Sleeping In Separate Beds: Is it OK or Is Your Relationship Dead?

Sleeping In Separate Beds: Is it OK or Is Your Relationship Dead?

“There’s something about falling asleep next to someone," says one expert. 


By Marianne Garvey

Separate bathrooms? Amazing. Separate bedrooms? Could be something going on there.

While we really don’t want our partners to know the ins and outs of what goes on in the bathroom, sleeping together is a totally different story. It’s really sweet, it’s intimate, and it makes you vulnerable. Plus, sharing a bed makes you closer both physically and emotionally.

But not all couples like to fall asleep to the sounds of, well, each other. Some people snore, some are light sleepers, maybe you have a small bed or restless leg syndrome. Maybe night terrors are your problem. Or maybe your husband watches The Hateful Eight on the bedroom TV every single time it's on and the score is so loud and frightening you have to wear noiseblocking headphones and they hurt your ears and you have a fight because you just want to read your book for once without Jennifer Jason Leigh screaming her head off with a bloody mouth. Just me?

Sometimes it’s necessary to say “night night” and head to your own room. However, if there’s no real reason for your separate quarters and you just prefer being apart, your relationship may be suffering.

According to The Atlantic, the history of couples snuggling up together at night—for the whole night— started for a variety of reasons.

“Virginia Tech professor Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, says there used to be a financial incentive to sleeping together, as recently as the 1800s,” reports the site.

“Even livestock often resided under the same roof, because there was no other structure to put them in, and they generated welcome warmth. Among the lower classes in preindustrial Europe, it was customary for an entire family to sleep in the same bed—typically the costliest item of furniture—if not to ‘pig’ together on a straw pile. Genteel couples, for greater comfort, occasionally slept apart, especially when a spouse was ill.”

In addition to financial necessity, humans, no joke, also started sleeping together because we were—and are—pretty much scared of the dark.

“Night, man’s first necessary evil, inspired widespread fear before the Industrial Revolution,” the professor says. “Never did families feel more vulnerable than when they retired at night. Bedmates afforded a strong sense of security, given the prevalence of perils, real and imagined—from thieves and arsonists to ghosts, witches, and the prince of darkness himself.”

Other reasons?

Humans are instinctually affectionate beings and like the intimacy.

Recently, there’s been speculation on whether or not Donald Trump, 70, and wife Melania, 46, sleep in the same bed when she visits the White House. She’s currently in Trump Tower in New York while Barron, 10, finishes his school year, as The Donald wanders around his new house in his bathrobe trying to figure out how to work the light switches.

Sources tell Us Weekly they sleep separately no matter where they are. And that when Melania moves to D.C. in June, they will maintain separate rooms.

“They have separate bedrooms,” says a Trump insider. “They never spend the night together — ever.”

Another source says the couple sleeps in the same room but keep separate beds: “It’s very ‘royal’ of them!” (Or very Step Brothers.)

In a 2016 GQ profile, “Melania has said the key to the success of her marriage is separate bathrooms.”

Did she mean bedrooms? And is it really that bad to catch a good night’s sleep without hearing loud snores?

Relationship and intimacy expert Fran Greene says there are a million reasons why couples have slept in separate rooms.

“One could be sick, they could keep different hours; I think as long as it’s not a habit it’s fine for couples,” Fran says. “It shouldn’t be a habit because there’s something about sharing a bed that you only do with your lover or spouse, because it’s a space that’s very private and only reserved for two people in relationship.

“There’s something about falling asleep next to someone.”

Fran says it’s waking up next to someone that keeps the romance and love alive because “it’s something only the two of your share.”

“It’s total intimacy and it’s also a way that you can learn to really give and take—whether that’s the pillows, the blankets, the temperature in the room, you’re negotiating your relationship in a non-verbal kind of a way.”

On Melania and Donald, one of the things that is rather disturbing is that she “never looks connected to him in any photograph,” Fran says, so if they are maintaining separate rooms on a regular basis, “they are missing out on something special.”

“But every relationship is different. It’s about the couple making it work for them,” Fran says.

The pros of sleeping together?

“Waking up with bad breath and no makeup is what makes the love grow and you almost love the way your partner appears, what is better than being able to be loved in that natural, raw state?” Fran says. The whole point is that’s what unconditional love is.”

On the other hand, we’re also all extremely judgmental about other people’s relationships.

“Sleep is very, very important,” Fran says. “Maybe one of them is a really light sleeper and that they cannot, for whatever reason, really cannot sleep well together.”

Fran says in the end, if you can manage to work it out it’s better to sleep together. Here’s why:

“Try maybe just on the weekends, or one night a week. Do it so that you don’t lose that kind of connection. There is something to be said about sleeping alone—you have the whole bed, you can put the TV on. You can have a snack, turn the lights on, get up to go to the bathroom.

“Couples who have troubles sleeping together, that’s worth exploring with a therapist. The bottom line is, when you don’t like someone you don’t want to sleep with them. You want to be away from them as much as possible.”

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