2

Background

My girlfriend and I [19F, 19M] have been together for 2 years and have just graduated from the local polytechnic (estimated to be similar to the US Associate's degree) and its now the vacation period before her university starts. I have found a part-time job to pass the time while waiting for my enlistment into the Army.

I have known for a fact that my girlfriend never accepted my habitual sleeping hours (11pm to 6am on school / work days and around 12 midnight to 7.30am on vacation / weekends) but for the most part of our relationship thus far we were still studying and therefore this issue did not surface a lot as she would also sleep at around the same time as me in light of the next day being a school day. Usually, she would sleep at around 1am and wake up at 9.30am the next day when it comes to vacation.

Recently, though, she has been getting upset at night because I sleep too early and wake up too early on vacation days which is different from normal teenagers' sleeping hours (which are about the same as hers) in my country. However, it is difficult for me to change my sleeping hours as and when I like because I have been sleeping at these timings for most of my life. When I ask why she doesn't want to sleep early, she says she isn't tired yet. Moreover I have a temporary day job now, so it is even more difficult for me to sleep at 1am for a day or two on the weekends and change back to my usual sleep patterns afterwards.

Question

How can I talk to my girlfriend and successfully lead her into a compromise with me on sleeping habits? I have tried discussing it with her before but her reply was more of a I-don't-really-have-a-choice-so-I'm-just-going-to-accept-it reply but I want her to be happy and I don't want it to be forced upon her to accept the compromise.

Additional Notes

  • I don't live together with my girlfriend. (In Singapore it is generally a culture to live together only after marriage.)

  • My girlfriend, like most people, gets more emotional at night. Thus it causes a problem because:

    1. I'm going to sleep as she is getting emotional
    2. She won't have company when she is emotional.
  • 'Company' in the aforementioned point mostly refers to phone calls and texting. Therefore, every night for about 1 to 2 hours before bed I will spend texting her and talking to her, as that is when we are available without any other distractions (work, obligations by parents, etc.)

  • Both our parents do not know about our relationship as it would seem to them as we are too young for a relationship (This is the conventional thinking of the general older generation in Singapore). They are generally conservative and protective parents. Thus we can't spend loads of time hanging out together because we would run out of excuses to leave the house to meet up with each other. That is the reason we use texting and phone calls as our main way of maintaining our happy relationship.

  • During vacation period / weekends, I do not set an alarm clock to wake myself up, and so I naturally wake up at 7+ am in the morning. I have tried to sleep again afterwards but I will just keep tossing and turning in bed. Furthermore if I continue staying in bed I will develop a headache.

  • 1
    You say you want to reach a "compromise"; of what kind? One where she just gladly accepts the status quo without voicing disapproval? In other words, what are you willing to compromise on? So far you only give reasons why you can't compromise on anything. – user11110 Apr 7 '18 at 7:41
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    Why are your sleep habits inconveniencing her? Unless you are trying to drag her away from parties because they are too late for you, what cause does she have to want you to conform to what she wants? This has nothing to do with people being "emotional" at night, which as far as I know, isn't even a thing. It sounds like she wants to talk to you when everyone else she knows has gone to bed. And as far as bedtimes, there is nothing unreasonably early about going to bed before midnight. – swbarnes2 Apr 9 '18 at 19:30
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There's nothing to compromise, both of you have to accept that everyone has a different body clock (For example,in my case,my husband sleeps around 10 in the night and I toss and turn till 12). You say that you go to sleep around 12 in the night and she around 1 (on vacation days). So there's only an hour in the night when you are not available to text/call. Please finish talking/texting before 12 and explain your reasons clearly to her.

Tell her that any advice you give when you are sleepy would be wrong and that you get a headache when you try to stay awake for a longer time and may not be even be able to talk the next day if you are not well. Also, remind her that she can still text you and she would have her reply before she wakes up. If she tells you she's getting bored for the hour that you are not available, suggest some alternatives for her to do in that time. Read some books on kindle/play some games (anything which prevents her from needing your emotional support at that time).

If you are enlisting in the army, there's a very less chance that you will be able to maintain the current schedule anyway. Both of you should understand that there it may not be possible to follow a fixed schedule of call/ text when you have a job like that so it's better to keep your expectation at appropriate level.

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Life is made of compromises. IMO, it does not make much sense trying to synchronise sleeps while living apart.

I was in a similar situation in the past, and while we talked a lot, we never tried to influence the natural timetable/work hours of the other. People have to be independent and given some breathing space.

Often also texting does not have to be so intense, and some conversations can flow naturally through the course of the day, without need for an immediate answer.

What I would suggest is trying to reach a compromise of being more late during weekends, for instance Friday to Saturday/Sunday, and keep a more natural schedule to you during work days, talking earlier.

As for being physically together more time, why not coordinating outings together with more friends?

I also have had a very early gf about your age. Besides lack of maturity on both sides, her problem was that she did not have any occupation or job. Try to help your gf get a new hobby, and even better if it is something you can both do together.

PS. I am a light sleeper, and have two sleeps. That way is also easier for me to adjust to the patterns of a partner. I sleep earlier, than I am awake part of the night, than sleep again. I would never force a partner to keep up with my sleep patterns.

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