My husband and I are going through a "sleep divorce." Let me explain. On a typical night in my family's home, I am recovering from the long day in my bed, scrolling through my phone, with our two dogs snuggled up next to me. My husband is in the living room watching sports, playing video games or the news.
When it's time for bed I close the door to our room and turn out the light. "Goodnight," my husband texts me from the living room. He then sleeps on the couch — his "bed."
Although I do love my husband, I have learned to love sleeping in a separate bed from him. I can actually sleep through the night instead of constantly pushing my husband — almost to the point of physical harm — in order for him to stop snoring.
It's not just the loud, obnoxious snoring that keeps us apart at night. It's also the alone time we get.
My husband likes to stay up late and watch horror movies. I like to play a game on my phone to wind down and get ready to sleep at a decent time. We each have our own way of settling in for the night and that's okay.
When we first started dating almost 12 years ago, we slept in the same bed. It was at my husband's apartment. I still had those butterfly feelings in my stomach when I was with him.
I am like a 3-year-old child when I don't get enough sleep.
During one night when I spent the night at his place, we were sleeping and he dropped the remote he was holding in his hand on my face. I wasn't mad. I thought it was funny. If that happened now, I would be pissed off. I don't deal with those annoyances now that I sleep alone.
After we had our daughter seven years ago, our relationship changed. Between full-time work and our daughter's school and extra activities, we became an exhausted and irritated couple. We quickly learned that any time alone is precious and needed.
It's not that I don't want to sleep in the same bed as my husband. I would like us to be next to each other. I think it is healthy for our relationship. However, I also think it is healthy for me to get a good six to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep so I can be a happy and functioning mom and adult.
I am like a 3-year-old child when I don't get enough sleep. I'm cranky, I yell and nothing seems to make me happy. I try to avoid being like this at all costs. If it means giving up sleeping next to my husband then so be it.
Whether he falls asleep next to me or 20 feet away from me makes no difference in our relationship.
And sleeping alone does not mean you lose all intimacy. That diminishes as soon as you have a child anyway.
My husband and I are not alone in our sleep freedom. A National Sleep Foundation survey reported almost one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds.
I've learned from friends and family that they sleep in separate rooms too. Every couple has their own quirks and habits or whatever they need to do to stay sane.
I never liked to share that my husband and I sleep in separate rooms. I was worried that people would assume the worst right away — that our sleep divorce was an actual divorce — instead of understanding our reasons why. I don't mind mentioning it now. We are still a couple and this is how we work now.
Will we ever sleep in the same bed again? Who knows. We talk about it occasionally. My husband will say, "Maybe I will try sleeping in the bed with you tonight." I usually give him an "I will think about it but probably not" look.
It comes down to me just really enjoying my free time. My doctor recently told me I need to try to give myself more alone time so I can relax more. Therefore, I'm taking her expert advice.
My husband and I are with each other a lot. We take childless vacations. And then, yes, we sleep in the same bed. However, I must admit that the feeling of another body close to mine and the booming sound of snoring reminds me of why we agreed to a sleep divorce to begin with.
Whether he falls asleep next to me or 20 feet away from me makes no difference in our relationship. Our daughter doesn't even think twice about it. She just refers to where our bed is as my room and where the sofa is as daddy's room. She even offers my husband to sleep in her bed in her room.
Apparently the irritating and relentless sound of my husband snoring soothes my daughter to sleep. Good for her.
As much as I love my alone time I do enjoy spending time with my husband. Our relationship honestly changed after we had our daughter. We used to go out all the time. We used to hug and kiss all the time.
Instead, we go to our daughter's dance classes together. We shop for back to school supplies together. We argue more about money and sometimes it is truly best for us to be apart from each other.
Now, our romantic times consists of spending hours watching reruns of Shark Tank. We then go to bed separately and so far it seems keeps our flame going.
I'm not sure how permanent this living situation will be but I know my husband and I are going to make it through our sleep divorce for better or worse.