Licensed Marriage and Family therapist Laura Heck shares her insights on Roommate Syndrome.
The Fight Against Roommate Syndrome
What is Roommate Syndrome? Couples living together in a marriage that has grown stale, emotionally disconnected, and passionless. Novelty, curiosity, and passion has been replaced with silent routine, predictability and polite disinterest. Many assume roommate syndrome is just a sexless marriage. Truth is that roommate syndrome is a passionless marriage. A marriage that begs the question 'Is this all there is?'
What causes Roommate Syndrome? A lack of purpose, vision and prioritization. The average couple is juggling raising children, managing a household, supporting aging parents, career aspirations, social and spiritual commitments..you name it. Your partner is often the last on the list of priorities. The newness and novelty of that person you first fell in love with has become a predictable structure in the home. Roommate Syndrome is a slow progression overtime.
Self Assessment: Is Roommate Syndrome Sneaking into Your Relationship?
Are you feeling emotionally distant from your partner?
Are you living parrallel lives?
Are you sleeping in separate beds?
When was the last time you had a deep conversation that didn`t involve talk about kids, work, etc.?
Has your relationship grown boring and stale?
Are you in the relationship now that you want to have 10 years from now?
Do you have conflict or is it avoided or swept under the rug?
When you need to confide in someone, do you go to someone other than your partner?
How to Fight Against Roommate Syndrome
Below are exercises couples can do right now to fight against roommate syndrome.
#1 With your partner, create a bucket list of your top 10 items that you want to accomplish. Just to get your juices flowing, here are a few questions: Where do you want to travel? What business would you start? Would you ever want to run a marathon? How about skydiving... or a missions or service trip to a developing country?
#2 Together, get out your daily schedule and find some time to do something new. Be intentional. Plan it. And it`s ok to start with the small things.
#3 Passion. Think back to a time in your life when you were ON FIRE about something, individually. It could be anything... restoring a classic car, eating vegan, learning to play the guitar, trying out for a sports team. Remember what that energy and dedication felt like? I want you to take those memories and find a new passion that you and your partner can pursue together.