What To Do When Your Partner Feels More Like A Roommate

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The longer you’re together, the easier it is to let the romance fade away from your relationship.

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However, if you’re not careful, you can end up feeling more like roommates than romantic partners, and that’s when things get tricky. If you feel yourself slipping into that territory already, here are some ways to get out ASAP and restore some of the excitement and attraction in your relationship.

1. Shake up your routine.

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Let’s face it, we’re creatures of habit, aren’t we? But when you’re doing the same old thing day in, day out, it’s no wonder the spark’s gone out. Try mixing things up a bit. If you always eat dinner in front of the telly, why not have a proper sit-down meal at the table? Or if you’re always in on Friday nights, go out for a change. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — even a walk in a different park can break the monotony. It’s about creating new experiences together, reminding yourselves that you’re more than just two people sharing a space.

2. Bring back date night.

couple ignoring each other on phones in living room

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Remember when you first got together, how you’d make an effort to go out and do something special? Well, who says that has to stop just because you’re living together? Set aside one night a week for a proper date. And I don’t mean just ordering a takeaway and watching Netflix. I’m talking about getting dressed up, going out, and focusing on each other. It could be trying a new restaurant, going to a gig, or even just a picnic in the park. The point is to remind yourselves that you’re a couple, not just roommates who occasionally share a bed.

3. Talk about something other than bills and chores.

no romance relationship

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When was the last time you had a proper conversation that wasn’t about whose turn it is to do the washing up or how much the electric bill’s gone up? It’s easy to fall into the trap of only talking about the mundane stuff of running a household. Make a conscious effort to chat about other things. Ask about their day, their hopes, their fears. Share your own thoughts and feelings. Have a debate about something you’ve seen in the news. Tell each other jokes. Just connect on a level that’s deeper than who needs to buy more loo roll.

4. Bring back physical affection.

bored couple on couch on phones

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I’m not just talking about sex here, though that’s important too. I mean the little things — holding hands while you’re watching telly, giving them a quick hug when you pass in the hallway, a peck on the cheek when they bring you a cuppa. These small gestures of physical affection can go a long way in reminding you both that you’re more than just roommates. It’s about creating that physical connection that sets your relationship apart from your other friendships.

5. Do something new together.

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Nothing brings people together like a shared new experience. Sign up for a class together — could be cooking, dancing, pottery, whatever sounds interesting. Or try a new hobby, like rock climbing or learning a language. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s new to both of you. It gives you something to talk about, something to look forward to together, and it creates new memories that are just for the two of you. Plus, seeing your partner in a new context can reignite that spark of attraction.

6. Plan for the future.

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When you’re stuck in a rut, it’s easy to forget that you’re supposed to be building a life together. Sit down and talk about your future, The Gottman Institute advises. Where do you want to be in five years? What are your shared goals? It could be saving for a house, planning a big holiday, or talking about starting a family. Having something to work towards together can remind you that you’re a team, not just two people sharing rent.

7. Surprise them.

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Remember how you used to do little things to make each other smile when you first got together? Bring that back. Leave a note in their lunchbox, buy their favorite snack when you’re at the shops, or plan a surprise day out. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive — it’s the thought that counts. It shows you’re still thinking of them and want to make them happy, which is a far cry from just being roommates.

8. Create a tech-free zone.

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It’s dead easy to fall into the trap of sitting on the sofa, both scrolling through your phones in silence. Try setting aside some time each day when you both put your phones away and focus on each other. It could be during dinner, or for an hour before bed. Use this time to actually talk to each other, play a board game, or just cuddle up and watch a film together without distractions.

9. Rediscover each other’s interests.

signs you're not compatible

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Remember when you first got together, how you were genuinely interested in each other’s hobbies? Try to recapture that. If they’re into photography, ask them to show you their recent shots. If they love reading, ask about the book they’re currently into. Show a genuine interest in the things that make them who they are. It’s about seeing them as a whole person again, not just the other person who lives in your house.

10. Spice up your intimate life.

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Let’s not beat around the bush — physical intimacy is a big part of what separates a romantic relationship from a platonic one. If your bedroom life has become routine (or non-existent), it’s time to shake things up. This doesn’t mean you need to go all Fifty Shades of Grey, but maybe try something new. It could be as simple as changing locations (kitchen counter, anyone?) or investing in some new toys. The important thing is to make an effort to reconnect physically.

11. Show appreciation.

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When you’ve been together a while, it’s easy to take each other for granted. Make a point of thanking your partner for the things they do, even if it’s just the everyday stuff. Appreciate them out loud. Tell them you’re grateful for the cup of tea they made you, or that you noticed they took the bins out. It might seem small, but it shows you see and value their contributions to your shared life.

12. Create new rituals.

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Develop some new habits that are just for the two of you. It could be having a coffee together every morning before work, or a weekly Sunday brunch, or even just a goodnight kiss that never gets skipped. These little rituals create moments of connection in your day-to-day life and remind you that you’re a unit, not just two people sharing space.

13. Get nostalgic.

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Sometimes, to move forward, you need to look back. Reminisce about how you met, your first date, the early days of your relationship. Look at old photos together, visit places that were special to you when you first got together. Remembering why you fell for each other in the first place can help reignite those feelings and remind you both that you’re more than just roommates.

14. Prioritize each other.

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In the hecticness of daily life, it’s easy to put your relationship on the back burner. Make a conscious effort to prioritize each other, Psychology Today urges. This might mean saying no to other commitments sometimes to spend time together, or making sure you check in with each other every day. Show your partner that they’re not just another item on your to-do list, but a priority in your life.

15. Get away together.

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Sometimes, you need to physically remove yourselves from your day-to-day environment to reconnect. Plan a weekend away, or even just a day trip. Being in a new environment, away from the usual distractions and responsibilities, can help you focus on each other and remember why you choose to be together. It doesn’t have to be expensive — even a night in a nearby B&B can do wonders.

16. Address problems head-on.

Frustrated young couple sitting on the couch and quarreling with each other at home. High quality photo

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If you’re feeling like roommates, chances are there are some underlying issues that need addressing. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Have an honest conversation about what’s not working in your relationship. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. Be open, be honest, and be ready to listen. Remember, you’re a team trying to solve a problem together, not opponents.

17. Seek professional help.

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If you’ve tried everything and still feel stuck, there’s no shame in getting some outside help. A couples counselor can provide tools and strategies to help you reconnect and rebuild your relationship. It’s not admitting defeat — it’s investing in your future together. Sometimes, an objective third party is just what you need to get things back on track.

Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.