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How to disperse the fog of comfort.
June 23, 2012 8:04 PM   Subscribe

How do you fight the "fog of comfort" in a long term relationship?

My boyfriend (25) and I (27) have been together for about a year. We're not as awesome as we used to be.

All the focus on personal creative projects and improvement we had when we were single has been replaced with a love of sleeping in together and spending full weekends being lazy and going to gastro pubs with friends.

We both want to do better, go on more hikes and crazy adventures, and making things (individually and together), but his bed is just so comfortable.

How do you stay bright and sparkling and avoid taking your significant other for granted? How do you balance individual time and couple time when the latter is so delicious and seems in rare supply?

We both recognize the problem and that we're both complicit in the slide, so I'm looking for solutions that will involve both of us.

I have a hard time sacrificing my beau for the greater good. And he has a hard time sacrificing sleep for the greater experience.

Hope us? Specific guidelines and strategies appreciated.
posted by itesser to Human Relations (12 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, you're lucky to have that delicious couple time (remember how awful it was to be lonely), so don't feel bad about enjoying it. It feels so good to be lazy sometimes, and eventually you probably won't be able to have so much free time for laziness, so I'd just keep enjoying it. If you're not bored or discontented, then you've got a good thing going.

But maybe if you make more weekend plans and appointments with other people ahead of time, you'll be forced to leave the house. Like organize a hike with people from couchsurfing.com or something like that, and then you'll be forced to show up or else those poor travelers will get lost. Or sign up for rock climbing lessons on the weekend, and you'll be motivated to go because you paid for it. I find spending time with my partner in new and different places and doing different activities lets me see different sides of him and makes me even more attracted to him.
posted by costanza at 8:17 PM on June 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


This time will pass, trust me! Enjoy it!

OK, you will probably always have a few lazy weekends, but you'll stop doing NOTHING but this. Promise promise! I'm the laziest human ever, and I have my own projects after being with my husband for three years.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:30 PM on June 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


While I think there is a lot to be said for the cozy, comfy, leisurely couple time that you're describing (seriously, I think that's the best), I can understand why you'd want to shake things up a bit. So two suggestions:

1. Make plans separately for at least a few hours out of the week. If one of you is out of the house (pursuing a hobby you don't share or having some one-on-one time with a good friend), the other will be forced to find things to do. Also, it's nice for your friends to see you separately as well as a couple. Actually, if you do this twice a week, alternating which one of you is out of the house, each of you will have some important alone time to pursue any creative projects or just be by yourself while the other is out in the world.

2. As a couple, do at least one new thing a month. Maybe each of you can make a list of 12 new things you'd like to try and then compare lists. Prioritize any that you have in common, and make an effort to do them all.

Relax, have fun, and enjoy your time together, whether you are simply chilling out or having adventures!
posted by katemcd at 8:42 PM on June 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


No disrespect intended, but I'd like to ask why do you want to "go on more hikes and crazy adventures" together? Do you feel that those things are projects that you have to get done? Are those things on your personal bucket list or something?

Don't get me wrong -- I crave adventure and I'm a total daredevil whenever I'm in the presence of someone who is of the same mind. I love to get wild, but I would not expect my partner to go bungee jumping with me, for example, if I knew he had a fear of heights. I do that stuff with my other daredevil friends.

IMHO, you stay bright and sparkling in a relationship by getting your rocks off in the ways that make you exhilarated and happy. With or without each other. Then you share your experiences with your partner and revel in them --- whether your partner participated in them or not! It's unrealistic to expect that you'll both be passionate about the same things or enjoy the same activities together. Do what you love and tell him/her about it. S/he should do the same. That's what keeps a relationship fresh.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:38 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's early in the relationship and you are REALLY REALLY young right now. Glory in it. Roll yourself around in the deliciousness. You can hike when you're 35 and bored with weekends in bed (if you ever get there). You have a whole life ahead of you, why the rush? Things change. As you go along, things change, your needs and your wants change.

Also, you only do this kind of thing when you decide to go and do these things. No amount of 'my values' and 'what I want' makes up for 'this is how I do those things I value and want to do'.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:47 PM on June 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just a note: we don't live together. We tend to see each other once for a couple hours one weeknight plus most of the weekends.
posted by itesser at 9:49 PM on June 23, 2012


You word your question like there's something wrong with sleeping in on the weekends and being lazy. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you truly enjoy and want to do. Don't focus on "personal creative projects and improvement" out of obligation or some feeling that it's the right thing to do. Not to be flip, but a lot of youth is wasted on that. Just do what you want to do.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:58 PM on June 23, 2012 [14 favorites]


I actually agree with most everyone else: this time will pass, enjoy it. It's literally one of the most amazing possible things in life, and you sound really in love. You know all those movies about young couples in love during wartime before the man gets drafted? And the woman remembers everything in a warm sepia montage, sleeping in a field, him pushing her on a wooden swing, going to a crowded dance hall and spending most of the time staring into each others eyes? And now she's married to some schlup she met after her beau died of an infection from a shrapnel wound, and she's forever haunted and yet sustained by the sweet memories of doing absolutely nothing with her lover on an endless July afternoon? Yeah, you're young and awesome right now, so eventually you'll have that.

I've been dating my boyfriend for two years and we still want to lay around and feast on the neverending Pizza Ranch of each other's bodies, and sleep in our super comfortable beds, but we also don't live together and so we spend our time apart doing what we like to do. We're starting to get to the point now where we have a little more momentum to do actual activities together besides just mooning over each other and getting starry-eyed, but like, don't sell this time short, it's the foundation of an awesome productive (family?) life later. There are a lot of "plans" that he and I have yet to get around to, but I don't regret our neverending love-ins, like, at all. Sometimes I think we(? I don't know where you live) live in a weird society that values micromanagement over actual, sensuous living. You have a ton of time left, and your creative projects will be even better with really full experiences behind them.

For actual advice though: make a day-long plan for a weekend day that involves being out and about. My bf and I plan like, okay, go out for brunch, go for a walk, hit up museum/movie/theatre, get dinner, grab drinks, take the train home, sex, sleepy-sleep. The next morning we sleep in and dawdle about. We both love movies and theatre and the feeling of getting out and enjoying something together so that is sufficient motivation in itself. We also love good food and drinks. What do you guys genuinely love to do together? Think of it more as building your relationship and making good memories more than synchronized personal improvement, maybe. Because now that it's been two years, I'm still crazy in love, but I also remember the urge to write a poem, or listen to an album by myself, or go for a walk through a new neighborhood, otherwise work on personal things that I once felt before I met someone amazing. Good luck!
posted by stoneandstar at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Creating your life together is a worthwhile project, too. And as many others have said, this phase doesn't last forever.

The trick to long term love, in my experience, is finding a way to designate time for your own creative endeavors. Designate some time when you work on your own creative pursuits. But don't de-emphasize the time you're investing in the love you share now. That's a creative activity win a huge return on investment.
posted by SakuraK at 12:40 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you do on the other 4 weeknights? That's plenty of time to be getting at least some pogresson personal projects and making things done.
posted by jacalata at 2:10 AM on June 24, 2012


Split your weekend. On Saturdays, I'm usually productive and doing fun or personally enriching things. I bounce out of bed to play basketball at the same time I normally wake up, then we do our errands, then we do whatever fun stuff we feel like doing. Sunday is my rest day, both from my workouts and generally speaking. On Sunday, we sleep late and laze around and don't do much of anything if we can avoid it, unless it's something really fun.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:38 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are clearly confused about what the purpose of life is. Life is there in order to lay in bed with your partner. That is the essence. The other stuff is bullshit we do in order to have time in bed with a partner. Seriously. You're doing it right already. Stop feeling guilty about it.

Oh, also, you should consider moving in together, so you can spend more time, not less, in bed together. Perhaps then you can make better choices about which times are spent in bed together. Maybe that's the problem that needs solving.
posted by Goofyy at 6:56 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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