My Love-hate Relationship... With My Bed

AKA, Why I no longer sleep.  I debated putting this story here on ILIASM vs. putting it over on the I Am Lonely forum.  Certainly, this story is about being lonely.  Yet, really, there is not way to tell this little tale, except in the context of the sexless marriage.

I've always been a thinker and thinking has always kept me awake.  Thus, I became a night owl at an early age.  I found that if I went to bed when my mind and body first began to tire, I would lie there for hours just thinking and staring or thinking and trying to keep my eyes squeezed shut.  The day's activities would roll around in my mind over and over and I would find myself hashing them over in painstaking detail.  If I bored of that or finished the task of analysis, I would move on to planning the next day, week, lifetime.  I can vividly remember lying in bed in the 10th grade considering how my retirement would play out.

So, I am no stranger to lack of sleep.  Being young and in school, I also had the luxury of napping in the afternoons if I chose.  Those prevented me from becoming a full-blown zombie and helped me to learn something else helpful about my own habits.  Rather than turning out the lights and thinking for hours, I would tend to get more sleep if I just stayed up later.  If I stayed awake long enough, I would get to the stage where I was so tired that I would literally fall asleep before my head hit the pillow.  Only that level of tired permitted me to avoid the thinking and staring. 

The strange part of it is that I love sleep.  Love it!  When I was young and lived the life of leisure that most teens enjoy, sleep was unequaled as a favorite activity.  I would sleep on the weekends until well into the afternoon if my parents didn't insist that I get up, so long as there was no football to be watched.  I would laze around in the bed for a long while after waking as well.  The only thing that could reliably force me from my little piece of heaven was a full bladder.  It seems counterintuitive that a person who loves sleep so much would lie awake at night when tired.  I fully accept the title of freak in this arena. 

Over the years, I managed to develop better habits and as a rule could sleep in the usual way.  But, in times of stress, I always revert to my default state.  The last few years of my SM have definitely constituted stress and I've been up late nearly every night for the last few years.  Sometimes it is worse than at others where I will stay up so late that I fall asleep on the couch out of sheer exhaustion and stumble to bed in the pre-dawn hours when my stiff neck or back wakes me.  My level of fatigue always has me cursing myself for such poor habits, yet those couple of hours in the bed following an awkward half-seated slumber on the couch are always the sweetest respite I find.  Other nights, I will just stay up all night. 

Those of you who have read my recent stories know that I've had some significant turbulence lately as I take real steps toward divorce.  While a relief in many ways and definitely the right choice for me, this has been the single most stressful period of my life.  Recently, it has become my habit to stay up until 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, or even much later and sleep only a few hours during the day before getting up to march on with life again.  About twice a month, I will stay up for an extended period as 60-65 hours without any sleep at all.  I've been berating myself for the awful habits because as you can imagine, my level of productivity is in the toilet.  I went round and round with amateur

psychoanalysis of myself wondering if I had a deep-seated urge to self-sabotage, if my low self-esteem (thank you SM) was causing me to feel I wasn’t worthy of success, or even if it is just that I am downright lazy and don’t feel like doing anything.  My employees would laugh at that one, but I just couldn’t come up with what seemed an adequate explanation of why I was perpetuating this self-destructive pattern that was depleting my mind and my body.

Well, it finally dawned on me.  I was having a conversation with a friend about my body pillow.  It is one of those long pillows that people sleep with to help with alignment.  I wrap an arm around it and throw a knee up on it and pull it close to me, then lean in and it has been the solution to the sore lower back I used to have upon waking each day.  I love the body pillow.  My friend said that it was a poor substitute for cuddling.  Immediately, I went into my explanation of the alignment benefits and what a life-saver it had been when I was pregnant and as I was saying it, I realized that it was all BS.  The reason I love that pillow as much as I do is because that is the only thing I’ve cuddled with in years. 


My God, I can’t tell you how disturbing that was.  My life had been reduced to snuggling with an inanimate object because I am so freaking lonely that I simply cannot stand myself anymore.  I suddenly felt dirty and as though I was living this absurd, almost obscene life.  I was like the Clockwork Orange of sexless marriages.  Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I was horrified to see how loneliness is shaping my life. 


Last night, I slept in my recliner in my clothes.  The cat uses my bed more than I do.  This pattern is consistent whether I am home in the same bed with my refuser or whether I am on the road doing coursework.  The only time I am able to sleep normally is if I spend the night with one of my children, in their bed.  Then, I sleep so soundly and comfortably, all without benefit of the body pillow, that it’s as though I am an entirely different person.  Yet, I still have that Mommy sense wherein I am fully awake in a moment if I hear them stop breathing or say something in their sleep.  In those moments, I will stare at my little offspring marveling at their perfection and ensuring their safety, then drift off again right back into my relaxing sleep. 


So, if there is one thing that I am currently looking forward to most after getting out of this marriage, it is the ability to sleep next to another human.  That human will be one who is happy I am there next to him and who will let me get close to feel his body heat and his whole body for that matter.  He will put his face next to mine or his cheek on top of my head and just sleep with me.  My loneliness is so profound right now and so devastating.  I long for human touch and I mean to have it as soon as possible. 


This explains my love-hate relationship with my bed.  Is anyone else this lonely or am I unique in my freakishness?

Pinkberry Pinkberry
36-40, F
23 Responses Feb 14, 2010

I realize now that half of my ability to get by with very little sleep was also an aversion tactic - that way I didn't have to spend too much time next to someone who didn't want me! I understand this. Also sleep patterns are learnt and to get a good sleep pattern you will have to retrain yourself and that will take time. it's not easy and I feel for you. I have taught myself to sleep when I need it 5 mins or 20mins - enough to keep me going!

I feel your pain. Sometimes the bed, and the distance she puts herself at seem like an ocean.

I hadn't re-read this story in a long while and I'm glad that there was a notice of comments when I logged on today. That was a very painful time in my life and I'm happy to report that my sleep improved to near normal following my exit from the SM.

Of course, now I've been working nights for a year and sleep is elusive once again, but the lack of sleep no longer correlates with loneliness. It's an entirely different and satisfying world of being OUT of the SM. I hope that others will find the same to be true.

Oh my... I don't think I would have stumbled on this if it weren't for the fact EinEngel commented on it. It's as if you wrote this for me! I have been suffering from "insomnia" (it's currently after 5am, and I haven't gone to bed yet!), but I recently realized the aversion to my bed is due to the fact that my refusers is in it! Thanks for sharing Pinky,and thanks for commenting EinEngel!

It is a welcoming, educational, and scary place all at the same time. It's also supportive and enlightening. *Hugs* Ifoundmehere... I like your name. I think I found me here too!

I want you to sleep soundly because you've had so much amazing banging you can't do anything but sleep.....and then do it again and again and again and again and again........

Hey Pink, thanks for the suggestion! :-)<br />
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Good for you, btw! You need to take care of yourself, my friend. Sleep is fundamental.

Hahahaha, BD! I tried to ignore that. Although, I find the Japanese radish (daikon) to be a better euphemism. If you haven't touched one before, go to the grocery and pick one up, grip it fully with your hand and squeeze. <br />
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I once asked my MIL to do this and the look on her face was priceless. ;-)<br />
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P.S. I went to bed at 1:30 this morning and slept until 9:30. That's almost totally normal!


Umm, my mind took a left turn when I read @AT's suggestion of a large, raw cucumber. Am I the only one?

Lyzer, I know. I have recently had two anxiety attacks that were just as you described. I did not bother going to urgent care. I will however take your advice and go to the doctor re: anxiety meds. I've not considered that before strangely. I've always thought of myself as much more at risk for depression and was even on antidepressants for a while. I recognize depression in me and know that is not what is going on, but anxiety is a foreign animal to me. Usually when I feel anxious, I simply try to tell myself to get a grip and move on. <br />
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AT, thanks for the suggestions. I do take a very healthy, organic multi-vitamin and I credit those with keeping me from getting sick. Usually lack of sleep would make me super vulnerable for illness. I'm afraid you are wrong about not getting sleep if I were in a good relationship. Trust me, I love sleep and a good relationship would let me drift off into the special bliss without a care in the world every night. I'm a heavy sleeper, vigilant only to the sounds of little ones who may need my attention, though that is rarely a necessity anymore. Otherwise, once sleep comes, it sticks until my body feels rested or until the alarm is too loud to ignore because I have to get up and go somewhere. <br />
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I am working on better habits! I really am.

PinkBerry - could it be that your body or your mind just does not need sleep ? Assume you would be in a fully satisfying, passionate and committed relationship. My gut feeling is that you would still have difficulty getting more than a few hours of sleep at night. There would be chemicals or such at work. I'm sure you tried the usual pills to make you sleepy. They did not work, so why not try the other way around ? For example, VItamine B, and tiny dose of Wiccania Somnifera herb. Or, a large raw cucumber. These are responsible for an overall sense of wellbeing, of which a good night's sleep is just a small part. Having sex is another part, but if the chemicals are mixed in the wrong way, they may even affect a good relationship. Another idea is to try one of those tablets which contain dozens of different vitamins, minerals and herbs. Take a small piece of it (not the full tablet). See if it makes you feel any better, not strictly in a sleepy sense. Then, you can narrow down, to find the specific component which helps.<br />
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I also got a sleeping pillow I use it my lower abdomen, but that is for a medically diagnosed condition. The doctor calls it a small hernia, not worth operating upon. I just need to rest my tummy on something if I turn left. <br />
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I'm sorry for being too far away to help you, or the other nice, sensitive women gathered here. As someone else wrote before, we would really make a happy crowd together.

KCT, that is a good reminder to be careful. There are bad people out there. As for having someone to snuggle, I really can't do that until divorce papers are filed. <br />
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SFA, you have essentially described my husband. He won't spoon. Just won't. When I've asked him too, he will drape an arm over me and put his face close behind me, but angle his body away from me so that only the top of his chest is touching my back, max. He simply will not allow our legs to touch. If I am facing the center of the bed with the pillow between us, there is no chance he will try to move it. Sometimes, I turn the other way, but I dislike feeling exposed to him now. Even with pajamas and covers I feel that way. I never used to. Repeated rejection makes one feel very naked and vulnerable all the time.

I too live in a SM, but by choice. Married someone out of shame. Seven years to date. I have learned from my experiences. I will never do this again.We have had good and bad times. So what can I tell you?

PB, I have always been one who will go to bed and fall asleep almost immediately. I also would start out with the "clutch" pillow to drape my arm over, then fling it off the bed at some point in the night.<br />
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Since I had my "awakening" (i.e. SM is not OK with me, and Sexless ME isn't ok either), I now lie awake with H on one side of the bed, me facing the edge of the bed, and then I anxiously wait for him to fall asleep. I don't want him to speak to me or touch me. I am tense and lonely and not even alone.<br />
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And the pillow? I pull it as close as I can and will not let go all night. If I should accidentally turn toward H during the night (thus the pillow is between us) and he tries to move it, I get very pissed and hang on even tighter. Which I never remember.

I was married 24 years and divorced, I thought I found love and got into an abusive relationship. I would like to warn you to be very careful, you don't really know someone till you live with them. <br />
I've been on the rollecoaster ride and I lived for a year by my self and it really helped me to get to know myself and find out what I wanted in a relationship. I don't like sleeping with by myself and I enjoy sex very much. I found a great guy and we have been together 8 months and get along great, we only had one disagreement. I don't know if we'll ever get married but I sure enjoy being with someone, cuddling and sleeping great. So I say if the marriage is over with no chance of resolving your difficulties, Go for it Pinkberry!!!LOL!! I wish I could go out with you on girls night out. !!!!! I love to listen to live music and to go dancing.

PB, You are not alone. i know the ache, too .. for touch, it like being starved. So, I'm sending wishes for peaceful slumber in the arms of love. Its out there, you know it. I know it! Best. - Y

Fy, you are welcome and we would love to have your, uh, driving services. Yes, that's it. Driving!<br />
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Steve, you are welcome too if you promise to wear a suit of armor. Yummy!

middle age is just the middle of life - it does not mean old!!

Thanks, girls! <br />
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FOP, I am sooooo looking forward to the sex too. From what better place then cuddly sleep will I be able to detect morning wood? Score!!!<br />
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GL, I resent the middle-aged qualifier, but tarts' night out with the non-creepy internet girl power club sounds like a very fun night. <br />
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TINE, I am just shaking my head at your husband's response. So typical of refusers to be so alarmingly unaware of themselves and their own actions. I say keep the art supplies there so long as you two are living under the same roof.

"and act like middle aged tarts with an agenda..." LMAO... golightly, you are the limit... I love it... Laughed til I cried!!

I don't think you are freakish at all. I practically live in my bedroom at this point. At least until the weather warms up a bit at least. This is where I do my art, and sewing, and sleep. I also look forward to sharing a bed with a snuggly man again, lol. I remember last winter, I was so distraught, and feeling so incredibly lonely in this bed. The very obviously empty space on the other side really bothered me. It bothered me so much that I started putting my art supplies on that side of the bed. Now that I think about it, it was funny in a sad sort of way. I say this because my H used the fact that I had things stacked on his side of the bed as his "excuse" for never sleeping there!! LOL. The only problem with his therory is that I didn't start stacking things on his side of the bed until he had been sleeping on the livingroom floor for a few months. I guess he expected me to leave his side empty, just in case he decided to bestore his presence in here.

My dear, I don't know what to say. <br />
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I don't think you are odd at all for not sleeping. I have sleep issues myself. But though the world wants to fix my sleep issues. They never can. I don't sleep because I am tortured. I stay awake because there is just so much to think about and do! Night time is when I am alone and can just be exactly me. That is when I think best, have my epiphanies and find answers to problems. <br />
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As for the pillow - well now, I can relate to that too.<br />
But my "pillow" is my dog. Both my husband and I have transfered our affections to the dog. He is surrogate friend for us both. Its really quite funny. Both of us make future plans with the dog. "this summer I think mac and I will start hiking every day" - says my husband. "I think we need to watch a good movie", I say. <br />
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You are certainly only human in your lonliness. I wish I could do more. If you lived close I would suggest a ladies drunken night in. Or out. The whole bunch of us could go out, drink and act like middle aged tarts with an agenda. That might be fun :)

You are not unique in your freakishness at all... nor are you freakish.... you just wrote my story.<br />
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...and the thing I look forward to the most, is just the exact same as yours too. Well, I have to admit, I look forward to some pretty fantastic sex too! lol... some... hell, LOTS of pretty fantastic sex too!!