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This Will Get You Through The “Ho-Hum Seasons” In Your Relationship

What should you do when things aren't super good or bad in your relationship?

Love & Relationships

Here's my heads up—I don't know if what I'm about to say is technically classified as an unpopular opinion or not, but since the actor who actually played this character even said she got on her last nerve (at times), I'm gonna go for it. Carrie Bradshaw (you know, from Sex & the City) really bugged and still bugs me. She was neurotic. Bratty. Couldn't receive criticism. Sulked a lot. She treated Aiden like crap. Her style was fly but yeah ugh…just ugh (oh, as far as Sarah Jessica's co-sign, check out "Sarah Jessica Parker Just Threw Some Serious Shade at Carrie Bradshaw").

And what does this even remotely have to do with the title of this piece? Let's revisit that Aiden point for just a moment, shall we? Some of y'all may remember the "Drama Queens" episode when things were going so well with Aiden that Carrie created drama, just to bring some so-called "spice" into the relationship. This. Girl. Right. Here.

So, before diving deeper into all of this, let me just say that if you're someone who is used to having drama in your own relationship, you might want to track that episode down, just to be sure that your relationship isn't going through a blasé moment so much as you aren't used to something that is healthy, stable and sane. On the other hand, if you're sure that you are not a drama queen, and it really is that your relationship has plateaued and you're not sure what to do about it, first know that it happens to even the best of couples. And then, share this with your partner so that you can get through the ho-hum-yawn season that you're in—together.

Ask Yourself: Is It Due to Boredom, a Lack of Passion or Unadulterated Disinterest?

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Stuck in a rut. That's another way to describe what a ho-hum season in a relationship feels like. That's not uncommon; it happens. But if you feel like it's been this way for a while now and it's low-key starting to freak you out, ask yourself what has you feeling that way. Are you bored? If so, when's the last time that you and yours have tried something new? Has the passion died down? If that's the case, although National Sex Day was in June, you can still click here for some ways to get the fire back. Maybe it's simply a lack of interest. If that's the issue, it's time to spend some time together and maybe go on some love-language-based dates so that you can do a little emotional reconnecting.

A lot of times, when a relationship has plateaued, the way to remedy that is to figure out when it started and why. Once you have those answers, it can be so much easier to get out of the rut; before it starts feeling like the two of you are in a ditch.

Then Ask Yourself: Are You a Thrill-Seeker or Can You Enjoy “Relationally-Still Moments”?

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Senior couples tell me often that a sign of true intimacy is when two people don't feel like they have to entertain each other all of the time. They can sit in silence with one another and be perfectly fine with that. (Ladies, this means that our man can be quiet for an hour without us asking, "So, what are you thinking about?")

Some of us are such adrenaline junkies that we confuse our relationship feeling like it's stuck with our personalities being on-10 ninety percent of the time. If you and yours are able to chill on the coach without a lot of dialogue or ride in the car without having to have constant chatter going on, that doesn't automatically or necessarily mean that something is wrong. It actually could be an indication that things are going oh-so-right. That there is peace between you. And peace is always a good thing.

Make Sure You Don’t Manufacture Problems

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Guy friends are gems. They have a way of breaking things down without sugar-coating or beating around the bush. Whenever I go to my male friends for their insights on how women can make the quality of their relationships better, it never goes without saying. They will say something along the lines of, "Stop making a problem where there isn't one."

If you're emotionally yawning a lot, that doesn't necessarily mean that your partner isn't being proactive or romantic enough; it could just mean that it's time to do step outside of the box (and maybe you should be the one to initiate doing so). If the sex isn't as hot as it used to be, don't jump to conclusions that you both are no longer attracted to one another; it could just mean that you need to book a hotel room or try some new positions to bring more spice into the situation. If there's not a ton of dialogue happening, don't assume that he's more interested in someone else. Also, don't go lurking around to prove your point. Breaks in communication ain't always a bad thing; especially if you know how to be secure in it.

Far too many people end up going from a ho-hum season to a full-on break-up, and it's all due to not knowing how to mentally chill out during those kinds of times. I've done enough counseling to assure you that it's more women than men who create drama out of nothing during a ho-hum season, simply because they don't know how to be emotionally and relationally still. Perhaps this ho-hum season is so you can master that. Everything has a purpose.

Keep Your Boundaries with “Others” Firm

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Most of us have heard of the 80/20 rule before. It's about accepting the fact that you're probably only going to get 80 percent (max) out of what you want in the person you're seeing. During the good times, that's fine. But when you're going through a ho-hum season and you're looking for some excitement or more passion than what you are getting, that 20 percent that your partner doesn't have to offer can start looking really, really good. And desirable.

A part of the reason why affairs begin is because, as I once heard a person say, "secrets are seductive". It can be intriguing, fun even, to sneak around. But should you ever get found out (which is more likely than not), you may end up with more than you bargained for. Plus, "the 20 percent person" can start to get old after a while if that's literally all that they have to offer.

So yeah, although it might be tempting to venture out and try something new, if there is ever a time to withstand temptation and keep your boundaries clear and firm, this season would be it. If you know that, deep down, you want to keep your relationship intact, anyway.

Be Intentional About Intimacy

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Something that you have to be really careful about during a ho-hum season is that you don't pull away from your partner. Instead, move in. You can do that by focusing on how to cultivate intimacy. I don't (just) mean sex. I mean making sure that you both still feel connected, on some level, even if it's not super-intense at the moment.

You can do this by inquiring about the worlds you both have that don't include each other (like work), planning dates that you know your partner will like and doing sweet-yet-simple stuff like holding hands and taking a walk around the neighborhood after dinner.

If you've got loved ones who've been married for over a decade, they're gonna tell you that if you are serious about going the long haul, you are going to have quite a few ho-hum seasons to get through. The key is to not start worrying but instead, remind one another that you're not going anywhere; that the intimacy may not be smoldering at the moment, but the fire isn't completely out either.

Know this Season Is Just a Season

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The same guy who wrote the bookThe Five Love Languages has some other reads that are really good. If you are married or plan on getting married, one that I recommend isThe Four Seasons of Marriage. In a nutshell, it compares the marriage union to nature and its seasons—spring, summer, autumn and winter. It talks about the purpose that each season serves and how to handle your relationship throughout each one of them.

It's a great reminder that everything has its season and that seasons do indeed pass. This not-so-thrilling time in your relationship is no exception. Sit tight. It will pass too.

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

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A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

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A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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