Carolyn Hax: Advice

Carolyn Hax: Husband’s snoring rattles wife

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I got married earlier this year to a wonderful man. During the day, things are great. But at night, he snores loudly and keeps me awake. I’ve done everything I can to deal with it. It’s still a problem. A second bedroom isn’t an option since we live in the most expensive rental market in the country and can’t afford another $1,000 per month.

I’ve asked him repeatedly to do something about it, and have even gotten referrals for a sleep expert I’ve asked him to call. Nothing. He maintains it’s my problem that I’m a light sleeper, and he gets angry anytime I bring it up.

Snoring Is Killing My Marriage

It’s the snorer, not the snoring.

(1) Record his snoring, then play it back to him.

(2) Ask him why he is not willing to meet you halfway when you’ve done everything possible to counter the light sleeping – white noise, plugs, drugs, couch!? And when it’s possible he has a serious health issue that’s causing the racket, one it would serve him to investigate?

And (3) Ask why he’s angry when you’re the one whose spouse seems to be fine with your being miserable and sleep deprived when there are things he can do to help you (and himself).

Say these not in an accusatory way, but in a pretend-I’m-a-newcomer-from-outer-space-who-conveniently-speaks-English-and-explain-this-to-me kind of way.

When you get an answer, maybe you can explain to me in the same way how his behavior on this issue squares with his being “wonderful.”

Re: Snoring … duh: Working through those everyday things is what MARRIAGE IS ALL ABOUT. The problem is that he won’t do anything to fix it. He probably feels criticized and judged … but he knows it’s a problem. However, wife doesn’t get to just ditch the marriage over this. This is what married couples DO. They work to fix problems.

Anonymous

How is this a duh? Married couples sometimes also DON'T work to fix problems, or half the couple doesn’t. And what then? Are you saying the spouse on the receiving end of this stubborn selfishness has no recourse?

There’s no one thing married couples DO.

When one partner refuses to budge, and when it’s not a matter of changing one’s personality or core values but instead of making a routine doctor’s appointment, that’s as big a problem as any marriage will face, no matter how minor the issue at hand appears to be.

Some others have written in to say the husband might be ashamed of the snoring or too scared to face the possibility of a health problem, both certainly real possibilities, but anger and stonewalling are not the choices of an adult, nor of one person who vowed to cherish the other.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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