Sunday, 7 February 2010

Romantically entwined

The romantic image of couples always shows them sharing a bed, lovingly entwined and amorous or sleeping together blissfully. Separate beds are not romantic.

There can be good reasons for sleeping apart though. One of you snores, or hogs the duvet, or keeps tossing and turning, so the other can't get a decent night's sleep. Separate bedrooms may not be romantic but neither is crawling out of bed when you've hardly slept a wink because of your other half's antics. It's nothing to be embarrassed about.

As it happens, Jenny and I have always shared a bed, because neither of us has nocturnal habits that disturb the other. We only snore very occasionally, we have separate duvets, and we don't toss or turn. We don't wake up screaming from nightmares, or talk in our sleep, or grind our teeth.

In fact we're model bedmates, we happily keep each other company and dream away beside each other. We love waking up together and exchanging bleary-eyed mutterings.

Some people crave separate beds for less obvious reasons. They like a bit of privacy after a day of togetherness. They can't sleep properly with someone else next to them. They don't like too much physical contact, even with a loved one. They want to hide their supposedly imperfect bodies. Or they just work different shifts. Not everyone sees bed-sharing as the ideal arrangement.

It must make for some awkward questions from kids though. "Don't you love each other, mummy?" "Why is daddy not allowed in your room?" And kids will probe and probe until they get an answer that satisfies them.

Come on, own up. Do any of you have separate beds?


  1. I have a bed all to myself, but not by choice. :( Since I was widowed I do a tour of the bedrooms sleeping in one room for a month or two and then move to the next one - it keeps the beds well aired and the rooms lived in.

    I do miss those early morning cuddles as we made plans for the day.

  2. Grannymar - Indeed, I was very aware of singles while I was writing. And that's very efficient of you, keeping all the beds aired! Early morning cuddles are a wonderful start to the day.

  3. ouch!
    this one is close to the bone, nick

  4. An interesting post. I've always shared a bed with Sarge--for 20 years, from a single bed in college, to an air mattress in the poor years, to, finally, our real bed--and then of course there was the baby year with Hedgehog, when she seemed omnipresent--but I also go through phases. Mostly I find it cozy, but every once in awhile I crave a little more privacy. So I just curl up tight on my side! But generally, even if I don't always feel snuggly, I like the company!

  5. No, despite being single after forty years of marriage, I still prefer to sleep on the same double bed that I slept on with my wife. We did not disturb each other. If I did her, she never told me about it.

  6. Kylie - Oooh, so secretive! Still, I'm more secretive than you would like as well!

    Leah - Yes, that's my feeling as well, I like the company. It's always strange when I have to sleep on my own.

    Ramana - A lot of single people like the spaciousness of double beds. They can just sprawl indulgently!

  7. It depends on the individuals. I know happily married couples who sleep in separate bedrooms and attribute that to their happiness.
    I know others who have never slept apart.
    As to myself, I had only one relationship where we slept entwined every night. I usually get claustrophic but never did with him. And interestingly enough he, prior to me, couldn't bear touching while he was sleeping.
    Now it's me and the dog and we cuddle. I've never before had a dog who cuddled.
    You always come up with such interesting topics, Nic.
    PS I will be in Ireland (basicallyt Cork) in September, perhaps you and Jenny and me can have a 'meet'?

  8. www - Interesting that that relationship worked so well sharing-wise. Clearly some unsuspected compatibility between you. A cuddling dog sounds fun!

    Yes, it would be good to meet after all this time. Will email you.

  9. Always slept in the same bed as my husband but my father did occasionally get kicked out by my mother for his snoring habits! These days, I have a big bed almost tom myself with the exception of a labrador! I can honestly say that I don't know a single couple who don't share the same bed.

  10. Baino - Snoring seems to be the commonest bone of contention between bedmates. I trust Lily the labrador doesn't snore!

  11. At the moment I do, obviously! And I have to say, sometimes it is a real treat to get into bed alone and not have to worry about anyone else. There is nothing like waking with someone you adore though.

  12. Suburbia - Hopefully that will change once you are living with your Significant Other. Waking with someone you adore is a great start to the day!

  13. I like sharing a bed with my boyfriend, but I can completely appreciate why some people prefer to sleep alone. As it happens I could sleep through cannon fire, but some folks just plain get a better night's sleep without someone else in the bed, regardless of how much they love them. A good night's sleep is more important to health than maintaining convention for the sake of convention is to anything.

  14. No separate beds, but sometimes i wish for separate houses. :)

  15. Sharing a bed with three cats who think they own it and me is a bit daunting sometimes...Rarely do I get to enjoy simply sprawling...

    Then, there is the issue of kicking them out when I have human company...

    So far, no damage has been done, but feline jealousy is not a pretty sight.

  16. Tattytiara - There's very little I can sleep through, I'm a light sleeper, so it's fortunate Jenny doesn't disturb me. Jenny herself is a heavy sleeper so she doesn't wake even if I'm pottering about making cups of tea! I wish I could get a good night's sleep, I often wake up at 4 or 5 am.

    Meno - That's another interesting issue, people who actually live separately like Margaret Drabble.

    e - Those cats must get mighty tetchy when they're displaced by another human! Do they take it out on your bedmate?

  17. i'm not secretive, it's just bad form to whine all the time and you seem to pick topics that make me want to whine...........

    no reflection on you of course

    jeez, i've gotta shut up

  18. Kylie - Wot, my topics make you want to whine? Will have to think of something more cheerful and uplifting, lol. Did you know that in Hawaiian, Kylie means "beautiful spirit"?

  19. Nick,

    In answer to your question, my cats have sometimes exacted a price from a bedmate, usually someone they did not care for, and I've learnt to watch their reactions to visitors carefully. If they dislike someone, there is ultimately a reason, and in most cases, the person ends up not suiting me, either. It's funny how animals can pick up on some things before humans do...

    How will the recent changes in power in Ireland effect you?
    I assume the Irish are happy about this change...

  20. e - Yes, it's fascinating how animals can pick up straightaway on things we don't consciously notice, or not till later. Cats can usually tell that I'm not a great cat-lover.

    The recent changes? You mean the devolution of policing and justice to Northern Ireland? I don't think people will see much difference on the ground, but we like the increase in self-government.

  21. thats sweet, nick, thanks

    have you seen kylie from the urban dictionary?

    "A girl that laughs. And laughs..and laughs. A Kylie is when somebody is always doing something that you never expect or that is random, you just can't help but to laugh too."

  22. Kylie - Yes, that's you all over. Always unpredictable, always saying the least expected thing. I like it.

    Wordcheck: satinst. Phew, glad there was only one i.

  23. I have my bed to myself until Max decides to join me - usually in the early hours - he wakes me up by tapping my face with a paw - then we have a fuss and I drift off again to the sound of gentle purring!!!

  24. Kate - Having your face tapped with a paw must have been a bit alarming until you got used to it!