Have you ever seen a married couple go from having a vibrant relationship that’s full of those newly-in-love qualities to a partnership that’s dull and ho-hum?
It’s like a relationship that’s gone from rich and refreshing to sliding into the roommate rut.
Is that decline (from a vivacious, exciting love-connection to a relationship that looks more like buddies or bff’s) happening to you?
If so, you’re not alone. I’d say you’re in good company. But that doesn’t sound quite right. There’s nothing about it that feels good.
Ugh! No fun!
Just know…the roommate rut is a very real thing. And it’s a risk if you’re in a long-term relationship or marriage.
What Is The Roommate Rut?
The roommate rut is what happens when you stop showing up as your best self.
When you allow yourself to get too relaxed and complacent. And when you loose sight of the fact that you two are in an intimate, love relationship that needs to be nurtured and refreshed.
This rut makes it’s way into your relationship when you and your partner get so comfortable and lackadaisical that you stop investing enlivened effort and fresh energy into your relationship.
And when you forget to show up for each other, every day, in ways that say: You’re special to me.
Don’t get me wrong, being comfortable around your partner is a good thing. But letting that go too far can create problems in the relationship-growth and desire departments.
Think about this…
How was your relationship when you first started dating?
Was it adventurous, thoughtful, novel, and full of arousing attraction?
You probably put your best foot forward. Making sure you looked great and that you were open to doing fun and exciting things with your partner.
Maybe you delighted each other with little gifts or surprises. And chances are, you complimented one another other frequently. It was likely a time when I was just thinking of you text messages were the norm.
Now, think about the current state of your relationship.
Even if you love your partner as much as ever, when was the last time you felt those old, electric butterflies fluttering about in your stomach?
How long has it been since you caught a glimpse of your honey all dressed up for a brand-new kind of date night? And felt that lovely tingle of desire pulse through your body?
Signs You’re Stuck In The Roommate Rut
Do you both walk around in your knock-around-the-house clothes or pj’s most of the time you’re at home?
Have either of you stopped caring about the bad habits you might be prone to indulge in?
Do you frequently act like teenagers instead of adults?
Have you stopped including surprise, mystery, romance, and new experiences in your interactions as a couple?
If you’ve answered yes to any (or all) of those questions, chances are high that you’re both feeling more like roommates than lovers.
Even though the roommate rut is common, it doesn’t foster growth and vibrancy in your marriage.
Now, if you find yourself in a roommate rut, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. In fact, couples who are stuck in a roommate rut can quickly move out of the rut with the guidance of a good marriage therapist.
Combating The Roommate Rut Routine
Let me say it again… it’s not a bad thing to feel comfortable around your partner.
However, becoming complacent and allowing your relationship to fall into a roommate rut will eventually make your marriage become stagnant and stale. You’ll both end up feeling disconnected and lonely.
If you aren’t putting as much effort and energy into your relationship as you used to, you’ll probably end up with a listless union.
The good news is you don’t have to make any huge changes to switch up your routine and step out of the rut—small actions can make a big difference.
Here are some simple ways to step out of the roommate rut:
- Have a meaningful conversation with your spouse (and turn off your phone while you’re at it)
- Take a bath or shower together
- Set up weekly date nights and dress up in nice clothes
- Go on an adventure date at least once a month
- Light a candle and turn on your favorite tunes while you clean up the kitchen together after dinner
- Try to “woo” your partner the same way you did when you first started dating
- Close the bathroom door when you’re going potty
- Play the Question Game For Couples next time you’re alone
- Give your partner a foot or hand massage for the heck of it
- Invite your honey to cuddle on the couch while you watch a show you’ll both enjoy
- Go to bed at the same time and kiss a little
Make a commitment to start taking these actions right away. Then notice the positive impact they have on your relationship.
Making Changes With Marriage Counseling
If you still feel stuck, and your efforts to climb out of the roommate rut haven’t worked, marriage counseling can help.
Working with a skillful marriage counselor can help you, first, understand why you’re stuck. And second, couples therapy will equip you with the tools you need to get out of the rut once and for all.
Through marriage counseling, you can discover how to fall in love with one another, again.
You’ll learn how to finally communicate in way that you’ll feel heard and understood. And you can develop the skills you need to nurture both the desire and security in your marriage.
Through couples counseling, you can get back to being a couple in love, rather than just roommates.
If you live in or near Denver, feel free to call me for a free initial marriage counseling consultation. I would love to help. And if you live outside of Colorado, consider calling to see if my Couples Retreat In Denver would be a good fit for you and your partner.