Sunday, June 2, 2013

Journey to the Center of the Bed

I just touched a huge milestone in learning to live post-divorce: I am sleeping in the middle of my bed!

Sing it, Cher.
Let’s take a look back on the journey that my bed and I have been on.

The first joint purchase that Max and I made was this bed. I wanted a queen, he wanted a king, and in a rare occurrence, Max won the debate. We bought the bed right before we moved in together in May 2007. 

(Eerily, at the time our friend Kim said, “Oh no, not a king size bed! I heard that the divorce rate is higher among people with king size beds!” If I were making this all up, we could call that foreshadowing.)

Anyway, I remember our first night in that new apartment. We officially lived together! In a beautiful two bedroom apartment! We just bought a BED together! This is when normal couples would christen the bed and the apartment, right? I mean, we're "living in sin" anyway, so let's get our sin on! Nope. Max proclaimed that he was so tired from moving that he couldn’t wait to go to sleep. I rolled over and for the first time of many in our bed, tears filled my eyes and rejection filled my heart as I told myself, “This will get better. It has to.”

Over the years, I have had mixed feelings about our bed. It is huge with a pillowtop and deliciously comfortable. Thanks to our wedding shower, we have high quality sheets in attractive colors. Our duvet cover is from Crate & Barrel (of course). In all the ways my bed can, it physically meets or exceeds expectations. But a bed is more than just a place for sleeping. It’s supposed to be a place for sexual as well as emotional intimacy. In that sense, our married bed was a dismal failure. Even snuggling in bed often seemed like a chore to Max (I realize now that it was him fearing that snuggling would lead to me wanting sex).

I’ve heard of couples who could fall asleep in an embrace. Max and me? Never. When we slept, we never touched. Neither of us is a big person, so with Max on his side and me on mine with no one crossing the line down the middle of the bed, the space between us was vast, both literally and emotionally.

With all of this sadness, I also loved sleeping next to Max. If I awoke from a nightmare, I could roll over and hug him and feel safe. On the weekends, if I woke up first, I would often lie in bed reading, just to feel the peace of resting beside him and listening to him breathe. If either of us slept in the bed without the other, we never crossed the middle line; if one wasn’t physically in the bed, the presence was.

In October 2012, I finally got Max to leave the master bedroom. After spending August staying with a friend and then spending September looking for a divorce lawyer, by October Max's departure was long overdue. He didn’t take it very well, but honestly, I think it was initially more about being downgraded to the double bed in the guest room than it being about leaving our married bed (lovely, right?).

So I’ve been sleeping alone in the master bedroom in the king size bed for nearly eight months now. Until very recently, I slept completely on my side. It’s interesting because when I sleep alone in any other bed, I always spread out and use the whole freaking thing. But I just couldn’t do it in our bed, even fast asleep. I guess there was still part of me that wanted him in the bed with me. I missed him. I miss him.

As the months have gone by with us in separate bedrooms, we have evolved from awkward and cold towards each other to sort of pleasantly neutral to, now, pretty pleasant. I know it sounds super weird, but it’s kind of nice living with my EX-HUSBAND. (But to be clear, I still desperately want this damn condo to sell.) Because our relationship has changed so much during this forced cohabitation, I’m starting to see him less as the man who unintentionally repeatedly hurt and disappointed me and more as a good man who could be my friend. We are like friendly roommates who chat and enjoy each other’s company at home, but we never do anything outside the home.
No matter how much roommates like each other,
they have separate beds.

And you don’t share a bed with your roommate.

I’ve been inching towards the middle of the bed ever since Max told me that he’ll likely have me take the bed when we go our separate ways. Even though I used to call it The Bed of Constant Rejection, the fact is that it’s just a piece of furniture -- and a really nice one at at that -- so I better get over it.

This week, I officially turned a corner. I woke up not in the middle of the bed, but perpendicular. Like I was lying horizontally across the bed! Clearly my subconscious no longer feels Max is supposed to be beside me.

What has the transition from sleeping together to sleeping alone been like for you? Did you retain the married bed? Do you still sleep on your side of the bed? 
Super Sunday Sync


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Too true, the percepts of that bed can really change during such times! Thanks for sharing!,

  2. And thank you for reading. :)

  3. Hi Kat - visiting back from Bloppys after you so kindly tweeted my post. What a wonderful concept for a blog - sharing your journey through such a life changing experience. I loved this post, and was smiling at the end when you said you woke up horizontally.

  4. Great post! I bet you will be quite surprised at the end of your year's journey how much you will have grown.... one step at a time.

  5. Thanks Dana! I was pretty amused when I woke up like that too.

  6. Thanks for visiting Lois! It's already really interesting to read my entries from just a few weeks ago. This blog is fun and rather therapeutic for me!

  7. Kat,
    When you sell the place, ditch the bed! That is my advice from being twice-divorced. Sell it, donate it, burn it, whatever. Don't take it and all those memories with you. Time to start anew.
    Get a new bed and christen in with someone you really care about who will hold you at night.
    Good luck!!!!

  8. Ha, I would if it weren't so expensive! Plus I've been alone in the bed with me, myself, and I since October, so I almost don't associate with it Max anymore.