Once upon a time there was a Grrrl who privately mocked her in-laws for their separate beds and later their separate bedrooms.
Young and newly wed, she smugly assumed that SHE would never sleep separately from her husband, that they would always happily share a bed.
And then many years later, that Grrrl, long-married and dealing with a dozen issues at once, might have found the separate sleeping arrangement thing to be Not A Bad Idea. Maybe it wasn't old-fashioned. Maybe it was modern.
Sure, there were practical reasons. He went to bed early and got up early, and she went to bed late and got up late. They tried to be quiet, but she knew he sometimes woke up when she slipped into bed at 11 p.m. Sometimes the combination of his 2 a.m. bathroom visits and his 4 a.m. alarm was hard.
There was also snoring. His. Hers. *Sigh* The horror, the absolute horror, of being transformed from sex god(dess) to Person Who Snores. The shame of it. The indignity. They felt like geezers. She didn't mind his snoring but she got the feeling he minded hers.
He had a lot of sleep issues. He couldn't turn his mind off. He couldn't get comfortable. He complained about the mattress and felt it was to blame. They bought a new mattress that he picked out and it made no difference for him (though she thought it was absolutely divine). He had a hard time relaxing at night and sometimes his tension kept her awake. He'd snap his head off the pillow to look at the clock or fling the covers back when getting out of bed to check on a noise. On those nights, he radiated negative energy and made her tense too.
They also did not fully agree on what constituted a Pleasant Sleeping Environment. She loved the ceiling fan and the movement of air; he found every draft a disturbance. He liked more than one blanket. She preferred just one. She loved the comfort of a pet on the bed. He thought it was a nuisance. She liked to sleep close to him, he drew an invisible line down the center of the bed and expected her to keep on her side of it. She liked open windows. He did not. Every sliver of light disturbed him. She preferred a nightlight in the bathroom. She liked to wear perfume at night, he said strong scents of any kind kept him awake.
All these differences tied into Other Issues having to do with autonomy. Because he was always complaining about sleep issues, she hated to assert her sleep preferences for fear of contributing to his insomnia, but what was the point of giving up what she wanted when none of it seemed to make a difference? And let's be honest, things were sometimes a bit prickly during the day. After decades together, both of them might have grown tired of compromising on matters small and large. It was getting harder to give ground.
She secretly worried that maybe the essence of the sleep problem and tension was Her. Not the light, the fan, the mattress, the perfume, whatever. Maybe he simply wanted to be alone. She was tired of thinking about Sleep or their Relationship or Compromise every night. She just wanted to crawl into bed at the end of the day and Be Happy. Maybe she needed space too.
So without making a fuss, she began sleeping in the bed in her art studio. It was cozy, comforting, easy, and stress free. The dog curled up against her back, the cat sometimes joined her. She opened the window on rainy evenings in the spring and fall, and lifted the blinds when there was a full moon. She put a nightlight in the hall bathroom so she wouldn't stumble if she had to get up at night. She wasn't awakened by his alarm anymore and she didn't disturb him when she went to bed late. The space helped, and not just with sleep. Things were better at night and during the day.
This went on for about a year, until she gave up the bed in her studio to accommodate a house guest and resumed sleeping with her husband. She enjoyed the nearness of him again. Apparently he liked it too. When the house guest left, he said, "Why don't you just sleep in here again?"
So she did.
But now, 18 months later, she is once again thinking about A Room and A Bed of Her Own for many reasons, some practical, some hard to explain.
How about you? Ever think about a room or a bed of your own?