Much of the fighting stems from the fact that the snorer isn’t responding to complaints by their partner and isn’t doing anything about their snoring. Often, the snorer is otherwise a very caring and compassionate individual. They are polite, attentive, and prepared to make sacrifices for their partner. But when it comes to snoring, they are unresponsive, unsympathetic, and full of excuses. Why is this?
They Don’t Experience Their Snoring
One of the simplest reasons why they can’t sympathize with their partner’s complaints is that they are sleeping when they’re snoring. They don’t hear themselves snoring. They don’t know how loud they are snoring. They can’t experience how disruptive their snoring is.
Even if you record their snoring, it’s hard for them to understand just how much snoring they’re doing at night and how the sound fills the room. Although recording snoring can sometimes help to get across the message, it may not always work.
Poor Sleep Is Sapping Their Empathy
You may think you’re the only one being disturbed by your partner’s snoring. After all, they look like they’re sleeping peacefully beside you on the bed. But in truth they are also experiencing very poor sleep. And when you have poor sleep, one of the first things to go is empathy. They can’t appreciate the emotions you’re feeling because that higher brain function has been robbed from them by their poor sleep.
Irritability Escalates the Situation
This goes hand in hand with a loss of empathy. Your partner hasn’t just lost their empathy, their poor sleep tends to make them irritable–just like you. When you talk to them about their snoring, their first response can be irritation, which then triggers a similar response in you, and the two of you are soon fighting instead of talking about the situation.
Your Actions Make You Look Like a Jerk
From your standpoint, they’re the one keeping you awake. But from their standpoint, you’re the one who’s constantly elbowing them in the ribs, complaining, and bringing up the subject of snoring every morning.
Even doing something like recording their snoring can seem like an ambush. You have them in a vulnerable position and you’re exploiting that. That can make them defensive and angry.
And it’s worth noting that you are also probably very irritable and short on empathy, so you may not be approaching the subject in a sympathetic, understanding way. Your actions and your language can seem very selfish and demanding.
You Aren’t Proposing a Solution
Many people who are being kept awake by a snorer do lash out in anger. They want to complain and want to be heard, but they don’t have a good idea about what should be done.
But if you don’t have a solution to the situation, it’s more likely that your partner will either ignore you or respond in irritation or anger. And then the conversation becomes a fight again.
Understanding Is the First Step
Saving a relationship from snoring can be challenging. But the first step is to make sure both of you understand the situation and understand each other’s perspective. Then you can begin talking in a more productive way about the issue, and, hopefully, get successful snoring treatment.
Next time, we’ll talk more about how to successfully end the conflict and have productive conversations about snoring.
If you are looking for snoring treatment in the Detroit area, please call (248) 825-8277 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness.