Everyday Romance: Sleeping Arrangements

I was in my early 20’s, visiting an out-of-state boyfriend when I first learned that *gasp* some married couples don’t actually sleep in the same bed. Until that moment, I never once thought the old 1950’s sitcoms where the parents slept in separate beds in the same room were anything but fiction or “cleaned up for TV”. I’ve met several other couples who either sleep in separate beds or separate rooms since then, and honestly, I can’t wrap my mind around it.

This will undoubtedly be unpopular with some, but the way I see it, sleeping with your spouse is the ultimate gesture of trust and in some cases, self-sacrifice. When we’re sleeping, we’re at our most vulnerable, and learning to sleep with our spouse’s nighttime habits shows a determination to compromise in order to be together. Sleeping apart seems to me to be picking our own desires over our spouse…and I don’t understand why anyone would do that.

I understand that there are some extenuating circumstances that would warrant sleeping apart – extreme illness being an excellent example, but it seems like those I’ve known choose it only as a personal preference for their own comfort, rather than compromising on issues (I’ll add that from my admittedly limited perspective, these couples have other issues as well, whether cause or effect). I don’t get that. I want to be next to my husband at night, even when he’s snoring or hogging the covers. And yes, even when he has a cold.

I’m considering using this in one of my romance novels, as a catalyst for conflict. I think there’s a lot to be explored in this one simple decision about the nature of relationships.

Weigh in, dear readers. What would make you give up sleeping in the same bed as your spouse, or the same room, for that matter?

9 comments on “Everyday Romance: Sleeping Arrangements

  1. Carol

    Hayfever season! My husband’s snoring is epic! 😀

    Seriously though, I usually go to bed before him so I can get to sleep first, otherwise I don’t get to sleep. But as bad as it is, I’ve never considered sleeping in separate rooms.

  2. Kelly B

    I am with you on this one. I need to go to bed each night with my hubs and wake up in the morning knowing that we spent the time together even if we were both semi-comatose. There is something soothing about the idea of laying next to the person you have chosen to spend your life with.

  3. Erica

    Interesting. I could definitely see why people would want separate beds, but I’m with you, I like sleeping next to him. I don’t like him breathing in my face, but that’s another post ;o)

    I just stay up late enough, that when I get in there, he’s done snoring. That helps. I bet you could get a few stories out of this one thing!

  4. Brooklyn Ann

    If I had it my way I’d have a bed in my library.. ‘cuz I’d ideally have a library. 🙂 That way when husband is snoring really bad I can sleep in there. Otherwise I’m happy to sleep with him.

    On a more serious note, sometimes I think that if my mom and her husband had separate beds she may have lived. His snoring/ sleep apnea was so bad he was on a breathing machine and she had to knock herself out with ambien to sleep.

  5. Jamie D.

    Well like I said, extreme medical conditions would be an exception, I think. My husband has/had sleep apnea and they tried to put him on a machine…luckily for me he couldn’t sleep with it either, so he decided not to use it (his is a weight issue – he decided to start working out again instead). 

    I’m glad we had that other option – I’d be a horrible insomniac if he had to use the machine every night. Those things are *loud* – wish they’d figure out a better treatment for that…

  6. Brooklyn A.

    Awww, I hope your man gets better. Those machines don’t sound like fun.

  7. Liana Brooks

    My grandparents slept apart most of their married life. I don’t know what that says about their relationships.

    I do recall an article a few years back where a loving couple decided to keep separate bedrooms. They were a happy, healthy, urban couple in their late 20’s and the writer said it added spice to their relationship. It brought back the “your place or mine” they lost when they moved in together. It also gave them space to work apart and have freedom some married couples feel they lack.

    I think it depends on the personality type. I’m comfortable sharing my room with my husband. But if I were a little wilder, a little more in need of freedom? Maybe separate rooms could save a marriage, because it gives you space.

  8. Jamie DeBree

    He is, actually. Losing weight is helping a lot. Doesn’t snore nearly as much as he used to, and doesn’t stop breathing at night so much anymore either. 😉

    The CPAP machines look like torture devices – have to be strapped onto his head/face, and they’re *loud* – think Darth Vader breathing next to you. He said it’s hard to work with too…you have to get into a certain rhythm. No fun.

  9. Ardee-ann

    Health issues and a bad mattress, with no way to replace it, caused my partner and I to start sleeping in separate rooms more than six years ago. It has actually been good for our relationship. We have different sleeping times and styles. Having our own space is wonderful. I miss snuggling at times but the benefits outweigh the downside. I wish we had been able to do this sooner. It doesn’t work for everyone but for us it is a good thing.