Roommate Syndrome: Feature or Bug?

Why Your Relationship Is Supposed To Get Worse Over Time

Nate Bagley
8 min readDec 28, 2021


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

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What if Roommate Syndrome is a feature of marriage and not a bug?

What if Roommate Syndrome was actually SUPPOSED to happen, and it’s not because of something you did wrong?

Let me explain.

Every romantic relationship — if you stay together long enough — will reach this inevitable crossroads.

It’s the moment when you have the realization that what your life looks like with this person you decided to dedicate your life to does not reflect what you thought it would look like.

The Decline

Taylor and Pat had lost their spark. Neither one was pursuing the other like they did when they first fell in love.

They weren’t flirting with each other, laughing together, or even looking forward to seeing each other very much.

They had created a dynamic, an understanding, a cautious relational dance that worked for them…

They both knew how to get by doing the bare minimum for each other so they could avoid ever being accused of “checking out” of the relationship while simultaneously not getting overly invested which would give their partner more “power.”

They had made an unspoken mental list of all the topics of conversation they needed to avoid so they never had to deal with big, explosive emotions. Last month’s credit card statement, the mountain of junk piling up in the garage, problems with the in-laws… if they didn’t talk about them, they couldn’t disrupt the dance.

They had their shortlist of 3 restaurants they knew they could agree on. And they went on routine date nights to these same places where they’d order the same dishes and have the same surface-level conversations every few weeks.



Nate Bagley

I’m the creator of the Growth Marriage Podcast ( My mission in life is to rid the world of mediocre love.