I am freaking out over my partner’s inaction – he will do nothing to counteract the devastating volume and intensity of his snoring. He will not adopt a healthier lifestyle (which has made a big difference in the past). This infuriates me. The onus now seems to be on me for “sleeping too light”.
It has gone beyond the snoring itself. Now it’s carelessness for himself…and me! I really hate the sound and sometimes I just want to leave this whole relationship.
Eleanor says: I used to have a housemate who would come singing at one or two in the morning. He wasn’t malicious, just drunk, but if you ever left your room to express exasperation, he would just try to dance with you. So it became impossible to scold him without feeling like a caricature of an evil director, hitting your palm with a rolling pin, here to stifle the fun.
It took seeing other people’s reactions to fully understand how big of a problem this was. Turns out whatever divides us all he hates when someone interrupts his sleep. Everyone knows the exhausting, churning feeling of a bad dream, and no one is optimistic about the prospect of finding it again and again.
I say this so you know how legitimate it is to want this to change. You know, I know, but it can be hard to hold on to that feeling in an argument, especially when you’re sleep deprived and especially when your partner says things like “you’re getting too little sleep.” Cognitive performance, emotional regulation, immune function: it all depends on the dream.
And this is (or should be) your partner’s problem too: not only because you force your partner to live through the thick green glass of constant fatigue, but because snoring can be a sign of serious health problems.
It seems to me that one problem is the snoring itself and the other is your partner’s attitude towards snoring. The first is a practical problem, and surely you have tried the classics. Roll it? Noise canceling headphones? Whistle a low note next to your ear? That was my grandmother’s favorite.
But like most other problems in relationships and marital beds, unless you agree that this is important, it will be difficult to secure lasting change on your own. There may be ways to try and pry that deal out of it: you could get a little decibel reader to show how loud it is. You can record the sound and play it while you sleep to test the theory that it is unreasonable for the noise to wake you up or bother you.
But ultimately, this may be a time to ask yourself: how hard do you want to have to work to convince someone that what you’re saying is important? How much do you want to be in the game of persuasion instead of the game of belief? There are snorers (millions of them!) who are also love partners, equally concerned about the problem, shuffling onto the couch or trying out the gadgets or making the dates or just saying the funny kind of sorry we say about something. we didn’t do it on purpose.
I often think of the last line of CJ Hauser’Memories of s: “It was not so remarkable that one person understood what another person needed.” If your partner doesn’t understand what you need, but you do, that may be enough.