Once upon a time, couples who could afford separate bedrooms always slept apart. A private bedroom — and private bed — were seen as luxuries that were to be enjoyed, not a sign of a troubled marriage.
Times, of course, have changed. It had become pretty much the norm for married couples to sleep in the same bed unless their marriage was in trouble — until recently. In the last few years, experts say that more couples seem to be sleeping apart again.
Is sleeping apart an automatic death knell for your marriage?
It depends. If your spouse has recently proposed that you begin sleeping apart, here are some questions that you should probably be asking:
1. Are there any medical reasons for the change?
There are all sorts of medical conditions that can interfere with the quality of someone’s sleep and make it difficult to share a bed with someone else in comfort.
Snoring, back pain, arthritis pain and swollen joints, restless leg syndrome and menopausal hot flashes can all lead to sleep-deprivation for one or both members of a couple. Sleeping apart could actually save your health and your marriage.
2. Is this a lifestyle issue and a sign of trouble?
If one of you is an early bird and the other is a night owl, you may simply be falling into habits that make you less inclined to share a bed. Similarly, maybe one of you likes to watch TV in bed and the other doesn’t.
If this is the problem, you may want to question why either of you would rather resort to separate rooms than a compromise in habits. It may be a sign that intimacy is fading and your relationship is already in trouble. Couples that share a deep connection are usually willing to give up a few things in order to enjoy snuggling together. Separate rooms may make the situation worse.
Ultimately, if you’re both happy with the idea of separate rooms, your marriage shouldn’t suffer. If separate rooms seem to be a symptom of a failing marriage, however, it might be time for a hard conversation.
If your marriage is failing, it’s not too early to seek advice from an experienced attorney. Knowing what to expect if you end up seeking a divorce can reduce any fear or anxiety you feel over the situation.