After a long night of cramming for finals with my then-boyfriend during my sophomore year at Louisiana State University, we decided I would just crash at his place.
Jeff lived with his parents, and I was going to stay in the guest bedroom. When we were ready for sleep, I walked toward the first bedroom along the hallway and started to open the door.
“No!” Jeff whisper-shouted, “That’s where my mom is sleeping!”
“What?” I thought to myself, horrified. “Were Mike and Rita, (Jeff’s parents) splitting up? They were always holding hands and smiling. Was it all some weird game?”
I quickly grabbed Jeff and hugged him, saying, “I’m so, so sorry. I had no idea. They seem so happy.” He laughed, “No – it’s not like that. They haven’t slept in the same bed in years.”
Suddenly, a wave of horror came over me. Were Mike and Rita swingers?
Before I could conjure up any sort of disturbing visual, Jeff said, “My dad snores. I mean, he really snores. It’s bad.” He then added, “And, my mom keeps the room crazy cold, on accounta’,” his voice dropping to a low whisper, “the men-o-pause.”
Logical explanation – but, from then on, I looked at Mike and Rita’s marriage with suspicion. “Who does that?” I wondered, “What couple sleeps in separate beds?”
Fast-forward about ten years. I flew home to Louisiana to stay with my parents for about a week. When I got to their house, I noticed an unmade twin bed in one of the spare bedrooms.
“Is someone else staying here this week?” I asked my mother. “Oh, no,” she said very matter-of factly, “I sleep down here all the time. Your father could wake the dead with that snoring of his.”
Was this some carefully constructed lie, a cover-up to keep me from worrying about their troubled marriage? Reading my mind, my mother said, “Don’t over-think this, Les. It’s just snoring.”
Later that night, as I watched TV downstairs, I heard an odd, distant sound. “Is someone strangling a duck?” I wondered. Then, it all made sense. That was the snoring my mother was escaping in the spare bedroom every night.
Still, it just seemed like such a drastic step. Mike and Rita … now, my parents. What was this whole not-sleeping-together epidemic? Was this the truth about marriage?
Fast-forward another decade. I am lying in bed next to my husband – who talks in his sleep. Apparently, in his dreams, he collects past-due debts for a bookie. The conversations are not friendly, or quiet.
I mustered my courage and talked to him about it. I delicately asked if he would be okay sleeping in separate beds. “Really?” he answered, making a feeble attempt to curb his enthusiasm. “That would be okay. You know, you snore like a horse!”
For the following ten minutes, I got a detailed description of my thunderous snoring, complete with sound effects. I apparently snore like a horse with a sinus infection – a very bad sinus infection.
For nearly 13 years, my husband and I have slept in separate beds. This has been a God-send, especially since my wake-up time is midnight with my current work schedule.
We hold hands. We smile. We are in love. We are also very well-rested.
Don’t knock it until you’ve had a good night’s sleep.