Her Bed Partner Keeps Her Awake

Q: My husband and I sleep in separate bedrooms, and I'm embarrassed for my friends to find out. It started because he snored, and I couldn't sleep with all that crazy noise. Recently, he started taking allergy meds and lost some weight, and now he doesn't snore anymore. He has been coming back in and sleeping in my room more. I really like having the bed to myself and don't want to go back to tossing and turning all night because he's there. I don't mind having sex once in a while, but I don't want to actually sleep with him around. Is it mean if I tell him this? Is something wrong with our marriage if I feel this way? - Charlene, 47

Dr. Susan: I don't know if something's wrong with your marriage, but your husband will find it hurtful to be told that you don't want him back in bed with you now that he's no longer snoring. You're not the only spouse who finds it more restful to sleep without a mate moving around nearby. Some couples adapt to the potential disruption of shared sleep by, first of all, ensuring they have the largest and most stable bed they can fit in the room. Some mattresses do hold still better than others. Second, some couples go so far as to plop pillows all along the space between them. That can help keep one mate from taking over the other's space.

Most important, though, is to talk this over with your husband, and stop worrying about what your friends think. Do not use words like "I don't mind having sex once in a while," as that sounds grudging and unaffectionate. But tell him you would love him to help you find a way for his movements not to interfere with your sleep. (And if nothing works, take a guest room vacation of your own occasionally.)

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