Sleeping in separate beds for a couple is viewed as a major relationship red flag. But why is sleeping next to each other every night a pre-requisite for love? Love, respect and mutual understanding can exist in a relationship even if the individuals choose to enjoy their own spaces. For all you know, it might even make your bond stronger.
(Names changed to protect identities)
My name is Jon and I work as a principal consultant in a software company. Twenty-two years ago, I had picked my high school sweetheart Aimee as my life partner and as we started our life together, we had the same dreams that any starry-eyed, young couple has. We were both educated and came from happy families. Since my job was paying pretty well, I had suggested that Aimee should look after our young son and the home, because I’ve always believed that managing the home and raising a happy family is no less than a professional goal. I was confident that she would make a great stay-at-home mom!
Soon it dawned upon us the demands of my corporate job, long working hours and extensive travel started the distancing between us. But that did not change our love and attachment. Since the love and trust between us was intact, the intensity of our passionate moments remained undamaged. But soon things took a turn, and one fine day, we realized that the two of us were sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Things Took A Turn – We Were Together But Separate
As with all homemakers, there came a time when Aimee had a lot of free time because our son wanted to be on his own as he grew older. Aimee was fond of reading and the depth of old Christian scriptures always interested her.
What started as free-time reading soon grew into serious learning of the mysteries of life and the life beyond this world. I saw this interest of hers as noble and continued to encourage her.
A good person allows the people around him or her to pursue their own goals and interests. Dictating terms and wanting Aimee to lead a life of my choice never had appealed to me. She sought my permission to go deeper into the subject, looking for newer insight. Interacting with like-minded people and extending help to people in distress soon became her passions.
When I agreed for Aimee to be devoted and dedicated to the cause of spiritual uplift, little did I realize that this would include giving up worldly pleasures (read physical relations). Soon, our marriage turned into a sexless marriage. But having given my word, I accepted this requirement, because I loved her. After 12 years of marriage, we found ourselves sleeping in different bedrooms. We were together but separate.
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We were now one of those couples having separate bedrooms
Couples with separate bedrooms? Sounds baffling in this day and age. But it is true, and I have to agree that it made our relationship stronger. Other than this aspect of sleeping in separate beds, not much changed between us. I did wait for her to change her mind eventually but never coaxed her, not because of ego but because I believed that every individual has a right to live life the way they deem fit and individuality should be respected. I believed in celebrating her individuality, not molding it for myself. This is one of the signs of a happy marriage.
As things went, Aimee kept pursuing the path of spirituality and service to people through her social and religious activities. She has a much larger following on social media than I do, and offers herself as a counsellor to anyone who needs help. I’m so proud of my wife for the same. Sleeping in separate beds is a small price to pay when I get to watch her become who she wants to be.
I have a separate room but I still love her
I was not sure whether to complain or not about having a separate room, but on one count I was absolutely clear: that Aimee was an ideal wife to me and we both loved, cared for and respected each other. Giving up the need for physical relations willingly, when there are no health issues, seems easier for women than men and therefore I had two options – either to live a life with silent grievances or to lead it in a manner that brought more fulfillment.
For a man who had preserved his virginity till his wedding and who was always loyal to his wife, having a relationship outside wedlock was not really the ideal option. So I decided to immerse myself in work and in my spare time, to extend my help to people who needed care and attention.
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Aimee and I have a near-perfect married life, where both of us respect each other’s space and allow each other to grow individually.
Sleeping in separate beds turned out to be a blessing and provided us with scope for solitude and space in a relationship. Our intellectual juices flow better and we are able to contribute to people around us, much better than couples who have differences of opinion. A life which normally would have been termed as deficient, gave us opportunities to reach out to newer avenues and grow to a very mature level in marriage together.
(As told to Dr Sanjeev Trivedi)
Sleeping in different bedrooms does not have to be such a bad thing. Many people think it is a sign of a marriage being on the rocks, but that is not necessarily so. It is a couples’ choice and depends upon their own personal reasons to sleep in different bedrooms. There is no right or wrong about it.
Sleeping in separate beds is something that many couples do for their own personal reasons. In the case outlined above, it was due to an act of celibacy, but other couples might prefer it for other reasons. It could be the desire for more personal space and so on.
While it is good for one’s emotional health to sleep next to somebody they love, couples with separate bedrooms is not something new or unheard of. It all comes down to what one personally prefers.