By Chandrama Anderson
Living as Roommates? Not Having Much Sex?Uploaded: Dec 6, 2019
I see couples who eventually realize they are living as roommates: they may be good parents together, run their household together, do their respective jobs, spend time with other people or other couples, are comfortable with each other, even love one another. Yet they are not living intimately and securely attached, and it usually shows up sexually as well.
What does it mean to be intimate? What is it like to live together more deeply -- beyond roommates? How did this come to pass? Most people are excited when they marry or make a commitment to their relationship.
Many of us didn't grow up seeing an intimate relationship between our parents. Whatever we did grow up with seems "normal" or perhaps "right." When our normal or right bumps up against our partner's we react to the impact of that. What is the underlying intention? What is the meaning of the action(s) or words from our partner?
Since we're human, we filter our experience through our own strainer of what's familiar. And we may literally and figuratively "miss" our partner. There's not much lonelier than being lonely in a relationship.
Kids complicate things. Studies have shown that having kids actually reduces marital satisfaction. Now we're filtering and trying to blend our normal/right in relation to our kids: choices of parenting style, discipline, schooling, activities, etc.
Parents need to be a couple first, and parents second. This sets the tone in the family and models intimacy and healthy adult relationships for kids. I've noticed how difficult it is for a couple to go out regularly (and not talk about the kids). I can't encourage you strongly enough: create a weekly date night and do it! That can mean going out, or sending the kids to grandparents so you can be alone together in your house.
Begin to notice your roommate-like behavior. Don't judge it or each other. Name it aloud (e.g., we're both in the house on our own electronic devices and not showing interest in each others' day/thoughts/feelings), and notice how you feel, and what's going on in your body.
Experiment with being connected instead. There are many small and large ways to do so. Making eye contact, breathing together, read a book aloud, rub each others' feet, have a glass of wine and ask a question of your partner, plan a date, ask what happened today that was funny or odd . . . Be creative. Remember how you felt interested in knowing everything about your partner; there's more to know now, too.
Here's to living together in a healthy, securely attached, inter-dependent way!