If you’d told me a few years ago that I wouldn’t be sleeping in the same bed as my husband anymore, I’d have panicked and assumed my marriage had fallen apart.
But today I celebrate it because I know it saved our marriage.
My hubby and I shared a bed for years and it proved to be an excellent contempt builder. He’d do flips in lieu of rolling over onto his side. It was the worst. Let me tell you, it’s VERY hard to look at someone with love in the morning when they woke you up/scared the shit out of you for 8 hours straight.
I was no angel myself. I was constantly on the move, trying to find a comfortable position, lambasting my guy with sleep-induced martial arts in the process. I was also notorious for yelling obscenities in my sleep. 😬 Suffice to say I probably deserved a restraining order, but instead received regular “Good Mornings” through gritted teeth.
I’m happy to report that these days things are way more copacetic between us, and I’m less sleep ragey thanks to therapy. I’m also happy to be finally sleeping in separate rooms because our sleeping arrangements were taking a major toll on our mental and physical health.
Once I got realistic about the factors that were contributing to our problems (see below), it became clear that there was no way around it: we had to sleep in separate beds.
- The hubster is 6 foot 3, and + or – 200 lbs (depending on the season) and takes up a lot of space and blankets.
- I have always found it very hard to sleep next to someone. This has been going on since childhood, and being married wasn’t going to make it go away all of a sudden.
- We have an intense emotional connection. When one of us is struggling to sleep the other one picks up on it. We notice this even when we sleep in different rooms.
- I experience chronic body pain and move a lot throughout the night. It’s better for me to sleep solo, so as to not disturb others, or be disturbed myself when I finally am getting some Zs.
A solid inventory of excuses, yet still, it took me a really long time to warm up to the idea of separate bedrooms.
I was white-knuckled to the idea that it meant our marriage might be doomed. When my girlfriend told me about all the looks of pity she received from her co-workers when they found out that’s the way her and her hubby roll, I made immediate assumptions, “Maybe it does mean there is something wrong with her marriage, and she’s just hiding it,” I thought.
But there was no denying the fact that I was totally fucking miserable and she seemed content with her choice – happy, even.
I also found it extremely fascinating how I, and so many other people I knew, appeared to take such issue with where a married person chose to sleep, in their own house.
Why did it have to be synonymous with marriage problems, I wondered, after perusing my 4 legit-as-hell reasons for the hubby and I parting ways at bedtime.
So I started to chip away at my beliefs about what a healthy marriage entailed. I started to question my dust-laden, less-than-ideal ideas and their ability to support my relationship and wellness goals.
And when I started to entertain the truth – that I get to define what is healthy for me and my relationship – it made changing my slumber locale that much easier.
Disengaging with the need to uphold dysfunctional societal norms, and realizing the importance of separating my physical self from my hubby when it comes down to the holy grail of health and wellness – a good nights sleep – is what made our marriage work.
We were less annoyed with each other, and we were happy to see each other in the mornings. Totally foreign concepts until we decided to pull the plug on co-sleeping.
This situation further reiterated what I know without a shadow of a doubt: Self-care is about setting your own rules.
People might have opinions about what you’re doing and make aged assumptions, but the truth remains: Life get’s really exciting when you realize you get to decide what works and what doesn’t work – for you!
If you’ve labeled something “bad” that could actually bring you a lot of happiness, you can choose to take another look at it and put it in the “good” category.
You will likely need to do just that because there are so many old school beliefs that are totally useless. The only thing they contribute to is us being miserable, yet we keep believing them because it’s what everyone else is doing, and we are afraid to step outside the norm.
But guess what exists outside the norm? Exceptional stuff. I’m talking about self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-love: the stuff we all dream about, yet will never tap into if we keep doing things the way “they” say we should do ’em.
You might be worried about what other people might think like I was for a spell. And you might be worried about what might happen if you don’t follow the norm. But here’s the deal on all that noise:
You need to get comfortable with other people being uncomfortable with your choices, and you need to get used to challenging the beliefs you hold that are causing you to suffer.
We ALL need to get used to defining our own wellness standards and reworking the stuff that ain’t cutting it anymore.
Redefining our personal standards for wellness is what self-care is all about.
That being said, I challenge you to take a look at something you’re doing that’s not making you happy but you’re continuing to do out of fear of how it might be perceived by others.
Something you think you might get some pushback on via assumptions or looks of pity (barf right?) but YOU KNOW it could bring some serious peace and joy into your life if you did it anyway.
Right now, I want you to forget about what the neighbors, your parents, your co-workers or your friends might think, and just do it.
Right now. Or, at bedtime. 😳
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