7 Years Ago, My Husband and I Decided to Stop Sleeping Together, and It Was the Best Decision for Our Marriage

Stories
9 months ago

For the past 8 years, my husband and I have resided together, yet for 7 of those years, we have chosen to sleep in separate bedrooms. This decision is not prompted by frequent arguments or the presence of children (as we do not have any); rather, it simply aligns with our personal preferences. At first glance, this may not appear significant.

After all, what’s the harm in sleeping in separate rooms or not embarking on joint vacations? The ultimate priority, above all else, is our happiness. However, in reality, when you establish your guidelines within your marriage, societal stereotypes may arise, leading you to question whether you are deviating from the norm.

Why did we start doing this

On one occasion, I awoke to find myself alone in bed, despite being certain that I had retired with my boyfriend. Sneaking into the adjacent room, I discovered him peacefully sleeping on the couch. I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll address this in the morning.”

During breakfast the following day, we engaged in the following conversation:

— I lost you last night. Why did you retreat to the other room?

— You know, I couldn’t fall asleep. Your tossing, turning, and loud breathing disturbed me every time you shifted.

-Hmm, alright. I never realized I breathed loudly.

The same situation repeated itself the subsequent night. It became clear to me that we needed to discuss this matter. During our conversation, we realized that it was challenging for us to sleep together.

My boyfriend recalled all the previous arguments that arose from his lack of sleep: his snoring, my disruption of his slumber, his resultant irritability due to insufficient rest. Occasionally, I would snore, he would wake me up, and I would struggle to fall back asleep. Frequently, one of us would awaken due to the heat or the other person getting up to have a drink of water. On one occasion, I even poked my boyfriend in the eye during a peculiar dream.

Moreover, we realized that our sleep schedules were completely different. At that time, my work schedule was highly flexible, allowing me to reach the peak of my productivity during the evening and night. I could indulge in watching movies and reading books until midnight, waking up around 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. On the other hand, my boyfriend had to be at work by 9 a.m., making it crucial for him to obtain a good night’s sleep.

However, because of the sleep problems we were experiencing while sharing a bed, neither of us could rest for more than 6-7 hours. Consequently, both of us grew increasingly irritable, fatigued, and on edge.

So we came to the conclusion that it would be better for us to sleep in separate bedrooms, luckily we had plenty of room for that. I’ll be honest: initially, I did not share the same perspective as my boyfriend regarding sleeping apart. It felt somewhat peculiar to me, as I was accustomed to the notion that people sleep together. In my parents’ case, they only started sleeping separately after their 25th wedding anniversary. However, my boyfriend thrived in this new arrangement: he fell asleep much quicker, woke up easily, prepared breakfast for us, and embarked on his workday with a contented disposition.

Finally, our arguments nearly ceased altogether. Most of the causes for our disagreements dissipated, and both of us experienced a notable increase in overall tranquility. Moreover, we began collaborating more effectively, compared to the past when both of us found it challenging to rise and gather ourselves.

What do scientists think about this

East News

I decided to delve into scientific literature concerning this matter. That’s when I stumbled upon a book Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing by Paul C. Rosenblatt, a distinguished sociology professor. Rosenblatt’s work concludes that sharing the same bed often leads to psychological problems and can even contribute to insomnia or other disorders.

The scholar engaged in conversations with numerous married couples, revealing that the bedroom often becomes a “center of tension” within the household. Spouses frequently engage in disputes over seemingly trivial matters, such as the permissibility of allowing pets on the bed or the appropriateness of eating in bed.

Moreover, numerous conflicts arise due to various factors such as snoring, television viewing, disputes over the blanket, or the glow of a mobile phone screen. Additionally, disagreements frequently occur between partners regarding the bedroom temperature, with some preferring warmth while others favor a cooler environment. According to the professor, in most instances, this problem can be easily resolved by sleeping separately. However, people struggle to overcome the stereotype that sleeping together is inherently more natural.

During the British Science Festival, another sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley delivered a speech emphasizing the self-centered nature of sleep, advising against sharing it with anyone.

Psychologists also assert that, for men, the obligation to share a bed with someone can be irritating. It is in their instinct to safeguard their sleeping space from potential threats. Consequently, when there is someone beside a man at night, he is unable to fully relax. The issue lies in the fact that sleeping together prevents the nervous system from unwinding and obtaining proper rest. Interestingly, this phenomenon affects women to a lesser extent, as they tend to cope better with these challenges compared to men, who find sleeping alone considerably more comfortable. I cannot confirm the absolute truth of this claim, but it certainly held for my boyfriend.

Why do so many people fear it

I acquired this knowledge from women’s forums, wherein a unanimous agreement was reached: sleeping apart is utterly dreadful. The arguments put forth were as follows: What about intimacy? What about cuddling? Everyone told me, different beds are the beginning of the end of our relationship. Herein lies a traditional response to such inquiries:

Upon reading numerous comments, I discovered that the age-old stereotypes surrounding sleeping together persist within us. Our ancestors held firm beliefs in various signs and superstitions that could potentially jeopardize a marriage. This particular one remains ingrained in certain individuals’ memory: refrain from going to sleep until you have resolved any conflicts. They sought to adhere to a straightforward logic: if the majority follows this practice, it must be the correct course of action. The notion of sleeping separately or not embarking on vacations together is utterly bewildering.

Honestly, I used to believe that in the 21st century, nothing could astonish me concerning relationships. However, I have been proven unequivocally wrong! Sharing the same bed and sharing a blanket are still deemed exceedingly significant.

Our couple is not alone

It has come to my attention that numerous celebrities have a preference for sleeping alone too. Take, for instance, George and Amal Clooney, who choose to sleep separately. The reason behind their decision is George’s tendency to snore loudly, which disrupts Amal’s ability to attain a restful sleep.

AP / East News

Moreover, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have chosen to sleep in separate bedrooms. Catherine once expressed her desire not to appear unappealing in her husband’s presence, leading to their mutual decision to sleep apart. Perhaps this arrangement has contributed to their blissful 19-year marriage.

SOLARPIX.COM / East News

How our relationship has changed

For 7 years, my husband and I decided to sleep in separate bedrooms, and it has greatly improved our lives. I am certain of this, as our relationship has not suffered any setbacks. In fact, we decided to get married after approximately five years of sleeping apart. To me, having separate rooms not only allows us to rest peacefully but also fosters our independence, as everyone desires occasional solitude.

Honestly, I have reached a point where I find it difficult to fall asleep while embracing someone. Loving a person doesn’t automatically imply a desire to share the same bed. However, we have established a habit of visiting each other’s bedrooms before sleep, exchanging kisses, and bidding each other goodnight. Moreover, to compensate for the absence of physical contact, we make it a point to embrace and lie together during the day.

When going on vacation, we opt not to book two separate rooms; instead, we prefer to sleep in the same room. If possible, we choose a room with two single beds. Furthermore, having a restful sleep is not as crucial during vacations since one can always take a nap on the beach or at another convenient time.

What about our friends? They are divided into two groups. Some of them expressed skepticism, mentioning that it would be challenging for them to fall asleep without cuddling their partners. On the other hand, the others exclaimed, “Wow, that’s cool! Unfortunately, we live in a small apartment, so we can’t try it.”

Dealing with our relatives proved a bit more challenging. My mother-in-law felt quite melancholic and expressed her sadness, emphasizing that it’s unfortunate that we are no longer able to sleep together. Meanwhile, my mother stated, “Live as you wish, but when you come to visit us, bring two sets of bedsheets.”

Advice for those who are thinking about sleeping separately

One of the most significant realizations I have come to is that every couple is unique, and there is no definitive formula for constructing a successful family life. If you find yourself feeling uneasy and possess a clear understanding of how to enhance the situation, it is crucial to engage in open communication with your partner. Engage in extensive discussions, while maintaining a calm demeanor, and elucidate your perspective. However, it is advisable to avoid having these conversations during the heat of an argument, as doing so will only exacerbate the situation.

Although it may seem apparent, many individuals have disregarded the importance of engaging in dialogue as a couple. Ensure that your partner comprehends that your decision is not personal but rather rooted in your need for comfort. Request that your partner make an effort to empathize with your standpoint. In the event that one person within the partnership disagrees with this notion, it may be worth exploring a potential compromise, such as spending a few nights each week sleeping separately.

It would probably be great if there were uniform rules for everyone to build a happy life. But that’s impossible. And each couple has to find their own way to harmony in their relationships. Some people are comfortable with a large age difference between spouses, for example. Others take years to finally decide to get married. And there are those who don’t need a wedding at all to prove their love. After all, everyone’s happiness is different.

Please note: This article was updated in March 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.

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