Why do we care so much about what everyone ELSE is doing? Why do we NEED to know that what we do as an individual or a couple is what other individuals or couples are doing?
What is our obsession with others…. when it comes to working out if we are OK? It’s a question that vexes me from time to time. Our need to normalise against other’s behaviour can range from a fleeting glance to unhealthy obsession.
But humans cannot detach from caring about others and caring what others think of them.
Pesky. Inconvenient. Well documented by many intelligent social scientists.
I recently wrote two blog posts about an article by Tim Lott, where he suggested that if a couple doesn’t share a bed a night then their relationship is “not a marriage”. I was obviously bothered by his willingness to judge (evidenced by my posts and ire-fuelled letter to the editor) and I bought into that judgement by caring about his widely published diminshment (not a word I know, but I like the sound of it) of a big life choice I have made.
Though I was momentarily irked and unsettled by his comment, I did just give myself a quick slap in the face and thought “seriously….. do I care about Tim Lott’s thoughts on what makes a successful relationship?”
On my cats’ lives, I swear my self-doubt was fleeting.
HOWEVER…. faced with this unassailable human need for acceptance that is hard to ignore (and resist). So where does that leave us when we are faced with making an unpopular or uncommon decision?
(Like sleeping separately from your partner??)
In VERY VERY simple terms – it leaves you with the task of feeling OK about decisions you make in your life.
Cause if you’re OK – then the story goes that everyone else will be OK. And if they’re not….. what are your options?
So, what’s all this to do with sleeping separately? Obvious really, isn’t it?
There are many, many folk out there who like to judge couples who choose not to sleep in the same bed each night. We know it – but we don’t like it. And why not? Because we just want to be loved, like everyone else.
Personally, I know that if I didn’t sleep separately from my husband I would be a wreck. My health would be compromised to the extent that I would become ill and all sorts of disastrous ‘things’ would flow from there.
And I’m not exaggerating. (maybe summarising)
That’s why I feel comfortable and confident with my separate sleeping decision. And when the wobbles creep up (ala Tim Lott) I need to remind myself of my BIGger picture. I love my husband and plan to spend the rest of my life with him – but I just can’t share a bed with him every night.
I know what we do is a version of normal. It’s our normal and it’s the normal of many other thousands of people.
I don’t like being judged by others, but I’m not about to make a bad decision for ME just to make other people feel comfortable by fitting in to their theories of ‘what couples should do’.
I’m OK. In so many ways.