I got married about a month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world like a raging tempest.
The first few months of marriage were spent cooped up in a two-bedroom apartment with my newlywed husband, and after the “honeymoon period,” we realised that our living situation wasn’t particularly helpful for our relationship.
At one point, things started to go downhill fast and we had no clue what was going wrong.
I spoke with one of my closest friends, who is a practicing psychologist, and she encouraged us to be more communicative with each other and express our feelings more often. She also pointed out a few toxic habits that were silently destroying our relationship.
I have a feeling that a lot of us make these mistakes, which is why I’ve compiled a list of these six toxic bedroom habits that are detrimental to our romantic relationships:
1. Screen time before sleep.
This is something we’re all guilty of.
The bedroom television used to be the culprit—but who watches TV in 2021? The pocket-sized dynamites are enough to destroy a perfectly healthy relationship on their own.
By now, we’re all aware of the perils of smartphones. Research has been conducted across the globe for years, and almost all of the studies agree that using smartphones before going to sleep not only affects your sleep quality and time, but also results in poor memory and attention span, drowsiness, sleepiness during the day, and even mood swings.
When we’re in a romantic relationship, increased screen time in the bedroom naturally results in decreased communication and intimacy with our partners.
Bottom line? Leave those droid monsters outside!
2. Not initiating sex.
Relationships are like a seesaw—the balance is what matters the most. This is why always waiting for our partner to initiate sex is not healthy.
Generally, this type of behavior results from a number of factors, including the fear of rejection, negative self-image, and genuinely not feeling interested in the act.
If you’re reluctant to initiate sex, talk to your partner and find out what’s holding you back.
If you’re the one who always initiates sex, let your partner know how you feel about it, learn about their reasons for not initiating it, and try to find a solution together.
3. “Just get it over with” sex.
If one-sided sex is bad, half-hearted sex is worse. We should be enjoying the togetherness, intimacy, and connection that accompanies awesome and fulfilling sex. If we’re only focussed on reaching climax and looking for a release, we miss out on all of this, and that’s not good news for the relationship.
This type of behavior can result from various factors such as stress and anxiety, physical exhaustion, or a temporary lack of interest in our partners. While some of these triggering factors might not be totally in our control, we might still take some positive actions for the others.
For example, I now know that if I’m exhausted after a hard day of work, it’s okay for me to say “no,” and it’s generally better for us than me agreeing to “I’m-doing-it-‘coz-I-have-to” sex.
I allow myself to rest and get refreshed and revisit the territory the next day with a renewed interest and energy. It’s amazing to see how much of a difference a good night’s sleep can make to our sex life.
If, however, we’re experiencing a general lack of interest in sex or in our partner, it might be an indication of some bigger problems in the relationship. We can try rekindling the romance by spending time together, doing what we both enjoy, and discussing how we are feeling.
4. Lack of physical touch.
Intimacy doesn’t depend on sex alone. Our body and mind crave skin-to-skin contact with the person we love. Lack of physical touch might make us grow distant, create insecurities, and become the cause of miscommunication with our partners.
Holding hands, a loving hug, a peck on the cheek, cuddling, a massage session, or even spooning during sleep are some intimate and loving gestures that are important for a healthy relationship.
5. A cluttered and dirty bedroom.
An untidy and messy bedroom is a reflection of our relationship and our personality. We spend the most important part of our day in the bedroom with our partners. It should make both of us feel calm and relaxed. A dirty bedroom is the silent romance killer.
A messy bedroom can be indicative of mental health problems such as depression or chronic stress. It also says a lot about our priorities. When keeping our bedroom pretty and tidy takes a backseat, it generally indicates that romantic time with our partner is no longer one of our top priorities.
I’m not saying that we need to maintain our bedroom like a shrine and clean every speck of dirt immediately, but we should want to keep it visually pleasing.
6. “Bed is where I belong” lifestyle.
Do you eat, work, and sleep in the same bed? This bed-centric lifestyle can get you killed and leave your relationship shattered like a glasshouse.
Bedrooms are private and special. It should be like an oasis amidst the desert of life where we can find solitude after a long, hard day. When we spend most of our time here, there’s no charm left, and this is detrimental to our love life.
For starters, our brains don’t automatically switch from “work mode” to “relax mode” as soon as we stop working. Rather, the environmental changes play a big part in it, and a lack of such external stimuli can make it a challenge.
Boredom and lack of interest in intimate relationships are some other side effects of working from bed. Moreover, it is also bad for our posture, health, hygiene, and productivity.
If you’ve been doing one or more of these highly toxic bedroom behaviors as we did, it’s high time to stop and embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle.