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Sleep (vs. alcoholism)

I know a lady who says she can’t get to sleep unless her husband is lying next to her in bed. He is retired from a third shift job and simply will not come to bed before 2. She often has to be up for work at 6. The math just doesn’t work out.

He says he is not tired. She’s repeatedly asked him to come to bed so she can sleep and he repeatedly says he will be there “in a minute.” An hour or two later he is still up, mindlessly surfing the web.

She spends the day dragging. She has almost fallen asleep at work because of lack of sleep. She has a heart problem that is exacerbated by not getting enough sleep.

I’ve started thinking about this in terms of alcoholism. Say she is the sober spouse, and his drinking is affecting her. If he listens to her needs and comes to bed, then it is OK. If he doesn’t and she suffers, then there is a problem.

So, what to do? Should she take sleeping pills? Should they get marriage counseling?

Or would a divorce be better?

Sometimes you have to separate yourself from people and situations that are harmful to you. You may want to be part of a “happy family” but if it is a family that is just for show, then the only person being fooled is you. The same works with friends. Better to have just one real friend than a bunch of people who aren’t really very loving to you, who don’t really care about your well-being.

Or, what about this? Perhaps her need to have him there is psychosomatic. Perhaps she needs to think back to before she met him and remember how she got to sleep then. If you can’t sleep because someone else isn’t present, is that their problem, or yours?

2 thoughts on “Sleep (vs. alcoholism)

  1. Stuff like this works two ways, though. Always important to consider both sides.

    Himself will tell me, “Come to bed.”
    I’ll say, “I’m not tired yet. I’m not ready to sleep.”
    He will say, “I can’t sleep if you’re not here.”
    So I come to bed and start reading.
    He will say, “Turn off the light. I can’t sleep with it on.”
    And I’ll say, “I’m not TIRED yet. I’m not ready to sleep.” That’s why I have the book. But I can’t read without the light.

    Who sacrifices for the other? Who is more important in the relationship? He can’t sleep without me, but our sleep cycles are just a little bit different. If I try to sleep when I’m not ready, I just toss and turn and get frustrated and cranky. He can’t sleep with the light on, but I can’t read without the light.

    We finally found a compromise … hallelujah for the kindle with the built in book light. And for the smart phone with the backlit screen. I had enough light to read, but it was a small enough amount that it doesn’t disturb Himself.

    In your story, there’s very little discussion of the husband’s needs. I’ve had nights where I haven’t been ready for bed, too restless for laying in bed reading, and hopping through websites helps me wind down. Maybe the husband could compromise by getting a tablet that would allow him to surf the internet while in bed; maybe they could put a chair in their bedroom if he can’t settle into bed right away. It is possible that they are both being inconsiderate towards one another.

    Marriage is nothing if not an ongoing practice of the art of compromise. It’s important to listen to each other and try to find a way to accommodate both parties’ needs. If you aren’t willing to do that, then perhaps the marriage has deeper problems than the issue over which the parties are complaining/fighting.

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    • It is most certainly that the marriage (and actually the wife) has deeper problems than this. This is just a surface issue. Compromise is essential, and conversation is essential. Both have to speak, and both have to listen. The wife does nothing for her health for anything – not just for sleep. She might be able to sleep without him if she ate what her doctor recommends her to eat (skip the gluten for starters) and she exercised at all. But she seems to enjoy chaos and being a victim.

      On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM, betsybeadhead

      Like

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