By JENNIFER ADAMS
I’m going to lay my cards on the table straight away. My husband and I sleep in separate rooms and have done so since he moved into my house eight years ago.
If I was going to describe our ability to share a bed in contemporary parlance, I would have to say we are an ‘epic fail’.
When Fraser moved into my house, we had only been seeing each other for five months. But the lease on his apartment was ending and we both felt as though our relationship was ‘the real thing’.
So even though we didn’t think we would be making this decision so early, we dived on in and decided to cohabitate.
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.
That decision lasted for two weeks. We simply could not sleep in the same bed and actually sleep and so had to face that fact that separate rooms every night was the only way we were both going to get a good night’s sleep and stay in the same house.
The main cause of our problem was Fraser’s snoring. (There were other factors such as disparate bed times, room and bed temperature differences, fan on/fan off etc) As a light sleeper, the noise from Fraser’s snoring kept me awake and made me anxious. I felt bad. He felt bad. We despaired together.
Although the decision was swift, making it was not easy, and was accompanied by a myriad of questions and fears. What did this mean? Was there something wrong with us? Was the relationship doomed? What would other people say? But more importantly, was it ok to prioritise getting a good night’s sleep over sleeping next to each other?
After a few tears from me during the first nights apart, but mentally fortified by a few nights of good sleep, we began to talk. And nine years on we’re still talking about what sleeping in separate rooms means for us. Over time the conversations have changed.
In the beginning they were fervoured talks about how much we loved each other and how separate rooms ABSOLUTELY did not mean we didn’t desire each other or want to be together.