Does sleeping apart mean the end of the marriage?
Possibly ... but not necessarily.
If either of you, or in our case, any of us (the cat sleeps in his catbed in the bedroom), snore, then sleeping apart may actually save a marriage rather than denote its demise. The following are the reasons why my husband and I have to sleep apart and how we managed not to end our marriage over it.
It all depends if you snore.
There are three of us in this relationship, to borrow a phrase off Princess Diana, me, my husband and The Toof, our cat and sadly all of us snore to some extent. I know it is unladylike of me but its true. (And Brownie points to me for owning up, so many women are in denial).
Of course, my snoring is not of the house-shuddering variety, the sort that empties all the rooms in the house of air. Heaven forfend! No, mine is more a sort of genteel, wispy, ladylike sort of snore ... I'd hate you to think I was a bit on the masculine side.
And then it’s only at certain times of the night and when the wind is in the east or there's a full moon or something, I’m sure. The cat's snoring is also the merest wisp of silky whispering as he has only tiny nostrils. I find it more cute and amusing than irritating. My husband disagrees.
My husband’s snoring, however, was more of the rabid wart hog, bed-shaker variety. I think I can safely say that as he won't read this hub. I have to say that I didn't particularly mind my husband's snore and most of the time I was quite able to block it out of my mind and go to sleep.
This courtesy was not in the least reciprocated.
Instead I had to endure firm pushes, 'accidental’ kicks and deafening and heart rending sighs that woke me up completely. If I didn't learn my lesson and stop my inadvertent snoring, these were followed obvious and theatrical flouncings out of the bedroom, with which he intended to say 'now, look what you've done!'
During the next day's analysis of our night's sleep he would list my nasal indiscretions, inform me that he just could not ignore the sounds and tell me piteously that he ends up lying awake waiting with all his senses turned up to acute for the next snore.
He would then imitate the noise I made to illustrate how incredibly annoying I was, at which point I would have to stare at him in utter disbelief, wondering both how such a little murmur could keep a man with markedly impaired hearing, awake.
The other reasons for not sleeping together.
I suppose it really doesn't help that we are all such light sleepers.
When we sleep together, which we occasionally have to do when visitors come, I wake up if the cat's breathing pattern changes and my husband wakes if I am too hot, in the temperature sense of the word. (Any other sense of 'hot' and he's all for waking up).
Menopausely speaking, such extra warmth is hard for me to avoid despite not wearing anything in our king-size bed with its special cool covered mattress invented for athletes or astronauts or whatever (the cover, not the mattress) and being covered by a duvet that's supposed to breathe, or more correctly, is supposed to let our bodies breathe.
And this is all before my husband starts to dream. Most nights he has vivid dreams, many of them nightmares, from which he forces himself to wake up as they often frighten him.
And it is not true that they are caused by living with me ... or at least I don’t think they are.
The obvious solution: separate beds.
So, for us, sleeping in separate bedrooms was the only option and it has worked well. Each of us can read as long as we want without the light disturbing the one who wants to go to sleep.
The cat and I, us whispy snorers, sleep in the same room and he has never complained yet. Though I suspect that if I do disturb him he just takes himself off quietly to sleep downstairs without the hint of a flounce.
In the morning we all reconvene on one or other of the beds for a cup of tea and a morning debrief of how we slept and an analysis of any dreams remembered. This is what passes for interesting at our time of life.
Sleeping apart can feel like failure.
This is not to say that sleeping apart did not feel strange at first. It did, for a while, feel like a failure, especially as our marriage was only two or three years old before we had to throw in the towel and sleep in different rooms.
There was a definite element of ' So this is what it has come down to already' and I, for one, was concerned that this was the beginning of the breakdown of civilization as I had known it. But gradually the feeling of failure faded and at least I was getting some sleep.
Now, a couple of years later, we realise that separate rooms doesn't mean separate lives. We are just the same with each other as when we slept in the same bed. Probably nicer to one another in fact, as we are properly refreshed by our sleep.
And as I know people are always curious to know about 'that side of things' if you see what I mean, I would just like to put it on record here that that is totally unimpaired by our sleeping arrangements. It's just that now it's a case of 'your place or mine?'