Diary of a Marriage: Bedfellows

You share your life with each other. So why is it sometimes so hard to share a bed?

Growing up, I was always puzzled that my parents didn’t cuddle when they slept. Wasn’t that the point of sharing bedspace? I envied them when I was in high school and head-over-clogs for Surf Dude: What I would haven given to be able to rest my head on his shoulder while I drifted off — and there they were, sleeping away all of their prime snuggle time.

Fast-forward ten years: I’m married (to someone other than Surf Dude) and we’re still, after three years, navigating the world of shared sleeping space. I need to read before I can fall sleep; he (sometimes) snores; I hog the covers; his body becomes blazingly hot when he’s asleep, so it feels as though we’re snoozing in a very plush oven.

And the cuddling part? Not so much. First, there’s the whole body-temperature issue, coupled with J.’s super-powered pre-sleep twitches. Then there’s the fact that our bed is approximately the size of a football field, so we’ve gotten pleasantly used to being able to stretch out without even so much as grazing the other person. But I started to think: Are we becoming my parents? Will we be in separate beds by our silver anniversary?

I polled some of my (female) colleagues to figure out if J. and I were normal or hopelessly destined for twin beds. While a few of them sweetly described sleeping better while snuggling (“If ever we wake up in the middle of the night not touching, the other one gets yelled at in the morning”), most fell squarely on our side of the bed: “We long for hotel stays where we sleep in king beds and can’t even tell the other person is there with you,” confessed one just-married colleague. “My ideal bedmate is invisible. He feels the same. I actually sometimes contemplate separate beds — you know, just for the sleeping part.”

One girl copped to spooning with her body pillow; another explained: “If I’m not intentionally trying to go to sleep, snuggling is great. But if I have my mind set on snoozing, back off.”  I started to feel better about our no-contact sleeping arrangement, especially when the longest-married of the bunch put the exclamation point on our discussion: “We’ve been separatists for 30 years.”

And so I’ll be able to sleep easy tonight. In our king-size bed, curled up several feet away from my madly twitching, skin-on-fire husband. And, just maybe, I won’t even get mad if he snores.

What about you? Do you and your fiance or husband snuggle as you sleep? Or do you have the same hands-off approach J. and I do? Or — does one of you like the cuddle, the other not? How does that work? We want to hear!

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