Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t equal broken marriage

When you’ve been married a long time, there’s just a natural evolution of how, and even where, you go to sleep.

While neither Duh Hubby nor I curl up together at night–“Is that your foot? OMG, why is your foot on my side? Ewwwww!” (and to be clear, that was him squealing, not me) we often marvel at couples who insist they love to “spoon.” So weird. And sweaty.

“I can’t go to sleep unless we’re spooning,” chirped our friend “Dottie.”

“Gross!” Duh and I said in unison.

This isn’t a new development. We’ve been on the same page when it comes to the cuddle/spoon nonsense for three and a half decades.

But even I must admit our sleep routine might look funny to the Chinese spy balloon that’s probably hovering just outside our window.

There’s Duh hubby, C-pap breathing machine affixed, forced air purring through the water-filtered hose that keeps him from snoring and me from killing him. (Where, I ask, is the statue that should be in every public square honoring the inventor of this marvelous machine? WHERE????)

And then there’s me. While I own a Kindle — are you even an American woman of a certain age if you don’t have at least one Kindle, three hardback books and a “Wake Me for the Drink Cart” sleep mask on your nightstand? — wearing, no lie, a head lamp. Yes, the kind cave explorers and auto mechanics wear because I’m considerate that way. If Duh is kind enough to have that creature plastered to his face all night, I do my part by keeping the room dark so I don’t disturb him while I read.

I ordered three headlamps from Amazon and have been delighted at their performance, so much sturdier than silly little book lights that cast the light everywhere except onto the book. I grew tired of chasing that little light like a cat with a laser pointer. Not so with the headlamp. These babies are built to last: adjustable head strap, bright enough to land a jet plus, if you have to go to the bathroom, you have a built-in flashlight beaming the way. Yeah, that doesn’t look crazy.

While all this must sound very un-romantic to some, at least we’re still sleeping in the same bedroom. According to news reports, separate bedrooms for couples is a huge trend right now. I blame the silly “open concept.” Once you’ve removed all the walls in your living spaces you
surely crave a private hangout more than ever. We live in a 100-year-old house with “walls” and “rooms” and “doors you can shut in case one or the other of you is being a butt.”

There’s no escape from one another with open concept. Kids, dogs, cats, guests…just one big room, the thought of which makes me want to climb into a pantry and watch tub and toilet cleaning reels on my phone to calm down. What? Just me?

Others say the pandemic caused couples to use separate bedrooms and some discovered it was appealing to have your own space to hang out in and watch Season 4 of “Love After Lockup” without all the tiresome judgment.

He: “Hon, you coming back to our bedroom? I just saw on the news the pandemic is officially over!”

She: “I have leprosy.”

Apparently, once separate bedrooms have “happened,” it’s almost impossible to go back to the old ways. And while many couples apparently have no trouble keeping the canoodling alive with what
amounts to conjugal visits “across the hall,” some marriage counselors think without the physical closeness of a shared bed it’s a slippery slope to becoming nothing more than glorified roommates.

Fearmonger much? That just seems a big hand-wringy to me. Love will always find a way. Even if one of you looks a lot like a coal miner.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t equal broken marriage