I usually stay up an hour or so later than my fiancée because if I don’t, my thunderous snoring will keep her awake. I put her to bed last night and went into the other room to watch TV. Less than an hour later, to my surprise, she walked in and, with a horrified look on her face, said, “You raped me!”
Her eyes were wide open, but I thought she still had to be sleeping, so I told her, “It’s me, wake up.” But she was awake, and kept repeating, “You raped me!” in a haunted voice. I tried to reassure her that it had just been a dream, but she was convinced it had really happened.
I got her to sit down on the couch with me, although she was obviously still scared, and madly tried to think of how I could snap her out of it. My first thought was to make some coffee, but when I suggested that, she said she’d have some then go home. The last thing I wanted was to have her driving 30 minutes home in that condition.
I quietly reassured her that I would never hurt her, that she was safe, and that it had just been a nightmare. At first she insisted that it had been real, but she slowly began to accept that maybe it hadn’t really happened. At one point she said, “If it wasn’t you, he looked just like you.”
I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened, and she described a situation with several impossible conditions. I didn’t need to be persuaded it had been a dream, of course, but I hoped she would realize that those impossible things made it clear it hadn’t really happened. They didn’t have as strong an effect as I had hoped.
I kept quietly telling her that I loved her and would never hurt her, that nothing had happened, and it had just been a nightmare. Slowly she calmed down, and began to believe that it was just a dream, although she was still nervous and uneasy. I took her back to bed, after she picked out a small stuffed animal to take with her, and told her I’d stay with her until she fell asleep, which I did.
This morning she was okay and apologized profusely. I told her she owed me no apology. We decided that the half an Ambien she had taken to help her sleep was probably responsible, although she has frequently used it before without such serious effects. But she says her dreams are often much more vivid when she takes Ambien.
It was scary. Although while it was still going on I was pretty sure she’d be okay in the morning, I briefly thought about what would have happened if she weren’t. It would have been hard to prove to her, or anyone else, that I hadn’t raped her, unless I had taken her to the hospital for an examination. The wedding would have been off, no one I know would ever talk to me again, and I’d have lost my best friend and the most important person in the world. Really scary.