Should We Sleep In The Same Room? 5 Couples On Dealing With Judgy Parents Over The Holidays

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Eliza Sullivan is an SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
(11/23/20) Should We Sleep In The Same Room? 5 Couples On How They Navigated Judgy Parents Over The Holidays

The holidays are always a minefield for new relationships—and honestly, sometimes for tried-and-true ones too. It's probably the peak of the "meet the parents" season, and if you're planning a longer stay with family, some couples are bound to encounter one particularly awkward conversation: the dance of whether you and your partner will be allowed to sleep in the same room.

While some families are pretty chill about this, others are a little more old-fashioned—which may mean spending holidays separate from your partner or having a temporary sleep divorce.

Or perhaps you're the type who doesn't take the separate rooms mandate lying down (pun intended).

This isn't something that lends itself to clear-cut advice—every family's dynamics and values are different—but in case you're wondering how other people handle this tricky part of holiday gatherings, we asked real-life couples to share how they've navigated the sleeping arrangements among judgy family members. Here's what they told us.

The escape artists:

"My partner's family has no issue with us sharing a room, but my parents won't allow it unless we're married. Now, whenever we visit them, we just don't stay at their house. We find an Airbnb or stay with my sister instead." —Woman from Washington, D.C.

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The sheet swap:

"My partner and I have been together for seven years, and from the outset his mom just expected that we would be sharing a room. We didn't start sharing a room at my parents' house for years—until my mom literally was like, 'Do you think I need to wash another set of sheets, or can y'all share a room?'

"We'd been dating for two months before the situation came up when I visited his parents' house, where his mom had set up the guest room for us. There wasn't really much of a conversation on either side—we just rolled with what the parents wanted." —Woman from Atlanta, Georgia

The marriage plan:

"My parents won't let my partner and me share a room until we're married (but when we've gone on family trips they've let us stay in the same hotel room, which is ???)—his parents are totally fine with us sharing. We also have doubts that my parents (mostly my mom) will actually let us stay in the same room once we're married because she's so awkward about it.

"We were long distance pre-COVID, and he actually lived in the same town as my parents. So whenever I'd visit around the holidays, I'd stay with my parents and he'd stay at his place—which we didn't love, but since I saw my parents so rarely, I felt guilty about bringing it up, and we just dealt with it." —Woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan

The hometown heroes:

"My partner and I are high school sweethearts, so our parents' homes are five minutes apart. Usually we've stayed with our families when we drop by, but now we have a dog that obviously requires more effort and coordination—so we're still trying to figure this out. We've been together for eight years and do share a bed at home (we've lived together for over a year), but we haven't had a formal conversation about sharing when at our parents in years. It was more just unsaid. Our plan is to go with our parents' preferences still for this year. We're not engaged or married, so I think we'll try to readdress it probably by next holiday season." —Woman from Queens, New York

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The change-of-address impact:

"At his parents' house, we stay in the same room (they have never minded that), and at mine we do not. We just moved in together this year and haven't been to my house since, so it does seem a little ridiculous that we still would stay apart, but I could see my parents pushing for that regardless—it's a weird one. I've definitely considered bringing it up to them, but just haven't yet. I may bring it up the next time we are both home—if not then, definitely eventually." —Woman from Seattle, Washington

So really, it seems like the most popular way to switch to sleeping together is for everyone to just...avoid the conversation until someone cracks? For what it's worth, a small study suggests that sleeping with a partner can actually improve your sleep—maybe mention that if you're angling for a co-sleeping arrangement this year.

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