November 11, 2021

I Love you. But I can’t Sleep next to You.

It’s not as though I haven’t tried. After all, I want to be a good girlfriend. I want to feel close. I want to snuggle after sex.

For a little bit. Then, for the love of God, please find your own bed.

I cannot sleep next to another human being to save my life.

While you are snoozing away, I will be staring at the ceiling. Then I won’t be able to get comfortable. Then I’ll want to toss and turn to get comfortable, but I’ll worry about waking you up. So, I’ll stare again. For hours. Minute after f*cking minute, hour after f*cking hour. It’s hell.

I am either sweating or cold. You might be too noisy. You might be too f*cking quiet. Your body heat may be like laying down next to an incinerator, or you have icicle toes. Your cat’s butt is in my face. You are drooling on your pillow. This isn’t my pillow. This isn’t my bed.

I look over at you, jealous. You are snoozing away, and I am crawling on the inside. I can’t retreat to your couch, you’ll think I’m pissed at you. I can’t say anything. So I betray myself. I am not being honest with you or me.

I can’t sleep next to a partner.

For some odd reason, it is different with my babies. Maybe it’s because we have shared the same heartbeat. Maybe it’s the amazing smell of a newborn as I have nursed her to sleep, her sweet baby smell and little fingers curling around mine.

It feels like instinct—like she is meant to be there.

But a partner? I don’t know why, but no.

Yes, I wanted to spend time with you and that meant spending the night. I’ll love to drink coffee with you in the morning. I’ll likely be keen on morning sex. I want to make breakfast with you. But for now, I just want to be in my bed, my pillow, my blanket.

I am so afraid of hurting your feelings. Or coming off as an avoidant. And so I stay. I stay and I feel tortured. I might drift off to sleep, for a little bit. But then the slightest bump and I am awake.

I grew up thinking couples slept next to each other. My dad can’t sleep without my mom next to him. My college boyfriend’s parents slept in separate beds and had a messy divorce. I assumed that separate beds meant no sex. I always thought, “That’s not me!” I pride myself on being loving and affectionate. I love to snuggle. I love kisses. And yes, I love sex. I might love you.

But bed-sharing? No matter what, my body says “no.” Unfortunately, post-coitus, our love life will have to resemble a 1950’s sitcom.

I have read articles trying to rectify the problem. Bigger bed? Check. No box springs? Check. Earplugs? My own blanket? It. Doesn’t. Matter.

Eventually, it’s just too much of a pain in the ass.

I need my sleep. Less than eight hours and I am cranky, emotional, and inconsolable. I have a brain that is wired for depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep cascades me into the dark valley of mental illness. I have mastered self-care in keeping it at bay, and sleep is huge. No sleep and I am a sh*t storm.

I wonder if it’s because I am intuitive and empathic. I read other people’s tarot and energies as a hobby. I work as a nurse and a healer. I am a mother. I am sensitive to other people’s energies, all the time, everywhere. Perhaps sleep is my one break, I do not know.

All I know is I cannot sleep next to a partner. No matter how much I love them. No, I don’t need therapy. It’s just how I am. And after decades of tiptoeing around men out of my fear of abandonment, I have to face this fact.

So please, love. Let me retreat to my rest. I need it. Please accept and love me for who I am. Please accept this strange quirk I have. I do want to be with you and I want to love you, I just can’t sleep with you.

At six in the morning, I’ll sneak into your bed, move closer to you, and place my arms around you. I’ll rest my head on your chest and feel happy and safe and secure.

I hope you’ll realize it isn’t about you, really it’s me. So I am going back to my bed now.

I love you, good night.


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