Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. We have a three-bedroom house and I want to turn the second room, which currently has a couch and a TV, into a bedroom for me to sleep in.
I’ve found that I sleep better when I’m not next to my spouse. The minute he comes to bed I get up for no reason to go in the other room.
When I sleep on the couch, not only do I sleep better (more soundly), but I wake up more refreshed and in a better mood.
He thinks this is going to completely hurt us if I keep doing this.
What are your thoughts? It’s not the mattress or the room that bothers me since I can sleep fine before he comes to bed. He snores quietly, where I am the loud one. In the past 14 days I’ve gone on the couch a total of 10 times. Sleeping on the couch is killing my back though.
Plenty of couples do this — 25 percent, maintains the National Sleep Foundation (sleep.org/articles/sleeping-alone) — but for it to work, you both have to be willing to see it as a restful necessity versus emotional slight.
Since your husband is already predisposed to see it as one, I think your next step is for the two of you to talk about what it would take to ease his fears that this will hurt your marriage. You’re taking this away from him, so what can you give him that will balance it out in his mind? Creativity + intimacy = not the worst thing.
Re: Sleeping Separately: You and your husband need to have a talk (or a few) away from the bedroom, about: Why you wake up as soon as he comes in, why you get up instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, what he fears will happen in your relationship if you sleep separately, any middle ground you can reach (separate beds in your master bedroom, larger bed, changes to routine for each of you, etc.).
I feel like there is a lot you’re leaving out, but you don’t owe me your truth.
You do owe your husband a frank discussion about what’s going on — and yes, if you really just would sleep better in another room, he owes it to at least consider how to make that work.
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