After living together for a long time, it can just happen: you become more like roommates than romantic partners. Your home is where you orchestrate your life, including the mundane stuff like paying bills, organizing toiletries, wiping down shelves, and sorting through the mail. Even the most loving of couples, after years of handling those mundane things together, can start to treat their relationship as mundane. But it’s so important to remember that the point of your relationship is not to run a tight ship around your house and be so tidy that Marie Kondo would be proud of you. If you achieve that, that’s wonderful—it makes a backdrop worthy of your love. But if achieving those things eclipses your bond, then you risk moving into this territory. Here are signs you’ve become more roommates than lovers.
You don’t greet each other
When your partner gets home, you don’t greet him. You don’t get up to hug and kiss him. You don’t even say an excited, “Hi!” across the home. You continue to do whatever you were in the middle of doing and give a brief acknowledgment.
You eat different food all the time
You never make a meal together. You never consult one another on what time you’ll be home for dinner, or ask, “What do you feel like eating tonight?” meals have become completely utilitarian. They’re eaten separately. I know that cooking can spark arguments, but try to do it together anyways.
You fixate on sleep issues
All you notice about sleeping with your partner is that his noise machine bothers you, he takes too much of the blanket, or he moves around too much. You’ve stopped appreciating how lucky you are to share a bed with someone you love. Remember when you were single and that’s all you wanted?
His mess only angers you
If you come across his t-shirt on the floor or his favorite hat on your desk, you jump immediately to being aggravated. You’ve stopped smiling at his belongings because they are his. You’ve stopped smelling his t-shirts, because you love his smell.
You’re keeping score
In general, you’ve started to keep score of who is being the better roommate. You seem to be focused on proving that it’s the other one’s turn or that the other is slacking off, rather than focusing on being of help to one another.
You never plan date night
If you wind up watching a movie together, it’s by coincidence. You both happened to be home with nothing to do at the same time. But you’ve stopped looking at your calendars and reserving time for each other.
Movie night couch disputes
When it is time for movie night, you dispute over who gets the couch with the better angle, who gets that one really comfortable back pillow, or who has to hold the popcorn bowl. You just fixate on meaningless comforts. You don’t cuddle on the same couch.
Militantly dividing tasks
You’ve said things like, “I got my mail. But I left your mail in the mailbox because that’s your mail.” There once was a time when, out of the kindness of your heart, you’d do laundry for him—just because. You didn’t focus on the fact that it’s his laundry.
You’re passing ships in the night
Sometimes you go a full workweek barely seeing one another. Don’t let that happen. And know that if it’s going to not happen, you have to make it not happen.
Waiting to use the restroom
You find it annoying when your partner is in the bathroom. You see him as in the way. Remember when you used to just sit on the toilet lid, just to chat with him while he shaved? You’d paint your toenails, he’d do his thing, and you were happy to be together—even if it was in the bathroom.
Weekends are dedicated to chores
You spend every waking hour of the weekend doing chores. You won’t just take some time to be lazy together, or do something fun together. Chores always come first and that’s not good because there will always be chores. So when will there be time for your bond?
Conversations are all about errands
Conversations are all about errands. See the last note about weekends being all about chores, and apply it to discussing errands. You need to make a point to talk about something other than domestic work.
Emotionless domestic texts
When you text your partner to let him know you need more toilet paper or eggs from the store, you say it without emotion. You don’t add an emoji. You don’t open with, “Hi baby!” You just send the plain text. Sad.
His sounds anger you
Hearing him clanking dishes around in the kitchen or running his electric blazer annoys you—you just think he’s being loud. You don’t smile at the sounds of your loved one.
Long fights about purchases
You’ll get into long fights about which chair or plates to buy. Everyone is focused on getting the one they want, and not the one that’s best for everyone in the home.