Are you Comfortable or Complacent  with your Partner?

By Chapel Taylor-Olsen, BA and Dr. Ashley Yaugher

Couple hugging

Healthy, happy, lasting relationships are built on trust, loyalty, and honesty. “Taking your partner for granted” in the sense that you are comfortable together and not constantly worrying about whether you’ll be able to hold on to that person, is a good thing. You should be able to trust your partner, trust your love for each other, and take for granted that you’re on the same page most of the time (Ben-Zeèy, 2014). These are signs of a healthy relationship.

However, boredom or complacency (e.g., carelessness or laziness) in our relationships is worth paying attention to. This can undermine a sense of closeness with our partners and has been shown to predict decreased relationship satisfaction down the road (Tsapelas et al, 2009). Continuing to put effort into our healthy relationships and avoiding complacency is important for keeping our relationships thriving for years to come. Here are four ways to avoid complacency in our relationships:

Four Ways to Avoid Complacency

  1. Do Exciting Things – When couples incorporate exciting or new activities into their lives, it decreases relationship boredom (Aron, 2000). Do things together that you know excite you or try something completely new! Even if you’re reluctant at first, it could help you change things up.
  2. Compliment Your Partner – Look for things that your partner does that you admire. Notice the things that your partner does to make your household or relationship work and thank them for it. This will help build your partner up and help remind you what you love about them (Treleaven, 2018). 
  3. Play Together – Play can be anything that you enjoy doing from fishing, to board games, to running in the rain. Playing together can help you feel closer to your partner, communicate more effectively, and enjoy life more (Brown & Vaughan, 2009).

    4. Express Yourself – If something is frustrating you or hurting your feelings, it’s important to talk to your partner about it. Letting issues fester until they’re too big to face can create unsolvable problems. If a couple stops communicating concerns altogether it might indicate that they have given up on their relationship (Johnson et al, 2018).

Relationships are built on hundreds of small interactions every day and have an ebb and flow over time. It is normal for feelings and activities to change over time – we won’t always feel the same way about our partners or want to do the same things together, and vice versa. We should seek to feel comfortable in our long-term relationships but that does not mean we have to become complacent or bored. We can continue to put in the work to keep our relationships strong, healthy, and fun.

Additional Resources:

At- Home Exciting Activity Ideas

https://www.happilyeveradventures.com/at-home-date-night-ideas/

https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/32-stay-at-home-date-ideas-plus-links/

How to Express Yourself During Conflict

https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/