Dear Auntie

My husband is suggesting that we have separate bedrooms now that our kids have flown the nest.

He says he just wants more personal space but I can’t help thinking this is the beginning of the end of our relationship , which is at best friendly and at worst hostile.

Do you think I should give in and accept the inevitable?

Reply

Couples can live happily in the same house but have different bedrooms. However, you suspect he wants to take the first steps to separation.

Some say a little space between couples can be a good thing. You learn to be less dependent on each other for happiness, and you start to lead individual lives. The trouble is that you do – as Gwyneth Paltrow put it – “consciously uncouple” and rarely do you get back together.

So I think you are being very realistic when you say this may be the beginning of the end. And yes, it may be inevitable.

If that appears to be what your husband wants, what about you? Do you really want the marriage to continue?

Your review of it isn’t glowing. You say at best that you’re friendly. That in itself can be interpreted as a pretty damning diagnosis.

Perhaps nowadays you are just friends rather than lovers who want to explore your new life away from bringing up children. You also say there’s a lot of hostility. That’s no way to sail into the future.

It must have come as a shock when your husband put this to you. But when you have calmed down, consider what you want for yourself.

Although it might take a lot of courage to think of a future on your own, it could be a whole lot better than clinging on to a marriage that is only a marriage in name.

You are going through many life changes. Now is the time to look after yourself. Perhaps get some counselling or talk things over with friends. Your husband has decided how to go forward. But don’t let him set the agenda on his own.

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