7 Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone in Your Relationship
While your first few months with your significant other were spent taking on the town, trying out all the best date spots, and going on adventures, now that you've been together for a long time, you've probably fallen into an everyday routine. It's not uncommon, and sometimes it's nice to spend an entire weekend cuddled up on the couch. But when your relationship entirely lacks those spontaneous outings, you can both be left feeling discouraged. If you feel like your comfort zone is the only zone you spend your time in, it's easy to shake things up-in and out of your own home. These seven tips from a relationship expert will instantly rekindle your spark.
Take a Mini Vacay
There's nothing wrong with flying solo, but when you go on an adventure to somewhere unfamiliar with your significant other, it will take your relationship to a new level. "When we go to new places, we discover new parts of ourselves, together," says Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, director of My Dating and Relationship School, and author of Dating from the Inside Out. "We're shaken out of our routine and are more open to learning and experiencing things. We also feel more free without all our usual 'stuff.' This can be fun and freeing for the relationship as well. It can breathe new life into it."
Schedule a Weekly Date Night
When's the last time you went on a real date? You know, where you make a reservation, get all dressed up, and spend the night drinking wine and talking about anything and everything? If it's been a while, it's time to add some romance to your calendar. "Research shows that a weekly date night greatly benefits marriages and even those living together. It adds romance, novelty, improves sexual satisfaction, and lowers the divorce rate," Sherman says. "It also gives them time to really focus on one another and to be their best selves."
Camp Outside and Change Your Routine
As wonderful as it is to crawl into your cozy bed every night, switching your nighttime routine up a little will certainly create some unforgettable memories. "It's helpful to be inventive if you want to get out of your comfort zone," Sherman says. "Eat or sleep somewhere unusual. Even sleeping outside in a tent or sleeping bag under the moon can spice up your romance and sex life and get you out of a rut. Plus, going the extra distance to change things up shows that you care and are putting effort into your relationship."
Do Something Risky Together
That doesn't mean you have to book a skydiving session. (Although, why not?) Pumping up your adrenaline as a team will strengthen your relationship. "Go on a hot air balloon ride, a hike in the mountains, or zip lining," Sherman says. "Research shows that trying scary or novel things ups attraction. Plus, there's nothing like living on the edge to counter your hum-drum routine. When you take a risk, you'll bond and make a memory."
Enroll in a Class
Just because you're not in college anymore doesn't mean you have to stop learning. Booking a class in something you and your partner have never done before might make you uncomfortable at first, but will unleash some life-lasting skills, too. "Go to a ballroom dancing class, a cooking class, or maybe even an art lesson. Learning new things puts you into growth mode, which takes you out of the old comfort zone," Sherman says. "This will give you a new common interest and bring some exploratory energy into your relationship."
Learn New Things About Each Other
Remember playing 20 questions with your crush back in the day? Sure, you might have asked general things like "What's your favorite food?" and "What's #1 on your bucket list?" when you first started dating, but you should keep asking questions as time goes on. "Get a book of questions and learn things about your partner that you never knew," Sherman says. "Once you've been together for a long time, you think you know everything about your partner and you stop asking questions, and this can really stall a relationship. There's always more to know. Doing this exercise will open you up to your partner in new ways, and vice versa. And, it will remind you that you shouldn't stop making the effort to communicate on a daily basis in deeper ways."
Be More Vulnerable
Kinda scary, huh? It's hard to let your guard totally down, even if you've been together for quite a while. But being more vulnerable will create a connection that's so deep it's unbreakable. "Being authentic and vulnerable definitely takes you out of your comfort zone," Sherman says. "Share your fears and the memories and things that are hard for you. This will deepen your relationship, bonding, and trust."
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