Every so often, couples find themselves–or choose–a marriage that isn’t romantic. Usually not physical, these marriages may be chosen out of financial need or a desire for companionship not accompanied by the desire for physical intimacy. Often, however, the roommate marriage isn’t chosen by both partners and clearly defined.
I usually see partners who are unsatisfied that their relationships has become less intimate on all levels. They may not hate their partner, usually far from it.
Relationships are complex and challenging. They are the hardest things we humans will ever do in our lives and, for most of us, the most vital over the life cycle. Whether a romantic involvement, a parent-child relationship or a platonic friendship, relationships connect us and help us handle the often challenging moments in life. They can also be a whole lot of fun.
Choosing this more-than-platonic interaction can be a viable alternative for some. For most, however, a roommate marriage is a relationship gone bad. When you don’t know how to communicate with one another, conflicts become huge, unsolvable boulders. If talking only leads to arguing, but leaving seems impossible due to kids or finances, a roommate marriage can develop.
Learning how to listen–without challenging–to your partner is hugely important…and very difficult. They’re always so wrong. They’ve assessed situations or your feelings all wrong. What they say they want is all wrong.
Its very difficult not to correct or disagree. But listening requires you to sit and receive. The goal is to understand what the other person feels/believes/thinks. You need to get it and you need to do this well enough to repeat it back so that the other person confirms that you’ve gotten it right. Then, you get to lay out your feelings/beliefs/thoughts.
A roommate marriage may work very well for some. No one has a right to condemn or correct this. Just make sure both parties want the same thing.