Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

September 26, 2012

Watching your favorite programs together may be killing your relationship

You know the classic story: Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy. Several years later girl gets bored with boy, boy gets bored with girl. Both of them call it quits.

This particular scenario happens a lot, and many times couples aren’t able to see boredom creeping toward their union -- which, if you let it, can snuff out any good relationship.

Usually when a couple first gets together, it’s all sunshine and rainbows and each day is filled with romantic hand-holding, while strolling together through a varied amount of activities and new adventures.

It's usually because one partner dabbles in the hobby of the other, and before you know it, both of you have a relationship filled with new activities and fresh experiences -- all while the both of you are hovering on cloud 10 in your newfound life together.

Then routine sets in and before you know it every night is filled with nights on the couch, feet on the ottoman, watching Jay Leno belt out yet another corny joke about a politician or the day’s events.

As deadly as infidelity

Well, according to two separate studies this particular kind of lifestyle can be as deadly to a relationship as infidelity. In fact, this type of daily routine can easily lead one to infidelity, researchers say.

The relationship and intimacy experts at Good in Bed, a company that conducts surveys among married and single couples, shows that 24 percent of people said they cheated on their mate simply because they were bored.

“Boredom is basically like an attack on our relationship’s immunity system -- once weakened we’re all the more susceptible to a cascade of ailments,” said relationship expert Ian Kerner.

After surveying 3,341 people in monogamous relationships, researchers found boredom crept in at different times and in many different ways.

According to the study results, 15.6 percent of couples said that once they went from dating to moving in together, relationship boredom soon followed. It was also revealed that 32.2 percent of couples said that once kids came into the fray much of the excitement between them and their partner diminished.

The study also showed that 13.8 percent of couples said boredom set in once they got married. Other reasons for boredom, according to the survey, were pregnancy (8 percent) and getting older (38.5 percent).

Sense of individuality

Relationship experts at Good in Bed suggest that couples have to maintain a strong sense of individuality in order to keep the relationship fresh. Many times all of the things that make us initially attracted to the other, like our hobbies and interests, get sucked into the relationship to the point of non-distinction.

This is a crucial error, according to relationship experts, as boredom is more likely to set in if each person in the relationship doesn’t make an effort to grow individually.

The folks at Good in Bed also say to find new things to discuss. For couples that have been together for a long period of time, it can be easy to run out of things to talk about.

Experts also say that just having the obligatory “how was your day” conversation can easily lead to boredom, and can eventually cause a feeling of indifference to how your partner’s day really went.

If you don’t continually add new shared hobbies, and try to learn new things together, say the Good in Bed experts, it can lead to depression and even infidelity.

Go easy on the TV

A separate study published in the September edition of Mass Communication and Society shows that couples who are heavy TV watchers are in danger of harming their relationship.

After researchers examined 390 married couples it was learned that not only does frequent TV watching increase boredom and make it easier for routine to set in, some of the shows that have romantic themes can slowly cause a person to have unrealistic expectations about their relationship.

Also, researchers found that couples making television their daily form of entertainment can slowly start to believe in the phony romantic portrayals, and start to compare their relationship with those on TV. This can mean doom for any couple, say the researchers.

“In this study I found that people who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive,” said Dr. Jeremy Osborn, who is the author of the study.

“We live in a society that perpetually immerses itself in media images from both TV and the web, but most people have no sense of the ways those images are impacting them. The rate of marriage failure in the U.S. is not dropping, and it is important for people to have a sense of what factors are leading to the failure of so many relationships," he said.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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