Breaking Out of the Relationship Rut

Do you know everything about your beloved's family, childhood, work experiences and quirks? Have you two talked about everything from Duran Duran to the war on terrorism? Do you go to the same places, with the same people, and have sex the same old way? If you've answered yes to these questions, you may be stuck in a relationship rut. Developing a routine with a partner can be comforting at first. But if the routine lasts too long, your relationship may be headed for the guillotine. Here's how to put some variety back in your love affair.

Talk: You probably think you and your lover already talk. But we'll bet that if you take a closer look, you'll find that this isn't true. How many hours are filled with silence? How many hours do you spend watching television? (Commenting on Jennifer Aniston's hair doesn't count as true communication.) Ask your lover open-ended questions. Instead of "Did you have a good day?" ask "What happened today?" Don't talk while the television is on or you're staring at the computer. Such distractions can be conversation killers.

Eat together: Remember what your momma used to say - "the family that plays together stays together." Make sure you and your partner eat dinner together one night per week. Schedule it, as you would any important meeting. Again, don't eat in front of the television.

Break your sex routine: Partners who've been together long enough to know what works tend to stick with just what works. But new positions, new sex toys and finding new body parts to tickle will probably work too. If you normally have sex in bed, stay away from the mattress. Who told you that was the only place you could have sex?

Go new places: Another thing your momma may have told you - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But a key way to break out of a relationship rut is to leave your favorite places behind and try new bars, new restaurants and new activities. Nothing will make you love your partner anew quite as much as watching him or her in a batting cage for the first time. If you are unemployed, don't think saving money means you have to stay inside. Last time we checked, parks were still free to walk in, and most museums allowed people in for free one day per week.

Here's something your momma may not have told you but should have: Don't throw away the best thing you have, just because you've looked at it too many times.

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