“I guess we know who’ll be sleeping in the couch tonight.”
Everyone once in a while, when joking around with friends, the boyfriend and I will toss sarcastic remarks back and forth. It’s all good-natured and usually ends when one of us gives the other a you’re-verging-on-unfunny-territory stare. This is the point at which a friend will joke about one of us sleeping on the couch tonight.
This can only be a joke because the boyfriend and I don’t live together. Even if we did, there are very few situations during which I would tolerate one of us sleeping on the couch while the other sleeps in the bed.
- If one of us is sick and the other does not want to get sick, the healthy person can choose to sleep on the couch.
- If one of us has farts that smell so bad the other can’t possibly fall asleep, the non-flatulent person may choose to sleep on the couch.
That’s it. Fighting or being angry with each other is no reason to avoid ending the day and beginning the morning next to each other. Relationships are hard. Even the best couple will sometimes fight and/or go to bed angry. Despite these fights, I expect my life partner to stay with me. I expect him to love me even after I have made him so angry he can barely stand to stay in the same room with me. That’ no less than I expect of myself towards him.
I don’t feel like this is that tall of an order. I’m not demanding anything romantic. In fact, I would be perfectly fine if, in our anger, we slept facing away from each other, as close to the edge of the bed as possible. So long as we still came together at the end of the day and woke up together in the morning, I’m happy. In doing so, we are showing that, in spite of our anger, we are still dedicated to the relationship.
A lot of the reason why I have this unwritten rule is because of family events. According to my parents, my aunt told her children, when they would call her for support in the middle of an argument with their spouse, to leave for a few weeks. No joke. She told them to stay with her for a few weeks and ‘see how they like it.’ It seems to me the only thing this would show any spouse is that the fleeing person is willing to leave in order to get their way. Someone who just walks out like that is not interested in a relationship; they’re interested in a dictatorship where they are the boss.
I’m sure none of you will be surprised to hear that those cousins have a lot of marital issues and/or divorce.
Managing a relationship is hard work, married or not. Adding anything to the mix which could further complicate things is unnecessary and unwise. On that list of unnecessary complications is walking out during a fight. Mature adults fight and come to civil compromises. Refusal to do so is a refusal to participate in the relationship.
I accept that people sometimes need air. Going for a walk alone or asking for some time alone in another room of the house to cool down is acceptable. Screaming at each other doesn’t get anything done. If those actions are necessary to continue the fight in a civil manner, so be it. I still expect my partner to return and sleep next to me, unless, of course, he is no longer interested in our relationship.
Right about now, you guys are probably thinking these are some big words for someone who has never lived with a lover before. This is true, which is why I wanted to put this idea out there. I wonder if other couples have similar expectations. If, during a fight, your partner stormed out and didn’t return until the next morning (or for a few days), what would you think? Is that a tolerable action? If you and your partner can’t avoid going to bed angry, would you insist on sleeping separately?
Photo Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo