Do you feel like housemates rather than lovers

Do you feel like housemates rather than lovers? Are you disconnected and feeling unloved?

Deepest intimacy – When your relationship started and you were so ‘in love’, do you remember what it was like? Can you remember that you used to talk about everything? You spent every moment with each other and couldn’t get enough of each other.

You stole moments with each other, talking way into the night or if you couldn’t get together spent hours on the phone. You would discuss yourselves, your past, your relationships, hopes and dreams, disappointments, failures – everything. Why was it so easy? Because you believed that your partner really wanted to find out all about you. You felt secure that no matter what you said you would not be judged because your partner loved you.

Shallower communication – Then things began to change. Love died. You felt disengaged and unloved. Chances are it started like this: She says something she wants to discuss and he replies with a negative comment, which is not what he usually does. If it happens a second time that she gets a negative response from him, she decides to not bring up that point of discussion again. Now she chooses her words more carefully in order to avoid getting a negative response.

He has noticed the change in her communication and asks, “Are you OK?” “Yes”, is her abrupt response. He persists with, “Are you sure, you seem a bit different?” “Yes, I’m OK”, she replies sharply. He then is somewhat taken aback by her harsh response. Now he also becomes careful about what he says in case he gets a negative response from her. Thus begins a downward spiral in intimacy where one no longer tells the other what they are thinking or feeling.

The bedroom – Before too long difficulties in the bedroom arise. She is harboring resentments, old hurts that linger on because of his earlier negative responses. He now also has resentments as he notices that she is distancing herself from him physically and is constantly irritable. She makes sarcastic comments which really hurt him. They’re meant to hurt him of course. Both start to realize that their relationship is not as deep and connected as it once was.

His approaches for sexual intimacy, which he needs to help reassure him that the relationship is not completely lost, are discouraged. Her need for love centers on her being able to talk about what she feels when he snaps at her before she can commit to sex. Her several responses of, “No, not tonight” cause him to stop asking for sex, knowing full well that he will be rejected. Once he stops approaching her for physical intimacy, her unmet need for intimate conversation increases and her feelings of rejection grow. She now feels emotionally and physically rejected.

Housemates – Living as housemates means that there is no emotional intimacy. Conversation is maintained at a superficial level and you each wear a mask, disguising your true feelings by limiting discussion to ‘safe’ topics to do with the household or managing the children. She treads gently around him and he never gets to talk about what’s going on in his head because he fears her reaction. They never have sex and so suspicion, petty arguments and irritability rises. There is a decrease in the level of trust. The Housemate syndrome has arrived!

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