The Korea Herald


Couples who sleep in separate rooms

By Korea Herald

Published : May 16, 2013 - 20:55

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In modern society, it is common to see couples who are legally married, but who are not close to each other at heart and have been sleeping in separate rooms for many years.

This can lead to decreased enjoyment in life, as well as other physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, a feeling of tightness in the chest, frequent headaches and indigestion. If the relationship within a couple is not good, prolonged depression and sadness, as well as decreased energy and enthusiasm in life can occur.

Disharmony between a couple can arise from personality, cultural or background differences, relationship problems between the in-laws, financial difficulties, sexual problems or infidelity. 
Illustration by Park Gee-young Illustration by Park Gee-young

For example, a husband was frequently unfaithful to his wife since the early stages of their marriage. After 20 years of marriage, the wife confirmed that the husband had been unfaithful with a woman living in the neighborhood.

This led to the wife no longer trusting the husband, and feeling a sense of betrayal, anger, and hatred toward the husband. During this time, the husband demanded sexual intercourse in a violent and forceful way, further causing relationship problems.

The wife did not leave the husband. This was not because of financial reasons, or due to stigmatization. She convinced herself that she did not want to hurt her children, and that she had nowhere else to go.

It seemed that the wife thought her children were too young to cope without both parents, and she did not want to stress her daughter who was studying for university entrance exams. This seems to be the reason she tolerated the marriage without love. Another reason for maintaining her marital status, yet sleeping in separate bedrooms, seems to be due to the Confucian teaching from her parents as she was growing up. Couples who sleep in separate bedrooms must be aware of the following.

As with the wife described above, women who have been tolerating anger or fear in their relationship with their husbands since the early stages of the marriage, and who stayed in the relationship because of their children, may experience Empty Nest Syndrome or menopause depression when their children grow up and leave home.

Depression can weaken the immune system, making the body more prone to various diseases. This is why it is important to address depression. Dr. Carre of Washington University warns us that anger, particularly of the wife, in marriage is harmful to the cardiovascular system and is very harmful to Biopsychology.

Therefore, it can be said that the appropriate management of anger in marriage is very important. It helps to find something in your life that makes you feel happy and that reminds you of your value. This can be hobbies, leisure activities, or taking time to reflect on yourself.

Secondly, you should not give up on your life. If you do this, then you end up not looking after yourself and depending on your children. When your children grow up and leave home, this can leave you very hurt. It is better to look after yourself and try to live happily.

Thirdly, even if you are sleeping in separate bedrooms, you should maintain basic communication with your husband. If you are tied down by the painful memories of the past, and if there is no communication between the couple, the relationship can never recover. This also leads to every day of your life becoming a stressor.

If your husband is someone who you can converse with, try to gradually converse with him. If a voluntary communication between the couple is not at all possible, support from friends or religious groups, or if necessary, psychiatric treatment for the couple can be helpful. 
Yu Bum-hee Yu Bum-hee

By Yu Bum-hee

The author is a doctor at Department of Neuropsychiatry at Samsung Medical Center and a professor of Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine. ― Ed.