This Reddit Family Rift Was Cemented By a Cat’s Birthday Party & No, We’re Not Kidding
One assumption about being in a couple is that you and your partner sleep together. As in, literally sleep together — having your own side of the bed, drifting off together, waking up with them by your side. It all sounds very cozy and romantic, but sleeping next to someone every night also has its downsides. Snoring is a big one; so are preferences in temperature, cuddling, bed firmness, bedtimes, wake-up times, alarm habits… we could go on.
Sometimes it’s just more convenient to sleep in separate rooms, and more and more couples have been opting for this solution. According to research from the Better Sleep Council, more than 25 percent of couples have different sleep spaces, and a New York Times survey found that two-thirds of the couples that sleep separately do so every night. But even as it becomes more common and less stigmatized (notice how we’re not calling it sleep divorce, with all the negative connotation that comes with that term), this arrangement can still be a confusing one at first and even cause tension in couples as they figure out how to make it work. That’s the case with one couple on Reddit, who are running into issues over a key rule they set when they decided to try sleeping separately.
The husband (aka our OP, which is Reddit-speak for the author of the post) came to Reddit’s AITA forum for some impartial judgment on the matter, and Reddit didn’t disappoint. Keep reading for the full story.
A year ago, OP writes, his wife suggested they get separate bedrooms, because “she had a lot of trouble sleeping together and it would allow us to have our own privacy.” OP wasn’t down with the idea at first, thinking it would negatively affect their relationship. After a few months of conversations, thought, he reluctantly agreed to give it a try. As part of the agreement, his wife suggested “that we need to respect each other’s privacy by knocking on each other’s doors before entering.”
Now it’s been a year of separate bedrooms, and to OP’s surprise, he’s been enjoying the new arrangement. “We still sleep together a few times a week, but do spend the majority of the nights separately,” he writes. “I have really enjoyed the privacy and having the opportunity to unwind by myself without having to worry about anything else.”
OP’s wife, on the other hand, “doesn’t seem to be enjoying it as much.” She’s been spending more nights with OP in his bedroom, which he says is fine; what OP doesn’t like is that his wife is starting to break the rules they set together. “At first she was very adamant about knocking on each other’s doors before entering each other’s rooms and would frequently call me out on it if I didn’t,” he says. “But now she has started acting like my separate bedroom is her bedroom and she doesn’t knock before entering my room like we agreed to.”
OP “called her out” on the issue, and says his wife got angry. “She told me that I didn’t care about her and I didn’t want to have her around anymore,” he writes. “She also said that it really hurts her feelings.” OP continued to refer to “all the rules she had made up,” resulting in his wife getting more upset — and no solution being found.
Now OP wants to know if he’s the asshole in this situation, and Reddit had some mixed responses.
The top-upvoted response said OP wasn’t the asshole here, but added, “I think you guys need an impartial third party for helping you discuss things.” OP’s wife wanted “privacy and space,” the commenter observed, and OP did his best to make that happen even though he wasn’t totally on board. Now that it’s working out for him, “she’s stomping all over the boundaries that SHE put in place,” they said. “She doesn’t get to make unilateral rules, demand you abide by them, then emotionally manipulate you until she gets her own way — which seems to change whenever she feels like changing it.” OP’s wife, in short, “needs to be upfront if she wants things. And she also needs to take YOUR feelings into consideration.”
Another commenter said what’s most needed here is an honest conversation about the sleeping arrangements — and some of that is on OP. “You can tell that she doesn’t seem happy about it anymore, but you’re knowingly avoiding that and instead engage in little arguments around what you know to be the actual issue,” they said. “You don’t want her to say out loud that she wants to share again because then you’ll have to tell her outright that you don’t.” This conversation is necessary, this commenter says, and continuing to put it off “will add extra resentment and the conversation when it happens will be worse for it.”
Other commenters agreed that communication is a must here. His wife needs to “explain if she wants to go back to the old way of things. Not emotionally manipulate you into it so she can avoid admitting she was wrong,” one Redditor said. Another suggested, “Talk to her. There seems to be a bigger issue underlying. Like she actually now believes what you thought in the first place, that separate beds has an effect on the relationship and connection.”