The spark is no longer there. The glow that was there when you first met has dimmed. The excitement has turned into contentment. Novelty is now familiarity.
Your relationship has shifted to being more predictable.
You’re always fighting.
And have even considered calling it quits.
Well, you’re not alone
Whether you’ve been married for 20 years, or have been dating for a few months, relationship burnout is a common occurrence.
But how do you deal with burnout in relationships?
If you’ve been wondering how you can bring back the spark and rebuild your relationship, you’re in the right place. This article is where you’ll learn how you can heal from relationship burnout.
Let’s get into it
Here’s what you’ll learn:
What is Relationship Burnout?
The term burnout is used in the working environment to mean dwindling motivation, feelings of exhaustion, and a loss of interest in something you were once deeply engaged in.
At work, burnout occurs when you feel that you’re working too hard but are making little progress. This leads to feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and pessimism.
In romantic relationships, burnout occurs when one person or both are giving too much to the relationship, but get little or nothing in return. This type of burnout is often accompanied by feelings of exhaustion, feeling like something is missing, and increased pessimism in your relationship.
But why do relationships burnout?
Keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Relationship Exhaustion?
Here’s the thing about burnout:
It’s sneaky and creeps up on you without you noticing it.
Unlike cheating and dishonesty, which lead to explosive breakups, burnout occurs slowly. It starts with small conflicts or disappointments that go unresolved or overlooked. As time goes by, these conflicts build up until they can no longer be assumed.
It’s like death by a thousand cuts. At first, you rarely notice it, but as the cuts increase, you can no longer ignore the bleeding.
However, you can know if you’re headed for burnout. Here are some warning signs of relationship burnout.
How to Know You’re Tired of a Relationship
If you’re keen, you can see the signs of relationship exhaustion as soon as they start to appear.
Here are 5 signs to look for:
You Play the Blame Game
This is common in most relationships.
Once both of you start experiencing frustration and disappointment with the relationship, the conversation shifts to finger-pointing.
Rather than working as a team, you start working against each other.
Every conversation becomes about deciding who’s guiltier than the other. You start keeping scores of the others’ faults
And this leads to the next warning sign.
You’re Always Fighting
The constant blame game is often accompanied by ongoing fighting.
When you’re at the end of the rope, everything about your partner annoys you. The relationship turns into a constant battleground characterized by rude remarks and insults.
If you’re always arguing about mundane issues, it’s a sign that you’re tired of the relationship.
You’ve Stopped Talking
Another significant sign of emotional exhaustion in a relationship Is lack of communication.
You know you should be talking. However, the constant fighting and blame game has made any form of communication impossible.
This lack of communication is a clear sign that the relationship is on its death bed.
Talk of the Future Makes you Cringe
If you’ve been with someone for a long time, it’s common to talk about your future together.
But if you find it hard to plan even for a weekend away, it’s probably a sign that you’re tired of the relationship.
You Rarely Spend Time Together
Successful relationships entail a balance between spending time alone and spending time together.
However, if you’re always making excuses to avoid spending time with your partner, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Now that you know the 5 signs to look out for, let’s get into how you can heal yourself.
Strategies to Heal Relationship Burnout
Mutually Agree to Work on Healing Together
As stated earlier, relationship burnout usually occurs when one or both people put in too much energy in the relationship but get little or nothing in return.
One person puts in the effort but gives up after getting marginal results. The other partner then puts in the work to repair the relationship but then gives up after getting minimal results.
Rather than approaching burnout from an individual perspective, why not work as a team.
For you to fix the issues affecting your relationship, you need to approach them as a team. Remember, it’s not you against your partner, but it’s both of you against the problem.
You both need to mutually agree to work on your relationship if you’re going to beat burnout.
Develop Rituals Together
A lack of connection with your spouse may be the reason why you’re feeling burnt out.
Psychology Today suggests you develop rituals and practices that become part of your relationship.
These rituals can be anything. Some example of everyday couple rituals include
- Taking coffee together in the morning,
- Meditating and praying together
- Working out together
- Meal preparation, and
- Sharing household chores, including pet and child care.
By having rituals, you develop a sense of connection and stability, which is essential for fighting burnout.
Keep in Touch (Literally)
Physical intimacy is essential for the health of your relationship.
Studies have found that physical intimacy promotes the production of Oxytocin, which leads to a stronger connection between couples and helps mitigate any existing negativity.
To rekindle the passion, you’re encouraged to touch each other. Romantically and otherwise. Doing so will help strengthen your bond, reduce stress, and rebuild the trust between you and your spouse.
Even a single hug can melt away anger and could speak volumes about how much either your partner or you care.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What you Need
Now that you’ve mutually agreed to work on healing your relationship, it’s essential to set expectations on how you’d want the relationship to progress.
Make a list of all the things you’d like to change in the relationship. Explain to your partner what you need from them.
Your partner will also get a chance to tell you what they expect from you.
Setting expectations allows both you and your partner to know if you’re working towards the same goal.
What if my partner and I aren’t on the same page?
If you start to feel like your partner’s needs and yours are different, you should consider ending the relationship.
Why waste your time and energy with someone who doesn’t have the same end goal as you?
Set Regular Check-ins
Communication is essential in any relationship.
This is why you must set regular check-ins to evaluate how your relationship is going and explain how you feel things should change. This can be after every two weeks or once a month if you’re both busy.
I know what you’re thinking.
“This is too structured and organized. It won’t work.”
Well, guess what?
The last time you tried it the other way, things didn’t work out.
Experiment with regular check-ins.
Having regular check-ins allows regular communication on expectations and needs. It also shows that both parties are still trying to make the relationship work.
You can use these check-ins to work on the next strategy.
Pay Each Other Compliments/Show Gratitude
Who doesn’t love a compliment?
Use the regular check-ins to tell each other what you appreciate most about the other.
Complimenting your partner not only reinforces your commitment to them but acts as a reminder of why you’re in the relationship.
Don’t make empty compliments. Find ways to reinforce the compliments.
One way to do this is by writing down five qualities you like about your partner, then writing down moments when you’ve seen those qualities in your partner.
Find Ways to Offer Each Other Gifts of Service
This can be anything.
Whether it’s waking up earlier to prepare breakfast, doing their chores for them, or helping with the kids or pets, gifts of service help to show your partner that you care.
But there’s a disclaimer…
Don’t perform gifts of service in the hope of getting something in return. You should help out without being asked.
Create Time To Reconnect
Don’t relegate your relationship to scraps of left-over time.
When planning your schedule, make sure to set aside time to reconnect with your partner. This can include having a date night every week or taking a trip out of town once every month.
Setting aside time to reconnect with your partner creates an opportunity to bond and helps make the relationship less mundane.
Have Solo Pursuits and Practice Self Care
Burnout occurs when you start focusing on your partner’s needs too much to a point you ignore yours.
To heal from relationship burnout, create time to work on solo pursuits.
Having solo pursuits allows you to grow independently, find new passions, and work on your goals.
Self-care activities like exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and meditating can go a long way in promoting the success of your relationship and overcoming burnout.
Let Go of the Desire to Change your Partner
Trying to change someone is deadly for your relationship. Not only does it increase the chances of exhaustion, but it also reduces the ability of your partner to communicate honestly with you.
Too much focus on changing your partner also takes your attention away from the real issues affecting your relationship.
Trying to change your partner also interferes with your ability to forgive your partner.
This doesn’t mean tolerating abuse, disrespect, or hurt.
Rather than trying to change your partner, focus on improving your life and working on your strengths.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
This is a game that no one wins.
Stop blaming your partner for all the problems in your relationship. Playing the blame game puts you and your partner in a defensive state when talking about your issues.
Rather than blaming each other, take individual responsibility for your actions.
You can write out the things you didn’t do and what the other person did right.
Start the conversation by being vulnerable. You can say, “I know I should have done better …. I’m sorry for that.”
Taking individual responsibility removes ego from the conversation, allowing both you and your partner to be honest about your needs; therefore help heal from relationship burnout.
Sounds crazy, right?
However, mirror communication allows both you and your partner to listen to each other without distorting the other’s thoughts.
“How do I mirror my partner’s communication?”
When talking, take time to listen to your partner’s needs intently. Then after he or she is done, repeat to your partner how you understood their needs.
Here’s an example of a mirror conversation:
You: I feel hurt when I ask you to help out with chores, and you never do.
Your spouse: You feel hurt when I don’t help out. Did I get that right?
You then affirm if your partner’s understanding is right.
Doing so allows you to intently listen and internalize your partner’s needs without thinking of a response.
You can visit a relationship coach to help guide your first mirror communication session.
Sometimes It’s Better to Break Up
Your romantic relationships should make you happier and not miserable.
If you try all the above strategies and still feel worn out by your relationship, it may be time to call it quits.
There’s no need to keep flogging a dead horse.
What if I can’t get over him or her?
A break-up coach can help with this problem.
Your Relationships Don’t Have to Wear you Down
Building a successful relationship is hard work.
Both you and your partner need to work hard to ensure that your relationship survives.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your relationship, try experimenting with the above strategies. You’ll be sure to see a significant shift in how both you and your partner relate.
Even if you’ve just broken up, you can use these strategies to make your next relationship even better.
Which of the above strategies will you adopt in your relationship?
Tell us in the comments below.