Marriage Diaries is a column by Telegraph Family in which people share snapshots of their relationships and their dilemmas. It is published every Wednesday at 5pm
Our sofa has a worn look. Not just because it’s old, but because my husband sometimes sleeps on it. We even keep a spare duvet, sheet and pillow case downstairs. Sleeping apart isn’t planned, but happens on occasion because I am so tired I can barely lift my head. We have two children and a study, so there is no spare room. When I think about an improved life, I imagine my own bed in my own quiet bedroom.
My husband snores, and as the years have gone by it feels more upsetting and corrosive to our relationship, which balances on a thin line anyway. Sometimes the snoring is so loud that the children can hear him from the floor below. The snoring is the kind that rarely ceases, and because my husband drinks every evening there is never a silent night.
I often lie awake for hours while the room seems to rattle with the noise. It’s a kind of hell that those who don’t have a snoring partner will perhaps find hard to understand.
Sometimes I gently push him to the side, and the snoring will cease, only to start again within a few minutes. Occasionally, out of desperation, I call out: “Please stop.” If the snoring continues, I repeat the request with my voice raised. At that point, my husband wakes for a few seconds, peace resumes, and then he falls asleep and the snoring starts up again.
He is a very talented sleeper and could sleep up a tree, so it’s not too disruptive for him to be prodded and woken. From my point of view, as someone who has trouble sleeping, particularly when I am woken up, the snoring grates. It grates on my nerves, my sensibility and my mental health.
So whenever we have a chance, we sleep separately, and instead of feeling sad and bereft as I used to, I rejoice in the idea of the peaceful night ahead. I have tried ear plugs, but they make me feel as though I am in a grave. The weird, muffled sensation is like when you have taken a headache pill but the headache is still there, just dimmed a bit. And they always fall out.
Truth be told, I am not a gifted sleeper anyway – I am not the kind who can sleep on a sofa – but once I’m awake, the snoring stops me from going back to sleep. I get through the day on Diet Coke, and I behave like a woman on the edge.
When one of the children is away I will sleep in their room. Occasionally, my daughter asks to sleep with me because she is anxious about something, and I am delighted. She is a silent sleeper.
When we go on holiday and there are spare beds, we will take the opportunity to sleep apart. Of course, it’s unromantic, bordering on hostile. It’s depressing and unsatisfying and bleak. I know this. He knows it too.
I have looked into remedies, but have never quite dared to buy him the Snore Mender, for example – an NHS-recommended flexible gumshield that holds the lower jaw slightly forwards, and opens up the airway to apparently allow easier breathing.
He would laugh in my face, and tell me I needed to wear one. In his defence, he says I snore too. I probably do a bit, but am in nowhere near the same league as him. I know this for sure as my kids have told me, and because I have shared hotel rooms with girlfriends.
My husband is not the kind of man who believes in alternative medicine, so it’s no use me looking into reflexology or homeopathy, although I am desperate. I fantasise that when my son leaves for university I will move into his room. Until then, I will carry on, feeling huge resentment by night, and exhaustion by day.
Do you have advice for our writer, or know anyone who has been through something similar? Let us know in the comments section below
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