I am pleased to bring you this guest post on how to get out of a relationship rut from Karen Amster-Young. She is the co-author of The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery (Skyhorse Publishing, November 2013).
When Your Relationship Is In A Rut
A few years ago, I was out with a good friend having dinner. We were two forty-something moms who found ourselves in a “state of stuck.” We had checked off many of our major life goals (careers, husbands, kids, etc.), but felt we had lost our momentum. Somewhere along the way we had stopped trying new things, stopping nurturing our relationships and simply felt, well…stuck! We challenged ourselves to try one new thing every week for a year—from test driving sports cars to rock climbing to dance lessons —and to blog about our journeys.
What To Do When You Are Stuck In Love Or Friendship
We took on The 52 Week Challenge. It was mostly inspiring but wasn’t always easy and at times we had to reevaluate and edit our “52” to-do lists but we did it. Sometimes we took on “big” things and other times we worked on taking baby steps toward achieving larger goals. That’s the key: it’s not always about running a marathon or traveling the world. In fact, just making a small move can make the most significant changes in the right direction and checking it off your life goals list!
One area I focused on at the time of our initial 52 Week Challenge was to nurture my 20+ year relationship with my husband including everything from a week-long experiment of trying to simply smile more and be nicer, a romantic outing in Central Park, and even taking dance lessons. The challenge is to continue putting things on your “52” list to ensure you don’t fall back into the same relationship ruts and patterns.
In addition to significant others and spouses, friendships and family relationships need nurturing too. It’s important to step back at times and reevaluate your friendships. Sometimes you need to take stock and decide where to put your energy. “It’s important to break out of your comfort zone with friends too – not just romantic relationships,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, renowned biological anthropologist and author. “You have to decide which relationships to nurture and which relationships are draining your energy and don’t have a place in your life anymore,” says Fisher.
The 52 Week Challenge
As someone who took on the 52 Week challenge I can honestly say getting unstuck is an ongoing process. Sometimes you may even get unstuck for a while and then get stuck again! But that’s okay: the most important thing is to do something about it – anything — every time you feel that way. It can even be a baby step. Start today and make your own “52” list! It may also be the perfect time to start with your relationships.
Download a 52 create your own list template at the52weeks.com. The book itself is available online and in stores everywhere.
10 Ideas For How To Get Out Of A Relationship Rut
- Call your favorite uncle and schedule a lunch date.
- Sign up for sailing lessons, tennis lessons, any lessons, together.
- Take a nightly walk with your spouse.
- Leave a note in your significant other’s tote bag or briefcase.
- Kiss your partner in the morning. It’s so easy to forget.
- Make chicken soup for someone who is sick.
- Recreate your first date with your spouse.
- Plan a girls weekend away with your oldest friends. If you no longer connect with your “old” friends, ask some new ones!
- Write a real letter (not an e-mail or Facebook message!) to your best friend from childhood.
- Smile more.
I hope find these 10 steps for how to get your relationship out of a rut helpful.