I read an article last week about how increasingly developers are incorporating two master bedrooms into their plans for new homes being built. Apparently it’s a growing trend for couples to have separate bedrooms. In reality it’s a fairly modern idea for couples to share their bedrooms. The idea of sharing a room with one’s spouse became popular in the Victorian era. I’m using the term ‘popular’ loosely here. I’m a great exponent of having one’s own room so I decided to write this post to extol its virtues.
As a child I can remember thinking that it was strange that I got a room and a bed to myself, being the only girl in our family, but my parents, who were so much bigger, had to share not just a room but a bed as well.
Although times seem to be changing, apparently 25% of couples now have their own rooms, many people still think that sleeping separately is rather odd. Because of that I find that I feel slightly uncomfortable if circumstance produce a situation where I have to explain that my husband and I have our own rooms and indeed have done so for most of our married lives, to people who I don’t know well. We have been married for 33 years.
The reason we started enjoying sleeping separately was similar to many couples, one of us had a terrible cold and the subsequent coughing and snivelling was keeping us both awake. It’s been so long now that I really can’t remember who made their way into the spare room but what we found was that we both slept so much better. We were lucky to live in a house with spare bedrooms as we hadn’t started a family at that stage and it seemed silly not to take advantage of using them. It also helped that amongst our friends at the time this was not considered unduly odd.
I think that one reason that people feel awkward about separate sleeping is that they associate it with lack of intimacy in a relationship. There was a tendency in 1970s sitcoms to show couples who didn’t get on that well as sleeping in separate beds or cold dreary rooms.To be honest there is something much more romantic about a gentle knock or a smiling face peering round the door than someone just rolling in your direction in the bed. Enough said on that point.
Possibly we have witnessed amongst our circle of friends that terrible point in a relationship when things have broken down to such a degree through infidelity or something else that one partner makes the move to the spare room. But it doesn’t have to be such a negative event.
I’m not recommending singled beds! I have a huge double bed which can actually accomodate our entire family, including the dog, when we decide it’s time for a family hug, which happens regularly. It’s a lovely thing to shout out from the isolation of my room ‘family hug’ and to hear all the footsteps scuttling across the landing from the other rooms. Of course it doesn’t have to be the whole gang every time!
One thing I have found is that many of my female friends would love to have their own rooms but think that their husbands would see this as some kind of rejection and wouldn’t countenance the idea. I feel sorry for these couples. This is really a sign of insecurity that has no place in a mature relationship.
We all need to have time to ourselves and space. This arrangement solves both these issues. How often do you go to bed earlier than your partner only to be woken when they turn in an hour or more later? How often have you got a great book that you’d love to read for half an hour before turning your bedside light off, but your partner can’t sleep if you keep your light on?
There is also the delight of having your room decorated more in the style that you might chose but that your partner might not appreciate. Would you love to go minimalist or are you desperate for some flowery chintz?
It might also be that you have a different approach to tidiness in the bedroom. You can be as neat or slovenly as you choose and it doesn’t affect anyone else. Just imagine having all that wardrobe space to yourself. What about a writing desk in the corner or a bookcase for your own collection – or is that just me?
We haven’t even covered the issue that sends most couples into separate rooms. It’s the ‘S’ word – snoring. Well it goes without saying that having your own room makes sense if your roommate keeps you awake at night with their snoring, or indeed if you keep them awake too. I also found that I could almost ‘hear’ my husband thinking,when we shared a bed, and his mental activity kept me alert too.
So if you have a spare room that looks a bit lonely and unused then why not give it a try? I think you’ll love it and remember it doesn’t mean that your partner can’t visit or that you don’t love them. It’s about getting a good night sleep and having some space to call your own. It may do wonders for your relationship. Having a good night sleep is such a hugely important thing for health and happiness and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying sleeping with the one you love. Maybe you love to snuggle up and don’t experience any of the problems I’ve outlined. It’s just that not sleeping with your partner doesn’t mean you don’t love them and might just be more fun.