Sometimes, it just takes one sentence to make you worry you’re inadequate.
After you’ve been with someone long enough, your relationship gets settled. It becomes comfortable, predictable, and reassuring.
You’ll probably find yourself thinking everything is completely peachy. Then one day, you’ll get that little piece of feedback that throws everything into disarray.
Your partner, looking a little frustrated, says they wish the relationship was more spontaneous. Or maybe they’ll gently point the finger at you and complain that you’re not spontaneous enough.
That might be all it takes to throw you into an internal crisis. Everything was great, just like you wanted it to be. You were enjoying everything you’ve built together and now it sounds like your partner wants to tear that life up and turn it upside down.
Coffee at the breakfast table in the morning. Cuddling on the couch in the evening. The kiss goodnight before turning off the bedside lamp and going to sleep. All of a sudden, it seems like it’s not good enough anymore.
The relationship you love and cherish apparently bores them and now you feel inadequate and completely confused about what to even do about it.
The good news is that the crisis is probably all in your head. You can breathe easy because there’s a good chance your partner isn’t really saying what you think they’re saying.
When people complain that their relationship isn’t spontaneous anymore, it’s not really because they’re bored of you or bored of the intimacy you have. And they’re not asking you for anything huge or dramatic, either.
What they want is simple and easy to accomplish. And even though you don’t realize it yet, that extra spontaneity is probably something you want, too.
What Wanting a More Spontaneous Relationship Really Means
When your partner wants more spontaneity, it’s not because they’re bored with your relationship. It’s because they’re not getting the kind of thoughtfulness or genuine appreciation they need out of it.
When you’re in a settled relationship, the big risk is getting into a routine that turns into a rut.
Predictability is a good thing, but too much of it can cause some problems.
Even the ways you show love for each other can get a little routine. The quick “I love you” before heading off to work. Making them coffee just the way they like it every morning. The sex you put on the calendar every Wednesday evening to make sure you keep making time for each other. Those are all sweet and appreciated — but after a while they lose their punch.
Those routines turn into ruts when it starts to feel like you’re just going through the motions. It no longer comes across like you’re expressing a genuine sentiment — not a strong, powerful one, anyway.
That’s where spontaneity comes in. Doing something spontaneous is all about bringing the punch back.
When you do something spontaneous, you’re stepping outside your routine just enough to surprise your partner. But it’s not really about the surprise itself — it’s about what it means.
Doing something a little unexpected shows that your feelings for them are alive and well. They’re little reminders that you’re not in the relationship because you’re carried by the momentum of your lives. You’re in it because you continue to choose them every day.
It shows that you’re still willing to put work into the relationship. That you’re not just giving up on it or on them.
Being spontaneous is a way to make your partner feel loved — like, really loved. Loved in a way that hasn’t grown stale.
When they complain about missing the spontaneity, that’s what’s at the bottom of it. They miss those clear signs that you don’t take them for granted, that you think about them even when you don’t have to, and that you still love them in an active way.
Spontaneity Is Simple
The other reason people get nervous when their partner brings up spontaneity is that we tend to equate it with grand gestures.
When you think of spontaneous gestures, there’s a good chance that something big comes to mind. Maybe an elaborate (and probably expensive) proposal. Or a surprise trip overseas. Or fucking off somewhere secluded, throwing all your responsibilities out the window, and spending a whole week in a hot tub enjoying each other over twin glasses of champagne.
But spontaneous gestures don’t have to be big or flashy to be effective. They just have to involve some thought and a bit of effort.
For the most part, it’s the little things that keep a relationship healthy and happy. And this is no different.
There are a few examples from my own marriage that come to mind, and none of them were difficult to pull off.
One evening, I was gearing up for the usual routine of putting the kids to bed and then cuddling with my husband while we watched a TV show or some YouTube videos. Instead, he walked into the room holding a cloth bag that contained our new plan for the evening: sparkling drinks and Monopoly.
Another evening, I walked into the bedroom and was caught off guard because he had set it all up for a long, sensual massage. Candles along the dresser, massage oils ready at hand, and the bed set up just right for me to relax and enjoy a long, slow rub down.
In our relationship, I’m the chasee. That means he tends to be the one who does the seducing and I tend to be the one who gets seduced. That’s our sexual dynamic, but once in a while I’ll switch things up by making bolder moves to initiate sex. I’ll send him a flirty text and wait for him in bed, already half-undressed or dolled up in a cute costume.
It’s the thoughtful stuff, too. Like when I handle bedtime for all four of our kids by myself when he’s too busy. Or that time he ordered a cake ahead of time so it would arrive on our doorstep right in the middle of my PMDD hell week.
(Come to think of it, I might insist on making that one a monthly routine.)
It’s those kinds of simple things that make a relationship more spontaneous. You don’t need to coordinate a hundred details or spend some of your savings to make them happen. It’s enough to make an extra stop on the way home to surprise them with flowers, or to treat them to their favorite chocolate when they’re having a rough day, or throw an impromptu date night at home for the two of you.
Bend the Routine Once in a While
Your long-term relationship should be a source of comfort and security. All the healthy ones are.
But it should still have room for surprises.
Being spontaneous makes your partner feel appreciated. It shows that you can still feel excited about them and that they can still inspire passion in you.
It also keeps all the days from blending together. Because as much as you enjoy not having to watch TV by yourself and as comforting as your routine can be, those aren’t the things that you’ll remember most vividly. They’re not the ones that will really put a smile on your face.
It’s the things that catch you off guard, the unexpected surprises, and the spontaneous gestures that will stand out — even if it’s just a round of Monopoly in bed.
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