05 June 2011

I'm ok, you're ok

In my last post I talked about the people who give me sad and pitiful looks when they hear I don't share a bed, or a bedroom (quelle horreur) with my husband.

I don't think any of my close friends feel that way, but one never knows the truest, innermost feelings of another.

I am bemused that many of these looks are accompanied by a little tilt of the head. I guess the physical gesture assists them in communicating the feelings they have for me. The Centre for Nonverbal Studies says that a head tilt may be used to show friendliness. Maybe these people think the relationship with my husband is so bad that I need more friends?

Another suggestion from the centre is that head tilting is one of several self-protective gestures. So maybe, the thought that their partner might want to sleep apart from them makes them feel under threat and they tilt their head as a pre-emptive pose that will enable them to spring into action in case this might be the reality they are hiding from?

I have actually 'drilled down' to find out the motivation behind the look, but must report that I haven't had any answers that match the above two explanations for this non-verbal behaviour. No-one has invited me back to their place to spend the night in their bed with them and no-one has fled in terror that I might convince their partner to join the cause. And I guess that's the thing about non-verbal cues - often the words that accompany the non-verbals are at odds with each other.

When I get the 'pity tilt' I do get a intrigued about where the conversation is going to lead. Often the 'tilter' tries to encourage me to admit that there must be just a little something wrong with my marriage that I have to take the drastic step of sleeping in a separate room. Maybe it's not something wrong with my marriage, it's a fault in my husband's and mine relationship that we have not admitted to ourselves or to each other, and this is what's driving us apart night after night.

"Don't you miss the cuddles all night?", "How can you not want to snuggle next to your husband, and fall asleep and wake up next to him in the morning?". Well, 'yes' and 'I do'.

Unfortunately, we just can't manage the cuddling and the snuggling, and still get enough hours of sleep every night to then function as normal people. It's really as simple as that. "Don't you miss the intimacy of lying with another person every night and sharing that time together?" (from a tilter). Well no, if it means that I am lying there delirious with sleep deprivation as they snore or roll around the bed and pull covers off me.

Some people can touch their nose with their tongue, some people have a physiology that enables them to become olympic athletes and some people get tingly at the thought of tucking into a juicy quantum physics problem. Point being - humans are all different. And one of my points of difference is that I am a light sleeper, I need sleep to function and I like having my own space to sleep in. I tried to learn to sleep with my husband and had to raise the white flag of surrender early in the relationship.

Regardless of our failure as co-sleepers, I can report quite confidently that the marriage is ok. We have our disagreements, but neither of us has consulted a solicitor yet (as far as I know) and we have some long term plans mapped out for the next ten years.

For me our sleeping arrangement is simply practical. Our marriage has romance, has love, has emotional and physical intimacy - it just doesn't have any spooning in bed.

I'm ok with that, and I hope the tilters are ok too.

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