When most people picture married life, it usually includes a nice large bed for two. While this is commonly the case, more and more married couples are starting to sleep separately. There are a number of reasons for this, and they may not be what you think they are. This is not only happening among people who have been married for over 30 years, but couples are spending their nights in separate beds early on in the marriage. Is it healthy for couples to separate from the “marriage bed?” Why do couples do this?
Why separate beds?
Three reasons that some couples separate at night are sex issues, children, and other marital problems. Sometimes one partner wants to have sex more than the other. Other times, couples choose to abstain from sexual activity because of their first difficult child. New mothers sometimes sleep closer to their infant, who wakes up in the middle of the night, to allow their husband to sleep. Heated arguments might send the husband to the couch. A lack of emotional intimacy might make it so difficult to sleep together, that couples drift apart and feel more comfortable in separate rooms at night. While these can be the reason why some couples now sleep in different rooms, these are far from being the only reasons.
Couples are often composed of complete opposites. She might be a morning person and he might be a night owl. Different sleeping patterns and conflicting schedules can make it difficult to get the proper rest. Sometimes people separate just to get a good night’s rest. Light sleepers, in particular, might develop issues with snoring, cover stealing, tossing and turning, or getting up at different times. In this case, sleeping separately might actually help the relationship, because it may alleviate stress and the silent animosity that may come about from having a partner that ruins your sleep cycle.
Another reason why married couples decide to sleep separately is that they just want their own room. Some men just can’t stand pink comforter sets and flowery surroundings. Marriage should consist of two complete individuals, and that might create a bit of a clash when it comes to bedroom design, and what environment is necessary for one to wind down for the night. One might like music or television, and the other might want total darkness and silence. There can usually be a compromise in this situation (and that is necessary if you don’t have an extra room in the house). Maintaining a sense of individuality can come from having your own bedroom, even when married. Be careful, however, because too much separation can cause you to drift apart. Make sure that there is time to cuddle, talk, kiss, and connect outside of bedtime. The other exciting part of having separate bedrooms is the “dating game” you can play. Will it be your place or theirs?
Is it good or bad to sleep separately?
It depends. On the positive side, a little space can make your heart race when you see them again. Having a chance to miss your partner and relax can be a healthy activity for you and your partner. Obviously, if the reasons are simply personal preference or schedule conflicts, it might not be such a bad idea. If you spend too much time together, sleeping apart will give you a chance to refresh your feelings for each other. Having a separate bedroom can allow you to see your partner’s interests and preferences in a different way, and it can help you remember who you are.
On the negative end, a strong desire to sleep apart because of intimacy problems or even personal preference might do damage. If you simply push away from your partner because of your issues and don’t deal with the conflict, the problems will still be there in the morning. Sleeping apart as an escape from dealing with problems will only create an emotional distance in addition to the physical one, and that can be a path to divorce. Even if the separation is made to maintain or recapture a sense of individuality (which can be good) it can cause you to grow apart. To avoid this problem, make sure that there are certain things that you always do together on a regular basis. Connect with each other and talk every day so that you are involved in each other’s lives. You don’t want to become roommates, so keep the “married feeling” alive with quality time, and don’t keep each other from ever visiting the other’s room.
A little space is good for marriage. Even if you sleep separately once in a while, it can give you an appreciation for the nightly company when you sleep together again. Sleeping apart is not right for every marriage, however. If the two of you lead separate and busy lives, that bedtime might be what keeps you in sync. Sleeping in the same bed when you are married is a special opportunity to hold hands, talk, or just be near each other. Communication is the key, so talk it over with your spouse before you decide to move out of the bedroom. If you already sleep away from your spouse (voluntarily), reevaluate the reasons, and make sure you are doing the right thing.
Married couples don’t have to sleep together all the time. Every couple is different, and it does work for some people.