I know! I was kind of surprised to, but it turns out there has been a case where a woman has asked for a divorce because her husband snored so much, she’d had enough. Of even greater interest about this case, is that is happened in 1951. It just sounds like something a flighty, 21st century woman might do – not a dedicated and sensible wife of the ’50s.
While I don’t know many details about the case, it was referenced in an very interesting article – What science has to say about who you sleep with and how, published on the Daily O, an Indian website. The author, Damayanti Datta, tells us that “snoring is one of the top causes of divorce across the world, following financial problems and infidelity”.
Now while I an inclined to nod my head in agreement with the idea that a snoring spouse can place such a strain on a relationship, I would have liked a study or some stats to back up the statement.
What I do like about the article though is that Datta steps right out there and names the truth – men snore more than women. This is fact. It’s proven scientifically and anecdotally. It doesn’t mean women don’t snore – we just do it less. Datta also touches on the fact that women have, for years, been trying to find cures to reduce and stop their husbands/partners snoring – to little effect.
I’m not a man basher or hater, and will defend that assertion with vigour. But I do know that men snore more than women, and that years of sleep deprivation caused by a snoring husband/boyfriend can push a tired lady to the edge.
(And yes – feel free to swap all gender references if that’s your situation.)
So when you are massively tired, worn down by broken and reduced sleep, trying to manage your life (and possibly children and/or a job), and craving a good night’s sleep so you can get your thoughts together and cope – how are you supposed to respond to a partner lying next to your snoring away – blissfully asleep themselves, and unaware of the havoc they are wreaking on you?
‘Sucking it up’, ‘getting on with it’, ‘getting over it’, ‘dealing with it’, ‘not being so precious’ and ‘acting like a real wife/partner’ are common solutions offered by habitual snorers (this comes from experience and a number of interviews I’ve conducted) to those delicate and annoying partners who dare raise the issue of disturbed sleep.
Just writing those ‘solutions’ gets my blood pumping a little faster. With annoyance. Not exhilaration that there’s a solution I hadn’t thought of.
I get that if you’ve tried requests, pleading, begging, potions, lotions, tennis balls, whistling, thumping and prodding – you might get to the point where you think ‘there’s one thing left…… ESCAPE’. And you might be so mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted from months or years of sleep deprivation that you haven’t managed the other challenges of your relationship well enough, that divorce seems like the only option left.
I get it.
I doubt that any person goes immediately from ‘you’re snoring’ to ‘I want a divorce’ in one step.
I would wager there are hundreds of steps along the way – arguments not ended well, discussions not managed sensitively, concession of important needs due to exhaustion then feelings of resentment, anger at not being heard, anger at not being considered, more resentment for feeling dismissed. That’s when the divorce thoughts arrive.
This is why I can’t understand why couples don’t consider sleeping separately more often. I seriously struggle to understand why a couple hop into a bed together every night knowing that the sleep is going to be bad and the relationship’s going to be just a little more damaged in the morning.
So I have some new hashtags to consider:
#snoring #separateroom #nottheendoftherelationship #greatsleep #rested #readytofacetheworld #loveyou
Whilst I do agree with you – I believe that sleeping separately should be the last resort.
For me that would make me grow apart from my wife. Honestly – headphones with a sleep spotify playlist works wonders.
Jennifer Adams says
Totally agree that headphones and some music would work for some people – just not everyone. I don’t advocate that everyone sleeps separately, I just think it should be a judgement free option for couples who struggle to sleep together and want to take care of their personal health, and the health of their relationship. Not sure it needs to be a last resort though…. just an option among many of how to manage the challenge of sharing space.
I separated from my Husband because of his snoring and the fact he would not let or accept me sleep any where else. Ear plugs etc only go so far,when the vibrations from snoring you awake. Any how after two years separated and him having a sleep test and getting a sleep machine for sleep apnea I moved back. I found that listening to an iPod through earphones I could sleep well with the sound of the machine. But the trouble is I still can’t get a good sleep because of his sleep habits and the fact he tosses and turns all night.He just can’t accept sleeping separately,even after he said he would if I needed to when I came back. Help what do I do now!
Jennifer Adams says
I’m so sorry to hear you are in this situation. To be honest the issue lies with your husband and that he seems unable to put your needs in front of his. This tends creates a win-lose situation, which, for any relationship is unhealthy and basically sucks. I always try to avoid ‘win-loses’ because nobody likes to be the loser.
At this stage the only advice I could offer would be that you ask your husband if he would consider visiting a therapist with you – or some other third party who he would feel comfortable talking to. Is your husband aware of the number of couples who sleep separately? Maybe if he knew it is not unusual he may feel more comfortable? Maybe you could send him some links or print some material for him to read to give him some comfort?
There is also maybe some middle ground you could investigate where you start in the bed with him each night, but then are allowed to leave when you are disturbed or you are ready to sleep?
As far as you are concerned, don’t compromise your right to a good night’s sleep. It’s so critical that you take care of your health. This is always the part of this situation that I struggle with. If your husband loves you, doesn’t he care about your health?
I wish you all the best on your future negotiations to secure a good night’s sleep.
You have touched on the issue that triggers divorce here, and it is not snoring or the resulting sleep deprivation. While lack of sleep definitely wreaks havoc on emotions and reason, the bigger issue here that leads to divorce is the complete lack of responsibility, courtesy and concern of the offending partner. When the sleep deprived party (male or female) comes literally weeping to their partner and is met with excuses and no attempt is made to remedy the problem, the message being conveyed is that their needs and health are not important to their partner. I lived sleep deprived for many years due to an inconsiderate partner. When I attempted to sleep on the couch, he would get hurt/angry and demand I return to bed. He refused to participate in a sleep study, stating he would not use a CPAP machine anyway so it was pointless. He refused to see a doctor. He refused to attempt to lose weight (a factor that contributes to his snoring). He got angry when I woke him when his sleeping position constricted his airway causing loud snores. He obtained but refused to use a jaw aligning mouth guard. He refused to even wear the Breathe Right strips I bought. The CPAP mask, the mouth piece, or the strips might create discomfort that would interfere with HIS sleep. I was met consistently with the excuse, “I can’t help it. I have a deviated septum.” Why should I have to bear the discomfort of earplugs or headphones in order to sleep? They didn’t do any good anyway. I once recorded him snoring while he slept and played it for him the next day so he could hear for himself that I was not exaggerating how disruptive it was. He got very angry at me for doing so. He was completely unmoved and unapologetic when I was literally reduced to tears repeatedly from being sleep deprived. I finally moved out of the bedroom; he accused me of having an affair and didn’t speak to me for a year. Even from across the hall I need to sleep with the fan on a high setting every night to drown out his snores. My children have also complained about his snores and they don’t share a room with him! He still refuses to seek medical attention even though he knows his snoring is accompanied by sleep apnea (He stops breathing in his sleep.). We are not divorced, but his refusal to address this problem led to us sleeping apart and definitely damaged our relationship. His lack of response and refusal to address the problem led me to form negative assessments about his character and his caring for me. In short, I concluded he was selfish and disrespectful and could not possibly love me as he claimed to if he was unwilling to even attempt to remedy the situation despite literally YEARS of pleading. THAT is what leads to divorce.
I had my tonsils removed and ended up on life support, I was told by an ent there is no cure! I was told it’s a persons throats muscles that relax back into the airway causing the snoring. cpap machines I’m told by friends don’t stop it eaither! So being a snorer does not make some one love their partner less! And btw the person snoring is as negatively affected!! I never feel like I get a good nights sleep!
Snorer says, unless you actually tried alleviating the snoring (including wearing nose strips and losing weight if you are overweight and being a gent and relocating yourself on nights you can’t stop) those sound like wimpy excuses. My husband at least offers to wear nosestrip or sleep in the basement if he is loud. He isn’t even as bad as my father (who was chronic loud snorer, had an unhealthy relationship with foos and a selfish man-child to boot).
Couldn’t agree more. It’s so upsetting to be dismissed. Also sleep apnoea changes the behaviour of a person leaving it impossible to reason with. It has destroyed my feelings for my husband and on the verge of leaving him
Jennifer Adams says
Sorry to hear your situation has reached this point, but I do understand your frustration. The combination of sleeplessness for both of you does not make for the foundations of a good relationship. You have my understanding and empathy, and I do wish you all the best in resolving the situation – whatever the outcome may be. Please feel free to email me directly if there’s anything else I can do by way of information or support – email@example.com.
I’m in tears right now because I’m afraid I see the end of my marriage fast approaching. I’ve bought him all the over the counter remedies , tried the headphones and the earplugs, all the other stuff that hasn’t worked or he just wouldn’t stick with.. I’ve listened to all the “you should just go to sleep and ignore it” that I can bear. I have begged him to go to the the doctor innumerable times. I even showed him articles about how snoring can destroy a marriage. Every time I’m met with eye rolls and irritation. He now has been sleeping in the next room for 2 yrs, and he still wakes up the whole house. The snoring has only gotten worse. Now we’re never intimate, he resents me and I resent him. We’re never in the same room when “the time is right”, and the time rarely feels right anymore. My best friend in the whole world is quickly becoming a stranger and I’m so lost. How could something so human and natural as snoring be causing this much hurt????
Jennifer Adams says
Hi Tammy. I am so terribly sorry that your husband’s snoring has led to this place in your relationship. However, as I’m sure you know, you can’t function without sleep, so simply “going to sleep and ignoring it” is not an option. I do hope that you are finding space at this time to get good sleep each night, so you can face the relationship issues (and probably lots of other things in your life) each day. May I suggest a couple of options – you may already have thought of and tried these, so apologies if I’m stating the obvious. Do you have some close friends or family that you could talk to that may have faced a similar situation? Many couples find different solutions, or different view points that might make sense to you and your husband. Also, do you think your husband would consider visiting your GP/family doctor to discuss the situation? I would suggest the best option is a counsellor, but have found over the years that men are less inclined to see that as an option – which is such a pity as a good counsellor can be a real life (and marriage) saver.
You are in a tough situation Joanne as by the sounds of it you see solutions to the problem that you husband can’t. That must be both frustrating and terribly sad for you. I must say I haven’t ever wrapped my head around people (and it does tend to be predominantly men) who don’t want to address the effect their snoring is having on their relationship. It’s even harder when they seek to blame the very person who is suffering because of their snoring. We all know that snoring is a not a choice, but….. it’s real and it has real impacts on those who have to endure it each night.
I can only recommend that you keep prioritising you health each night as you need to be well rested to deal with life. And you deserve a good night’s sleep every night – everyone does.
Take care and all the best. My thoughts are with you.
Good for you it is selfish 8 half years im bout at my witts end sk oc being knackered. Ready to walk out
Jennifer Adams says
Apologies for the late reply to your comment. So sorry to hear that you are at your wits end, but I totally understand – that’s what sleep deprivation will do to you. I take it you have tried to talk to your husband about the disruption? I know it’s not for everyone, but have you considered bringing in a third party to help facilitate a conversation, or visiting a counsellor? Sometimes the independence of someone outside of your friends and family can be very helpful. Please continue to advocate for your right to a proper night’s sleep. You, and your health, deserve it. Ironically, your relationship will benefit from you being well rested, and maybe that’s the bit your partner isn’t quite understanding. Happy to chat further if you think there is anything else I can help with.
Take care of yourself.
My partner snores like a steam train and has sleep apnoea. He is very overweight with a large stomach and big neck. He has high cholesterol, basically he seriously needs to lose weight as it’s affecting his health and our relationship. We’ve slept in separate beds for 18 months now . This week it’s all come to a head and I basically lost it with him. I’ve been asking him to lose weight for so long and there’s always excuses. He doesn’t snore when he loses weight. The sleeping apart has made us grow apart , I just don’t know where to go from here .
There have been many new CPAP machines and options to assist with apnea and the marital discord. Having suffered the EXACT way that Joanne has (her story is literally my story), I have given my husband the opportunity to try the option of a silent machine with a nasal cannula, and if he doesn’t comply, the only recourse is divorce. I now have to consider my own health because I work in the Healthcare field and being alert is mandatory. If I don’t look out for me, then who will?
Jennifer Adams says
I hear you. I totally agree that the only person who will ultimately look out for you…. is you. Have you considered separate rooms? Is there a step between non-compliance and divorce?? I understand there may be more factors at play that you don’t want to share. I wish you well with your path to good sleep and completely support you in your steps to get it!
All the best, Jenny
Andrea Wells says
I am going through the same exact thing with my husband. I have had broken sleep since we’ve got married in 2014 and moved in together. I’ve moved far away from family and friends to start a new life with my husband. However, I’ve been sleep deprived ever since. I’ve suggested that he’d see a sleep specialist because his snoring was so severe you could hear him from anywhere in the house. After a few sleep studies, he was diagnosed with central (his brain doesn’t tell him to breathe) AND obstructive (the tissue in the back of his throat collapse) sleep apnea. I had our son last December 2016 but slept in my bedroom closet on the floor for the first 7 1/2 months of the pregnancy because I wasn’t able to sleep. Although he has the sleep mask (CPAP) it doesn’t help. My husband still toss and turn, sleep with his legs up and shakes the bed trying to keep them from falling, and the few masks he has leaks air. Well, I’m pregnant again (and want to SCREAM) and now an stay at home wife. I honestly feel he thinks I can nap during the day. Ummm no! I feel like I’ve given up so much (my sons and I home, friends, family, career, and sleep) but feel so guilty of my thoughts for wanting to divorce him. Our 7 mos old son sleeps in the crib in our room. So, I can’t leave and sleep on the closet floor during this pregnancy (that’s right I’m pregnant AGAIN) because I have to keep checking on our son. I resent my husband and am ashamed to say that I really want a divorce. Am I wrong? He won’t sleep downstairs and just keep telling me that he will fix the machine. Due to the leaking air, not only do I have the sound of the machine but the sound of air seeping from a balloon every night, and not to forget the constant movement with his legs in the air. It wakes the baby. Nothing works and I’m up all night. I’m pregnant and need sleep more than ever I tell him. I can’t sleep and wearing thin. I’m due in Dec again and our newborn will soon be in our room. So, that’ll be me, my husband, (by then) my 11mos old, and our new born baby girl in our room. We have a 3 bedroom house and he’s procrasted so long in finishing the basement in adding another room for my 17 old son, he’ll be away to college next year in 2018. It’s taken 2 1/2 years. While I was working, he didn’t want me hiring anyone. I also have a 15 yr old who has the 3rd room. I honestly feel he’s stalling so he can use my 17 yr old room for both of the babies. I’m so frustrated and have no outlet. I’m no longer in love, nor in love with the thought of being beside him while he sleeps and I’m up all night telling him to adjust his mask because of the sound of leaking air from his machine for the rest of my life. I guess I’m considered selfish. What happened to death do us part? I feel like if I stay, it’s committing suicide. I’ll end up having a stroke or heart attack because my body just can’t take it anymore. I’m trying here for the sake of the kids. I’m losing weight and I’M PREGNANT.
I cry every day. This has ruined my marriage. I was happier when we were dating and he’d spend the night Friday and Saturday and going home on Sunday. What do I do besides getting a divorce. I apologize for the long response but I have no outlet and scared of the outcome if I stay.
Jennifer Adams says
First, I am so terribly sorry for not replying to your comment earlier – I thought I did, but it appears from the site that I haven’t. I realise you left this message last year and upon re-reading your message, do hope you are okay. If you would like to get in touch again, please do so and I will reply to you immediately.
Trusting you are feeling well with the pregnancy and getting the sleep you need.
I am 51. My wife and I have been married for 22 years. I snore. I’ve snored for a long time. I had an arrangement with my roommate at college – I left shoes by his bed and he could throw them at me when I snored. So I snored before I met me wife. My wife has grown very angry with me…I moved to the spare room to alleviate the impact on her, explaining this was the reason I was doing this – for both of us. We tried many other solutions. I went to the sleep clinic – I do not suffer from apnea, and my snoring was listed as moderate. When I drink I snore more so I don’t do that much anymore. Now she say she is rested but lonely and is angry about my weight. Perhaps if I address this, she’ll be happy with me? Or am I kidding myself? I think she just doesn’t like me aAnyway, perhaps couples who say they are getting divorced because of snoring are kidding themselves.
I am 51. My wife and I have been married for 22 years. I snore. I’ve snored for a long time. I had an arrangement with my roommate at college – I left shoes by his bed and he could throw them at me when I snored. So I snored before I met my wife. My wife has grown very angry with me…I moved to the spare room to alleviate the impact on her, explaining this was the reason I was doing this – for both of us. We tried many other solutions. I went to the sleep clinic – I do not suffer from apnea, and my snoring was listed as moderate. When I drink I snore more so I don’t do that much anymore. Now she says she is rested but lonely and is angry about my weight. Perhaps if I address this, she’ll be happy with me? Or am I kidding myself? I think she just doesn’t like me anymore. Perhaps couples who say they are getting divorced because of snoring are kidding themselves.
Jennifer Adams says
Hi Antonio. Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry to hear things aren’t great with your wife. 22 years is long time to be married, and a long time for two people to remain completely happy and aligned. I’m sure there are many little disruptors to your marriage – I’ve been with my husband for nearly 13 years now and we certainly find that more and more, it’s the small things in life that create issues in our relationship.
The issue of sleeping together (or not) can be quite significant for some couples – especially when one wants to share a bed and the other doesn’t, or by the sounds of it in your case, one wants to share, but can’t due to the snoring. It’s super tough because there isn’t an easy answer. My honest thoughts are that there may be more to the disconnect that just the snoring and the bed sharing, but the fact that us humans have to head to a bed every night, exacerbates the problem. Any disconnect associated with such a repetitive activity is always going to have a spotlight shone on it, because it arrives day, after day, after day….
It sounds like your wife wants the intimacy of bed sharing, but is frustrated by the disruption to her sleep. It’s almost impossible to solve, which is why she is perhaps expressing her frustration about your weight, given that can be managed, and is shown to impact on a person’s snoring. I would feel pretty comfortable to say that I doubt a couple ever divorced simply because of snoring. I feel more confident suggesting that the snoring is simply a visible way of expressing frustration that other behaviours your wife is not happy with aren’t being addressed. If your wife has raised the issue of your weight in the past to no effect, she may feel that linking it to the snoring, and then to the reduction in intimacy because of separate beds highlights further why you should consider losing weight. Does that make sense?
Maybe there is something you can do to show that you still consider intimacy in your relationship important and something you are willing to explore options around – given your separate bed status? Just a thought.
I wish you all the best in continuing to communicate with your wife and resolving your issues.
My hubby is considerate. He puts on a nose strip (which usually helps) or relocates if it is really bad. Luckily, 50% of the time he doesn’t snore. He’s the worst when he is sick, and I am trying to find a gentle way to approach weight loss (for his overall health as much as the snoring). He is heavy right now and almost never snored when he was in shape. I think the neck girth he has made it worse.