Have you been relegated to the couch lately?

What you need to know:

She would return home tired and angry that one day she decided to relegate him to the couch, for no reason...

The moment Julius joined us at our regular hangout at the National Theatre hours before it was razed by fire at the weekend, we knew there was a problem.

He seemed deprived of sleep and walked with a limp. He also complained of backache and stiff neck, among many other ailments

Three bottles of his usual later, he started opening up.

Julius has for the past four weeks made the living room sofa his bed at night. With the children on holiday, he will pretend to watch movies with them until they go to sleep. He will then hold imaginary conversations with mosquitoes in the living room as he fidgets with his phone and TV remote until he dozes off. 

Half the time, he slept off without covers or a pillow.   He is often the first one to wake up in the morning lest the children and maid start asking questions.

“My life right now is a movie called ‘Sleepless in Kyanja.’  For the past few months, I have barely slept for more than two hours a night,” he told us.

His pain and frustration was visible.

Misery loves company

A few days earlier, the children had poured soda all over the chair that there was barely a dry spot. His misery was compounded by Arsenal’s derby loss to Spurs that cold Thursday night.

“I was awake the entire night yet I had a board presentation the next day. My worry was that I had hardly had enough sleep to ably function,” he said.

True to his fears, he was a frustrated, angry and anxious wreck the next day that his supervisor asked him to take a few days off.  When asked why he could not join his wife in the bedroom, he started crying.

The answer did not come as a surprise. And no, it was not because of insomnia.

The sight of his bed upset him so much that he did not want to spend more than 30 minutes in there.

According to the hotelier, he will now only enter the bedroom that he has shared with his wife of six years to utilise the washroom and change clothes.

The place that was once their sacred sanctuary makes him feel so  anxious that he goes through unexplained episodes of anxiety where he cannot face going to bed and prefers to sleep on the sofa.


The blame game

“For some reason I panic when I think about going to bed and feel safer on the sofa now,” he says, adding that he knows it is unhealthy but there is nothing to do.

Somehow, nothing seemed to be going according to plan. His wife had taken on a job that required working for longer hours, or so she said.  She would return home tired and angry that one day, she decided to relegate him to the couch, for no reason.

His argument that it was his bed too, and that this was not an unequal relationship, fell on deaf ears.

“She was angry then and did not feel like sharing a bed with me. I told her that she was free to sleep on the couch and that being angry did not grant her some kind of special privilege to boss me around but she refused,” he said.

She had manipulated him into making use of the sofa, hoping that it was for one night only. He was, however, surprised when several days later she said she did not want him anywhere near her in their matrimonial bed.

That is when the anxiety set in. That is when he started loathing his bedroom. That is around the time he felt hanging out with the boys was better than going back home. He swears that he started looking at the mother of his two sons differently.

But then for the children, he returns home and on the dirty sofa he sleeps, until the next day.

Julius is probably one of the hundreds of men who are silently suffering long, cold and lonely nights because of silly couch fights.  

But for the wife, asking him to sleep on the couch on nights you are not getting along is detrimental to your marriage and the quickest route to a breakup.

There are better ways to express your anger towards your partner other than by throwing them out of the bedroom or denying them conjugal rights.

You can talk. Or seek guidance from elders.

Otherwise, try treating each other with the kind of respect you would if you were not fighting. Relegating him to the sofa is outrageous and plain disgusting.

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