I like my boyfriend. He’s pretty nice, fun and funny (his self-produced jokes aside), intelligent (intimidatingly so) and easy on the eyes. Not bad if I say so myself. But, despite all of the above, there’s just one thing I simply can’t bring myself to do: cuddle him in bed. In fact, I don’t particularly like cuddling on the sofa, holding hands or smooching unnecessarily: for me, a PDA may as well be a night out wearing nothing but my last pair of pants. (They have Christmas puddings on them – I think you get the point.)
I’ve spent years perfecting the art of balancing on the edge of the bed with over-enthusiastic Cuddlers, stealthily removing hug-hungry hands roving over to the wrong side of the bed and building quilt/pillow walls. But – huzzah! – it turns out that I am not an ice queen/anomaly in the female species/ACTUAL MAN, as some men would have me believe. Actually, I’m far from it. Because, just like me, almost half of all coupled-up Brits (men AND women) would rather let be suspended over a pit of snakes whilst Louis Walsh sings to them and pokes them with Jedward’s hair than snuggle up. Well, 46 per cent say they sleep with their back to their partner, anyhoo, and 28 per cent of those say they don’t even touch. Further to that, only four per cent sleep ‘entwined’ (eugh) with one another and just seven per cent sleep face to face (seriously, who are these people?).
In light of this, it seems it might not be a surprise to most: for the first time, I’m even starting to think that maybe I’ve just been with overly sensitive guys – it could even be that it’s them that are the weirdos. But since I found that I was greeted with an array of puzzled looks from my Female Cuddler friends when I explained that, yes, it makes me feel physically sick to see couples spoon-hugging in public, I made the assumption that I was more or less on my own with this one.
Don’t get me wrong – I do occasionally hate myself when I’m desperately wracking my brains for something more sympathetic than ‘I JUST DON’T WANT TO!’ when my boyfriend has made another brave attempt to hold my hand. Earlier this month, when I was suffering with a cold, he said he loved me being ill – because I was needier, and accepting of an extended arm round my shoulders. Seeing that sorry look of rejection, like I just confiscated Football Manager for a week, makes me feel like a bad person (sometimes).
But – shock horror – there are plenty of men and women worse off than my long-suffering man. The poll revealed that one in ten of us will admit to sleeping apart from each other – the top age for separate rooms being 35. Experts say it’s because of rising work pressure, longer hours and financial worries that are literally driving a wedge between couples.
Even I wouldn’t go that far. Would you?