How To Escape The Roommate Phase In Your Relationship

It can happen to the best of us: We meet someone, and things become hot and heavy. Then you move in together. At first, it's bliss. It's everything you wanted, but then something shifts. You're pooping with the door open, you're wearing your period undies when you don't have your period, and the last time you had a proper makeout session was back when Obama was president. You have gone from lovers to — gasp — roommates.


While it's great to be so comfortable with your partner that you can be 100% yourself (because who doesn't want that?), your relationship may have a case of roommate syndrome.

"The roommate phase is what happens when couples have stopped seeing their relationship as special and have fallen into comfortable cohabiting, just like two friends sharing a space," sex and relationship expert Rhian Kivits tells Metro. "They usually get on well, with very few arguments, and because there's plenty of space for them to pursue their work, friendships, and individual interests, they may even feel content. However, they're living platonically, and there's very little magic or romance in their relationship."


But just because you've fallen into the roommate phase of your relationship doesn't mean it can't be salvaged. Let's explore how to get back on track.

Talk about it

As you sit there in the sweatpants that haven't been washed in weeks while your partner doom scrolls on their phone, you just might have an epiphany: You were once completely crazy for this person, and you couldn't get enough of them. When this realization kicks in, it's time to talk about the situation. It might be uncomfortable or even a bit awkward, but it has to be done unless, of course, you and your partner prefer living this way — and some couples do by putting companionship over sex and intimacy.


"Remember you married or committed to each other because you are lovers," sociologist Pepper Schwartz tells Yahoo. "You were attracted to each other ... If every good moment is spent snoring, maybe it's time to take out a glass of wine and talk about the future or plan a trip for when you're both next free."

If planning a trip isn't in the cards at the moment, then whenever you're together on the couch vegging out and watching a movie, cuddle. When we snuggle with someone we care for, oxytocin (also appropriately called the "cuddle hormone") is released, and it creates a deeper bond. It might not seem like a big deal to cuddle, but it does trigger a yearning in us, as well as increased levels of intimacy.


Be more present

First of all, when you're together, put down the phone. You can't be fully present and give each other the attention you both deserve if you're constantly on the phone.

"Oftentimes, when we are in a long-term relationship, we start to take each other for granted," licensed marriage and family therapist Amanda Baquero tells PsychCentral. "One great way to reignite the spark in your relationship is to make time to practice gratitude with each other." This isn't to suggest you should drop all other activities outside of the relationship, but focusing more on your partner and making a visible effort that you are is what matters. When you have roommate syndrome and you know it, it's time to step it up and not just in regard to effort but in what you do together and how you do it. It's about throwing the spice back into the relationship. It was there once; it can be there again.


However, if you find that spicing up your relationship on your own isn't working, there's always couples therapy. Your relationship isn't the first to fall victim to roommate syndrome, so a couples therapist will know exactly how to navigate you both out of being just roomies.

Go for a change of scenery

Are you and your partner still having trouble spicing things up in the bedroom? Perhaps it's because living like roommates has made your living quarters feel like a dorm room rather than a love nest. You may have talked about going on vacation, making this the perfect time to make good on your plans. Changing up the scenery can bring back those loving feelings so you two can reconnect by relaxing at the pool or exploring the town while holding hands. Traveling with your partner strengthens your bond. If you've been together for a year or more, it's time to create new memories together while removing yourselves from your current rut.


If you don't have the time or money to splurge on a vacay, spend a night or two at a hotel. Staycations are just as much fun, and the two of you can bond by holing up in your room while ordering room service. Treat yourselves to a couple's massage or visit a local spa together. When it's time for bed, we bet you won't feel like roommates then.

Don't recycle your boring date nights

It's Tuesday evening, and you're both done with work. Without even discussing it, you know to order pizza, while your partner automatically pours you a glass of Pinot Noir. Then, it's time for sweats while watching a show on Netflix. While it's nice to have rituals where you two know each other so well you don't even have to say a word, your routine has officially turned into a rut. Predictability in relationships may seem safe, but it makes them boring. People naturally crave excitement, and if there is too little between you and your partner, issues can arise.


Instead of the same old drill, trade in your Netflix and pizza for a romantic picnic in the park. Surprise your boo with your spontaneity. Sitting across from each other while having an actual conversation can create forgotten sparks. There's nothing more romantic than sitting on the grass as the sun is setting while nestling your head against your partner's shoulder.

Take time apart from each other

Perhaps you're in the roommate phase of your relationship because you and your partner go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat all your meals together, and run errands together. Sure, it's nice to be close to your significant other, but spending too much time together can be a detriment to your relationship. Taking some time for yourselves can be good for your relationship. Sexual health expert Seema Anand told Health Shots, "A common misconception is that you should be really involved in each other's daily lives, but actually, if you find yourself attached at the hip, where's the fun? Take time away to live your own lives and then come back together to share what you've done."


Being together all the time can breed familiarity, and, before you know it, you won't think twice about burping in front of your beau. Do chores separately and spend time with other people. Give yourselves a chance to miss each other so when you come back together, you'll feel a sense of excitement. Perhaps it won't be the same head-over-heels rush you felt when you two started dating, but if there's still a spark, you have the chance to turn your roommate status into a more romantic one.