My partner and I believe we have the most comfortable bed in the known universe. Those down feathers and soft pillows are so soothing that some days it's hard to leave our bed and face the world. The good news is that we get to return every night to this place of peace and comfort.
The other night we had different television interests, so she went downstairs to watch "Real Housewives" while I stayed in bed to watch something with swords and dragons. We were both tired from the long day and fell asleep in our respective spots, and in the morning both of us felt a little off.
Even though we were not feeling physically uncomfortable upon awakening, there was an emotional disturbance we both acknowledged. Not sleeping in the same bed had made us both feel a little uneasy. It just wasn't right. So we planned to get into bed early that evening and snuggle to make up for any time lost from the night before.
Many couples who come to me are not sharing the same bed, and they all have different reasons. I know only too well how important getting your sleep is. No drug in the world will make you feel more dazed than lack of sleep. So if your partner snores, you watch different television shows, you have different patterns of sleeping and waking or perhaps you got mad at each other and have decided to sleep apart, I strongly encourage you to take another look at this choice.
I believe that the decision to sleep separately can make it more difficult to resolve any issues between you, as well as cause damage to the foundation of the relationship. Without getting too New Age here, I believe we do exchange some kind of energy with the person we are sleeping with, and sometimes it can be quite powerful and wonderful. When you don't get the chance to experience that, you will feel that something is missing in your love life, though you may not be able to place exactly what it is.
In addition, couples who do not sleep together tend to be less communicative with each other, which can have an effect on the entire family. Children learn about relationships from watching their parents, so one of the greatest gifts you can give them is to be close and loving with each other. Independence is not a bad thing, but it isn't really what being in a relationship is about. If you want to have a closer relationship, sleep closer to your mate. If he or she is not comfortable with that idea, you need to find out why and work out a way for the two of you to be together on a more consistent basis.
I am not suggesting that you have to stay snug in each other's arms all night long. Most people cannot sleep that way. But just by sharing a bed and being able to reach over and touch the one you love, you will feel better about your life.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of "100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence -- Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too." Email him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com.)
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