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Complacent in a Relationship (21 Ways to Avoid Becoming Complacent in a Relationship)

Last updated on September 12, 2022 by Kelsey Willows

Naturally, as you become more comfortable, you settle and can become complacent in a relationship. The warning signs of this happening can be when physical intimacy becomes pretty much non-existent, you stop caring about your physical appearance, you stop enjoying the time you spend with your partner, and you find yourself struggling to keep your relationship afloat. 

This is something I like to call ‘relationship boredom’. You aren’t necessarily unhappy, you’re simply bored, and begin to fantasize about others and start thinking about the what ifs. What if I could be happier with someone else? What if there was someone out there who ticks every single box? 

There are many ways to avoid becoming complacent in a relationship. Sometimes we just need to know how to spice things up again!

21 Ways to Avoid Relationship Complacency

1. Evaluate.

First of all, you need to establish the problem. You may think that one or both partners are lacking effort and sexual desire, and maybe you’ve simply stopped paying attention to one another. But what is the real issue here? Is it actually relationship complacency or are personal issues getting in the way of your affection towards one another instead?

To put it simply, complacency is where you find yourself neglecting your relationship, not because of anything particularly negative, but because you feel so safe with your partner. Is this what’s happening here, or do you need to talk to your partner about where your relationship really is heading?

If you can both see what the unresolved issues are and you are both willing to work towards this reconnection in your relationship, then you’re already in a great position; because you’ve already acknowledged the problem and communicated how to make things better!

2. Learn to appreciate your partner.

There’s no better way to rekindle your connection with your partner, than to remind yourselves of why you love them in the first place. Start thinking about all the things you appreciate about your significant other. Especially the things you tend to forget. 

When you lack this appreciation, both partners can feel what is missing and it can create animosity in a relationship. 

3. Compliment one another.

What’s the point in learning how to appreciate your partner if you aren’t communicating it to them all the time? This is one of the best ways to tell if your relationship has become complacent and is a prime example of taking your partner for granted. When you compliment your partner, it makes them feel loved, confident, and most importantly, it makes them feel seen.

Woman whispering to her boyfriend

4. Imagine your life without them.

This is an effective way to remind both partners of what they have. Complacency in a relationship stems from security, so take the time to feel insecure for a second. Give yourself an opportunity to imagine yourself without them, this will help when combating complacency as it gives you a reason to not take your partner for granted. 

5. Communicate.

Communication is key in any relationship. Learn how to talk to your partner, to criticize, to romanticize even, and in turn, learn how to argue! It sounds silly to say, but couples are going to argue no matter what, and it would be wrong to say you should stop fighting. Every couple experiences disagreements. What counts is how you work through them. 

Be honest and vocal about your thoughts and allow your partner the time to be vocal as well. Communication works both ways. It’s crucial to feel heard by your partner, no matter how large or small the issue is.

Complacency in a relationship will be hard to combat if you struggle to get through any issues you may have. If you feel as though you are struggling to express yourself in a calm manner, take the time you need to re-evaluate, communicate this need to your partner and come back to the conversation feeling much calmer and prepared.

6. Have time apart.

Spending too much time together can have a negative impact on your relationship. Sometimes, when you miss your partner it can bring you closer together. Take a trip with the girls, or even a solo trip! And when you get home to your loved one your time together will be all the more special for it. 

If you find yourself going through a rough patch this is also a great way to refresh and evaluate. Not only for the benefit of your relationship but for yourself. 

7. Break up your routine.

Something as simple as doing your partner's chores for them or breaking away from bad habits can help in relationships experiencing complacency. There is a thin line between making an effort, and simply taking over, but it’s the simple acts recognized and appreciated by your partner that count.

8. Make time for your sex life!

I would argue that this is the most crucial part of avoiding complacency, especially in long-term relationships. 

It’s difficult trying to juggle a busy schedule, work, and kids without having to think about when you can get physical with your partner. But finding alone time with your partner will make a big difference when trying to combat relationship complacency. 

Many people assume that planning sex takes away the fun. However, when planning sex you can build up excitement around getting physical. You can send flirty texts or even images to get your partner in the mood if they’re having a bad day at work. 

It gives you both something to look forward to, and good sex can turn a bad day into a great day! This will help with both physical and emotional complacency; sex can bring a couple closer and encourage communication that you may feel you’re lacking.

9. Introduce toys to the bedroom. 

If finding time for sex isn’t your problem, and it’s simply that you feel as though your sex life is becoming repetitive, there’s a vast array of sex toys out there. 

This is also a great way of reconnecting with your partner. Take the time to find out what they enjoy and communicate what you enjoy on the receiving end. Small efforts count for everything, if you are willing to listen to the needs of your partner, you’re on the right track to combating complacency.

10. Get intimate outside of the bedroom.

To help with the connection in your relationship, try getting intimate outside of the bedroom. Whether it’s sending a spicy text or photo, or even being physically intimate in a location that isn’t your bed.

This will help your romantic relationship to flourish and is a great way to avoid complacency in a relationship. Again, it helps build excitement for when you finally get to have some alone time together, but mainly it helps to ignite the spark.

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11. Role play.

If boredom is something that is the main cause of your relationship complacency, and if you’re really looking to shake things up, role play is a great opportunity to try something new. You can explore your and your partner's desires, and experience and enjoy your fantasies, and it adds excitement to your alone time. 

Healthy relationships aren’t afraid of trying new things. It helps to build your and your partner's confidence, encourages communication, and adds a bit of fun!

12. Plan a weekly date night.

It’s hard to fit date nights around busy schedules, especially if you have kids! So try to commit to one night a week, or even fortnightly if that's more achievable. If you are stuck in a boring routine, agreeing to a set a night a week helps you find time for one another and helps when avoiding complacency. 

Whether it’s a weekend or even a random Tuesday after work, arrange a babysitter and plan something crazy! Or don’t! Plan something really simple. Whatever gets the sparks flying. You can try a new restaurant every week or drive somewhere with a nice view, blasting music. 

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Arrange these weekly dates, take turns deciding on the activity and the budget. 

Many couples in healthy relationships commit to scheduled time together as it helps to combat complacency, it keeps the marriage or relationship interesting, and allows both partners the time to remind themselves why they fell in love in the first place. 

13. Celebrate your relationship.

It’s so important to make sure that you celebrate your partner and your lives together. Avoid missing special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions. This is key when making memories with your partner and it allows you to look back on your relationship in a positive light.

Whether you have a strong social life or not, celebrate your relationship with others! A great way of breaking away from complacent tendencies is to flaunt your relationship in front of others. Not with the goal in mind to seek validation, but to reinforce the idea of why you and your partner are so in love. In reminding others, you’re also reminding yourselves.

A man holding a rose and a woman in bed

14. Make an effort in your appearance.

As we settle, we begin to care less about our appearance. You may begin to think ‘Who am I trying to impress?’ when actually, why would you not want to impress your partner? This is a major warning sign of complacent behavior. 

The simple truth is, if you want your partner to continue to fancy you, you sometimes have to give them a reason to! Appearance should never be the most important factor in a relationship, but it definitely helps when encouraging lust and desire. 

15. Book time off to spend with your partner.

Ultimate relationship goals are ones where you choose to make time for each other. Book a week off work, forget about all your troubles, and just bask yourselves in each other's love and affection. This will naturally lower stress, which will factor in when experiencing complacent behavior in your relationship. 

16. Go on vacation.

On the back of booking time off work, book a trip with your loved one! Be spontaneous. If you go to the same destination every year, try to mix it up. Money doesn’t always have to impact this. There are many ways of traveling on a budget, do your research and do it together; get excited about all this.

If you feel as though your relationship has become boring and complacency has taken over, this is an easy fix. And everyone loves resting, it’s a great way to de-stress, refresh and rekindle your connection.

17. Make something ‘normal’ fun.

This can be something as simple as cooking together. Try to bring some fun into a bit of normality. This is also a great opportunity when you’re trying to do nice things together without spending money.

Put some music on, have a dance in the kitchen, and treat yourselves to a glass of wine. This will give you both something to look forward to and may even encourage physical intimacy. Most feel sexual when they feel happy, and take advantage of this piece of wisdom.

18. Learn something new together.

A great way to add something different to your relationship is to start a new hobby together. This can be whatever is best suited to your relationship, it might even be something as simple as going to the gym together or something completely new like pottery making.

Be mindful and celebratory of your partner's progress, and in turn celebrate your own success! 

19. Document your love.

Having something to look back on in your relationship is a great way to build a connection. Looking over memories or documents can be enjoyable either way, but if this is something that you’ve created together, it will be all the more special. This can be something like a scrapbook, a photo album, or a journal that you keep together.

If you feel complacent in your relationship, a great way to get out of this is to look back at better times; a time where you were both happy. This will encourage you to do more of that in the present.

Couples imagining their home

20. Gifts.

Giving and receiving gifts is very important to many people generally, but, above all, in a relationship or marriage. This is a simple way to show appreciation when combating complacency. Gift giving can be emotional, and it can also be fun! 

Gifts don’t have to be expensive; they just have to be thoughtful. Something your partner has wanted for a very long time, or something that will simply put a smile on their face. We tend to expect gifts on special occasions so try to surprise your partner instead, it's the little things that count when working on a relationship.

21. Plan your future together.

Talk about where your relationship is heading with your partner. No matter how long you have been together. If you aren’t married, talk about ring ideas and how you could imagine your wedding. If you are already married, talk about where you see yourselves and your relationship in the next 5 or even 10 years.

Nothing screams love, and a non-complacent relationship like a couple who constantly seeks progression within their relationship or marriage. 

FAQs

How do you fix complacency in a relationship?

The first step to fixing complacency is to start a new routine. Acknowledge that you and your partner must make a change and begin to take action on these changes for the better. 

The ultimate way of fixing complacency is by spending time together, and more importantly, making time for one another! It’s so important that both you and your partner feel seen and heard from the other and this cannot be achieved without both partners agreeing to make the effort.

What are the signs of complacency?

The major signs of complacency stem from a lack of effort made and can usually be seen when the honeymoon period ends. This can be something as simple as the effort you put into your appearance or choosing to not have quality time with your partner when given an opportunity. 

A lack of sexual intimacy is a sign that affects many relationships. When you settle with your partner you become comfortable, and in reducing the efforts made within your relationship you naturally decline in sexual activity. It’s something that is caused by both the lack of energy and effort and is usually influenced by high-stress levels or simply tiredness. 

Before starting to battle complacency, you must evaluate what the actual issues are and communicate this with your partner before agreeing to work on this.

What causes complacency in relationships?

Complacency is usually caused by comfort. When people feel secure within their relationship, their romantic efforts slowly decline until somebody feels unappreciated and neglected even. 

A key phrase when understanding complacency is to “take your loved one for granted”; it’s this feeling that can then encourage negativity within a relationship as some partners can begin to seek appreciation, desire, and even love elsewhere, just like the seven-year itch.

Does complacent mean lazy?

Complacent doesn’t necessarily mean lazy. Many would argue that complacency and laziness are two entirely different problems, though similar in diction. Laziness would more refer to a scenario where partners simply no longer care about the special moments of the relationship. Complacency, on the other hand, means that the partners are so secure they no longer deem it necessary to put in the extra effort.

Is it wrong to be complacent?

Being complacent isn’t always a bad thing. It means that we feel so secure in a relationship we think we don’t need to try any harder. Sometimes, you don’t. But where’s the harm in making the extra effort for our significant other? Little things can encourage lust and desire, helping you and your partner to regain that connection you once felt so strongly.

To Conclude

If you can feel yourself or your partner becoming complacent, take some time to think about how to resolve this together. Every couple is different, with different love languages and gestures. Use this list to help guide you and your partner when making changes for the better.

Did you enjoy reading through this list? Then feel free to comment below and share this with those who will benefit from it. Best of luck in your relationship journey!

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Kelsey Willows
As a woman in our world, I’ve dreamed of becoming a writer to essentially help women! I think it’s important to normalize topics that are considered taboo, especially within relationships and sex! I have always been a shoulder to cry on, whether that’s to a close friend or even to a woman scorned in the bathroom of a nightclub! I give balanced advice, and encourage those to look at a situation from several points of view. I recently graduated from Salford University in England where I wrote my final dissertation on gender representations in adaptations of pride and prejudice for film and TV, and alongside this have been writing a novel. Again, normalizing the want for pleasure as a woman, and the need of a healthy relationship.

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