11 December 2012

I'm Sleeping in a New Location

With the book nearing completion I have taken the plunge and moved to a new website.

It's taken a little time to get it up and running as is it's a bit more complex than the forgiving and mostly idiot-proof facilities of blogger.com

However, I'm always up for a new challenge so am currently wrapping my head around WordPress.

I would love for you to join me over at the new locale.

See you there......

04 November 2012

Decisions... decisions...

How do you and your partner come to a decision when you don't agree?

It's a tough task.

Not every situation will result in a win-win and there will be many times that one of you does not get what you want. And that just plain sux! Especially when it's you.

John Gottman is a psychologist who runs The Love Lab says he can predict how long a couple will last, not by study how well they get along, but how well they don't.

(Inserted comment section: while I like John's thoughts about couples working through conflict, am a little disturbed by the smiles of John and his wife and John's hat in the section that advertises sex videos)

(Oh, and I haven't looked at the sex videos from the "privacy of my own home" as I am don't want to find out it they feature him and his wife) (Sometimes mystery is a good thing.)

Anyhoo.... back to the point! How well you get through the tough times - and disagreeing can be very tough sometimes - is definitely a defining feature of ANY relationship. This includes your friends, your family and those folk you have to spend inordinate amounts of time with at work. (Am very jealous if you love all your work mates).

Unless you are a person who goes with flow so much you resemble a lazy river of molten magma, there will be times when you disagree with others and either have to, or want to stand your ground. And how does that look for you?

Do you dig your heels in every time? Make a valiant attempt to stand your ground, but feebly give in when things get tough? Do you give in all the time for the sake of peace? Do you run logic arguments and keep a tally of who has won x number of disagreements in the last year?

There's no right and wrong answer and no magic solution. There are a lot of counsellors, self-help books and websites you can go to for help though - and that's maybe not a bad thing.

My husband and I are both quite definite in what we like and don't. It makes for some tough conversations. When I give in, I'll often think "I'll remember that for next time and use it as amunition when I want to get my way", but fortunately, my memory is not that great on such minutia. Ultimately that strategy is not worth the effort anyway. I do give in on 'stuff' though, but don't ever pretend that I am happy about it. I'm not talking sulking, resentful behaviour - just honesty.

And when I give in and don't get what I want, I do it with grace! Which is my biggest 'thing'. If you do give in - do it with grace or DON'T DO IT!

How is this in anyway related to sleeping separately? Well, what happens when one person wants to sleep separately and one doesn't? Now there is a monumental discord.

I spoke to four couples who are in that situation and can I tell you, the conversations were tense. In all couples, it was the man who did not want the separate rooms. I can report that the couples were sleeping separately, but with a heavy mist of unease cool-ly swirling in the hallways of the house.

And realistically, that might be all they will ever get. An uneasy truce. Why should the husband have to all of sudden decide that he is happy about sleeping separately from his wife? And why should the wife endure night after night of no sleep because of a snoring husband?

Unfortunately folks what we have here is an unwinnable situation - and they do exist. Not every disagreement has a happy ending. But do you walk away from what might be a very happy and functioning relationship because you can't get your way in one situation? I know that question has to be answered in the context of what the situation is (e.g., Fifty Shades of Grey type dilemmas).

I'm not offering an answer - because there is none. Back to a common theme of mine - every relationship is different and every person is different. Your life is what you want and that makes it OK. Sometimes though, it's good to stop and ponder your own behaviour, so that when one of those tricky situations arises, you may have some internal preparation done in readiness.

Goodness, goodness me life can be tough!

09 October 2012

A meek but enthusiastic return

Even though I don't have too many followers and am not completely inundated with views (even though I was beyond excited when I hit 1000 - I have even more since then) I feel compelled to explain my absence of 3 months and 3 days.

All of my writing energies have been completely channelled on finishing my book.

With the manuscript submitted last Monday, I am re-discovering:

  • housework
  • gardening
  • shelves in my fridge
  • free time during the week and on weekends
  • books read for pleasure
  • clean surfaces in the study

All have been re-engineered with a tempting shimmer never seen before - yes even the shelves in the fridge. If anyone had told me I would one day be WANTING to clean my fridge I would have ripped their arms off and walked away. Lucky that person never approached me with such madness as they still live a productive and happy life complete with arms.

I am excited about the book. However................. until the publisher says "Jenny - it's all go and we'll be transforming your words into the next He's Just Not That Into You" I am self-managing my expectations with the skill and deftness of a panda wrangler.

At the moment, publication date is 26 March 2013 and I am praying that this day proves to be the end of a gigantic cycle of the universe where all planets align and this strangely causes many, many people to decide that sleeping separately is THE thing to do. They will all then need a book that gives them practical suggestions about doing it successfully - enter:

Sleeping apart... not falling apart:
A practical guide for couples who want a good night's sleep

Who wouldn't want to buy that!!

I look forward to returning to blogging. It's a creative squeeze that I do enjoy.

Another reason I was able to return to the blog was the completion of 50 Shades of Grey. Reading such title was my promise to myself upon completion of the manuscript.

I really should have organised a better reward for myself. More about that later.

06 July 2012

It's a no-brainer

n. Informal
         Something so simple or easy as to require no thought.

That's what sleeping separately is for some people - an activity/decision/event/behaviour that requires a minimal amount of thought when deciding if it's for them.

I have spoken with three couples recently who practice 'sometimes separate sleeping'. Each couple spoke about sleeping apart for about 2-5 night a week for the same singular purpose - so they can sleep.

Well that's a no-brainer!!

Let me break it down to clarify why they think it's a no-brainer.

  • They have trouble sleeping with each other
  • They want to feel rested and ready to function properly at their job the next day or to look after children
  • They go to separate beds so they can get the sleep they need

What? There's no more I hear you ask?

No..... it's a no-brainer!

In fact, the couples I spoke to describe it as a logical, sensible, rational, practical, commonsensical and pragmatic(le) decision, and one they are all so glad they have made. It's part of their life and does not equate to how successful or happy their relationship is - it just keeps them sane and functioning.

Every individual eventually works out what keeps them sane. It's probably an activitiy that they do alone, that gives them the time out they need to refocus and regroup. Without a level of calm and balance, life can become sub-optimal and who wants that?

Here is a random, hastily-prepared list of stuff that I can think of that people do to bring back the balance in their life. (I did look at a lot of websites that talked about inner peace, clearing the mind, letting go of 'energy drainers', aligning one's chakras and things similar, and while there's nothing wrong with lining those chakras up if it helps you get through the day - no judgement here - I tend to live a more practical life, so here's what I think people do).

What I know is that people run, play team sports, become engrossed in a book (probably 50 Shades of Grey at the moment), play with children or pets, do craft or art, surf the web, do a sudoko or crossword, visit their friends, have a glass or 5 of wine, meditate, do yoga, go to the beach, go to the movies, lock themselves in their room, make a cake, clean the family silver, or.............................................. fill in the space if your sanity activity hasn't been listed - because there is no way I can list all the stuff people do to find some sanity when life runs on the hectic side.

So if there is an endless list of activities that help us humans get our grip back, why is spending the occasional night away from a loving, but possibly annoying partner who stops you from sleeping, any different?

Well, of course, I don't think it is.

I think it's a no-brainer.

So next time you are lying next to the person you love the most and they are snoring, thrashing, teeth grinding, reading, iPad-ing or stealing your sheets and blankets.... all I can say is that there is a 

if you want it.

14 June 2012

We need to talk...

How well do you communicate?   (this is actually a trick question - don't answer it)

Making the move to sleep separately may require on of those conversations that start with a big, long breath and a pained expression. Even if both parties know it has to happen or even want it to happen, there is still a high chance that one of the couple might have their feelings hurt or just not be in the right space to hear the news.

A quick search on the internet for how to best communicate with your partner yields millions of results - 8m + to be a little more exact.

I find this most appropriate, for there are millions of ways that are both right and wrong to communicate with your partner.

The tricky part of communicating with anyone really is the variables. These are the tricky bits to navigate with each other that make talking with another person in the pursuit of an outcome a veritable mine field.

My challenge - time myself for a minute and think of as many variables as I can that affect good clear communication between couples. And go...

  • time of the day
  • what's on television at that time
  • level of stress caused by work, children, public transport, finances, sporting results
  • time of the month (a lady one)
  • trying to initiate or build up to sex
  • sporting success or lack thereof during the day
  • career trajectory
  • relationship with their or your friends and family
  • mood swings
  • amount of food sating a hungry belly
  • amount of alcohol consumed, or not

There is SO (yes... capitals are necessary) much STUFF (yes... necessary again) that impacts on how well we communicate, that even if you have a gold medal in couples communication, there might be times when it all goes horribly wrong. This is why the question at the top is a trick question - sometimes we're great and sometimes we are bloody awful.

It's the design of humans. So flawed. So unreliable. So dodgy. So endearing.

So if you ever wanted to raise the topic of sleeping separately from your partner, but were too afraid, I may have the answer for you.

If I'd had access to a Manslater when raising the issue of separate sleeping with my husband, I think I would have chosen the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.

When I told him that he would have to sleep in his room because of the snoring, but that I still loved him and still wanted to spend time with him, and that our relationship was going to be fine because I trusted that there was so much else between us that not sharing a bed at night wouldn't take away from our new life together, and that we would not lose the closeness between us - it would just have to be explicit in other 'things' we did together, and that I still found him attractive and wanted to maintain our sex life, my Manslater would have summed it up with....... "Hasta la vista, baby!".

Now that's communicating.

07 June 2012

The gift of bed

Tonight, a story to share from a friend of mine. I love this friend dearly and asked her recently to capture for me, part of a recent chapter of her life, as it's a chapter that has an aspect that's dear to my heart.

This friend's husband brought their 25 year marriage to an end through his thoughtless and rather selfish behaviour. (One word here - karma)

My friend was devastated in the months after the marriage ended and often wondered what life was going to look like without the person she had planned to spend her life with, sharing it with her.

I can happily report she is doing just fine, as most intelligent, capable and sensible people do. (Not that I am blindly biased or anything like that)

A surprising aspect of her post-marriage life has been how much she treasures having her own bed.

She writes in her story....

At fifty, I look back at my younger twenty-one-year-old self, and wonder why I gave up my own bed and room without question in the first place. I recall the excitement of the early days of marriage where sharing a room and a bed were symbols of my newly acquired marital status. In fact, not sharing a room and bed was never considered.

I think that she captures one of the 'constructs' I bleat on about when it comes to why our society places so much importance on bed sharing as a couple. It's a symbol that you are together - in every facet of your life. I was very grateful for her insight on that one. (I still don't agree with it, but I think I understand it more)

Her husband and her went on to experience the normal issues that arise in bed sharing - snoring, bed and room temperature, how to use sheets and blankets appropriately, excessive movement, etc., etc. But as a 'good wife and good couple' they persisted in sharing a bed, and she often found herself spending days in a "sleep-deprived stupor".

So here we are, 26 years down the track and now that she is free to explore what it's like to sleep solo - she is a convert. This is how she describes her sleeping arrangements circa 2012...

Now that I’ve had the luxury of my own room and my own bed again, I won’t be giving it up.  I love shutting the bedroom door behind me and entering my own space to relax and ponder and rest. It sustains and nurtures me. There is nothing I like better than slipping into my bed each night, knowing I will sleep undisturbed until morning.  Being able to spread out in a walk-in wardrobe is a definite plus as well.  In time, if life does happen to bring a second partner for me, he will definitely need to be happy with a two bed/two room policy.  

She called her story "The Gift of Bed" and I think it's a great gift for anyone to give themselves, if they can afford it.

(In reading and re-reading this post, I am concerned that I may sound a little biased towards separate sleeping. I'm certainly not pro-separate sleeping, just pro-having the choice to do so if that's what makes you happy. I think I'm just so happy for my friend that she has found something in her life that she really loves.

If she had found a new lease on life by climbing Mt Everest, or taking up crocheting, I would have been equally as enthusiastic. It's just that when someone else shares a pleasure you have - it's kind of neat.)

29 May 2012

Anyone want to share?

Hello to the select few who read my blog!

I have asked before, but am making another plea - this one is dancing on the fringes of being empassioned - for any folk out there who either sleep separately themselves, or know of others who do, who would be willing to be interviewed for my book.

I now have a looming deal with a publisher and need more material for the book, so am keenly interested in talking to more separate sleepers.

You, or your friends/acquaintances/work mates/relatives, don't have to sleep separately all the time; the separateness may be a part-time arrangement, or a sometimes arrangement.

I am willing to email questions, or phone for a chat - whatever is convenient.

So if there's anyone who would like to share..... get in touch on


20 May 2012

If only....

As part of the ongoing research for my book, I trawl through many, many websites. Yesterday I was poking around on YouTube and came across a video from The Better Sleep Council that renders my whole thesis and reason for writing redundant. Oops.

If only……!!!

If only I could have the same the Pollyanna approach to my problems of sleeping with my husband.

If only they had not recognised that you might want to possibly move to another room if ear plugs don’t work if you sleep with a snorer in a 'very-fast-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it' kind of way. 

If only I didn't quite like their sleep facts chart I could be a bit more dismissive.

And if only I didn't triple love this offering in their Press Resources Artwork section!

Finally, if only, I could change the logo to suit my thoughts on the issue......

If only I could say 'thank you The Better Sleep Council' for helping me find my voice in a quirky logo and 5 mins on Photoshop.

(PS     If only Lissa could spell her name sensibly)
(PPS   If only Zombieitis was a real word)

10 May 2012

Tooting your own horn

An advertisement for Ikea caught my eye the other day. God bless the Swedes.

The ad was two alternating panels down the left-hand size of a website and they caught my eye.

The images both resonated with, and highly entertained me. Farting in bed - is there anything worse?

If forced (gun to head, about to shoot my cats as well, blah blah blah....) to choose between a snoring or a farting partner to share a bed with, I would choose snoring. Without getting into capitals and bolding text, I hate being forced to smell someone else's farts. And I hate it even more when it's in bed.

The even more galling part about it being in bed is the hilarity that my partners, current and past, have had and still do take from the act. And it's not just my partners who find it hilarious, most men tend to and an array of euphamisms have emerged over years and cultures to add even more humour (please, oh please let my sarcasm be evident) to the practice:

For your edification and enlightenment:

Fartin in da spoon
When you are with someone in bed, (spooned together) and one farts.
Warm the bed
The act of farting in bed in order to provide a more inviting environment for one's partner
Dutch oven
While lying in bed with another person, pulling the covers over someone's head while breaking wind, thereby creating an unpleasant situation in an enclosed space
Middle Eastern Steamer
When a person of middle eastern descent farts under the covers in bed then pulls the covers over their partners face to breath in and enjoy the aroma
Summer Breeze
A Summer Breeze is the act of farting in bed, fanning it at your partner with the sheets while singing Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts
Hermit Crab
Where a single person, lies in bed, passes gas and then pulls the covers over their own head to enjoy their own essence.

While I have heard of (and experienced far too many times) a dutch oven, the other terms certainly formed a cultural learning from me.

So, some questions.

  1. Why are farts funny?
  2. Why do men in particular find farts funny?
  3. Why are they funnier in bed?
  4. Why does anyone think that it's ok to fart in bed when another person is trying to sleep?
  5. Why is it ok to kill yourself laughing when you fart in bed with another person in there?
Final questions on this topic.

  1. Who thinks the Sultan pocket spring mattress from Ikea would go anyway to improving the lot of those who sleep with brazen farters?
  2. Why do I like to sleep in my own bed and my own room?

And so I leave you with the immortal words of Donna Summer.... "Toot toot, beep beep."

02 May 2012

Wakey wakey!

How do you like to be woken in the morning? Being lovingly gazed upon by George Clooney on D. Porthault bed linen, listening to Riva boats ferry the rich and beautiful between the shores of Lake Como? Or is that just me?

How we wake, or how we choose to be woken can have a big impact on the relative success of the day ahead. I'm not suggesting this happens all the time, but I'm confident we've all been there.

The methods by which people choose to wake will be many and varied. Us separate sleepers have the luxury of not only choosing the method, but changing it whenever and 'why-ever' we want.

I have written before about the app that I use called Sleep Cycle. This app monitors my sleep patterns throughout the night (I am still COMPLETELY addicted to reviewing them first thing every morning - 75 days after the purchase) and wakes me gently, and caringly, depending on which stage of the sleep cycle I am in. As well as being totally taken by seeing what I got up to during the night, I like the fact that I can snooze a criminal number of times, before my phone eventually says "Enough" and starts vibrating.

(Admission - I can sometimes be heard talking to my phone when it stirs me for the 10th time with it's gentle 'Forest glade' alarm sound. Unilateral conversations of "yeah, yeah", "alright, I heard you", "I know it's time to get up" and "oh shut up" are not uncommon on the mornings of sub-7-hour sleeps.)

So what do the couples who share a bed do when they don't have the same desires when it comes to being aroused from slumber?

I had a boyfriend who wanted to be woken by TripleM on the radio every morning. For the non-Australian readers, click the link and the stories adorning the front page should give you a pretty good indication of the station's target audience. As I link through this evening, here's what's on offer....

If you like naked women and women kissing other women, then you have arrived at your dream radio station. But I digress. The main issue I had was that it is a hard rock station, on which a lot of "great rock hits from the 80s, 90s and now" were played. Quite simply, I kinda hate great rock hits from most eras. For the record, I mostly listen to Triple J - for mine, it's just a little more cerebral and interesting.

So back to the sleeping and the waking..... I can't tell you how many times I was wrenched from my sleep by a mid-40s, gravelly male voice, screaming unintelligible lyrics. I hated it. I would be cranky, and even more so, when I knew the boyfriend took perverse pleasure in knowing it annoyed me. This is just one of the myriad of reasons he is a past tense person.

Some folk wake up in the morning and bound into each day with a vim and vigour that is admirable. I am at the other end of the scale - hence arguing with an app on my phone - and I know there are others like me, who like to gently mosey on in to the day, quietly gathering their thoughts about the adventures awaiting us.

When you sleep with someone who has a different approach to greeting each new day, it can be a struggle to arrive at a mutually accepted method of waking.

So for those who may be struggling with their choice of wakening devices, consider this great app. And the bonus is, it comes with a funky gadget.

Before watching the video of the device in action, check out the great 'Sleep Tip' video the designers of the app have made. This one is #6 - The Cranky Girlfriend.

The app is the Lark alarm and sleep monitoring system. Click here to check out all the deets - or enjoy the YouTube video with at least better acting than the differently weighted duvet videos.

(Was v excited to see some Ikea cushions on the bed that I have too - the brown spotty ones.)

Is this the solution you have been looking for?

Until the morning then, I bid you a good night.