Dear Prue: ‘Would sleeping in separate beds be the kiss of death for our marriage?’

Dear Prue,

My wife tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks ago, and after all the anxieties of the pandemic we were both really relieved that she hardly developed any symptoms. We were able to distance at home: I slept in my eldest son’s room for 10 days (our kids have left home). But there’s the rub. I hated not being able to touch or hold my wife in the daytime, and I missed her acutely as I tucked myself up in my lonely little bed; but then I slept like a log, every night, for the first time in years. She slept less well, as she wasn’t moving about much during her isolation.

I have always thought separate bedrooms was a death knell for a marriage, but it seems sleep gets harder as you get older, and I’m wondering whether it might be a good thing for us.

We are fairly demonstrative and affectionate in every­day life, curling up on the sofa together and so on. What do you think?

– Anon, via email

Dear Anon,

What an interesting dilemma. My husband says sharing a bed with me is like sleeping with a JCB, as I bulldoze my way to his side of the bed in my sleep. Yet I think I’d be mighty wounded if it drove him to separate beds.

Of course, there are many couples who repair to the spare room to escape the snoring, coughing or talking-in-sleep of their partner. And the offending partner understands this, even maybe welcomes it, as it leaves him/her to snore in peace. The good thing is that they are forced to openly discuss it.

You obviously have a close and loving relationship. Surely you can talk to your wife? Tell her how much better you feel after a night’s deep sleep, and explain the dilemma: you don’t want to miss the cuddles, but increasingly need the sleep.

How about a compromise? Separate beds when you are really tired, and the rest of the time cuddled up as before.

In time, you might find your son’s bedroom gets more use than at the start, but the separation will be gradual and therefore not feel to her like ­sudden abandonment.

Or better still, how about separate beds, but in the same room? That way you can have a goodnight kiss and reach out for a squeeze (or more), but you will have a bed to yourself to get that good night’s sleep.

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