Monday, March 22, 2010

Get to Bed

Pretty early on in my current relationship I noticed a troubling trend. I'd wake up in the morning, roll over to kiss my boyfriend, and get a face full of cold, unused pillow. My first instinct used to be panic. Where was he? Did he go out last night and never come home? Was he eaten by wolves? Cannibals? Or, dear god, could he have run into an ex-girlfriend and decided to run away to French Guyana with her?!?!?! *SCREAM OF RAGE.*

Invariably, though, I'd truck out to the living room and find him, slack-jawed on the sofa, remote in hand, the same episode of The Office repeating itself to infinity on the DVR. *Sigh of relief.* The boyfriend was not missing or dead or cheating (obviously his death would be preferable to that) but the fact remained that, for whatever reason, he had not come to bed.

His explanations were always completely valid: he'd fallen asleep in front of the television, was restless and didn't want to toss and turn and wake me up, needed some space. As valid as they were, it rubbed me the wrong way.

In general, I think physically sleeping together is crucial to keeping your relationship fresh. A few solid nights of boy-on-couch tends to put a cramp in the sex department. After all, you can't have sex with someone who's in a different room (unless you're into short-distance Skype-sex, in which case, you go, girl.) Aside from that aspect, I know that I need the affirmation of feeling someone next to me. Maybe, "need," isn't the right word. Want. I want to feel someone next to me. More specifically, I want to feel the person I love next to me.

My father and his girlfriend no longer sleep in the same room. She is a light sleeper, waking at the drop of a hat and long ago they decided to go it alone, for her sake. I don't think my dad really cares one way or the other, as long as he can have a beer with dinner he's a happy camper. But, to me, that really signals a relationship's decline. First you move one room away, then it's that much easier to move one house away, one town away, one state away. I know, I know, that's slightly dramatic, but that's where my mind goes. I don't want to be the type of couple who lead separate lives and wash separate bedclothes. Some of that, I'm sure, comes from being frightened as a child by my father's situation. Most of it is because I need (want) that physical closeness.

I need it, even though my boyfriend (and lots of other people who claim that sleeping separately has improved their marriages) may not. It's something we've talked over, fought over, and still haven't, "fixed." Do any of my gorgeous Girlfriends-in-Progress have words of wisdom on this? How can you encourage your SO to get to bed!

Picture courtesy of


  1. I love this blog! It's like I'm reading about myself, seriously. I got so excited when I read this post. I am about to move in with my boyfriend (who already stays with me at my current apartment practically every night anyway) and he does the same exact couch thing. It was driving me crazy at first, and did cause some arguments, but I am slowly learning to just let it go. I've accepted that our work schedules are different and I know that plays a big part. He has a job where he has to travel, usually on the weekends, so during the week he stays up later, while I am a 9-5'er and have to be up at 7 every day. Most nights he does sleep with me, and the only time he ends up on the couch is when we are fighting or he's just not tired yet. I've learned to deal...but I still do get annoyed when I find that he left the TV on all night or that he never came to bed at all, especially considering I still live with my best friend and that just makes us look bad. Baby steps.

  2. I'm really enjoying your blog... very funny and well written! I kinda disagree with you here, though. I think sleeping apart once in a while is what keeps things fresh. I'm the kind of person (and my boyfriend is too) that I don't need to be in the same bed as him every night... and I actually like to have my space sometimes, just because. When I first moved with my boyfriend, I spoke with my social worker friend about any suggestions she had for cohabitating and she said not to get tied up in what appears right, like falling asleep in each other's arms every night and spending every waking and sleeping moment together. Best advice I ever got.

  3. Kristin, thanks for your comment! It's definitely been, and continues to be a bone of contention for us but it makes me feel so much better that there's someone else going through the same thing! "Learning to deal" is tough, though! And, yeah, that's not something I'd want to have to explain to my roommate!

  4. Kaye, trust me, I'm HUGE on having my own personal space and time to myself. I appreciate the fact that my bf stays up later than I do because I get some time to spread out in bed and be a covers hog. It's just when it becomes a habit it kind of puts the brakes on certain things ;)

  5. Compromise. Go to bed together and have the tv on sleep mode. My husband does this all the time, this way we both fall asleep together in bed. Not one on the couch, the other in the bedroom.