My wife can't sleep if I am not in the bed, making me have to go to bed earlier than I want taking my only free time, what can I do?

My wife and I are both 37  and have been married for 8 years. We have 3 & 5 year-old boys, and are usually pretty good at talking through and resolving conflict. But, we have one issue that keeps coming up. I find it really easy to fall asleep, but it takes her 30-90 minutes every night. The conflict is that she wants me to come to bed every night, lights out at 10pm. She says that no matter how quietly I come in later, the knowledge that I’m going to come in later keeps her up.

I prefer to stay up a little later than 10pm – our kids don’t finally get totally settled (all done with their efforts to come back out of their bedroom for another glass of water or another hug) until 8, which means that by the time we’ve eaten dinner and done housework, it’s 9:30.

I find it so depressing to not be able to spend an hour watching TV or reading. My feelings: It’s an extension of the way that our kids have taken away all autonomy from me – that last hour of the day is my space to control my life & it feels awful to have that taken away by needing to immediately go to bed when the day’s work is done. I deeply empathise with my wife’s need for sleep, but I need my own time for self-care, and I don’t think it’s fair for me to

From my wife’s perspective, it’s unfair for me to choose to keep her up every night – it means that she doesn’t get the sleep she needs (and deserves) to be able to function at her job, with our kids, and to enjoy her life.


Some things we considered:

Separate bedrooms: We don’t really have the space for separate bedrooms since we live in a big city on the west coast.

I get up earlier so I’m ready to go to bed earlier – I already get up earlier than her, I’d be pushing into pre-dawn at this point. Also, that doesn’t really help with the end-of-day desire to have my own time. I’m not going to start the day with the relaxing beer and video games. :-)

Update 2:

Put the kids to bed earlier. Hoo-boy, we’ve tried. Bedtime routine starts at 7 and takes about an hour, sometimes a bit more.

I’d welcome any advice – we both love each other and have discussed this a lot without coming to a solution.

15 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    "but I need my own time for self-care" - READ: MASTURBATION!

  • Carmen
    Lv 4
    3 weeks ago

    Hello concerned one it’s understandable how you both feel actually because you both need or want whatever works for both scenarios. The crazy part is my daughter n law of course doesn’t sleep a well either when her husband not next to her that’s a part of being with your mate but she will take a sleeping pill if needed to try to get some sleep because she needs to to function also with their 3 children and she doesn’t expect her husband to shut down when she does even if she wants him to because of his work schedule so everyone situation is different and will require different solutions I suggest keep talking it through praying over it together lovingly patiently and hopefully something can work out on both your parts. Parenthood definitely has its ups and downs just like life and marriage along with many sacrifices to be made. Have either of you tried putting maybe a favorite pillow stuffed animal blanket etc in bed when she trying to go to sleep until you in bed so she can possibly fall asleep? Everyone needs their down time including the children. Take deep breaths both of you pray for peace of mind and both try to keep a calm heart. Love conquers all. 

  • 3 weeks ago

    That doesn't make sense that the knowledge of her knowing you are coming to bed later keeps her awake.  Most people go to bed when they are sleepy or tired. If she can't fall asleep at 10 pm, then why is she going to bed? Most people if they are asleep, and the husband comes in, might stir a little, but then fall right back to sleep. Did she tell you that it's unfair of you to keep her up late?  You're not choosing to keep her up late.  The problem is with her. She needs to turn off her mind. She's probably going over in her mind all the minutiae of the day and what will happen the next day. 

  • Ocimom
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Compromise - start with coming in 30-45 mins later (after she goes to bed).  Then increase it to an hour.  Do this each night for a week and see if that works.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    A couple should go to bed together. Your wife must be trough the roof anxious if you coming in an laying down disturbs her sleep.

    Seperate bedrooms are abuse.

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    maybe you should buy her a puppy to sleep with

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    I get where both of you are coming from.  I both hate faling asleep alone AND am a nightowl (a seriously terrible combination).  However it seems to me that you're the one doing all the compromising and that's no compromise at all!

    If you had the space I suggest separate bedrooms.  It's one of those things nobody likes to say aloud has saved many a marriage that's otherwise happy.  If you're happy to stay with your wife 20 - 30 minutes while she falls asleep I think a good compromise is that she gets herself some help in staying asleep. Zopiclone is a good short term solution for getting into deep sleep, but it's strictly short term only.  Still, it's useful when starting a new sleeping regime to get into it.  Maybe a white noise machine would help, or a new mattress that doesn't move when you go to lie down on it (or even two beds pushed together)?  Maybe her bloods need to be done?  Too little vitamin D makes it harder to fall asleep.  Melatonin might help.  If it's psychological maybe talk therapy?  The mind can get hung up on some pretty weird stuff.

    The going to bed with her is contingent on her agreeing to get help to stay asleep.  Once she's helping herself the ideal would be to sometimes stay with her until she falls asleep but be willing to come in to kiss her goodnight without having to get into the bed.  That seems fair to me.

    I think the most important thing to acknowledge is that neither of you can be happy 100% of the time but the solution isn't that you're both unhappy 100% to make it "fair" and more than 80:20 is fair.  It's also worth pointing out that before long your kids will be up longer than both of you no matter when official lights out may be on the schedule.  You'll both still want to be able to find ways to unwind and to get to sleep when those days come so you might as well start looking at solutions now.

  • Tj
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    She has a problem...let her see a therapist. If she cannot deal with you needing self time, she needs help and not very understanding. It is not fair to you, yuou are her husband not her child. She can also leave your home and live without you. She is controlling your life, do not let her, do as you want.

  • 3 weeks ago

    It's a form of control by her isn't it.  Marriage guidance counselling sounds in order here because it's the little things that rankle.  How did she manage when she was single with nobody in her bed but herself?

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    She needs to grow up. You deserve some me time. Just put your foot down. She will learn to go to sleep like an adult without you. She is just selfish.

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