I was asked by BBC Radio Nottingham to discuss a recently published article ( https://sheerluxe.com/2018/05/30/should-you-try-%E2%80%98sleep-divorce%E2%80%99 ) on “sleep divorces” and whether having separate beds is beneficial or detrimental to your marriage?
I suppose the question to be answered here is what is the intention or the motivation behind wanting to sleep separately?
In my line of work with couples the question of sex (obviously) comes into the sessions and we often discuss “expectations”. If both partners sets out their expectations surrounding sex and intimacy then everything is in the open and able to be discussed.
What can cause problems is one partner getting out of the main bed (e.g. in the middle of the night) and leaves the other partner feeling abandoned. Not communicating the reason for the leaving of the marital bed is the root cause of the problem however not just the act.
Whilst I can see the benefit of sleeping separately when a partner is poorly or the kids haven’t been sleeping well etc. Key to the success of this is to communicate to each other before bedtime so ideally set out expectations and boundaries so that neither partner feels hurt or abandoned.
Ultimately for a loving and intimate relationship to thrive it needs fuel and usually this is in intimate touching and sex which usually is part of sleeping together in the same bed.
This sparks other questions; separate beds after an argument, separate beds during pregnancy/breastfeeding?? I’d still say a clear, sympathetic and sensitive setting of boundaries (and the communication of them) is vital!