Have you ever been in a relationship so wonderful that everything you see is painted with a rose-colored tint? You’re over the moon in love with this person, you spend all of your time together, and you couldn’t imagine life without them. What else can you ask for in a romantic relationship?
Now, fast forward a substantial amount of time. For some couples, this may be as short as 6 months, and for others, it could be 10 years of marriage. Regardless of how much time has passed, suddenly the spark in your relationship is gone, and you’re feeling like this person you once could go anywhere and do anything with is nothing more than a roommate. You both go about your daily routines and see each other when you have time, but the excitement is gone.
Why does this happen? Does this loss of romance mean that the relationship has run its course? Is there a way to recover from such a sharp turn in your relationship? More than that, is there a way to keep this from happening at all or even fix the relationship once you’ve come to this realization?
The answer will depend on your situation and how you both feel about your relationship. To help you work through this and better understand how to approach your significant other turning into more of a roommate, we’ve put together the following 10 signs to keep an eye out for. Keep in mind that no one can tell you whether your relationship is working for you or not. No one knows what your relationship is like except for you. If some of these signs feel familiar to you, don’t panic and assume your relationship is dead. Rather, take this as an opportunity to open a conversation with your partner and discuss why you feel this way.
1. You’ve Lost the Will to Fight
You may see this first step and think, isn’t fighting a bad thing? Why would it be a bad thing to stop fighting? While it may be true that fighting too often and about inconsequential things is a sign of problems in your relationship, this sign refers to you both not caring enough about the outcome of the relationship anymore.
Think about it like this — it’s been a long day, and you and your partner are both tired. You’ve asked them time and time again to put their shoes away and not leave them scattered throughout the house, and yet when you get home from work, you trip over a pair of shoes they left on the floor. You immediately feel angry, but you know they’re also tired and may have just forgotten to put the shoes away, so you let it go. This is healthy behavior. Understanding that your partner is a human and makes just as many mistakes as you do is a critical part of maintaining a healthy relationship.
Now imagine this scenario: Your partner told you they would be home by 10 p.m. to catch a movie with you, but they did not return until after midnight. Instead of asking where they were or why they didn’t call you to let you know they would be late, you simply went to sleep. This is unhealthy behavior. There should always be open communication in a relationship, and when your partner fails to communicate with you, it should be discussed. If you don’t care enough to work through problems with your significant other, it may be a sign that you are more roommates than you are partners.
2. You Sleep in Separate Beds Every Night
It’s important to emphasize once again that every relationship is different, and sometimes it may be necessary to sleep separately. Maybe your partner is a heavy snorer or kicks too much while they sleep. Some people just cannot sleep with someone else in the bed, and if you both are okay with that, it shouldn’t be a problem.
However, if this sign accompanies several others on this list, it could be a red flag. If you’re sleeping separately every night because you just prefer going to bed without their company, it could be a red flag. If you have fallen into a routine of sleeping apart from each other every night, talk with your partner about why this is the case.
3. You Spend a Majority of Time in Your House Separate
Everyone needs alone time now and then, and needing some space for yourself is healthy and normal. It’s also normal and healthy if you don’t want alone time too. If you’re in love with your partner, it’s okay to want to spend a lot of time with them. The problem arises when you are both spending time away from each other consistently while in the same house. If you come home from work and immediately go to watch television in a separate room while they’re doing something on the other side of the house, it could be a sign that you have become more roommates than partners.
4. You’ve Stopped Sharing Intimacy
Let’s get this straight: Platonic roommates don’t have sex. A huge, important part of maintaining a healthy romantic relationship is sharing physical intimacy together. Sex is part of what keeps a couple connected and in love, so when this stops completely, you should open up a conversation with your partner and get to the root of the problem. There’s always the chance that life has just been busy and you both have neglected to make an effort to connect intimately. This happens to the strongest couples from time to time, and as long as you both can communicate and understand that you still love each other, all you really need to do is plan a time when you can be intimate together.
However, if one or both of you have lost the desire to connect intimately, it is likely a sign that you are more roommates than you are partners. It takes starting these tough conversations to understand where you are both coming from.
5. You Have Opposing Expectations for Your Lives
It is certainly true that opposites sometimes attract. The things you love about your partner could be the very things that you lack. Maybe they have unstoppable drive and ambition, and that’s what made you fall in love with them in the first place. Maybe you are more laid back and grounded, and these qualities are part of what made them fall in love with you.
However, if you both want entirely different things out of life, it could be a sign that the relationship will struggle down the line. For example, if you want to travel the world and lead more of an adventurous life but your partner dreams of having a house with a picket fence and a few kids, your differences might cause problems in a long-term relationship. When couples try to ignore these opposing life expectations, it can lead to resentment as one or both of you might subconsciously blame your partner for being the reason you do not have the life you dreamed of.
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6. You Don’t Have Regular Meaningful Conversations
If you find yourself barely speaking to your partner outside of what’s required to maintain your house, it may be a sign that your relationship is dwindling. Many times, even platonic roommates have meaningful conversations with one another, so if you struggle to have deep, intentional conversations with your partner, you may want to evaluate why this is the case and whether or not you can fix it. Loving relationships are a two-way street, and the effort and intention need to be coming from both of you if you want to salvage it.
7. You’ve Stopped Checking In
Couples who genuinely love and care for one another communicate at least once throughout the day. Whether it’s just to touch base and make plans for dinner or to say a quick “I love you,” keeping in touch while you both go through your work day is critical to remaining close. Roommates generally don’t check in with one another unless it’s something that cannot wait or is an emergency. If you and your partner rarely check in with one another when you’re apart, try to assess why this is and how you can change it.
It could be that all your relationship needs is an intentional conversation discussing both of your feelings. You should always be on the same page before jumping to any conclusions. Just because your partner gets busy at work and doesn’t text back doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t love you anymore.
8. You’ve Stopped Prioritizing One Another
Life gets busy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just because your time is taken by taking care of your kids or parents doesn’t mean you have fallen out of love. However, the important thing to remember is that a relationship takes effort. Every couple gets busy, that’s just a part of life, but you should never neglect your partner, no matter how hectic things get. All it takes is checking in with one another and asking how your partner is doing or if there’s anything you can do for them. Over time, when couples stop prioritizing each other, they become more like roommates than partners in love.
9. Your Relationship Feels Like a Chore
This is a tricky one because the word “chore” can be misconstrued as putting in any amount of effort. Of course, all relationships require effort to maintain, and that effort may be difficult to put forth on days when you’re exhausted. The distinction lies in how you feel about your relationship. Are you happy to put in the effort because you want your partner to feel loved and cared for? Are you willing to go out of your way to help your partner even on days when you don’t feel like it? That’s what it takes to keep a healthy relationship. If you feel like even the smallest gestures like a kiss before leaving for work are a chore, it can feel more like you’re living with a roommate than a partner.
10. You No Longer Publicly Display Affection
Many times, noticing that you no longer hold hands while out together is the first sign that there is a problem in the relationship. Maybe you and your partner aren’t big on PDA anyways — there’s nothing wrong with that! However, you should both talk about it and find other ways to show each other you love and care for them. Everyone gives and receives love in their own way — there’s no general rule of thumb for showing your partner affection. All it takes is discussing it together and finding your own ways to make each other feel loved.
How Do You Fix It?
There are many, many things you can do to try and heal your relationship and get back to that honeymoon phase you remember. If you want the relationship to last, you have the power to make it happen. Outside of having a conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling and why it feels like you’re living as roommates rather than partners, one of the best things you can do is be intentional with your time and effort. Make memories together! Plan a trip where you spend uninterrupted time together and just enjoy one another’s company. Make an effort to take each other on date nights at least once a week. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant, you can just have a pizza and movie night at home.
Whatever you decide to do, communicate your feelings with your partner and discuss how you want to approach the situation. Find common ground, and try not to be defensive if they voice some things you have done that made them feel unloved. As we mentioned earlier, relationships are a two-way street, and they require effort and intention from both people. We all make mistakes, and we all get busy with our lives, but that doesn’t mean our relationships have to suffer. You are in control of your life and your intentions, so make the most of them both!
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