Ask Dayton 66 – A Secret to Successful Cohabitation
So I live with my girlfriend, and have for about six months now. She’s smart, fun, hilarious, beautiful and makes me reach for heights I have never known with her support and encouragement. But she’s also out of her fucking mind. Here’s the deal, we have a disagreement and did agree to ask your advice to help with a problem.
She works normal hours, from 8 am to about 5/5:30 pm. I work from 10 am to about 7/7:30 pm. When she gets home we have dinner, talk and do what late 20s/early 30s couples do *wink wink nudge nudge* then watch TV and she goes to bed about 9 pm. Here is where she’s a loon: she is mad that I don’t go to bed at the same time (because I stay up later because I get up later!) and says it’s “disrespectful.” I play some Xbox or MMOG or watch a movie (and one I know she’s not interested in, something like The Transporter or Expendables) until about 11, and then go to bed.
REALLY? I do these things AFTER she goes to bed and we have had our time so I am not doing it WHILE SHE’S AWAKE. So I can BE WITH HER!!!!!
What to do, man? Am I being “disrespectful” or is she just in need of a reality pill?
Well, now I know how Dr. Phil feels. I also know why he drinks during commercial breaks or—if he doesn’t—why he should start.
Looking at your situation as someone with no horse in this race, I guess my first question is: Who goes to bed at 9pm who isn’t A) Six, or B) being punished and being sent without dinner? The only way I go to bed that early is if I’m sick, or I’ve been up for the previous 36 hours, or if my wife walks past me wearing nothing but stilettos and one of my dress shirts.
So, as I ponder your problem, I have to admit that I don’t really understand it. I even asked my wife (to whom I’ve been married 22 years as of March 16th) about this question before sitting down to compose my answer, and she didn’t get it, either. Hey, come to think of it, she’s sleeping right now as I write this. So, you know…YOU’RE WELCOME.
I guess we need more info. What, exactly, is “disrespectful” about not going to bed at the same time? Lots of couples do this. My wife often turns in well before me, though this usually stems from my needing quiet time to write after the day job’s work is completed. I’m also more of a night owl than she is, and there are nights where—like you—I stay up to read or watch a movie or whatever crap I have banked on the TiVo. Of course, if she pulls the stilettos/dress shirt thing, then all bets are off.
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean being fused at the hip. You don’t need to do everything in lockstep, both parties need their space, and sometimes not everything’s going to sync up. That’s the sort of thing that gets figured out the longer a couple lives together. You know, kind of like whose shit goes where in the medicine cabinet, who gets the extra drawer in the bureau, and how long after you’re together does one person tell the other that their friends are assholes (or bitches) who can’t come over anymore.
So, no, I don’t think different bed times are themselves disrespectful. If there’s that sort of animosity lingering in the air, then usually it’s symptomatic of some other issue. I mean, you’ve only been living together six months, so you’ve likely not stumbled onto any of the really offensive things you can do to piss her off. You know, like leaving your dirty clothes or wet towels on the floor, coming home late from a night out with your buds while being all drunk and smelling like stripper sweat, or forgetting to flush the toilet.
(Notice I didn’t say “leave the toilet seat up,” because fuck that. The fucking thing works both ways. Do you back your car into or out of your garage before checking to see if the door’s open? No? SAME FUCKING PRINCIPLE. Deal with it, people.)
Now, Dude, before we crown you the winner of this little tiff (which would only be a temporary victory, anyway, because you’re for sure going to find some way to dick it up before the end of the day), it’s worth noting that your problem may, of course, have another root cause. In order to explore this, we need to revisit part of your original note:
“She works normal hours, from 8 am to about 5/5:30 pm. I work from 10 am to about 7/7:30 pm. When she gets home we have dinner, talk and do what late 20s/early 30s couples do *wink wink nudge nudge* then watch TV and she goes to bed about 9 pm.”
First, I think you meant that you’re the one who gets home some time after 7:30, right?
Next, you say you do *all* that other shit in about an hour or so? Hey, here’s a thought: Maybe she wants you to come to bed with her BECAUSE SHE’S GIVING YOU ANOTHER CHANCE TO FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED.
What, did you really, really think I was going to let you get away with that whole “late 20s/early 30s *wink wink nudge nudge*” bit, like you’ve got the market cornered on that sort of thing? Do you think those of us older than you have to return our dicks to the front desk and maybe get back our deposit? Listen up, youngster: if my wife goes to bed after we “*wink wink nudge nudge*” it’s because she’s too fucking exhausted to remain upright and conscious, but she’s smiling as she drifts off. Know what I’m sayin’?
This, of course, is the whole point of that sort of strategy, because once that mission’s accomplished, then I’m free to play Xbox or watch shitty action movies. Now, it sounds like you may be on the cusp of stumbling upon this secret of successful cohabitation, but youth and inexperience currently prevent you from grasping and properly employing the essential nuances. If this truly is the case, then I encourage you not to worry; that sort of mastery usually comes in your late 30s/early 40s.
Good luck, grasshopper.
Disclaimer 1: After answering 66 of these things, I hope you’ve realized by now that—aside from my very real feeling that there’s nothing disrespectful about your particular bedtime rituals—I’m basically goofing on you a bit here. If I upset or offended you with my answer, that was not my intention, and for that I sincerely apologize.
Disclaimer 2: Unless you really weren’t upset or offended, in which I case I MEANT EVERY WORD.
Disclaimer 3: Everything I tell you is a lie.
Disclaimer 4: I’m lying to you right now.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.