Feed on

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a scathing look at Donald Trump, was just published , and while there are many shocking and horrific revelations in author Michael Wolff’s book, here are two that shouldn’t be: Trump and his wife, Melania, sleep in separate bedrooms, and they don’t spend a lot of time together. 

It’s 2018, a time when people have more choice in the way they live and the way they navigate their romantic relationships than ever before. So why do we judge those who actually act on those choices and create a life that suits their values and goals?

The Mirror, citing the book, calls the Trump marriage a “toxic trophy” marriage and says Trump will “never sleep with his wife.”

On his TV show, Stephen Colbert also made fun of the fact that the Trumps don’t sleep together — “the first first couple to do so since John and Jackie Kennedy,” Wolff writes — joking that, “Donald Trump has had just as much sex as JFK (pause) has had in the past year.”

It’s fascinating that people think that the only way a couple can and do have sex is if they share the same bedroom. Really? It’s also disappointing that so many people still have such a narrow view of what a marriage should look like, that couples must sleep in the same bed and in the same bedroom, and that they even have to have sex — there are some couples for whom that isn’t a priority.

Relatively recent practice

The idea that couples must sleep together is a relatively new belief, as Jennifer Adams, author of  Sleeping Apart Not Falling Apart, writes:

It’s only been since about the 1970s that Western culture has constructed the ideal that a happy couple sleep in the same bed. Prior to that single beds in the same room were the norm, and head back a few more decades and centuries and communal sleeping was the norm for most of us. It was only the rich and the royal who had their own rooms — and they didn’t sleep with their partner! How common! tweet

How many people sleep apart? One in six British couples say they sleep in separate beds — including Prince Charles and Camilla — typically because of snoring or differing bedtime habits, according to the Telegraph.

And there are millions of married and unmarried couples who sleep in separate bedrooms because they don’t even live together! About a third of romantic partners who aren’t married or cohabiting are in Live Apart Together (LAT) partnerships for a variety of reasons, including a desire for commitment and independence or because of the restraints of school or work, or a desire to be close to their adult children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of spouses whose partner is absent from the household has doubled to 3.6 million since 1991. Some are in so-called commuter marriages, couples separated geographically because of their professional careers.

The Trumps even were a LAT couple briefly so their your son Barron could finish his school year in New York City.

Sleep apart and still have sex? Yes …

And, yes, those couples who don’t sleep together or live together have loving and committed relationships that do indeed include sex.

Now, I can’t speak to the kind of sexual life the Trumps have, nor am I interested. But the Trumps are actually part of a much greater trend of couples seeking to shape their romantic partnerships to fit their values and goals — no one else’s. Rather than shame and ridicule them, we might want to open our minds to the many romantic possibilities available to us rather than a one-size-fits all model.

But this confuses people or, as Wolff writes:

Donald Trump’s marriage was perplexing to almost everybody around him — or it was, anyway, for those without private jets and many homes. He and Melania spent relatively little time together. They could go days at a time without contact, even when they were both in Trump Tower.” tweet

Trump, who has been married twice before, says the way to make a marriage work is to, “Do your own thing.

A room of one’s own

Now, that may not be the kind of marriage you want, but there’s something to be said about having space and time apart from your partner, and looking to others — or yourself — to fulfill your needs instead of your spouse. That’s what professor of social psychology Eli Finkel promotes in his book The All-or-Nothing Marriage, and it’s what we promote in The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels. We ask a lot from our spouses nowadays; that can feel suffocating.

OK, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d want to go “days at a time without contact.” I wouldn’t, especially if I was in a LAT relationship; I’d want to connect by phone or Skype or text every day. But others may feel differently. And that’s what we need to know — others may feel differently.

It’s wrong to judge other people’s marriages on what we might want or not want in ours, and it’s wrong to think there’s only one way to be in a marriage. It only has to feel good for the couple themselves, even if the rest of us are, well, perplexed.

Want to individualize your marriage? (Of course you do!) Then read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore or order it on Amazon.

One Response to “Trump and Melania don’t need to sleep together, nor do you”

  1. Rob says:

    Man I love the Donald. This guy is an alpha male who doesn’t settle for less than he deserves – i.e. much younger, hotter women than the cranky, bitter, wrinkly old bags closer to his own age. I also love the fact that he spends little time with his women if Wolff’s largely fictional book is to be believed.

    The ideal would be to not marry or live with any woman but at least he marries foreign women (much better than entitled American women) with a solid prenup and he apparently sort of lives alone (separate bedrooms) while still under the same roof which is great. Get together with a young hottie for sex and then send her to her own room. I love that!

Leave a Reply