, Advice by Ann Landers - []
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Section: abuse, relationships

Dear Ann Landers,
I am engaged to a wonderful man I have known for four years. "Dudley" and I plan to be married next summer. He is a kind soul and a perfect gentleman. Everything was great until a few weeks ago, when Dudley started to hit me while he was asleep. The first time, he punched my rear end with his fist and then stopped suddenly. Last night, he hit me in the stomach twice. Both times, I woke him up and expressed astonishment. He was completely unaware of what he had done. When I asked him why he was hitting me, he said he had no recollection of doing it and wondered if maybe I dreamt it. Well, Ann, I was definitely not dreaming. Dudley did indeed hit me. I asked if he perhaps dreamed he was in a fight, and he said it was possible, but he never remembers his dreams. I find this hard to believe because I remember mine. I am truly concerned that Dudley has a subconscious wish to hurt me. Please tell me how to handle this. -- Bruised in Dallas

Dear Bruised,
It sounds as if Dudley is a mighty restless sleeper. I doubt that he wants to hurt you. He could be dreaming about a schoolyard bully or a boss he hated years ago. You would, however, be safer in twin beds. The important thing is that he doesn't hit you while he is awake.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Elaine 's Comment
I suspicion that Dudley is aware he's hitting and doing it under the guise of dreaming, which oddly he doesn't remember. Growing up, was he never told during a sleepover that he strikes out during the night? Did parents or siblings never notice? Previous girlfriends? I would be concerned this side of Dudley's personality come out when he's clearly not sleeping and can't excuse it as 'I have no memory of doing that'.

Reader Comment
There is a sleep disorder that Dudley may have. It is called RBD - or Rem Behavior Sleep Disorder. Normally when people are dreaming, they do not move or act out what is happening in their dreams. With RBD they do - and often it is dreams in which the person is protecting themselves or their partner against an attack. My Dad had this disorder. It is treated with Melatonan or with a low dose of Klonopin. Dudley should get a sleep study to find out if this is the problem he is having.

Maria's Comment
My husband is always swinging his arms trying to fight off something in his dreams. He never remembers unless I ask him right away when I wake him up. It's always monsters. If I hear him make any noise like whimpering or anything I make sure to wake him up. He has had this since he was a kid.

Diana Luis's Comment
Hey,I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored
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"Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good."
-Ann Landers