Romance According to Patrick

Patrick Ehlers

(Brent Schwert)

Dear Patrick,
I have a history of saying and doing strange things in my sleep and I’m in a new relationship. I’m excited to start sleeping over at his place, but I’m worried that I may say or do something inappropriate in my sleep. What can I do?Let’s start with some social norming – we all do inexplicably weird things while we sleep. Think about it: Your breathing and heart rate go way down, your eyes flick about like you’re watching some kind of futuristic cyber-chicken cockfight, and you dream of things even stranger than the afore mentioned cockfight. Now, it’s these dreams, and our subconscious responses to these dreams, that kind of leave us vulnerable to doing goofy things.
No seriously, really goofy things. Back when I was young and lived with my parents, I woke up one morning in the driveway wearing a pair of boxer shorts and holding a bicycle pump in one hand and a copy of the Bible in the other. Who knows where my slumbering body was lumbering? Certainly not me. I’ve always imagined that I was on my way to save a young gang of neighborhood bike hooligans, but there’s actually less evidence to support that than you’d imagine.
There’s a whole host of interesting information on sleepwalking, night terrors and other sleep-related disorders online, some of it looking fairly credible. So to avoid the risk of plagiarizing, I’ll just refer you to Google for information relating specifically to whatever funky night behavior you’re experiencing.
While this situation is potentially a little embarrassing, there are basically two ways out of it. One is to just tell your boyfriend in advance that you do strange things in your sleep. I understand that communication is hard, and you’re probably sick of the uncomfortable conversations that you’re undoubtedly having at this time. I get that. Have those other conversations first, and then include this as a foot note.
Or! Or, or, or you could simply not have the conversation at all. Honestly, it’s not that big a deal to wake him up some night because you think you’re seeing robots. He’ll probably take one look over in the direction you’re waving and inform you that’s just an old shirt hanging up to dry. He’ll calm you down, think it’s cute, give you a kiss and go back to sleep.
As long as we’re on the subject of weird sleep things, can I offer some advice about dreams? Don’t tell him about your dreams. Just because you remember them first thing in the morning doesn’t mean he wants to hear them. I think that’s something we never seem to notice in this culture – your dreams are only interesting to you. Next time he tries to tell you about fighting Godzilla and a giant squid monster on the moon, it’s okay to tell him you’re not interested.