If you're feeling like your relationship is growing dull, you're not alone.
A national report, "The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America," commissioned by eHarmony and conducted by Harris Interactive, suggests that at least 19 percent of people are unhappy in their relationships to some degree. Previous research reports the marital happiness is on a downward trend, too. A study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center in 2014 revealed that the more people are unhappy in their marriages than ever before. In fact, journalist and co-author of The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, Vicki Larson, sites that six of every 10 people in couples are unhappily together, and four out of 10 have considered leaving their partner.
But, before you break up, consider these seven red flags that may be causing tension — and some ways you might be able to revive your lackluster relationship.
Find a good (or better) job. According to The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America, happiness is greater among those who are employed and those who consider themselves to be the main household breadwinner. Likewise, the study suggests that household income and relationship happiness have a direct correlation, with the happiest couples earning over $200K yearly. If you (and your partner) feel comfortable and stable in your career, therefore, you may find that it positively impacts your relationship.
Move to a city. According to the same aforementioned research, people living in cities tend to be happier in their relationships. Perhaps because, beyond increased work opportunities, there's a lot more to do both together and solo, socially.
Do your own thing once in a while — and celebrate each other for those things. A wealth of research suggests that taking time to spend time with you is healthy and can lead to increased happiness. This might mean taking more time to work out on your own, practicing self-care like going to the spa or reading, taking time to work on your passion projects, etc. And when your partner does things on their own — and does well in those things — celebrate them. A study in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that, when couples celebrate their partner's accomplishments as if they were their own, they find themselves more satisfied in their relationships.
Spend more time doing activities that you both enjoy together. The benefits of quality time are insurmountable. Carve out time in your week to do the things you both love together — whether that be cooking dinner or eating out, going to the movies or talks in which you're both interested, going out dancing or hitting the farmer's market.
Talk more in person. A study from Brigham Young University suggests that couples who argue, apologize or attempt to make decisions over text are less happy in their relationships. As such, couples who communicate in person more tend to be happier.
Hang out with mutual friends. A 2013 Facebook report that analyzed 1.3M users found that couples with overlapping social networks tend to be less likely to break up. Spend more time hanging out with your mutual friends, then, going to social outings on the weekends or hosting dinner potlucks during the week.
Have more sex. Upping your sexual activity from once a month to once a week can make you as happy as if you made an extra $50,000 a year, according to a 2004 study, "Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study." And the good news is that, according to the marriage statistics in a Reader's Digest survey, 57 percent of those in unhappy relationships still find their partners "extremely attractive," making increased sexual encounters easier.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.