Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Question of Separate Bedrooms

In my last post, Chrissy was curious about why Paul and I plan to have separate bedrooms, and I thought, “Hey!  That could be an interesting post!”  Let’s talk about it.

First, let me acknowledge that we are very lucky that we can make this choice to have a particular arrangement.  We don’t have to move in together.  It’s not a personal requirement, nor do our finances tell us we must do this.  We want to live together, and we want to be realistic about what we need to do that happily.  I know that some couples live in tiny spaces because it’s all they can afford or because they can’t afford to move.  If you are in a situation like that, let me say this: hang in there, and I hope things improve for you.

It’s kind of a miracle that Paul and I like spending time together because we’re both hermits by nature.  We like solo hobbies (reading), we both spend a lot of time working alone, and we’re homebodies.  We’re classic introverts.  That being said, we do enjoy our friends very much, and we enjoy each other.  Our goal is to create a living space that honors our shared need to be alone while still living, you know, together.

Separate bedrooms seem like a great solution to a significant problem.  A bedroom is a sacred space in a home.  It’s a room with an aura of privacy around it.  By having separate bedrooms, we are creating spaces where we can retreat.  We can close the door and soak up the privacy of not interacting with others.  With separate bedrooms, we give each other the chance to maintain a private self.  When you are in a serious relationship with someone, it is so easy to lose your sense of self.  You start not only defining yourself as your role in someone else’s life, but you also start thinking of yourself not as YOU first but as so-and-so’s partner.  I love being Paul’s girlfriend, and I love it because I choose it, every day.  Every day, I choose him and I choose us, and I choose the life that we are building together.  But before there is an “us,” there has to be a him and a me.  Our separate bedrooms are a way of honoring the individuals we are.

On a more practical level, Paul is an engineer.  He’s always designing or building something, which I love.  Having separate bedrooms gives Paul his own room and project space.  Honestly, what I really want is a studio for Paul to use as his work space.  I can’t offer that right now.  But a bedroom of his own is better than nothing.

A room of his own is our dream.  For now, that room looks like this:


And this:      

Better I Think{Whew—that’s better.}

I love that window in front of the desk.  I’m a little jealous that Paul will have it in his room—it lets wonderful warm breezes into the room on beautiful days.  But mostly I’m delighted to give him a nice space like this and to see our daily lives become a little more integrated into a cohesive whole.

You can see we’ve got our work cut out for us.  Wish us luck!  I’ll report back in a month, if all goes well and I remember.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

Thanks for answering me with my very own blog post! :) I definitely understand the need for space and autonomy. Nathan and I dream of one day have our own studies - mine would be a light filled writing retreat, his would be a mahogany paneled study filled with specimens. That said, I really enjoy sharing a bedroom, but maybe that's because it literally has nothing but bed in it, and we only use it for sleeping. (And, well, you know...) But even just sleeping side by side is important to us both (even when there's a dog wedged in the middle). But I guess I was assuming that separate bedrooms means you wouldn't have sleepovers in each other's room, and that's probably not the case, and now this comment is bordering on creepy, so I will stop now.

At any rate, I am glad you two have found a solution that will hopefully work for you. Relationships are such strange animals, and I love how intent you both are at honoring each other and yourselves. :)

Jerba Mate.. said...

I love the understanding of your bedroom as sacred space. When Matt and I were getting ready to move in together I was still struggling in a lot of ways transitioning from single life to couple life. I had never lived alone, always in group houses with lots of other folks but other than sharing a dorm room in college I had always had my own room. I remember laying with Matt in my bed about a month before we were set to move in together - I looked over at my desk with all the pictures and cards and little notes taped around it and totally started crying because I didn't want to give up that space that was all my own. For our first apartment together, we decided I would move in first and have it to myself for a month before Matt moved in - I think that helped - I have to say with our current apartment he lived in it for a whole semester before I moved in and it was challenging, feeling like I had to fit my life into his all the sudden. Great post!

Rosiecat said...

Chrissy, your comment made me laugh! I love your dream for separate studies--I want to live in your writing retreat :-) What's interesting to me is how the idea of separate bedrooms pings differently for people. For some people, they think of sex and co-sleeping. For others, they think of a daytime retreat/private space. For me, it's very much about the daytime retreat. We tend to have similar circadian rhythms and can go to sleep at the same time, but sometimes Paul likes to stay up much later than I do. When he does, it doesn't bother me when he comes to bed after I'm asleep.

Hello, Jerba Mate/Liz! Thanks for your comment--it's wonderful to see you in blogland. I wonder about that same issue with Paul moving into my apartment. Hopefully that transition won't be too bumpy for either of us, but even if it is, we're moving to a new place before the end of summer. In essence, we'll both be starting fresh.

I love hearing your stories--thanks for sharing them with me! xoxo