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Have we all been duped into sharing beds with our partners?

When you think about it, it is kinda weird.
Feb 28th 2019, 8:00 AM 8,430 2

shutterstock_1039248409 Source: Shutterstock/Viktoriia Hnatiuk

YESTERDAY MORNING, WE published a poll, asking readers “Would you be happy to sleep in a separate bed to your partner while living under the same roof?“ 

As the answers rolled in, we learned that there are plenty of people out there who are already sleeping in separate beds to their partners, and even more people who would be happy to take a couple of nights away from their partner each week – especially if they had a snoring problem. There was also a significant number of people who said they’re into the idea, but don’t think their partner would be.

The more we, the writers at DailyEdge.ie, thought about this… The more we realised that sleeping in a bed with another grown adult is weird af. One of our writers brought the conversation up, and said “This really made me think about how weird it is that it’s just an accepted thing that you have to sleep in the same bed as your partner.” 

Now, of course, most of the time it’s really nice to have some extra security at night time, and it’s lovely to wake up beside your best friend every morning, but it can certainly lose its appeal when the pair of you are on completely different work schedules or have conflicting sleeping patterns/habits. 

shutterstock_411211660 Source: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

One reader pointed out that ”for decades we sleep in our own beds, have our own wardrobes and even our own rooms. Then you move in with someone and you get smushed together”, and that really highlighted the absurdity of it all. Why do so many of us believe that kids should typically all get their own bedrooms, but expect people in their thirties to share? I mean, there are some obvious reasons why couples would want to share beds and bedrooms, but the fact that it’s something that’s expected of every single cohabiting couple makes it seem like it might just be a habit we’ve carried over for centuries without a second thought.

There’s probably a good chance your parents shared a room, or even a bed, with a LOT of siblings, and maybe even their own parents. There weren’t a lot of rich people in Ireland in the 19th and 20th centuries, so entire families sharing a bed was the norm. This wasn’t just because furniture and the space to put it in was so expensive, but also because heating was pretty pricey too, and sharing a bed with another human (or five) is a really good way to stay warm. 

This wasn’t an issue for wealthier people. They could afford to stay warm overnight, because they could buy better bed clothes and keep their fireplaces lit all night. In plenty of historical dramas you’ll notice that husbands and wives slept separately, and if you visit restored castles you might also encounter a situation where husbands and wives slept in separate chambers.

Now, a big part of that might have to do with the fact that people wealthy enough to do that kind of stuff were getting married for business purposes, to produce heirs, and not to have sex with each other. Sometimes they were also openly having a rake of extra-marital affairs – but the point still stands. Having a separate bedroom to the person you were married to was once a huge luxury.

Today? Well, today sleeping apart is something people very often feel ashamed about and try to keep private. As the standard of living in Ireland (and the rest of the world) improved, children were chucked out into their own bedrooms, and parents remained together.

shutterstock_1240216705 Source: Shutterstock/UfaBizPhoto

There’s no doubt that sharing a bed with another adult is a very important financial necessity in today’s housing market, and there’s obviously a great amount of appeal to sharing a bed with someone you really like, but the fact that there are very few rich people bragging about sleeping separately proves that it’s still something people are quite embarrassed about. 

In fact, one of the only celebrity couples who are open about having an arrangement where they sleep separately is Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, and let’s be real – they’re not exactly a couple that everybody can relate to. Although it’s common enough, people still want to keep up appearances – even if they’ve got a really good excuse to sleep alone, like a health issue.

After our discussion in the office, the consensus between the DailyEdge.ie writers is that we don’t all necessarily want to sleep alone, every night (sometimes you need a night off to starfish in the bed by yourself), but we’d all really like to do that thing people do in Scandinavian countries, where two people share a bed but get their own duvets. That seems like the way forward.

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Kelly Earley

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