As a couples therapist, I work with a lot of people who are in the roommate rut with their partner. They come to counseling looking to reconnect, rekindle their passion, and rebuild their relationship. They want their marriage back! Over time, passion has given way to comfort and complacency. And they are no longer willing to settle!

What are the biggest barriers to red-hot monogamy?

1. Comfort and predictability.

I am a big fan of comfort. I put on pajama pants as soon as I get home (partly to avoid getting my work clothes covered in beagle fur but mostly because I want to be comfortable). In addition, I value comfort in my marriage. And I appreciate that my husband will give emotional support and hugs after a hard day. But marriages need more than that.

And good sex is uncomfortable. Good sex means putting yourself out there and asking for what you want. It means sharing fantasies and desires without knowing if your partner will be into them as well. This is a risk. And risks aren’t comfortable or predicable. And comfort and predictability are what the roommate rut is all about. If you want to rekindle your passion, you have to be willing to take risks.

2. Stress

Stress puts the brakes on desire. How many people have been turned down by sex because their partner is stressed, overwhelmed, and/or exhausted? My guess is just about everyone. But the truth is that there are two antidotes to stress: mindfulness and movement. And both of these antidotes can be found in intimacy.

Now I’m not saying you should jump into intercourse if you’re stressed. It’s fundamentally impossible and/or painful to have intercourse if you’re not aroused. But you can start with mindfully caressing your partner or mindful back massages. Getting out of your head and into your body is more effective than zoning out and watching Netflix. Plus, orgasms are a natural stress-reliever (if you can allow/encourage your partner to “seduce” you into it).

3. Relationships issues

Relationship issues come in all forms and sizes. And boy do they wreak havoc on your sex life! Disconnection and resentment do not breed passion and intimacy. So addressing problems as they arise and cooling down the conflict will help. And, there’s no shame in couples therapy. It can work wonders!

4. Expecting that you have to be turned on to start getting intimate

Yes, you’re not going to have intercourse without being horny (you need an erection/lubrication for this to be possible). But you absolutely can start engaging in foreplay before you are randy. In fact, foreplay is great for turning you on!

So the next time your partner is in the mood and you’re not, maybe ask them to seduce you into getting into it.

5. It isn’t a priority

Maintaining a healthy sex life after the initial passion dies down requires an active commitment. Gone are the days when you couldn’t keep your hands off of each other. Now sex takes a backseat to just about everything else. So it’s time to decide if you want to make it a priority.

If it’s a priority, schedule it. Do the things that will get you in the mood. Send dirty text messages. Flirt shamelessly throughout the day. Wear clothes that make you feel sexy. Fantasize about what you are going to do that night.


Hope that helps you rekindle your passion and enjoy your life. Want the three words that can end any argument? Sign up with your email list for that freebie below!

Couples Counseling

Therapy Evanston