Why compromise REM when you don’t have to?
Sleeping in separate beds. It’s often seen as a sign that your relationship is in trouble. Historically, however, happy couples have done just that. Thanks to a legal code back in the 50s and 60s, the Ricardos and the Petries were relegated to twin beds like bunkmates at sleepaway camp, sharing a chaste kiss before lights out. Intimacy looks very different now, but maybe Lucy & Ricky were on to something, or maybe they looked so well-rested because they didn’t doze off watching screens. Modern relationships tell us it’s important to share everything, but why compromise sleep if we don’t have to?
Whether your significant other has restless legs, is a human furnace, or grinds their teeth, sometimes the best way to stay together is to give each other some space. It’s often referred to as a "sleep divorce," if you want to be dramatic. It may sound counterintuitive, but spending the night in different beds—or even different rooms—can actually improve your relationship. A study found that 40 percent of couples who slumber regularly might have better relationships because of it. And 46 percent of Americans say they wish they could sleep without their partner. On the whole, older couples are more likely to try it, mainly because their relationships are more solid. Love is a given, but communication takes work.
Photographer Tessa Neustadt revealed that she and her boyfriend have been doing it for years. He’s a night owl and she likes to get shut-eye sooner. They also stress that it gives them some much-needed alone time. Neustadt says: “If you can rest well, then you’re happier the next day, and I think that can help strengthen the relationship.” Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow made news when she revealed that she and her husband stay in different houses for part of the week; keeping separate spaces and routines for their children from previous marriages. But their choice creates an opportunity for time on their own, time with their family, and time with each other—vagina candle optional.
Ultimately, where, how, and who you sleep with shouldn’t inhibit your intimacy. In actuality, distance—whether across the country or down the hall—can uncover a new side of your relationship.