I have an aunt and uncle who always slept in separate bedrooms. Growing up, we thought it was strange, but my parents explained it was because Auntie P liked to read in bed, and Uncle G wanted the lights out so he could sleep, and we accepted it as just a quirky fact of someone else’s life.
Now I get it. For reals.
Gee has developed a ridiculous snoring problem. Ree-freaking-diculous. And, in all honesty, I’m afraid it is going to erode my marriage into a tattered little morsel of what once was. As it stands right now, the best I can hope for is a trip to the loony bin; the worst: homicide.
When I met my charming husband, he didn’t snore at all. It was actually a quality that went on the “pro” side of the boyfriend score-sheet, especially since my own dad saws logs like a lumberjack, turning years of family vacations into torturous experiments in all kinds of ear-plugging paraphernalia. I used to ask my mom how she could stand it, and she would tell me that she really didn’t mind, that it was comforting for her to hear him beside her. Maybe that explains why my parents have such a happy marriage, all these years later.
Me? Not so charitable. Maybe if my beloved uttered the gentle noises of a bubbling brook or a gentle breeze, I would find it comforting, but there is nothing soothing about the snorting and wheezing that surges from the back of his throat all night long.
Like I said, when we met, Gee didn’t snore. Then, once we had children and the sleepless nights that came with them, he would occasionally snore, if he was dead tired and lying on his back. A gentle rub or quiet whisper was enough to get him to turn on his side, and the problem would disappear.
As the children got older, the sleep came (mercifully) back, which also meant the freedom the go out more often with the boys. After a few beers, the snoring would start, but again, for the most part, he could roll over and make it go away.
A couple more years, a few more beers, and about 20 pounds…the snoring started to be more regular, but still controllable, most of the time. Occasionally, if Gee was congested as well as tired, I’d find myself moving to the couch in the wee hours, opting for lumpy cushions and ill-fitting blankets over the constant reminders to roll onto his side. In that crazy, sleepy state that overcomes us in the middle of the night, I would feel bad for waking him up to tell him he was keeping me up, at the same time as I was raging against him for doing something over which he had absolutely no control.
Then, for Christmas this year, I got something I really didn’t ask for: a husband who snores immediately, constantly, and vociferously, whether he is on his side, his back or in the room next door. He thinks he’s congested, and yet shows no symptoms of illness. He thinks he is overtired from the holidays, and yet won’t go to bed before 1:00 am on any given night. He thinks that a lingering ear infection might be troubling him, and yet he won’t go back to the doctor to get it drained. Meanwhile I think I’m going to go out of my ever-loving mind.
He’s been sleeping in the basement guest room for most of the week – not exactly conducive to marital bliss – and moving upstairs before I get up to go to work. As much as I love (really, really love) the peace and quiet that this arrangement affords, it’s not ideal. If the kids wake up in the night and for some reason I don’t hear them, he is too far away to help, and to be honest, neither of us is getting a full, uninterrupted night because of the 5 am trek up the stairs. Don’t even get me started about our sexless life.
But mostly, something in me just feels it’s wrong. I believe that married people – happily married people – should share a bed. I believe that physical closeness helps to promote emotional closeness. I believe that it is really cold in Ottawa in January, and I’d like to cuddle up against a warm body. I’m also starting to believe that maybe he likes to sleep in the basement, so that I don’t nag him about what time he goes to bed.
I want my husband back. I want my sleep back. Or maybe I just want a house with 4 bedrooms upstairs so I can turn into my Auntie P and be done with it.