Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Falling asleep in front of the TV, continued:
Q: To the TV widow: Have you tried putting a TV in your room, which he can watch quietly while in bed with you?
A: Could be that simple, thanks.
It could also be, too, that his participation in this marriage — particularly since she has firm ideas of how marriage is supposed to be — requires that he get some time to himself at the end of the day. It would certainly explain his persistent basement-sleeping, since her pressure would make his need for alone time all the more urgent.
I'm just speculating, of course, and certainly if it's true then he should just say this to her instead of staging a nightly stand in front of the TV.
Either way, it does seem as if accommodating, as you suggest, or backing off would now best advance her cause.
. . . and 'TV Widow' responds:
I never really considered I was being petty.
I guess overall I feel I've changed my life in many ways to accommodate this new person, my husband. Some of those were positive changes, some were sacrifices I made because I knew it was important to him. I think that's part of becoming a couple.
And the reason I care so much is not just that he's not coming to bed (which, as a child of parents whose lack of closeness for decades was linked quite strongly to the point when they stopped sharing a bedroom), but rather that he knows this is important to me but isn't trying to change.
Basement Sleeper's Wife
A: Thanks for writing back. This is really useful.
You cite your parents' lack of closeness, and their separate beds. I understand how powerful a motivation that is to get your husband away from the tube.
But you're not your mom, and he's not your dad. You're not going to avoid a chilly marriage by forcing your husband into bed. There is only one absolute requirement for intimacy: that you both feel free to be yourselves. Any sharing between you has to be according to who you are, not according to a script.
You sacrificed for him because you think that's what couples do. But if you did it just because you felt obligated to, and you now think he owes you one, then that's not love. That's scorekeeping.
It's also understandable. All of this is understandable. You were denied the example of a healthy marriage, so you're working from an image you've cobbled together, and you're now trying to get your marriage to fit that image.
But it's only going to break your heart, frustrate him and alienate you both.
It may be a better use for your counseling to focus on a more productive idea of marriage, vs. getting hung up on sleeping arrangements. However you get there, though, what matters is that you ultimately come to see him for who he is, yourself for who you are, and trust each other. Stop comparing yourself to ghosts, and just like the guy you married. Enjoy him. Appreciate him. Then see where that takes you.