Donald and Melania Trump in Separate Bedrooms: Weird or the New Normal?

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By Judy Dutton

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MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images

It’s well-known that Donald and Melania Trump usually sleep in separate homes: he in a charming old mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in DC, she in a gilded three-floor penthouse in Manhattan’s Trump Tower while son Barron finishes out the school year. But a recent story in Us Weekly raised a few eyebrows when a “Trump insider” revealed that even when they’re together in New York or DC, or at the “Winter White House” Mar-a Lago in Palm Beach, FL, “They have separate bedrooms.”

According to the source, “They never spend the night together, ever.”

Melania’s rep denied that the first couple sleep separately. Meanwhile, another insider maintains that they do sleep in the same room but in separate beds, claiming, “It’s very ‘royal’ of them!”

Ultimately, the truth is just between Melania, the president, and the mattress they share (or don’t). But here’s the real dirty secret: If the stories are accurate, the first couple have a whole lot of company.

Separate bedrooms: The next big real estate trend?

According to a recent National Sleep Foundation survey, as many as 25% of married couples sleep in separate beds. Meanwhile, 10% admit that they have full-on separate bedrooms. Yet marital strife is rarely the culprit. Rather, it’s because a sleep mate snores (a reality for 41% of respondents), moves around too much (27%), or finds some other way to rob their partner of some much-needed shut-eye, from yammering TVs to buzzing cellphones.

Can you blame these bleary-eyed folks for setting up a Plan B a bit more comfortable than crashing on their couch?

“Given The Donald’s tweeting schedule, separate bedrooms would make a lot of sense,” points out Bruce Ailion, a Realtor® and attorney at Re/Max Town and Country in Atlanta.

The world of real estate has come to reflect this new reality in the form of homes boasting not just one master suite, but dual master suites.

“I have come across many situations where couples are looking for dual master suites,” says Pate Stevens, a real estate agent with Nourmand & Associates in the Los Angeles area. And if homes aren’t rigged this way already, workarounds abound.

“For couples buying older homes that do not have dual masters, I often look for two bedrooms that can be renovated by adding a door, connecting both rooms,” says Stevens. “This allows couples to have one large master suite, which can be converted into separate sleeping quarters, when needed. It’s usually a comfort preference more than an indicator of relationship trouble.”

“Given The Donald’s tweeting schedule, separate bedrooms would make a lot of sense.” – Bruce Ailion, a Realtor and attorney in Atlanta

In fact, separate bedrooms could actually mend relationship rifts.

“Many couples who sleep apart even report better sex lives,” points out Brian Davis, co-founder of the blog SparkRental. “Instead of climbing in bed with your spouse, precipitating nightly arguments about when the lights go out or bed hogging, it takes on a more special meaning. Some couples say it’s like being a teenager again, complete with ‘Your place or mine?’ jokes.”

Why millennials love sleeping alone

Separate bedrooms may have a Victorian-era sensibility, but this trend is coming back in vogue thanks largely to millennials—who prefer plenty of me-time and just don’t see the romance in sharing every waking (and sleeping) moment with their significant other.

“My boyfriend of eight years and I have our own bedrooms,” says Mary McGinn, a millennial entrepreneur living in Orlando, FL. “I’m a bit messy, work from home, and rise early. He’s very tidy, sleeps in a little later, and plays video games late at night. We’re both introverts with our own creative projects and ventures. We could share a room if we had to, but having our own rooms works better for us. Ain’t no shame in it.”

Even many celebrity couples (past and present) have come out and said they sleep in separate beds or bedrooms, including Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter (because Burton snores and Bonham Carter likes to pace and watch TV), Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick (because Disick is a light sleeper, particularly when their son Mason joins them), and Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (when they were married, Cruise had a “soundproof snoratorium” all to himself).

The bottom line: While it’s still rare for couples to have separate bedrooms, maybe more should.

“Once people understand that it’s better for both individuals, more people will want to build homes that way,” sats Bob Littell, a Realtor in Jasper, GA. And he knows this from personal experience: He’s been happily married but sleeping in separate bedrooms for 13 years. In fact, he designed his new house accordingly.

“This is the second house we’ve built and lived in that has a large master bedroom and a smaller second bedroom,” Littell says.

The reason: “I get up at 5 in the morning and so I’m usually in bed by 9, whereas my wife goes to bed at midnight,” he explains. “We also have two dogs—Duke and Duchess—and Duke and I are the family snorers. One more reason why it makes sense. Sometimes he even wakes me up.”

Maybe man’s best friend needs his own separate bedroom, too.

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