How To Escape The Roommate Phase In Your Relationship

It can happen to the best of us: we meet someone, things are hot and heavy, you're like rabbits in the sack, 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 make-out session, Obama was president. You have gone from lovers to — gasp — roommates.

While it's really great to be so comfortable with your partner that you can be 100% yourself, because who doesn't want that? But your relationship may have a case of roommate syndrome (via Fox13).

"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 and 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 that person, and you couldn't get enough of them. When this realization kicks in, it's time to talk about the situation (via Psychology Today). 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; some put 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 when you are together on the couch vegging out and watching a movie, cuddle. When we get snuggling with someone we care for, oxytocin (also appropriately called the "cuddle hormone") is released, and it creates a deeper bond (via LiveScience). It might seem like not a big deal to cuddle, but it does trigger a yearning in us, as well as 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 the relationship, but putting more focus 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 about stepping it up. 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 (via Better Relationships). It was there once; it can be there again.

But if you find that spicing it up on your own isn't working, then 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.