difference between a relationship rut and the end?

A relationship rut that you can’t seem to get out of is a pretty damning sign. Most ruts are easy to climb out of. Once you recognize it and start to change things and focus on each other more, you’ll find that most things improve. However, if after some effort nothing changes, you should ask yourself why. [Read: 20 signs a relationship is over – how to recognize the end and move on]

In that case, is it worth staying? Is it worth it to be in a relationship that makes you bored every single day, which has no passion, no emotion, and no sign of return?

We’re not all perfect for one another. Sometimes we have to walk away to find happiness and to let the other person find their happiness too. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the outcome for every relationship that experiences troubles.

As long as you can communicate, as long as the love is still there, and as long as both of you want to work at climbing out of your relationship rut and rekindling the flame a little, there is hope. All you need to do is focus, talk about the things you want to try, set boundaries together, and just go for it. [Read: Happy and naughty ways to keep your relationship fresh forever]

If you think you’ve fallen into a relationship rut, take some action and keep talking. The more you talk to your partner, the more you encourage them to do the same, and the better chance you have of rekindling the passion that you lost. 

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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