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February 18, 2015

Bored, But in Love

Kelvin headshot Oct2013 HDRI recently concluded a coaching session with a client who confessed she was madly in love with her spouse. She explained that they didn’t argue much and their sex life was great, but there was something that troubled her within her marriage. She was bored!

Bored, but in love.

Boredom is a state that plagues many couples, especially if they’ve been together for a number of years. I say plagues, because that is what boredom is to any relationship—a plague. It usually sets in when the relationship becomes a bit predictable and when we convince ourselves that we “know” our spouses.

When we realize we are bored, some sort of dysfunction can easily set in. What troubles many of us is that we didn’t begin our relationships with boredom, we began them with excitement. We started out discovering things about one another. When we feel that this process has run its course…hello boredom.

My client said that boredom was alive in her relationship and she was growing unhappier by the minute. She had even started mapping out an exit plan. Leaving the marriage is not really what she wanted to do. It became an option because she lost hope that things would ever be different.

She wanted to stay, but she thought about leaving. She was bored, but in love.

So with this information, I began coaching her to go after what she wanted most—stimulation and a healthy marriage. She could have both, but it would mean that she would have to operate a bit differently in the relationship.

Let It Go

The process of operating differently in the relationship would begin with her letting go of many of her expectations for her spouse. Over the years, she had developed some very strong expectations. When some of those expectations went unmet, she would find herself disappointed. The next thing she knew, she was blaming him for “always” doing this or “never” doing that.

She began to realize that the “always” and “never” blaming didn’t invite her spouse to do anything different, especially if he “always” did the wrong thing and “never” did what was right. How could he do anything different?

Expectations belong exclusively to us. We can’t just throw them on another human being without expecting to be disappointed from time to time.

Representing Self

My client learned to reveal what it was she wanted from her husband. With the help of the prior step, she did so without any expectations.

She would simply say something like, “I really want us to spend some time together this weekend. Do you have some free time in your schedule for that to happen?”

She even had to engage in self-representation in order to continue with our coaching sessions.  At first, I was coaching both of them, but he later dropped out, which initially put the kibosh on both of them attending. She revealed to him that she needed the coaching and that she was going to resume with or without him. She invited him to come, but her only expectation was that she was going to show up. By focusing on herself, she was able to build emotional muscles that would help her deal with whatever would come her way, including bouts of boredom.

Not Needing Him

When a relationship is wrapped in boredom, it is usually a sign that it is enveloped in need, as in we need our spouses to do certain things to keep the relationship stimulated. When we learn to break from needing them, we actually free ourselves up to want them.

This is exactly what my client learned, but she also discovered another benefit. The freedom that she experienced by letting go of need also led her to pursue things that she wanted to do for herself, like exercising more.

Through all of this coaching, my client realized that she did indeed want her husband. She wanted him, not for dates, trips, and the occasional spice for their marriage. She wanted him because of him.

She was bored, but she really was in love with this man. When she let go of some of her expectations and took responsibly for her own happiness, boredom eventually left the home. She understood that she wasn’t bored with the marriage, she was bored with herself.

She is now happy…and in love.

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