No One Does…Do You?

I got an email yesterday which I guess was spawned by Monday’s little discussion about relationships. The writer of this email, (let’s call her Colette) asked if I could get some feedback from people about something relationship-related that she’s kind of wondering about. And, since I had nothing else planned for today that can’t wait, I figured I’d get right to it.

Colette and her husband have recently decided to sleep in separate bedrooms because one of them snores and doesn’t want to keep the other one up. I know a few couples who have decided to sleep in separate bedrooms for various reasons. Some because they can’t stand the sight, smell or touch of each other anymore but also can’t afford to get divorced. Some for the same sorts of reasons as Colette – snoring; teeth grinding; tossing and turning; one likes the window open, one likes it shut; one likes a firm mattress, one likes a soft one; Dutch ovens, etc.

My parents got separate beds halfway through their marriage because my mum was sick of my dad scratching her with his toe-nails which he didn’t cut often enough. I like having a bed (and a bedroom) to myself, too. No matter how fond I am of someone, I hate having to adjust my quirky sleep style to accommodate another person. Nor do I enjoy listening to someone else’s sleep noises or being pawed or breathed on when I’m trying to sleep.

Zoom, on the other hand, thinks that bed cuddling stuff is the best part of her day – the closeness, the intimacy, the comfort of lying next to someone as they sleep. Lots of people would agree with her. Only 12% of couples do not sleep in the same bed. Aside from sleeping and nightly romping, a couple’s bed also serves as a refuge from the kids, a place to talk over the day in private, to cuddle, and for easy morning roll-over sex.

Despite what’s depicted in old TV shows and movies, couples have been sharing a bed since forever. In fact, back in the 18th and 19th centuries it was traditional even for unmarried couples who were thinking of maybe getting married, to share a bed to see if they would be compatible sleeping together. No sex was allowed though.

They called it “bundling” and had a variety of devices to stop the couple from accidentally coupling – planks or boards slotted halfway down the middle of the bed, for instance. The most popular anti-coupling device though was the “bundling bag”, which was a bag they stuffed the woman in which she could lace up from the inside, but no one could get into from the outside.

Oddly, “bundling” resulted in a great many pregnancies and shot-gun marriages. I believe this is where our phone/internet/cable providers got the term. You think you’re getting this good deal, but they manage to find a way to screw you regardless.

So anyway, back to Colette. What do you think? Do couples need to share a bed to keep intimacy in their relationship? Or is a relationship sometimes healthier if a couple doesn’t share a bed? If you hear about a couple who sleeps in separate bedrooms, do you assume there is something not right between them? What’s your situation? And/or what would you prefer your situation to be?

Colette, Paul,  Odia and I thank you for your input and wish you a happy and restful weekend.