From unbearable snoring to clashing work schedules, there are all sorts of reasons why couples choose to sleep in separate rooms.
But one woman has revealed she never shares a bed with her boyfriend — because she’d rather sleep with the cat.
Holly Brockwell, 32 and boyfriend Zack Fox, 26, have lived together for just over two years, having got together in January 2016.
The couple moved from a one-bed into a two-bedroom flat in Stratford, London, six months ago. But within a few weeks, Brockwell had retreated into the spare room to nurture her new long-haired black kitten, Mawri.
Brockwell, a blogger, said: “Before she arrived, Zack drew a hard line, banning the kitten from the bedroom, saying he wanted one room which wasn’t covered in cat hair. But as soon as we got her home I was besotted and knew I had to have her with me. She was so cute and so tiny, so I told Zack I’d sleep in the spare room until she was bigger and less clingy.”
“Zack wasn’t thrilled. He didn’t want to get a cat; he grew up in a home with a dog which wasn’t allowed in the bedrooms, so the fact I was sleeping in a different room with the cat did cause conflict to begin with.”
“She was also quite a feisty cat and used to attack Zack’s ankles, which he didn’t appreciate.”
But 18 months later, the couple are still happily spending the night in their own separate bedrooms and claim it has actually improved their relationship.
They’ve even decorated their own rooms, with Zack putting up Pokemon posters while Brockwell went for pink décor and a giant framed picture of a drag-queen.
“Until recently, my mom ran a cattery, so I’ve always been around cats,” said Brockwell.
“There was always one on my bed as a child. When I became lonely working from the flat with Zack at work, I got Mawri to keep me company.”
Once they settled into their new routine, they found it improved their relationship so much that the couple agreed to make it a permanent arrangement.
After cuddling on the sofa and watching TV together in the evenings, Zack, an assistant TV producer, is in bed by midnight, while night-owl Brockwell is often awake as late as 3 am.
“I go to my room with Mawri when Zack goes to bed, but then I don’t go to sleep until two or three hours later,” Brockwell admitted.
“When she was tiny, Mawri slept in my bedside drawer, which was really cute, but now she sleeps just above my head.
“I arrange the pillows so she’s between my head and the headboard and she puts her paw on my head so she knows I’m there.”
She added: “I don’t think it’s made any difference to our love lives. By the time Zack goes to bed he’s exhausted from getting up at 7:30 am, working all day and arriving home at 8 pm, so he’s straight to sleep. I like to stay up and read or on my phone, which used to disturb him, so that wasn’t really conducive to sex anyway.”
“We never really got into bed and started doing stuff; it’s always had to be a bit more planned out.”
When it does happen, the couple head to Zack’s bedroom – closing the door on Mawri and their other cat Moose, whom they rescued in August 2017.
“It’s awkward – you don’t want a cat watching you,” said Brockwell.
“When we did get it on when she was little, she attacked Zack’s legs, so now we go to Zack’s room and shut the door.
“Mawri cries when I shut her out, so we close other doors too, so they’re a couple of rooms away and we turn the music on so we can’t hear it.”
While Mawri, a name derived from Zack’s Welsh heritage which means small and important, has pride of place in Brockwell’s room, Moose sleeps in the living room.
Brockwell said that despite Zack’s restless legs and her habit of waking in the night and staying up into the small hours, they wouldn’t be in separate rooms if it wasn’t for Mawri.
“It’s worked out so well, we wouldn’t change it now unless we had to,” she admitted.
“We have such different routines; Zack’s straight to sleep while I’m a reader and it’s so nice to have our own space and some individuality within a relationship. Plus he’s really tidy and I’m really messy. It’s as if we are housemates but we’re together.”
“It’s really improved our sleep, which has made us happier, but having physical space is also good for mental health, so it has a positive effect. It also means we can satisfy ourselves without the other person being in the bed, which is good for mental health.”
“I think when you share a bed, masturbating can become something people end up doing in an illicit way, almost as if it’s wrong, which isn’t healthy. It helps you sleep and relieves stress and I think it’s good to maintain a bit of who you were before you were together.”
“Other people might think it’s strange us sleeping in different rooms, but it works for us and we wouldn’t change it unless we had to.”
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