Learning How To Sleep Alone After Sleeping With Someone For So Long

There’s something about sleeping with someone that fills your being. Not necessarily sleeping with someone… but sleeping with someone. Two bodies, sharing a bed. It could be after sex, when you’re sweaty and out of breath and your eyelids are fluttering closed in their post-euphoric laziness. It could be after lunch, when your bellies are full and the summer heat begs you to lie together on a cool comfy mattress. It could be after a rainy Sunday morning, when the floor is too cold to touch with bare feet so you intertwine your legs and drift back to your dreams. There’s a warm satisfaction that occurs in these times of horizontal togetherness.

And it’s surprising how easily you can fall in love with the heavy arm that envelopes your body while you’re unconscious. And when you wake up that arm may be accidentally resting on your neck or squishing your ribcage, but you don’t care because that’s your favorite arm in the world and you wouldn’t want it anywhere else. You don’t care, because attached to that arm is the human shaped thing that you have slowly and unintentionally fallen for while you were both just breathing. While you were awake you talked and discovered and teased, but while the two of you simply existed at the same time on the same soft surface, you fell in to a wistful kind of love.

Sleeping with someone means you can wake up from a shitty dream with fear in your legs and tears in your eyes, and all you have to do is move closer to that human shaped thing to remind yourself that you are not alone. That you are safe with that arm. Just run your fingers down that back and know that the warmth that shares this bed with you is going to wake you up with those sleepy puppy-like eyes and little kisses on the ear. The nights when you share that bed are going to be the best nights, and the mornings you wake up together are the best mornings. You will spend afternoons craving the evening, when you know you can fall back in to your rectangular oasis with the person that warms your soul.


But sleeping with someone also means one day sleeping without someone. You will at some point find yourself stuck in a perpetual afternoon, waiting for a night that never comes. It will happen when the inevitable passing of time and the starkness of reality forces you push back the blankets and leave that shared bed that has become your source of sweet euphoria. Plane rides or oceans or continents may separate you from the mattress that only hours ago held the shape of your body, and the warm thing that protected you from the demons in your dreams will be left alone. So will you. Your stressful days can no longer be remedied by the weight of that body next to yours, along with the thoughtful squeezes, kisses, and inspirations that it provides. You will sleep again in your own bed, expecting to be comforted by its familiarity. But it is not that shared bed, and you will no longer feel like half of a whole once you begin to sleep alone again.

And as much as you try to hold on to it, the careful tingle in your chest that sleeping with him gave you will eventually fade. Good night kisses turn in to good night messages, which will turn in to resentment, fear, and hurt. Instead of sleeping together after tight hugs and big meals, you sleep by yourselves after empty arguments and digital stares. Your love still flourishes in your dreams of unintentional rib squishing and a heavy arm around your waist. But when you sleep alone after sleeping together for so long, it feels as though you are unendingly awake, stuck in that relentless afternoon sun, and the dreams become few and far between. Eventually you wake up, truly alone; and so do they, in a bed that no longer holds your shape. TC mark

featured image – Stuart Conner

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