One analogy I tend to come back to when working with my couples is to think of your relationship as a garden. If you stop watering your garden, over time the flowers begin to die. Relationships operate very similarly: if you stop giving your relationship the love, time, care, and effort that it needs, it too will die. I like that analogy because so many people think of a relationship as a destination. Once you have it, you can begin slacking a bit or not having to try quite as hard. Lack of consistency can lead to commitment, trust, communication, and/or intimacy issues. Once those feelings and patterns begin to get entrenched, over time, they can transpire into a roomieship.
Here are 5 tell-tale signs that your relationship with your partner has fizzled into a roomieship:
- Running out of things to talk about. As we have heard before, communication is the key to any healthy relationship. So what happens when that begins to fade? Well, you’ll probably begin to feel rather bored in your relationship, but even more so, disconnected from your partner. In this case, conversation may begin feeling more forced rather than natural. Conversation may be solely logistical based and centered around kids, bills, etc. In a happy relationship, there is no pressure to come up with something to say, and there is a healthy balance between discussions on what needs to be done and openly sharing with one another.
- Date nights are non-existent. For starters, if you cannot even recall the last time the two of you went out as a couple and spent quality time together, that is an indicator that something needs to change. This is usually the point when couples come back with their defense statement of “We just don’t have time” or “We’re so busy.” Now, I’m definitely not saying it’s easy to find a balance in managing all of their responsibilities. However, it is important to look back on the beginning stages of your relationship when your feelings first began to grow through having alone time and connecting while learning more about one another. It is crucial to continue having those special moments to keep the spark alive and to have fun (fun that is not centered on the kids).
- Sex has begun to feel more like a chore. Has the passion in the bedroom plummeted? Are you having sex just to appease your partner or out of obligation to the relationship? If the answer is yes to any of these, you and your partner are struggling to experience closeness with one another. This is different than just not being “in the mood” here and there or in the case of there being contributing physical/mental health factors affecting the sexual relationship. A couple’s therapist can help assess and work through what has led to the deterioration of closeness (lack of trust, poor communication, not feeling heard, etc.) to start rekindling the spark between the two of you.
- Priorities are elsewhere. Are you no longer making time for one another? Have you found that work or socializing with friends seems to be more important now? Only focused on the kids and not your marriage? If you answered yes to any of these, your relationship is headed into the “roommate” territory if it has not already. Failure to put time and effort into your relationship while making time for everyone else in your life signals to your partner that you don’t care. It’s absolutely critical to get down to the root of what has led to this priority shift in order to start reconnecting with one another again.
- Not sleeping in the same bed anymore. There are various reasons that can lead to couples sleeping separately, such as; one partner is sleeping with a young child, different sleep schedules due to work, snoring is too loud, etc. Although I do believe adjustments can be made in these scenarios, there are other instances in which one or both partners have begun to feel disconnected from their partner and choose to sleep separately. Sleeping with your partner embodies a sense of vulnerability, trust, and safety. If you do not feel comfortable sleeping next to your partner, take a look at how secure you feel within the relationship.
If you or you and your partner are looking for more support and tools to start rebuilding your connection, you can see a therapist like me who specializes in helping couples reignite that spark. Please contact me at 312.219.5721 or fill out the contact form on our contact page.
Hollie Schmid, MS, ALMFT