Roommate Marriages: What They Are & The Warning Signs To Look Out For

Ever felt like you and your spouse are more like roommates than a couple? It might be something funny you’ve joked about with your friends, but roommate marriages are totally serious. Here are 12 signs you could be in one.

  1. You’re not having sex. According to Newsweek, approximately 15 to 20% of married couples are in sexless marriages. If it feels like you and your partner are best friends, that’s great, but sex is also an important part of marriage to bring you pleasure and help you bond. A study published in the Journal of Psychological Science found that when married couples had high levels of sexual satisfaction, they also had a higher level of marital satisfaction that lasted for months.
  2. Your relationship’s a chore. If you and your partner can do without spending time together, you’re heading for a lack of connection and passion. Being with your partner shouldn’t be yet another task on your schedule like walking the dog or doing the dishes. If you see things this way, the love might be on its way out (if it’s not totally gone already).
  3. You’re clenching your jaw. If you’re angry at each other for unresolved issues, that’s a warning sign you’re letting anger kill off the passion in your marriage. Yikes. Allowing frustration and resentment to build up is a recipe for disaster. If left for long enough, it can cause you to have no sex life and no emotional intimacy.
  4. You can’t remember the good times. When last did you and your partner have a picnic, go for dinner, or kiss under the stars the way you used to when you started dating? Can’t remember? Maybe that’s because you’re letting life and stress get in the way of your relationship to the point where you’re completely losing touch with each other.
  5. The honeymoon phase is over. It can’t last forever but that doesn’t mean that the passion and mystery in your relationship have to roll over and die! Just because you’ve seen your partner’s flaws and you’re both comfortable with each other, you should still work on keeping some of the mystery alive. Bring back date night!
  6. You text each other when you’re both at home. If you’re only barking out chores at each other without actually talking to each other about your life, dreams, and feelings, you’re missing out on a huge chance to build greater intimacy. This is the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with, not someone who’s only sharing the monthly rent payments.
  7. You’re not big on affection. Touch isn’t only about sex. Things like kissing and holding hands can really keep your bond and flame going. Research published in the Sleep Medicine Reviews journal found that snuggling together at bedtime helps couples sleep better and feel closer. If you don’t give each other non-sexual affection, you’re living like acquaintances.
  8. Your spare time is separate. Having your own hobbies is cool but some of your spare time should be spent with your partner, otherwise, you’re missing out on a chance to connect. Enjoying the same fun activities together can make you feel closer and remind you why you chose this person, like because they make you laugh until your stomach hurts.
  9. You take each other for granted. It’s easy to get comfortable with a partner to the point where you get used to the fact that you live together. But small acts of love, such as giving each other compliments or doing kind gestures for each other, go a long way to making you feel appreciated. If you don’t feel valued and loved, you’re not on stable, happy ground.
  10. Your priorities are out of sync. Maybe your marriage is at the top of your list but it feels like your partner’s priority is to make lots of money or hang out with his single guy friends. Perhaps you have totally different plans for the future. If your priorities aren’t aligned, that can cause you to treat each other more like roommates than romantic partners. Talk about where both of your priorities lie and how you can get them back on track. Meet each other halfway.
  11. You’ve got your eye on someone else. Crushes can happen even when you’re married and they don’t have to be a big deal unless you’re focusing so much on your crush that you’re ignoring your partner. This can lead to emotional and physical distance. But all isn’t lost. Maybe your attraction to the other person is really a way for you to figure out your feelings towards your partner and marriage. Maybe you need to bring more spice to your relationship. Whatever the case, something’s missing and it’s up to you to find out what that is so you can get it.
  12. You don’t fight. Having fights every now and then can be really healthy for your relationship. They clear the air, help you deal with issues, and also show you that you’re still fighting for each other. If you never really react to anything that should piss you off, you’ve tuned out of the relationship completely. But ask yourself: do you care about your relationship and partner? If you’re feeling “meh” about your marriage, it’s a huge red flag that you guys need some help.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.