The Crush Letter No 157: Separate Bedrooms, An Actual Friend Text, Sex & the Single (Post-menopausal) Girl

The Crush Letter No 157: Separate Bedrooms, An Actual Friend Text, Sex & the Single (Post-menopausal) Girl

. 13 min read

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Hello Crush,

Happy Passover!

I’m so happy that you’re all here with me again this Saturday morning.

We are publishing a new TOPIX in today’s Letter. That’s our recurring column about how we’ve reached the stage — finally! — where we are wise enough and brave enough, to carefully, thoughtfully discard some internalized social constructs and craft the kind of relationships that actually work for us now. I wrote about my personal journey to discovering the joys of separate bedrooms.

There’s nothing like being “invited over” … even after (especially after) you’ve lived together for a while, says Dish.

And we have so much more this week - enjoy!



In This Letter. +TOPIX: Separate Bedrooms. A Bedroom of My Own, Next to His. By Dish Stanley “I’d like to invite you to join me in my boudoir. Immediately.“ +Connections.. An Actual Friend Text. “Want to have dinner this week? I’m open/flexible.” +Sex & the Single (Post-Menopausal) Girl. By Elisabeth C Lamotte. Aside from the scheduling and other issues … I am truly tired of being asked what I am ‘into sexually.‘“ +Dear Dish... On the topic of last week’s Hot Thots around ‘kinkeeping’ and ’friendkeeping‘ …. +Social Media I Loved This Week. +Our Song of the Week Why don't you do right? Like some other men do


TOPIX. On Separate Bedrooms.

Being post 50 has always been that point when we begin to realize that life is getting short. Too short to worry about what other people think. A turning point where people begin to craft the kind of friendships and romantic relationships that actually work for them, inside the lines (or out). TOPIX is our way of getting opinionated, courageous conversations started on what living and loving really looks like at this stage.

A Bedroom of My Own, Next to His. By Dish Stanley

Separate Bedrooms Allowed My Boyfriend & Me to Feel More Like Romantic Partners Than Roommates

Dish, your favorite jeans on me - the ones you say hug my ass perfectly - they are still in the dryer. Should I come over now — in a less ass-hugging pair — or wait for your favorites to dry? Regardless, I’ll want you to want my ass, you sexpot, so … your choice. Please get back to me immediately on this obviously urgent matter. X, Hungry Buns.”

The above was typical for a voicemail (or text) from my boyfriend Franklin during our first year of dating. That year we lived 20 minutes across town from each other — him with his fabulous son, a senior in high school headed to NYU — and me with my two wonderful dogs Ricky and Lola.

Then we moved in together. 

But let’s back up. A couple weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran an article about the benefits of couples maintaining separate bedrooms. A few intimate friends forwarded it to me, unsurprisingly. I’ve been a fan of separate bedrooms for a number of years, but in my case it was not primarily driven by the reason presented in the WSJ article: sleep. For one thing back then I didn’t realize how important sleep is to your overall health. To me the magic of separate bedrooms, especially for those of us who have moved in with somebody at a later stage in life, is that they offer the perfect balance between closeness and independence. A balance that is necessary to spark sustained romance.

It was Esther Perel who first gave me the idea that Franklin and I should consider moving from a shared bedroom into separate ones. Franklin’s son had just left for NYU and he had moved into my place. It was 2017, about six months into our cohabitation, and she was going to be speaking at the upcoming Boston Book Festival. I was re-reading Mating In Captivity in anticipation of her talk.

The transition from living separately to living together had been a pretty seamless transition overall. The best part — by a long shot — was the daily giving and receiving of casual, intimate, affectionate gestures. Franklin and I are both affectionate by nature. I’m talking here specifically about random kisses or strokes on the back when passing by the other, discreet, quick squeezes of the hand while standing in front of the stove, light strokes on the arm while watching t.v. — gestures that were fulfilling in and of themselves, that didn’t need to lead to sex — gestures appreciated more for that reason. They were statements unto themselves, not requests (not that I don’t love such a request). His touch, any lover’s touch, is at once comforting, reassuring and sensually pleasurable. And such an under-appreciated, powerful way to maintain intimacy, not to mention a cheap, easy, drug-free way to elevate your mood. Being touched in such a casually loving way every day brought me such happiness.

The second best thing about moving in together was doing away with the often cold New England winter drive back home from his place late at night to mine.

But there were many other benefits to living with Franklin from the get-go. He was excellent company, interesting and fun to be around, and easy as a roommate - considerate and neat, pleasant and generous. I remember one evening early in our cohabitation when I was pulling together dinner and realized we had no milk. It was already 7:30 pm. I called Franklin. “Hey honey, we have no milk for our coffee tomorrow and I’m just starting dinner. I can run out, but if I do there’s no chance we’ll eat  before 9 pm. Might you want to pick some up?” “Oh sure,” he said. And voila! We had milk. 

But - magically! - other groceries just appeared in the fridge. Not to mention turning into the driveway to see that the trash had already been put out. The dogs had been walked. The dishwasher had been emptied. Dinner was on the table. I could go on, but after years of living alone I couldn’t believe how much easier day-to-day life was. I was so appreciative of everything he did. And almost all of it happened without my asking because he had lived alone for years, too, and well understood how quickly chores pile up without somebody to split them with.

I loved everything about living with Franklin except, it turned out, sharing a bedroom.

Continue reading here

I’d love your thoughts and comments. Do you have anything to add to a discussion about separate bedrooms? Have you ever tried separate bedrooms with a romantic partner you lived with? How hard would it be to bring up the topic of separate bedrooms if you’ve already been living together for many years?

PLEASE Take our Anonymous LIVE POLL on Separate Bedrooms.

Connections, Actual Friend Text.

A new series that picks up all the ways we connect - by text - with friends, romantic partners and those who will never end up as either because, well, of that text.

Dinner This Week? I’m Open/Flexible.

Sex & the Single (Post-Menopausal) Girl. By Elisabeth C Lamotte.

An inside look at what it’s like to be single, post-menopausal and horny as hell.

“Since menopause, my sex drive has not diminished in the slightest. On the contrary; I doubt it has ever been higher.”

While I never really believed in “waiting until marriage,“ I originally felt I would only be sexually active in a monogamous relationship. As someone who has enjoyed sex since the first moments, my rocky romantic road threw that idea out the window. Although for me, a healthy, ongoing relationship is always the desired scenario, I am certainly not going to deny myself otherwise.

Before menopause at age 52, I was alarmed by some grim predictions; that my sexual drive would lessen, I should expect vaginal dryness and some discomfort during sex. Fortunately, none of this proved to be true; not even close!

Since menopause, my sex drive has not diminished in the slightest. On the contrary; I doubt it has ever been higher.

Despite this, I had pushed aside any desires a few years before the pandemic. After the ending of an ongoing relationship, I took a breather to pause and regroup. In place of a regular companion, I found myself embarking on casual encounters. It was frustrating to find this interlude in my life largely unsatisfactory. Most or all of the men I met lacked finesse and nuance in bed; offering either jackrabbit sex or just plain lackluster sex. I just couldn’t keep going through that and retreated again from the sexual Ferris wheel. Of course, COVID extended this situation, as I didn’t even touch another person for months. This year, as restrictions were easing in June and summer started, I suddenly had enough of celibacy.

Continue reading here

Dear Dish ...

A place for all of our "letters to the editor"

"Dear Dish:

I found last week’s Hot Thots piece on ‘kinkeeping’ and ‘friendkeeping’ particularly relevant. This stage of life involves so many changes to our various relationships for all of us. My husband and I became empty nesters this year, so it’s been a big year of transition for us as a family. In addition to our “kids” becoming independent adults and me having more time to invest in my friendships, there is the upcoming reality that that my husband will likely retire in the next few years.

You mentioned that after your husband died you took on a lot of ‘friendkeeping,’ but since you moved you noticed that has shifted with new friends. There are ways that I would like evolve certain roles with family and existing friends, and I’ve been thinking about how to do that, especially since I’m not moving! How do I stop being responsible for doing all the planning and cooking or making all the reservations within what is now a family of adults? Or with a friend who I’ve assumed prefers to being in charge (or maybe that happened when my Mother was sick and I was overwhelmed? I’m not sure). How do I test that assumption and perhaps take on more ‘friendkeeping’ responsibilities?

I was talking about this with a friend who is a therapist recently and she suggested that often when we get into roles the people on both sides are making a lot of assumptions that guide the way we interpret communication. One way to begin to evolve our ‘friendkeeping’ etc. roles is to make sure you “finish the sentence” or “finish the thought.” It’s a strategy to help break homeostasis by keeping the other person from assuming your reasons for saying/doing something- when assuming you know the reason can be wrong if your basing the assumption on something that was the reason once or twice (or even a lot) in the PAST (but maybe that was years and years ago - and things are different now).

For example, if a friend who always makes the reservations asks if I want to go out to dinner instead of just saying “Yes,” which she will interpret as a signal that she should make the reservation, I could say “Yes, and since you made the reservation last time I’ll do it this time.” Another example is if my husband says “let’s not go out tonight” I could interpret that as he doesn’t want to go out with *me* (he’s mad, or annoyed or something is off in our relationship) but what he really meant was “let’s not go out tonight because I’m tired.” Finish the sentence or thought so that there is no opportunity to assume, or to misinterpret.

Hope that’s useful to some Readers, and thanks for The Crush Letter! I read it every Saturday.

-Alice”


"dear dish,

another great CRUSH!

great “could be us” social media post (loved them all actually)

😜

-Steve"

Various Brief Random Thoughts On What’s Out There. By Dish Stanley

+Couples that talk about sex have better sex, according to this Gottman-trained therapist. This article explains why, and how. I love to be able to talk about sex openly with a romantic partner — to hear them describe what they like and just knowing that they feel comfortable sharing it — is so intimate, even almost more intimate than lovemaking itself, so I loved this. +George & Mary (Starz) is not as compelling a series as it should be, given the story line (intrigue in the court of King James) and the stars (including Julianne Moore). (Grade: B). +It is the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Stephen King’s iconic horror novel Carrie, about an unpopular, telekinetic girl's struggles, and a re-issue of the book features an introduction by The Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood. The new audio version is narrated by the 1976 movie adaptation's star, Sissy Spacek, who earned an Oscar nomination for her chilling portrayal. Tempting. +This interview of writer Anne Lamott by Sally Quinn on how she found love at 63 — and other blessings and indignities of aging — is quintessential Lamott. “Never give up,” is Lamott’s advice. +A film short from The New Yorker on how people meet each other is really about flirtation and confrontation. Watch Sparring Partner. Tantalizing.

Social Media I Loved This Week

As a special thank you to CRUSH Reader Steve for writing in — we’ve got more from the “could be us” crew on Twitter (I mean X):

@betchesugh

Song of the Week

Why Don't You Do Right by Jessica Rabbit

I couldn’t resist posting this. In my fantasy world, if I were any animated character in the world, I’d want to be Jessica Rabbit. Just look at how she holds a room. The power.

In my “real life” my tendency is to let others grab the attention, take the stage. In work and personally, I have been the classic “behind-the-scenes-fixer/nurturer/pleaser.” But in my fantasy, oh boy! I am the movie star, the cabaret singer, the beauty contest baton twirler. I’m Jessica Rabbit.

Listen Here

I love you for being here, part of the PrimeCrush community. And thanks for keeping all my secrets safe — just between us. You’re the best.

PS: Did you take our anonymous “Separate Bedroom” poll? Of course you did. Thank you!

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

TOPIX - A Series: Exile in Normalville
TOPIX is our way of getting opinionated, courageous conversations started on what living and loving really looks like in midlife now.
DEVOUR {things to watch, read, and listen to}
In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up. From Benjamin. Watch. The Gentlemen (the series) (Netflix) “Highly binge-able, fast-paced, ludicrously fun. A British inheritance story like no other, which is only just plausible enough to allow you to suspend disbelief. Includes all
Hot Thots. By Dish Stanley
A periodic column where Dish lets off steam. kinkeeping / friendkeeping. Last week I posted the above in “Social Media I Loved This Week.“ I’ve been thinking about this idea of kinkeeping, and its corollary, friendkeeping, a lot this week. In my immediate family, the person who has most taken

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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