So what if it’s trendy – don’t be tempted by separate beds

Lynne Mortimer 24.3

Lynne Mortimer 24.3 - Credit: Archant

Separate beds for married couples?

It’s been mooted as the key to a happy marriage. I don’t agree, though, like many of my generation, I grew up thinking all American couples slept in separate beds, eg Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball and the chap she starred with, and Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

I assumed it was a transatlantic idea devised to save money on a bedside table – you needed only one in the middle.

But according to a study, one in four couples now sleeps in separate bedrooms... presumably that’s the 25% who have more bedrooms than they strictly need. Is it a way to avoid bedroom tax?

I shouldn’t want to sleep alone. Occasionally, when one of us has a hacking cough, or one of us is awake most of the night following a knee replacement op, the other one (ie my husband) decamps to the spare room with his favourite pillow under his arm. But in general, I like him being in bed next to me.

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When something goes bump in the night and it wakes me up, someone has to get up and investigate.

I prod him. “Did you hear that?”

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“That noise”

“What noise?”

“I don’t know. It was like someone trying to get in through the back door.”

“Lynne, it’s locked. A burglar would have to break into the garage to get to the back door.”

“Oh, my God, they’ve broken into the garage.”

“I didn’t hear anything and if someone was in the garage they would have killed themselves falling over the junk by now.”

But because he wants me to be quiet and let him go back to sleep, he dutifully goes downstairs, finds nothing and comes back to bed. In the meantime, I identify the strange noise as my tummy rumbling but say nothing.

What would happen if we had separate bedrooms. Worst case scenario, I would have to get up and go across the landing to wake him up and tell him about the noise from downstairs.

And it’s not only in his role of protector that I need him beside me in bed... no, not that.

I have cold feet, he has warm feet. Together, our feet find the perfect temperature.

Then there’s the occasional fit of giggles we share. I have been reading a book of British Wit and rather than snigger alone, I can read the really funny ones out loud to my husband... even when he’s immersed in Laurence Olivier (a biography).

This, from a Michael Parkinson interview with Eric Morecambe, had us chortling for five minutes.

Parky: What would you and Ernie have been if you weren’t comedians?

Eric: Mike and Bernie Winters.

Then there’s this from Ken Dodd. “We had a topless lady ventriloquist in Liverpool once. Nobody ever saw her lips move.”

And there’s always at least one thing you forgot to mention earlier that you only recall as you’re drifting off to sleep. What do you do if your partner is in another room? I suppose texting is an option.

“R U asleep?”


“4got 2 tell U about The 1 Show”

“Yes, I’m asleep”.

By 2015, The National Association of Home Builders says that it expects 60 per cent of custom-built homes to include dual master bedrooms to accommodate the rising trend of separate sleepers. Where will the children sleep? What children?

Sharing a bed is the essence of marriage. Compromise. My husband doesn’t snore very much and on the rare occasion he does I just rap out a sharp: “You’re snoring!” which usually prompts him to roll off his back and breathe on me. So I rap out: “You’re breathing on me!” and he turns over the other way. It’s a simple case of training.

When I snore, he is gentle with me. “Lynne, darling, you’re snoring.”

“Sorry,” I say and carry on.

“Lynne. You’re still snoring.”

“Sorry,” I say through a snore so mighty that it wakes me up and then I have to go to the loo and then I get all hot and bothered and thrash about under the duvet for a bit.

But I would hate to think all this was happening without my husband being disturbed.

As for those amorous night-time pursuits... I suppose they might be easier in separate bedrooms.

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