“Who is this person in my house? It’s not the person who I married!”
If you’ve been married for any length of time, you have thought this. You’ve looked around and wondered how you and your spouse became so disconnected. They feel like a comfortable sweatshirt and a complete stranger at the same time.
One of the most common ways that couples get out of sync is when they fall into Roommate Syndrome. That is when life becomes routine in a way that feels comfortable, but also boring. The relationship becomes so routine that it loses its excitement. It happens when you stop investing in your relationship. You are busy with other things, you stop prioritizing one another, or you lose respect for one another.
- You take each other for granted.
- Sex is routine or infrequent.
- You assume you know what each other means.
- Although you spend time together, you spend little time interacting.
- Your interactions feel stale.
- You bicker like children.
- You feel lonely even when your spouse is around.
- You spend more time texting friends than interacting with your spouse. It’s easier to scroll social media than think of something to say to one another.
- You are good partners in parenting or running a household, but that’s all there is.
If any of these have persisted for a few months, it’s time to examine what’s going on. If you are experiencing 3 of these symptoms, it’s time to make some changes in the relationship.
When you got married, you worked to live peacefully together. You had to negotiate everything from how you leave the bathroom to how you sleep next to one another. It might have been easy to adjust to living together, or you may have had epic battles.
Living peacefully together is an important part of marriage.
But living together shouldn’t feel the same as living with a good friend. Your spouse should be a good friend, but there needs to be things that separate a friendship from a marriage.
1. You share intimate affection.
2. You know each other well and can anticipate each other’s thoughts.
3. You can talk about deep and vulnerable topics.
4, You work together on goals where you either sink or swim together.
5. You are accountable to one another.
6. You might give each other space, but still feel connected during the separation.
7. You are intentional in the relationship:
- You are thoughtful towards each other.
- You seek each other out.
- You work to improve the relationship.
- You both work on personal growth because it will make the relationship better.
8. You can rely on each other:
- for daily support.
- in a crisis.
- to be faithful and honest.
If your marriage is missing some of these, you have some work to do.
Besides being boring, being in Roommate Syndrome threatens the marriage. You might start to believe that the relationship is over. Or you may conclude that your partner doesn’t really care about you. These thoughts make you more vulnerable to affairs and divorce.
Couples in the best marriages know that they will only be in sync with their spouse part of the time. They expect that there will be periods of deep closeness and connection. They also understand that it’s normal to be out of sync and disconnected sometimes. They use these feelings of disconnection as a reminder that they need to reconnect.
If you are tired of being in Roommate Syndrome, you can improve things. Read “How to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Relationship” for ideas to reconnect.