“My Husband’s Snoring is So Bad, I’m Considering Divorce”

My husband and I have been together for ten years but only married for one. We have a baby at home and another one on the way. We have a great life and are very happy, with one exception: he has sleep apnea and his snoring keeps me awake when he refuses to wear his sleep apnea machine. Whenever he goes out and has a few drinks, he NEVER wants to put his mask on. It seems like such a silly problem, but it escalates into an unimaginable fight almost every time. If he does not wear the mask, not only is it dangerous for his health, but also he snores like nothing you’ve ever heard before and I cannot sleep at all. On top of pregnancy, it is really starting to wear me down and I get irritated. I don’t know how to explain to you how mad he gets…. it turns into yelling and name-calling and telling me to go sleep on the couch. It turns into the biggest fight we’ve ever had over essentially nothing.

I am so lost. I don’t know what to do anymore. Aside from this issue, everything is totally fine, but I am honestly considering divorce if he doesn’t stop treating me this way every time I ask him to use his sleep apnea machine. The whole thing is just absolutely ridiculous and never gets resolved in the morning. He just acts like nothing happened. It’s absolutely mind-blowing. — Pregnant and Sleepless

What’s most concerning here isn’t the snoring keeping you awake; it’s how nasty your husband treats you when you ask him to wear the sleep mask. The yelling and name-calling and telling you — his pregnant wife! — to go sleep on the couch is pretty disgusting. And while you say that aside from this issue everything is “totally fine,” that’s kind of like saying that aside from a car’s broken engine everything with it is honky-dory. Your marriage is in danger if your husband has the kind of anger management problem his behavior at night, after he’s been drinking, suggests he has. Does he ever act that way when he’s sober? How often is he, a married man with a baby (and another on the way!), going out for a few drinks, anyway?! The “unimaginable fights” you’re having on the regular are a symptom of something else — just like the snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea (and sleep apnea is usually the result of obesity which is, itself, a health hazard, especially if it’s coupled with excessive drinking and insomnia), and it is absolutely imperative you seek some counseling together to address what’s going on. Essentially, your marriage needs a sleep mask and I’m telling you to put it on. Not only does the future of your marriage depend on it, but also I am concerned that your husband’s physical health is in grave danger as well.

In the meantime, I’d suggest ear plugs for you and a white noise machine. If those do nothing to mask the sound of the snoring – pun intended, please consider setting up a bed in another room to sleep on (of course, it should be your husband’s responsibility to re-locate, but if he’s going to fight you on that, then move yourself): a mattress in your baby’s room, the sofa, a spare room if you’re lucky enough to have one. But ultimately, while these short-term fixes might help you get a few hours of sleep, they don’t solve the real problem. They don’t fix the broken engine in the car, and until that is addressed — again, with the help and guidance of a professional or several professionals — I don’t see how you and your family can move forward.

My boyfriend and I live together, and we are in our 40s and 50s. He works for a company that has multiple offices in Canada, and he has a female work “friend” who lives about four hours away whom he seems to refuse to introduce to me. They see each other for lunch and dinners when they travel for work, and unless I specifically ask if she was there, he won’t tell me whether she was. I know she sends him birthday cards and they text regularly, but he claims it’s just about work. Early in our relationship, he even met her in Mexico with his grown daughter and didn’t tell me she was going to be there, let alone that he was staying with her in her condo. I asked him if they ever slept together, and he said once long before he and I ever met. Whenever I ask about her, and it’s not often, he says they are in contact because of work and nothing more and that I’m being ridiculous. I know they have to be in contact because of work, and I get that, but I know she’s been to our town at least a dozen times and although I’ve asked him to introduce us, it still hasn’t happened. I know he loves me, and I don’t understand why, if she’s now just a work friend, he won’t let me meet her. — It’s Just Lunch

I don’t think it’s that strange that there’s a colleague of your boyfriend’s who lives four hours away whom you haven’t met. I certainly have not met all of my husband’s colleagues and he and I have been together nearly fourteen years. The issue here is that you believe that she and your husband are more than just colleagues – that they have a personal relationship outside of work — and you’re right. They’ve vacationed together and they’ve had sex with each other. They also exchange birthday cards apparently, and they text regularly (though he claims the contact is all work-related). So, while I don’t think it’s strange that you wouldn’t have met this woman organically, I do think it’s very strange that your boyfriend seems to refuse to introduce you even after you’ve asked to be introduced. That’s very telling.

You’re clearly jealous of this woman and feel unease about the nature of her relationship with your husband or, at the very least, the history they share. You’d think your boyfriend would be eager to show you how little there is to worry about, and the best way to do that would be to introduce you so you could see for yourself the lack of chemistry between them. Sure, it might be strange to invite you to a work lunch, but that should be a small price to pay to give you reassurance that there’s nothing unsavory going on between him and this woman he’s slept with, vacationed with, and is in regular contact with.

Your gut is telling you something, right? And your boyfriend is telling your something different. Which one do you believe more? And which is fighting the most to get you to trust it? If the man you live with who says he loves you isn’t willing to invite you to a lunch to give you some peace of mind – if you NEED to be invited to a lunch to have some peace of mind — then that’s a pretty loud indicator of the answers to these questions.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1: My husband used to have the same snoring issue. No earplugs, white noise or sometimes even distance between us if he was in a separate room would totally block it. And, he used to not actually wake up when I’d try to get him to roll over and would yell and flail his arms and legs around and then never remember it and act like all was fine the next day. So, I feel your frustration, anger and sleepless pain.

    Here’s what I did a few years ago: I demanded (not asked, not cajoled, not suggested, flat out demanded) that he discuss it with his doctor, take the sleep study and use the damned CPAP machine. It’s been a game changer. He bitched, moaned and hated it at first, but once he got used to it, he now hates it when he forgets to use it – his sleep is that much better and so is mine!! We can sleep in the same room now.

    Record your husband at night, if necessary. Both his snoring and his yelling and whatnot. Show it to him in the morning and tell him that this is absolutely unacceptable going forward. If he has a machine already, he needs to make sure it fits right, make sure he’s using it right and then use it. Full stop. If he doesn’t have one, he needs to so what it takes to get one. If he refuses, then tell him you need to go talk to a marriage counselor because he is putting both of your health and your marriage at risk by refusing to consider anyone else’s needs but his own. This is that serious and make him understand that.

    Good luck.

    1. “because he is putting both of your health and your marriage at risk by refusing to consider anyone else’s needs but his own.” YES! This is the crux of the situation. Love the recording idea as well, since men like to act like we’re just “complaining” about things for sport *eyeroll

      1. I actually mentioned recoding it just in case her husband genuinely has no idea how he’s acting. My husband didn’t realize how loud and ridiculous he was until I showed it to him because he never actually woke up when I tried to get him to roll over or move and had no memory of it happening. (He’s always been a hard sleeper, though. It’s not just that he wouldn’t remember happened during the night. We’ve had many entire conversations he has no recollection of, too.)

  2. I had a co-worker who refused to use a CPAP and was a terrible, terrible snorer (I had heard his flatmates complain but didn’t understand the extent until he fell asleep on a bus near me when we were travelling and … wow, it was at least 80 decibels). That kind of snoring is hard on your body, particularly your heart which can become enlarged from the stress. My co-worker was found in bed dead of a heart attack in his early 30s, he had not even known his heart was enlarged.

    I write this because, as the father of two kids, your husband needs to do a much better job of taking care of himself. This is a health issue that is easily solvable. If he won’t listen and continues to be abusive, leave. Seriously, you and your kids deserve better.

  3. anonymousse says:

    I think the snoring is the canary in the coal mine of him blowing up in anger at you. It’s one thing to be upset when someone wakes you up, but name calling and yelling at you to go sleep on the couch when you’re the pregnant one! is ridiculous.

    Yes, spare room, (a white noise machine and ear plugs are probably not the best idea when you have a baby and your husband is drunk and sleeping it off) CPAP, but also anger management couples counseling, and maybe a limit on the booze? Good luck.

  4. My parents have always slept in different bedrooms for various reasons biggest one is my dads snoring. He uses a machine but those things aren’t exactly silent either. My sister and her husband also sleep in separate rooms because of his snoring. If this is what works for you then do it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      It’s not working for her – that’s the whole point.

  5. Ugh, I hear you on the snoring issue. My husband snores like a freight train, but it is not because of sleep apnea. He has a deviated septum, and it causes the worst sounds imaginable. Here is the difference in our marriage. He spoke about it with his doctor. He tried surgery (it didn’t work), he’s tried breathe right, he’s tried nose plugs, he’s tried a humidifier… We even got a sleep number bed to try the elevation thing (that didn’t work either). He just snores, and there is nothing we can do about it. The difference is that he’s tried everything in the book because he knows it keeps me awake. He doesn’t give ME a hard time because of his issue. Our solution has been to sleep in different rooms. We’ll stay together in the marital bed until I decide it is time to go to bed, and then I go to the basement. I like sleeping down there because it is dark and quiet, so it doesn’t bother me to move. Your husband is showing an utter lack of concern and frankly dickishness for both of your health. You need sleep. Apnea is a killer. I agree with whoever wrote above that at this point, this needs to be a deal breaker.

    As for LW2, I agree there is a problem. Not in the fact your husband has a female coworker that he’s close to, but because he won’t introduce you to her. I’ve got a couple of male coworkers strewn about the country that I’ve developed friendships with. I’ll text them about personal stuff like politics or whatever. One in particular, we text regularly jokes and whatnot. The difference again is that if there was ever an occasion for my husband to meet any of these guys, I’d not even hesitate. For example, if we were travel to one of their areas, I’d be the one to suggest meeting up. I’d want my husband to meet these guys. They are part of my life, and I’d want him to both be able to put a face to a name and to feel comfortable about our friendship. I certainly don’t hide my friendship with them. If he refuses to let you meet her when she’s often in your town, especially given their history, I’d find it to be incredibly wrong as well.

  6. WWS on both counts. The first letter reminds me of that expression, “Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” I feel you on the snoring. Growing up, my dad snored like a congested dinosaur. You could hear him throughout the entire house. I used to have a friend who snored so loudly, he would rattle the bed. Both of these men had/have significant health problems, including diabetes and obesity. I get that a CPAP machine isn’t the sexiest thing in the world, and using one is admitting there is a problem (hello, dad), but your husband’s refusal to use one, his lashing out at you when you talk about it, is a big deal. Counseling first, and if that doesn’t work, divorce. For the second letter, I’d wonder, too. He won’t introduce you to her when you’ve asked? Something is going on.

  7. LW1: I had a boyfriend who used to snore like this. From the get go, I told him that something seemed wrong. It is the most God awful sound, that I thought maybe a deviated septum or he had sleep apnea. It was a regular conversation we had. He got the mouthpiece to align his jaw better, that worked until it didn’t. It hurt his mouth so he didn’t want to wear it, etc…this was at the beginning our relationship. The more serious we became and the more I stayed over, the less I was willing to be okay with it. I need my sleep. So I told him that if we were seriously going to be together, we’d need separate bedrooms or he’d have to go to the doctor. He was against both, and basically stated “No other girlfriend of mine ever had a problem with it, so I should just deal with it” Uhhh, no. We broke up shortly after for more than just this reason, but anyone that tells me just to deal with it because everyone else has, obviously doesn’t think very highly of me and I want more than that.

  8. I’m the bad snorer in the relationship. This runs in my family (sinus problems). My dad always swore one day my grandmother was going to suck the curtains right off the windows lol. Luckily my husband sleeps like the dead. He almost never hears me. I will say it is worse if I’ve had a bit to drink so that tracks with what’s going on with your husband.

    My family’s horrible snoring aside, why aren’t you discussing this during a calm, neutral time when your emotions aren’t riled up over it? That’s communication 101, girl. You need to sit him down ASAP. Don’t wait for the next fight to arise. If it happens again, I agree with the comments above that say to record him. He needs to know what an asshat he’s being. But also if it happens again you need to get into couples therapy immediately. There is no excuse for yelling and name calling.

  9. CanadaGoose says:

    LW1: Ear plugs and wind machines can’t cancel out a chainsaw next to your head and chronic lack of sleep can shorten your life. Is your husband slim and fit? If not, he might well be able to eliminate the issue by losing weight and getting in shape. That requires him to care and put in the work, but it can be life-changing. Our CPAP now gathers dust because it’s not needed any more.

  10. Mrs. Danvers says:

    LW2: I think that there is more going on in your mind that just not being introduced to this woman. Clearly your boyfriend’s relationship with this woman bothers you, and clearly he’s on the defensive when you just asked a question about her he told you you were being “ridiculous” (that’s an MO – making you think that you’re the one with the problem – that’s quite unacceptable). A caring partner would at least explore your discomfort with you instead of brushing off your feelings and telling you that you are behaving in some unreasonable way.

  11. mellanthe says:

    LW2: the point here is that this woman is being kept a secret.
    SOs can be friends with their co-workers, but then they have no reason to keep their existence a secret.

    It’s unlikely that they text frequently just about work; and if they send each other birthday cards, then it’s not purely about work. Now you can be good friends with a work colleague. And you can in theory sleep with someone in the distant past and harbour no feelings for them at present. But by hiding her existence – never mentioning that he happens to be on work trips with her, being evasive in general, playing things down and refusing to introduce you, he’s making a situation that doesn’t have to be suspicious, suspicious. Perhaps he’s just friends with her, but then that’s even more reason for him to speak openly of her and introduce her. Loving partners don’t hide friends and pretend they aren’t close, and they intro their partner as part of their life. Unless they have something to hide.

  12. OMG i find this when i am stressed i am laying down in dinning room floor? my husband snores just like a roaring lion i found to hard to sleep with him six years in struggling…

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