Disturbed Sleep

LouLou

New member
I have been with my partner for 6 1/2 years and we recently opened our relationship (two months ago). He matched with someone fairly quickly and their relationship has gone from 0-100 at a million miles per hour. I feel like I am running to catch up and I have had to get used to a lot of firsts in a very short space of time. They met 3 weeks ago, she lives close (a 10 minute walk) and over the past 3 weeks he has been seeing her almost every other day.
I do not function very well when I'm tired, so I've communicated in the best possible way that I'd like him to respect this, and either come home "school nights" at a respectable time (i.e before midnight) or stay over at her place. We both work 9-5 office hours.
He has communicated that he doesn't deal well with curfews and time constraints, as it is harder to "live in the moment". We also don't agree on the definition of "late" as he is able to function when he is tired, and his secondary is a night owl and stays up till the early hours of the morning.
Last Tuesday he said he "wouldn't be home late" and knowing we argue on this definition, I asked him to estimate a time, and he said "before midnight". He texts me at 11:52pm "about to get back home". At 12:25am I wake up, check my phone, he's not there, so I text him and he replies at 12:43am "I'm right here, 5 mins" but eventually comes in at 01:20am. I try my absolute best to switch off, distract myself before bed and focus on "me time" but I can't switch off or fully sleep until he is home. He has had four sleepovers and they're getting progressively easier to deal with - I am actually able to sleep fairly solidly.
I am not sure how to deal with this - advice please!
 

PinkPig

Member
New relationship energy (NRE) is a powerful drug. He's not the first person to get caught up in it when opening a relationship and neglect the original partner. If you do a search on "poly hell", you'll find some good resources for dealing with it. It can be very disconcerting when your partner is swooning over someone else and neglecting you. Also search "most skipped step when opening a relationship." It might be helpful to print those out and discuss them with your partner.

Unless you agreed to such an active dating life for him, 4 over nights and several late nights only 3 weeks into dating does seem fast to me. Asking him to slow is reasonable. Of course there's no guarantee he'll agree, unfortunately. Do you have children at home? If so, then it is a reasonable expectation that he should be home several evenings per week to spend time with them and allow you to have time for yourself. I would suggest asking specifically for what you need (such as X date nights per Y for the two of you, X evenings at home per week, etc.) My experience is that the conversation goes best if I ask for what I want, as opposed to focusing on what he's doing.

As for the disrupted sleep, do you have an extra bedroom? If so, you could ask him to sleep in the extra bedroom when he is out late on work nights. If he won't agree to that, you could just sleep in there any time he's not home by your bed time. If you choose that route, just make sure to let him know before the date night, in a non confrontational way. (For example: I don't function well at work without sufficient sleep so I'll be sleeping in the guest room tonight.)

Is he usually more considerate of your needs and your feelings? If so, things will probably settle down when the newness of dating starts to wear off. In the interim, good communication and strong boundaries will help. A poly friendly therapist may be helpful for a neutral opinion.
 

icesong

Member
Does he wake you up when he comes home? If not I'd just assume he's staying at her place and be pleasantly surprised if he was there when you wake up.
 

LouLou

New member
We don't have kids and currently we don't have a second bedroom, but we're going to be moving to a new place in a few weeks with a second bedroom, so that's something we could discuss if things don't change.
I agree with you about NRE. In addition she comes with a bunch of drama, her life is a bit of a mess right now, so he's assured me that things should start to settle and he is anticipating more of a regular pattern.
We have talked about how many nights per week he'd like to see her going forward and he isn't very keen to agree on a particular number, he much prefers the "spontaneity" so it's difficult to agree on that particular topic.
I don't really fall asleep properly till he's home so I've said to him it would be easier if he said he was just staying over so I wouldn't have to worry about him coming back and waking me up.
We spoke about his inability to keep to a time, that's an issue for me, but he's a Parisian and being late is second nature to most of them lol, so coming home an hour and a half after he said he would isn't (in his opinion) a big deal and he won't change his mind on that
 

LoveBunny

Member
My ex husband and I argued over him coming home late for 16 years, lol. He was a chef with late hours and then liked to go out and party after. I worked 9 to 5. He would send an "on my way" text if I started blowing up his phone, then didn't show up for 2 more hours. Like you, I couldn't sleep until he got home, just the anticipation of the door opening, someone walking around, etc., was enough to keep me awake. We lived in small city apartments, no guest room, no chance I'd just sleep through it. So I empathize!

Is there a reason he won't just stay overnight with his girlfriend so you can go to sleep without anxiety? Is there a certain amount of nights you'd need/want in order to still feel connected to your partner?

I kind of think his whole "ruins the spontaneity" and "live in the moment" thing he's sprouting is annoying. He's balancing a live-in partnership, a 9 to 5 career, and a messy new secondary relationship. He's going to have to be able to keep promises and make commitments. But he doesn't want to deal with time constraints and curfews, and he's not willing to commit to a certain amount of nights at home... I agree with PinkPig, he's being inconsiderate.

Hopefully a guest room will solve your sleep issue, at least. Maybe he can hold off on late nights until then.
 

LouLou

New member
It seems like I've got another ten years of arguing about that particular subject then!
On a positive note - he headed out at 6pm last night spouting the "I won't be back late." I had a session with my therapist followed by field hockey practise, so I was mentally prepared for the evening ahead, anticipating his late return.
9:30pm, I turned my key in the door and there he is :)
We had a talk about it, and he's not in the best place - like you said, he's trying to balance his live-in partnership with me, his job (in addition he has visa deadlines looming) and this new messy secondary relationship. He admitted that he feels stuck between a rock and a hard place and whatever he does is "wrong" and either I, or his girlfriend is unhappy. He does agree that he has spent a LOT of time with her over the past few weeks, and he understands that it's hard for me as I've gone from having him 24/7 to having to share him - for the very first time. That's a lot to deal with!
So they're taking some time out (her ex is back in the picture and my partner wants nothing to do with their relationship...another long story).
 

AlwaysGrowing

Active member
Seems like you have a (temporary) solution, but I'd like to encourage you to set up separate bedrooms when you get your new place. Hubby and I did this for years (until we had a kid), and it was GREAT. It makes time/nights spent together much more intentional. If he comes home after you're already in bed in YOUR room? He doesn't get to sleep next to you. If you have a 'date' to sleep together in the same room and he's late? Text "it's past our date time and I am heading to bed in my room instead. I'll see you tomorrow."

It very much makes things more in your control to set boundaries for your own sleep schedule. It was amazing for me (a light sleeper that struggled to sleep if hubby wasn't home much like you) because if he was safe and just staying out late - I could request a text when he got home instead of when he was leaving then if I woke up could just check that versus worrying.
 

LouLou

New member
Seems like you have a (temporary) solution, but I'd like to encourage you to set up separate bedrooms when you get your new place. Hubby and I did this for years (until we had a kid), and it was GREAT. It makes time/nights spent together much more intentional. If he comes home after you're already in bed in YOUR room? He doesn't get to sleep next to you. If you have a 'date' to sleep together in the same room and he's late? Text "it's past our date time and I am heading to bed in my room instead. I'll see you tomorrow."

It very much makes things more in your control to set boundaries for your own sleep schedule. It was amazing for me (a light sleeper that struggled to sleep if hubby wasn't home much like you) because if he was safe and just staying out late - I could request a text when he got home instead of when he was leaving then if I woke up could just check that versus worrying.
I really like this idea. I've realized recently that bed is my "safe space". I spend a lot of time there (when I'm not at work or out) but it has always been my go-to place to get comfort - when I'm sad, sick, tired etc. Sleep has always been my way of escaping/healing/dealing. Bringing poly in to this has disturbed this and I need to work on getting it back. The second bedroom is intended to be his office (he works from home) so we've agreed he's going to furnish it and create his space - "if he comes home after you're already in bed in YOUR room? He doesn't get to sleep next to you" he can sleep in his office!
 

icesong

Member
Hubby and I did this for years (until we had a kid), and it was GREAT. It makes time/nights spent together much more intentional.
It's actually really nice to hear this does work for people, given that Knight and I are planning to do the same (once I get the cash together to buy a new bed / furniture etc...) The effect we're hoping for is definitely that "intentional time" one, I just still have vague concerns that it'll lead to less time together. Still, less time together is not the same thing as less GOOD time together, and me doom scrolling FB or playing silly games while he watches TV on his iPad totally doesn't count as real time.
 

LouLou

New member
Still, less time together is not the same thing as less GOOD time together, and me doom scrolling FB or playing silly games while he watches TV on his iPad totally doesn't count as real time.
It's difficult to get my head round that, especially after 6+ years of monogamy and assuming just having him in proximity to me is real and valuable time spent together. We do exactly the same though. I'm watching Netflix or FB scrolling and he's playing PS4. This is not quality time!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello LouLou,

PinkPig mentioned "Poly Hell" and "the Most Skipped Step when Opening a Relationship." Here are the links to the original articles:
You mentioned that your partner is a Parisian and as such, coming home an hour or two late, to him, isn't a big deal. It occurs to me that if that's going to be his stance, and you need him home by midnight, perhaps you could tell him that 10:00 p.m. is the time when you need him to come home. Then he can disrespect the 10:00 time without messing up your need for him to be home by midnight. Just a thought ...

He has a new relationship that is accelerating at breakneck speed; most women wouldn't support their partner doing such a thing. The fact that you are supporting him is something for which I think he should show some appreciation. In other words, for starters he should be willing to sacrifice some of his precious spontaneity, do some scheduling, and respect your need to get some sleep. I will say that it sounds like things will probably improve as you go forward into the future. That being the case, perhaps you could endure the temporary situation. Things should get better once he has his office room where he can sleep. And hopefully the drama in his girlfriend's life will decrease.

I can certainly sympathize with your frustration. Hang in there.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

icesong

Member
It's difficult to get my head round that, especially after 6+ years of monogamy and assuming just having him in proximity to me is real and valuable time spent together. We do exactly the same though. I'm watching Netflix or FB scrolling and he's playing PS4. This is not quality time!

Realistically? I probably spend more _quality_ time - as in time we are doing the same thing while interacting with each other - with Artist than I do Knight right now. And I only see Artist 1-2 nights a week. It’s both our faults - we weren’t precisely poly most of our relationship, but even before we actively chose that it still wasn’t easy to make sure we spent actual date time together as opposed to just default time. (And there was a lot of default time, especially for the ten years we worked at the same place and were really active in the same hobby...)
 

MeeraReed

Member
I think the secret to successful poly is having separate bedrooms. (It's a privilege to be able to afford a second bedroom, of course--it's not realistic for everyone). Not just to be able to have dates over in a separate space, but, like in your case, to be able to have one person come home late from a date and sleep in their own room instead of disturbing you.

The idea of two bedrooms also creates the idea of expanding from being a couple to being individuals--who are free to date others while still loving each other.

I'm on the extreme end of this because my partner and I are solo and have totally separate houses, LOL. But even "normal" poly people should be able to benefit from having separate bedrooms.
 

Evie

Active member
Ha, even if Adam and I had separate bedrooms, my NZ friends consider us too far from anywhere to actually visit.

I would prefer two houses.
 
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LouLou

New member
Ha, even if Adam and I had separate bedrooms, my NZ friends consider us too far from anywhere to actually visit.

I would prefer two houses.
I lived in Auckland for a year - I feel your pain

Perhaps I should find a rich sugar Daddy secondary who can buy me a second house. Real estate in Vancouver is ludicrously expensive 😂
 
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