effective parenting

There’s Nothing Wrong With Married Couples Who Don’t Share A Bed

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empty-bedIf you sleep next to someone that is a quiet, motionless sleeper who does not have a lot of night time quirks, you have no business judging the couple that can’t share a bed.

I never used to understand the concept of not sharing a bed. Night time always seemed to me to be the time of day when everything finally stops – and you can be alone with your partner. Admittedly, I’ve never dated anyone who snored or had any other quirks that would disturb my sleep. I never understood how completely exhausting it could be to sleep next to someone who kept you awake – therefore I really never understood the concept of wanting to sleep in a separate room from your partner. Then I had kids.

Being consistently woken by small children over the past few years, I’ve developed some serious empathy for those who sleep next to a partner that keeps them awake at night. I’ve seen firsthand how consistently disturbed sleep can affect your day-to-day. It annoys the shit out of me that I still have to wake up every night to tend to one of my children at one time or another. I let it slide, because they are kids who will eventually grow out of this behavior. But if this was my partner disturbing my sleep every night? I can see how that could cause a serious riff in the relationship.

I thought about this today because I read a post on Mamamia today about couples who don’t share their bedrooms.

Even though we had already experienced a few sleepless nights when sharing a bed at each other’s place, we still trotted off down that well-worn path of all couples, and hopped into the same bed on the first night of our new domestic arrangements. Seven nights later we were bleary eyed, unable to function properly at work and re-thinking our decision to live together.

The immediate action needed was separate beds. Fraser’s bedroom furniture had been put to good use in the spare room, so he happily returned to his familiar sheets, pillows and bed. At that point we agreed we would need separate beds during the week, but on weekends we would share.

The main cause of the disturbance was the man’s snoring. They made the decision to sleep in separate bedrooms during the week. I think that’s healthy. I think it’s easy to default to the belief that couples have to sleep together, but if that arrangement is making things difficult – why not fix it like you would attempt to fix any other problem in the relationship?

I used to have a co-worker who would often complain of her husband’s snoring. She wouldn’t mention it to me in confidence, it became a joke she would bring up in mixed-company whenever she had the opportunity. She would laugh and try to make it seem light-hearted, but the sheer frequency with which she brought it up indicated that it was something that really bothered her. I never gave it too much thought – because it’s not like I’ve never heard couples occasionally take passive-aggressive jabs at each other. But it wasn’t really light-hearted, do you know what I mean? There was something under all of those little comments. In retrospect, I think the situation was really affecting her. I don’t think couples even think about the separate room thing as an option, really. But if you have the room and you’re willing to try it – why not?

After waking up  a couple times a night to deal with young children, I can’t even imagine adding being awoken by my husband’s snoring – or vice versa. I respect couples who are willing to work things out and take steps that may seem unconventional, but in the long run might end up saving their relationship.

(photo: CrackerClips Stock Media/ Shutterstock)