A common complaint I hear from couples is they feel distant. Overall, things are okay, no fights, no big issues, no major upsets – just a void. They report feeling more like roommates than lovers. Subsequently, they question their relationship saying although they love each other, perhaps they are not “in love” with each other.
More often than not, what I find is they have developed bad habits. At some point they began to take the relationship for granted and forgot to nurture it. They settled in and created habits that slowly fueled the distance and before they knew it, they were worlds apart wondering what had happened.
Some of the more common insidious distancing habits, I believe, are:
1. T.V. Shut off the t.v. for a set amount of time and give your partner your undivided attention.
2. Reading. Read after you have had quality time and conversation with your partner – not in place of.
3. Alcohol. Cut back on the alcohol, it allows you to be just numb enough to not be connected (limit to weekends only).
4. Computers. When you are home, be home! Do not come home from work just to get back on the computer to do work (or check e-mails, play video games, look at pornography or anything else). All of these keep you distant and out of your relationship.
This distance can happen to any couple at any time; all it takes is a few distancing habits, lack of attention, and a busy schedule. These three components can shift a strong, healthy couple into a struggling couple living like roommates. If you are not careful you may find yourself waking up one day wondering, “What happened to us?”
Challenge: Take the time to pay attention. Are you feeling distant? Have you formed distancing habits that are keeping you out of your relationship? If so, what are they and what are you going to do to change them?
Work on them for the next month and see what happens. Talk to your partner about what you think his/her distancing habits are and ask him/her to change them.