It’s not often that I open up about my own life to people, even close friends. In the past, when I did state an opinion or give someone my own take on a situation, most people laughed at me or essentially said I was wrong. But, a few conversations got me thinking about how living apart together should be considered okay.
There are many different societal ‘norms’ that people adhere to. Not following status quo can make you weird, an outsider, or deviant. So, when I read an article recently about living together apart, I thought it might be time to share my story. Because, it appears, I’m not alone. I am not deviant.
What is “Living Apart Together”?
There is a growing number of couples that are choosing to live apart in some way in order to keep their relationships happy and healthy. And, to this, I can relate.
My husband and I rarely share a bed to sleep. He snores, I get cranky, and we both get angry and irritated with each other. Him, because I swat at him to shut up; me, because he keeps me awake most of the night.
His snoring became unbearable a few years ago. I think it relates to the processed grains he’s always eating but he refuses to change his diet. (I suspect this is the cause because I’ve had him follow my 10-Day Total Body Reset Program twice and both times the snoring stopped after day 3.)
He’s tried different mouth guards, pillow and sleeping positions. Nothing works.
It didn’t take long for my lack of sleep to catch up to me. I struggled at work. Everything he did made me angry. All I wanted was to sleep!
Our Coping Mechanism
Weekends seemed to be better because I would go to sleep first and have a few good hours before he came to bed. But, if I came out of my deep sleep to his snoring, there was no getting back to it!
We have a spare bedroom, so I would often head in there around 2am. But, that becomes disruptive in its own way. The bed was cold, the pets woke up and got rowdy, and I had to set up the room to my liking. This wasn’t working well for me at all.
And, I admit, I was starting to resent my husband. I realize that the snoring was unintentional but it was seriously affecting my mental health.
Living Apart Together
Now, we spend time together while awake as much as we can. We’re happy, and our marriage is stable. We don’t have any complaints. But, we are both able to sleep so much better in our separate rooms.
Your Sleep Shouldn’t Suffer
And getting a good sleep is just so important to health that we can’t compromise that just to avoid some societal faux pas.
Sleep is necessary to repair the muscles, build up good bacteria and consolidate memories. We need a great sleep to help avoid the effects of chronic stress. We all know that lack of sleep causes so many problems, from an increase in cortisol to increased appetite to weight gain.
Do What Works For You
Living apart together isn’t new. Many couples have been following this type of lifestyle for years. In fact, I have an acquaintance who lives in a separate city from his wife! They appreciate each other so much more when they’re together. They each love their independence and enjoy their own activities while apart. They’re happy.
Director Tim Burton and his wife Helena Bonham Carter bought an entire duplex just so they’d each have their own space.
When it comes to our own health and happiness, sometimes we need to take a step back from the norm and figure out what’s best for us. If you have a spouse who keeps you awake at night, there is nothing wrong with having your own sleeping area to avoid distractions. Your sleep is just as important as anyone else’s.
“As of August 2010, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 25% of couples sleep in separate rooms.”
Nurture Your Inner Goddess
Sometimes taking a solo vacation is all that you need to maintain your sanity. Many women feel guilty for even thinking that they want time away from their families. However, those women who do get away on their own on occasion tend to have a more balanced life. Think about it – if your mind is wandering down the path of “I just need a weekend to myself”, take a weekend to yourself. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your family less.
As someone who lived alone from almost 10 years, I have developed a very strong sense of what I want to do and where I want to be. I admit that I feel guilty if I think that I should take a week off work just to get away, even from my husband. Sometimes I need alone time. And, since moving in with him, I feel as though I rarely get my sacred alone time. He’s always in the house! And I love him, but I need my time too.
If you ever feel like you need your own time, you’re not alone. I highly recommend listening to your intuition – it’ll tell you what your body, mind and soul craves. Listen and get go of guilt.
It’s Okay If It Feels Right To You
Living apart together is okay. Whether you need separate bedrooms, separate apartments or separate cities to keep your relationship healthy and your sanity in check, know that your decision is nothing to feel bad about.
And, if you’re struggling to get the sleep you need to manage chronic stress, give living apart together a try. Sleep in the spare bedroom for a couple of nights each week. Take a mini-vacation to visit a friend or check yourself into a hotel.
If the arrangement you and your spouse have feels right for you, don’t let anyone else let you feel guilty or bad about it.