DEAR ANNIE » My husband and I have been having an ongoing conflict about when to go to bed at night, as he insists we go to bed at the same time. I am more of a night owl and sometimes will want to stay up until around 11, either because I’m not tired yet or because I want to watch a movie or program that’s not over until then.
My husband wants us to go to bed at 10, stating that it’s the only way to get enough sleep because our dog consistently wakes us up around 6. He says that when I go to bed after him, I wake him up while crawling into bed, causing him not to be able to fall asleep again for hours. Also, he routinely falls asleep while watching TV in the living room and says that if he’s not woken by 10 to come to bed, he can’t get back to sleep. I do think that sometimes the reason he can’t get back to sleep is that he’s allowed himself to get worked up over the fact that I didn’t wake him at 10 as instructed.
This bedtime issue has caused huge fights. He accuses me of being selfish and not caring about the impact the lack of sleep will have on his health, while I feel that he’s being controlling and treating me like a child by forcing me to go to bed at a certain time. I believe that he’s sincere about his sleep issues and that his point is not to control me, but I never imagined that as an adult I’d have an imposed bedtime.
I think there are larger issues at play. If I consistently acquiesce to his desired bedtime, will I be allowing him to treat me like a child, or will I, as he argues, be making a wise adult decision to do what’s best for our marriage and health? Each of us thinks the other is being unreasonable, and at this point, I am confused and don’t know who’s right. But I do know I missed the end of the most exciting World Series in years. — Tired of the Fight
DEAR TIRED » Shame on him for denying you the chance to witness that breathtaking 10th inning. Even children should have been allowed to break their bedtimes for that one. Speaking of children: Don’t let your husband treat you like one. It sounds as if he has a bit of a controlling streak, and it will only grow bigger if you take his demands lying down. So be firm — but also compromise. Perhaps that means agreeing to go to bed at the same time once or twice a week.
To address the issue of your waking him up when you get in bed, consider getting two twin beds and pushing them together. I’ve heard from many readers that this works well.
DEAR ANNIE » Could you recommend a good way to let visiting guests know that I prefer them to limit their teeth flossing to the bathroom, where it’s private? I was surprised to see this going on in the TV room while said guest was sitting on the sofa. After the guest left, I found the piece of used floss on the coffee table. How do educated people do things like that? Thank you for addressing this unpleasant habit.
— Grossed Out
DEAR GROSSED » It sounds as if your guest was raised by wolves. Time to teach this pup some manners. Be polite but direct and ask him or her to stop next time. You can soften the blow by making it about you and your preferences, e.g., “Would you mind keeping the flossing to the bathroom? That’s just how we do things here. I appreciate it.” I hope you’re done finding used floss lying around your house. Yuck.