My Story, Your Story: Earplugs, pillows and being outed

�How did we stay so long together? You and me Baby, we�re stuck like glue…� Lyrics by Sugarland

Some of you are not going to like what I have to say next. For those who are die-hard traditionalists, you may want to turn the page now.

If your curiosity has been stoked, fair warning � this is a long story of trial and error, to which I hope you will read with an understanding heart.

Here goes � my husband and I sleep in separate bedrooms. Now, before you snap to judgment, let me explain.

It�s not that we haven�t tried and tried again to sleep peaceably in a queen-size bed. Believe me; we�ve journeyed through many episodic ventures of restless tossing and turning.

For a while, I wore earplugs, but they kept popping out. And besides, even when those darn things did stay put, I could still hear the �freight train� roaring on the other side of the bed. He tried nasal strips, but quite frankly, I can�t remember why he quit using them.

For a time, I slept on my side with a heavy feather pillow covering my head. This technique did a fair job of blocking noise until I turned onto my back. He tried losing weight, which is known to reduce snoring. It did bring down the volume a bit.

We even went so far as to consider constructing a double king-size bed. That�s when you place two king-size beds together and practically have to call your partner on a cell phone to have a conversation because of the distance between you. Unfortunately, we just don�t have a bedroom big enough.

Needless to say, after years of my wrangling over his snoring, he just couldn�t take any more of my elbowing him to stop. One night, sometime after midnight, he shot out of bed, grabbed his pillow and stormed off, exclaiming his signature, �That�s it!�

When Brian says �That�s it,� there�s a massive door in the inner regions of his head and heart that closes hard and fast. �That�s it� means we are through with something, and there is a certain ending bearing down. Something�s over and it is over for good.

In that moment, feelings of sadness and relief comingled like a beam of sunlight forcing its way through a dark cumulus-filled sky. Part of me mourned my husband leaving our bedroom that night; another part of me rejoiced over the instant quietness his absence created.

Since then, I�ve worked hard to hide the fact that we sleep in separate bedrooms. It�s a family secret that only our kids are supposed to know.

However, every once in a while, when Brian breaks the code of silence by saying, �In my bedroom�� I begin to twitch with anxiety that he has �outed� us. I turn three shades of red and just want to crawl into a hole, never to be seen or heard from again.

The taboo of couples sleeping apart is hard to overcome. But, I know we are not alone.

According to the article titled �Is the Romance Gone? Couples Increasingly Sleeping in Separate Beds,� the National Sleep Foundation reports that �nearly one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds, a number that has doubled in recent decades.� The National Association of Home Builders predicts that �by 2015, 60 percent of custom homes will have dual master bedrooms.� The article states that people don�t talk openly about sleeping in separate beds �because there�s a stigma that there must be something dysfunctional in the relationship � But for those people who put a tremendous value on getting a good night's sleep, which I think most of us do but are afraid to say, it can be an incredibly creative solution that is really effective for the relationship.�

Even Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes sleep in separate bedrooms. So, you see, Brian and I are part of a growing trend of couples who just can�t sleep together for physical, not emotional reasons.

When all is said and done, after nearly 39 years of marriage, Brian and I are BFF (best friends forever). We�re still in love, continue to slow dance in the living room and even have date night, once in a while. We both agree that the best part of our day is returning home after work and just being together.

I guess you could say we are stuck like glue, in spite of the fact that we sleep in separate bedrooms.

Source: �Is the Romance Gone? Couples Increasingly Sleeping in Separate Beds,� Amber Greviskes, July 26, 2010, AOL Health.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula�s columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on Facebook.

2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.

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