Morning Person versus Night Owl

Morning Person versus Night Owl

Is one of you a morning person and one of you a night owl? How does this effect your relationship? Have you found a way to work around your different circadian rhythms?

Daniella, who is in a long-distance relationship, struggled with having deep conversations late at night, when her guy wanted to talk. They found a solution when she decided to talk about talking.

Daniella: “It’s tough on a couple when your natural rhythms are different. I am a morning person, always have been. I wake up with the sun, so if that’s happening at 4 am, I’m waking up at 4 am. Likewise, once the sun starts to go down, I start to shut down. It’s not a conscious choice, it just IS. I am at my sharpest, most creative self in the early hours of the morning.

 

Woman at window with tea (Large)

Morning time is the best time.

I have said many times that I need a job where I can wake up and work from 5 – 10 am, then go outside and hike, my working day done. (Five hours you say? Yes! Nobody is genuinely productive for longer than this anyway. They are just pretending because they can’t be seen to leave the office at 2 pm on a daily basis, so they fill the day with personal emails, Facebook, texts to their boyfriends, planning haircuts/weddings, talking about the football/hockey game last night or the new hot girl in accounts payable…classic water cooler time fillers.)

I know my natural rhythm, I embrace it, and I try to maximize it. The spanner in the works is that my man is on an opposing cycle. He is the classic stay-up-til-the-small-hours solving the world’s deep dark IT problems kind of guy. He plans support calls for 9 pm at night, when I am in my pajamas watching a re-run of Scrubs. I have no coherent words left for the day aside from, ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’

Two people who are dating or in a relationship with significantly different biorhythms can experience a real challenge when it comes to finding times to be intimate. Morning people are winding down just as night owls are revving up.

For me, I always loved coffee and breakfast dates because it was in my primetime zone. I had to drag myself to nighttime dates, and often felt like I was a faded version of myself as I tried to make my brain flow. With Craig, for a fair while at the beginning, because our conversations were indeed mostly in the pm, I felt kinda lame, like I wasn’t presenting my best self, had little of interest to say, and I kept feeling like I should apologize for being stilted. I actually WASN’T presenting my best self. But he wasn’t to know that.

Finally, when I did bring up that I’m more of a morning person and better at conversation then, his response was, “I’ll wake up early tomorrow so we can talk before I go to work”. I am an hour ahead of him in time zones, so it was really quite early for him. (Pretty sure this is the sign of a good man ladies…when the first response is to change a pattern in order to help bring out your best self.)

This is the sign of a good man ladies…when the first response is to change a pattern in order to help bring out your best self.

Likewise, I practice being more operable in the evenings, so I can connect at his primetimes. This took a while to figure out. At first we’d talk on the phone as I got into bed and went to sleep, but I found this took away the peace of my sleep. It left me vibrating with someone else’s energy when I needed to quietly wind down. I’d go to say goodnight and he’d keep me on the phone for another 20 minutes…to him it was nothing, just a normal way to say goodbye. I wanted to shout ‘I’m TIRED! Why do you need to TALK so much right now, aren’t you LISTENING to me? I need to sleep, that means NOW not in another 20 minutes!’ To him, it was a beautiful way to end the evening. To me, it was torture.

After a while I found the wording to say, ‘I’ve noticed I sleep better when we talk say around 7 pm, not right at bedtime. Can we talk in the early evenings rather than at night?’ He was a little put out that I didn’t revel in his intimate goodnights as much as he did, but when I explained that it interfered with my energies, he understood. Problem solved.

Now we talk earlier. I make notes throughout the day of things I want to talk about/ask, so that I can recall them later when my brain has slowed. Or I just listen and let him talk more, which is also a valuable contribution to the relationship. He has given the process a catch phrase and says. ‘Oh, Daniella is on shut down’ when he senses I am getting too tired to talk much more. He now signs off with love, but quickly.

 

Couple conversations

Please stop talking, I’m falling asleep.

We are in a long distance relationship right now so much of our interaction is phone/Skype, but the same balance applies when we’re together. I had to explain gently that I really prefer to just go to bed when I want to go to bed, and that it was upsetting to me to be forced to stay awake when my brain had closed for the day. I found it almost traumatizing that he would bring up deep and meaningful/serious topics when I could do them almost no justice whatsoever. It actually made me cry a few times because I felt so invaded and put under pressure to consider topics of importance when I had no capacity. I asked if maybe we could sit and talk mushy/serious stuff earlier in the night, and once in bed have only non-verbal communication, like snuggling. This doesn’t mean I never ever enjoy close conversations when we go to bed at night, but they are of a lighter nature.

For couples with different circadian rhythms, drawing a Venn diagram of peak brain/communication times and finding optimal times to connect can be useful. You can spend a lot of time being irritable and frustrated and thinking the other person is being a bit lame, none of which may be true!

I did a Venn diagram and found there are more opportunities for Craig and I to intersect than I realized. I also realized nobody should ever try to talk when hungry. I’m a morning person and Craig is a night owl, and we live in different time zones, but we are finding ways to make our relationship work.

 

Optimal Times for Communicating

Optimal times for communicating

Sophie: Part of being a skilled communicator is understanding yourself as well as your audience. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and WHEN.

Have you ever tried to talk to your partner about something important when they were tired? Do you think this post might have helped you to appreciate what it’s like? Great relationships are all about finding agreeable ways to resolve conflict and communicate more effectively.

Hey! Did you know you can download a sample chapter of my new book? It’s all about relationships and living together without growing apart – http://itsnotyouitsus.com/. You can order a copy on Amazon.

It’s Not You, It’s Us: A Guide for Living Together Without Growing Apart. Download Chapter

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Author Adele Frizzell/Sophie Winters

Sophie Winters is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Sophie’s real name is Adele Frizzell. She enjoys travel, hiking, and lifting heavy weights. She is a competitive bench presser, certified yoga teacher, and mountain addict. She loves inspiring people to get more out of life.

Her first book, The Cha Cha Club Dating Man-ifesto is written for all the single ladies, while her second relationship advice book, It’s Not You, It’s Us: A Guide for Living Together Without Growing Apart is for couples who want more joy, intimacy and respect in their relationship. She is working on her third book.


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