How to feel less like roommates + reconnect
You’ve started feeling like roommates because you’ve gotten so busy. You’re working full-time. You may have a toddler or two. Or maybe you’ve just been together so long you have started living parallel lives. The busier you’ve become as a couple, the less you’ve had time to connect with each other. You’re focused on caring for your family and other responsibilities, not each other.
Despite how busy you are, there are so many reasons that remembering to prioritize your relationship will pay off in the long run. Healthy relationships are linked to better physical health, for example. If you have kids, you will be modeling healthy adult relationships for them, too. Still, it’s normal for couples to get stressed and drift apart over time. Here is one really simple way to stay connected and stop feeling like roommates.
Pay attention to your rituals of connection.
What are rituals of connection?
They can be little moments of connection, such as kissing each other goodbye in the morning or cuddling for a few minutes every night before bed. Or bigger rituals, including how you celebrate holidays like birthdays and anniversaries, and what vacations you plan each year.
Little rituals of connection
These little rituals don’t take much time, but they add up to increase your feelings of closeness and connection with each other. Research shows that couples who share a six-second kiss each day have a better sex life, for example. Think about a time in the past in your relationship when you felt really connected and close. What little rituals of connection did you enjoy together? And can you intentionally build those back into your daily routine? Do you share a moment of physical intimacy each day (hugging, kissing, cuddling, holding hands?)
Big rituals of connection
Having a ritual of celebration can help you remember to appreciate the specialness of your relationship, to appreciate your partner and to feel appreciated yourself. Pausing to celebrate your relationship is the opposite of taking your relationship for granted. What big rituals have you neglected over time? How do you celebrate birthdays, holidays, anniversaries?
Paying attention to small and large rituals of connection can help you stop feeling like roommates, and start feeling more connected.
For more ideas of rituals you could explore in your relationship, you can download the Gottman card deck app for free.
Here’s one more easy activity that can help you feel less like roommates:
Ask each other more open-ended questions.
In addition to a rituals of connection deck on the free Gottman app, there is a whole deck of open-ended questions you can ask your partner. Taking the time to slow down and ask each other some of these questions, and really listen to the answers without judgment, can increase your closeness. Even couples who have been together 50 years can learn something new about each other. Here are some of the sample questions you could ask:
- “Have your goals in life changed recently?”
- “What are some unfulfilled things in your life?”
- “Where would you like to travel?”
- “If you could live one other person’s life, whose life would you choose and why?”
Have fun with all this! These activities don’t have to take a long time; this can be easy and fun with a little effort. The payoff is much bigger than the time required. If you’re already feeling close as a couple, then continuing to prioritize connecting with each other daily, and talking to each other about more than just chores and responsibilities, will help you stay close for a long time.
If you have felt like roommates for awhile, sometimes therapy can help jump start you into feeling closer and more connected. Feel free to reach out for a free consultation.