Thursday, November 06, 2014

Sleep and Intimacy

There are a lot of reasons why Dan and I don't sleep together.

  • We're both large people, so a queen bed really doesn't cut it for us.
  • Our pre-sleep habits clash. He likes to watch videos on his cell phone while he's lying it bed. That either throws off my ability to sleep, or whatever it is I'm trying to do. Which sort of lends itself to...
  • I really need to be functionally alone as I'm falling asleep. When I was with Zack, this was accomplished by the fact that he fell asleep easily and was a very heavy sleeper. Lying in bed next to him was not significantly different, most of the time, from being alone. This is very different with Dan, who will be awake next to me for a very long time doing his own (usually loud) things, and then continue on to be a relatively light sleeper.  I do a lot of "processing" in bed at the end of the day, and I being around a waking person for this is extremely unsettling for me.
  • He talks in his sleep. It should be said that this has only been an actual problem fairly rarely. But where sleep is at a premium now, between the baby and the dog waking us up and both of us needing to wake up early, I imagine it would quit being cute very quickly if we still slept together.
  • At current, I just don't feel intimate enough with him to sleep next to him.
The biggest problem with this last thing is that it's a very vicious-cycle kind of thing. I feel like, it's clear to me, that sleeping in the same bed would be a big part of building intimacy. Negotiating every night about who is going to sleep on the couch, and then adapting my own habits that make me feel single...those do not build intimacy.

And it genuinely does make me feel single. The not really having sex thing, the fairly common fights and misery...those, I'm pretty used to in a long-term relationship. But sleeping alone, as far as I'm concerned, is the mark of not being in a relationship.

The most frustrating thing about this is that I don't particularly want to change it. If it were just the "no intimacy" problem, I might be able to force my way through it. But those other problems on that list? They're real problems. They're real problems that I don't think have a very good solution.

Yeah, okay, we could eventually buy a king bed. I've tried, before, to enforce a "No Cell Phones In Bed" policy, which he is not okay with, but a variation could be attempted. But I don't know how to get past the fact that I can't go work through my mental pre-sleep ritual with someone awake or sleeping very lightly beside me.

So I want us, in theory, to be closer. I don't want to feel single. I don't want to spend the last part of my day alone, because it makes me lonely, and sad, and it makes me wish I was with someone that I was actually with. But I don't actually want to sleep with someone who sleeps like him.

For Dan, I don't think this is a make-or-break issue. He's much more independent than me. I think he'd like for us to sleep together, but I don't think it actually changes his perception of our relationship that much that we don't.

It's become clear-- and a point of some significant resentment for me-- that what we have now is very close to Dan's ideal relationship in many ways. I feel like we barely spend time together. I feel like I'm learning how to be a single person for the first time in my life. But for him, this much interaction is what he wants. He sees no reason to spend more time together, or to check in more with each other.  He knows I'm unhappy, he knows my needs aren't being met, but for him, that's all that's wrong.

This angers me greatly, as does the realization that, if we ever have a functional relationship, it'll be because I've given up on the kind of relationship I want to have. I will adapt to being functionally single, and that will put him right where he wants to be. He's in a relationship when I'm not.

I don't know if the level of frustration is coming through, but it is literally making my head spin to think about it. 

For me, the more independent I am, the less I care about him or our relationship. And the better I get at spending time on my own, the less he realizes that I don't want to be doing it. And the less I don't want to do it, because I'd rather be lonely and watching Gilmore Girls than fighting with him.

Which, maybe the adaptation is complete. Maybe I've figured out how to thrive as a single person. But I don't want to be single. I want to be in love. I want to be intimate. I want to sleep next to someone.

Some days-- any day where I look at it carefully enough, really-- it just all feels so fucking hopeless.

Day 24. On with it.