Individually, people are weird. We develop quirky tendencies and habits for most facets of our daily life. Usually, we’re fairly oblivious to how odd a lot of these actions are. Whether it’s taking off your shirt before you take a shit or having a full conversation out loud with your pet in a British accent, we all behave a little oddly when we’re alone. Allowing another person into your life–and opening up enough to let this person see that side of you–is a very intimate process. This is especially true when you have a live-in significant other. The filters come off, and all shame and humility go out the door. Everything changes: sometimes this is good, and sometimes you have to compromise. You have to learn to share. The things that used to be “yours” or “mine” are now “ours”–the remote, bank accounts, the last box of Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and most importantly, the bed.
Go ahead and zip your pants back up and get your mind out of the gutter. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive list of explicit, and probably illegal, sexual endeavors you plan on acting out now that your significant other lives at your place. This is about long, hard sleep. Everyone has a specific routine when it comes to bedtime. Personally, I can’t wear a shirt, the fan needs to be on, and my feet have to be outside the covers. It’s non-negotiable. Through the years, you’ve gotten so accustomed to sleeping in a bed by yourself, that it’s difficult to change your pattern. But once your significant other moves in, so does the change. You have to learn to coordinate bed times, positions, and sleep schedules. It’s not going to be easy. You may work the normal 8 to 5 grind, but your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, or whatever works at the hospital and has to log a lot of graveyard shift hours. How does your significant other expect you to finish that dream where you were hang gliding with Jonah Hill when he or she is up and getting ready at 1 a.m.?
At first, a shared bed is romantic. You spend the first few nights nose to nose, embraced in your significant other’s arms, nuzzled into your pillow-top, queen-sized bed. Then you start to notice the little things. Your significant other has hot breath, or you forgot to brush your teeth after you watched Jimmy Fallon’s monologue on “The Tonight Show.” You switch to spooning, but your arm falls asleep and you need to stretch it. Your significant other has a big review tomorrow, and he or she is nervous and can’t get comfortable in the bed. JUST QUIT ADJUSTING! You try turning back to back, but your significant other sleeps diagonally–so you’re stuck in the fetal position fighting for just a corner of the comforter to keep from freezing. Weeks go by since you’ve had a decent night’s sleep. You’ve both been at each other’s throats over menial issues, because you are both so damn tired. You think about getting a Tempur-Pedic, and you remember the homeless guy by the mall, who’s been holding up that “Mattress Sale” sign all week. Your significant other suggests your cut your toenails, because you’ve been scratching him or her in your sleep. Maybe Ward and June Cleaver had it right–separate beds are the way to go.
You’ve both hit the wall. Maybe living together isn’t going to be hunky-dory. When your significant other leaves for one weekend to go to a bachelor or bachelorette party, you think, “My God! I am going to sleep FOREVER!” But when you’re splayed out on that mattress you bought off Craigslist in 2008, eating Cheez-Its by the handful since your significant other doesn’t allow food in the bed, something feels amiss. Sharing the bed is more than just sharing the bed. It’s just a small part of sharing your life with someone else. You roll your hands over the cool, empty impression your significant other’s body has left on his or her side of the mattress and realize maybe it’s not so bad having a bedmate. You can cope with some of the downsides because the benefits far outweigh them. You survived college on only an average of 4.5 hours of sleep. And then again, there’s always Ambien.