The Dead Bedroom Syndrome—couples in a relationship without passion or desire—is a painfully familiar ailment. Reddit has 20,000 members in its Dead Bedroom subreddit. Ask someone who’s been in a committed relationship for an extended period of time, five or ten years or more, and they’re likelier than not to shrug wistfully and say: “You adjust.”
Dead Bedrooms. They’re hot, I’m tellin’ ya.
The usual approaches to Dead Bedroom Syndrome are programmatic. Make two dates a week and keep them, no matter what. Do lots of wet kissing. While tactics like these can help, they tend to have a low ceiling. We’re dealing with entropy here, remember. Once you’re in a dead bedroom, the weight of non-desire lies heavy on the partners’ shoulders. Progress will usually be mixed at best.
There’s a radically different approach to Dead Bedroom Syndrome. Toss out the word ‘couple’ and replace it with ‘you-ple.’
There’s a reason for this ouch of a portmanteau word. Every relationship starts with you. And you.
And then there are two.
One precedes two. One will be there when two is over. Your primary relationship is and always will be with … you.
(That’s right, it is all about you!)
Let’s take a look at Dead Bedroom Syndrome through the lens not of the ‘you-ple,’ not the couple.
Ask not what you as a couple can do to make your relationship more alive. Ask what you as an individual can do to make you more alive.
Seriously: Every dead relationship has one and usually two dead people inhabiting it. Spiritually dead, in the sake of lacking the special sense of aliveness that gets worn away by routine and the daily duties of adulthood. The aliveness that the philosopher Henri Bergson called the élan vital, the vital force that powers us through life. It’s the aliveness of newness, of novelty. The creative impulse. Eros.
It is this aliveness—this erotic aliveness—that gets crushed beneath the dead weight of Dead Bedroom Syndrome.
And, prior to that, beneath the dead weight of our lives.
From this perspective, Dead Bedroom Syndrome emerges as a soul-sickness and, at the same time, a spotlight directing us back on course, toward the path of our inner élan vital.
So: Do you want to get that vital spark back into your relationship? Then get it back inside you.
Dead Bedroom Syndrome is like a dark enchantment cast upon us by an evil sorcerer. There’s an incantation that can lift that spell, though. A process, really. When we restore our interior aliveness, Dead Bedroom Syndrome tends to evaporate like the mist it is. And, with that fog gone, we’re well on our way to hot times again with our—until recently—familiar old housecoat of a partner.
It’s where we find our connection to Eros.
It’s what spiritual paths are made of.
It’s what we lose sight of as we muddle through our lives.
It’s a signpost, a bright-neon blinking sign, lighting the way out of our dead bedroom.
It’s our connection to everything, including our misplaced partner.