Q: My boyfriend and I don’t live together but we are in the stage of our relationship (15 months) where we do more hanging out at one of our places than actually going on dates. A lot of times this involves us both on the couch watching TV, and at first, we made an attempt to find shows we both liked.

Now it is often one of us scrolling on our phone or watching videos online while the other watches something different on TV. It’s kind of embarrassing, but sometimes a couple of hours can go by where we have barely much more than superficial conversation.

Is it a bad sign if we’re already acting like some old married couple?


A: Well, we can blame a “This Is Us” vs. “The Walking Dead” showdown. But I think it’s that you’re entering the Sweatpants Era of relationship inertia, and having to balance comfort vs. spark, and connection vs. individuality.

It happens. You’re worried about “bad signs,” while I think the more immediate question is: Are you happy with how things are? Not for what they mean, or what they may portend for the future, or how they may be perceived by others, but how they satisfy you on this, a typical Tuesday. Some find easy pleasure in not having to be “on” with a partner and get emotional intimacy from quiet togetherness, a foot rub here, a loving glance there.

Still, others might feel bored and trapped by these evenings, disconnected intellectually or stifled by a lack of interaction or activity. It’s your satisfaction (or lack thereof) that determines the need for change.