Dear Wayne and Wanda:
I’m in a newish relationship. I like cuddling and want to spend nights together whenever possible, but my significant other says he doesn’t like sharing a bed. WT(heck)?!
— Cuddle Buddy
Wanda and I can examin daters’ qualities and quirks for days, but ultimately they fall into two categories: those who can’t wait to find someone so they don’t have to sleep alone anymore and those who can’t get an extra body out of their comfy bed quick enough. Sounds like you’re an A and your new BF is a B.
Assuming your bed buddy isn’t just allowing you on his pillow-top for sex, you’ve got to cut him a little slack. When you fall into category B, your bed is your oasis. Add another body to the sleep equation, you’re also potentially adding squirming, spooning, drooling and mumbling, none of which contribute to a better night’s sleep and all of which destroy the whole oasis vibe. At the very least, it sounds like you’re a big-time spooner.
Here’s how you get your way. You play softball: You chip away, spend a few nights a week together until the relationship naturally evolves to sleeping over every night. It will — they always do. But this will take some patience on your part. Buy a big cuddle pillow and shoot some of your man’s AXE body spray on it for the nights he wants to get solo sleep.
Actually, I don’t think you have it in you. Just play hardball and tell him that if you get into a bed together, he can’t leave until the sun comes up. That will work like a charm.
I’m captain of the B team on this issue. My dance card should come with cab vouchers. Whether I’m the hostess or the guest, my end goal is solo sleep. This puts us B types instantly at odds with the A-team members who want to snuggle or spoon or just snooze soundly beneath the soothing haze of companionship.
Personally, dealing with someone’s in-sleep aerobics and nighttime noises doesn’t lure me into the REM realm. An increasing number of cohabiting couples agree and are choosing sleeping alone. In a January 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll, 11 percent of respondents with an intimate live-in did not report sharing a bed. An earlier poll by Harris found nearly 30 percent of female respondents said they slept poorly because of their partner’s sleeping antics. A still-impressive 17 percent of men agreed.
To all you cuddlers, chin up. Clearly the vast majority of couples still bed down together. It’s just not for everyone. In today’s era of widespread sleep deprivation, talk about it with your partner and be honest. Are you sleeping enough? Do you need the same amount of rest? Does one sleep lightly while the other snores, tosses and yanks all the blankets away? Is in-bed bickering creating tension?
Generally I think Wayne’s right-on. Even if your partner is sleepover adverse early on, it will likely evolve into overnighters. And if patience is not one of your virtues and you’re looking to speed up the process, consider offering this persuasive evidence: If you’re not in the same bed, he might miss out on sleep, but he’s also missing out on opportunities for drowsy middle-of-the-night or early-morning spontaneity.
Wanda is a wise woman who has loved, lusted and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.