Even in my dreams, I can’t catch a break.

Last night, I dreamed that I was on Oprah. It was Dr.! Phil! Tuesday!, and I was there to air my relationship woes.

Yes, it surprised me to find that I HAD relationship woes, but I distinctly recall Oprah intoning "It’s Dr. Phil Tuesday, and we’re talking about Relationship Woes!" before the music started and the audience began clapping.

There was no monkeying around, either – Oprah got right to the point once the music stopped playing and the audience calmed down.

I didn’t get one of those voiceover things where I calmly and intelligently stated my point of view so that everyone would immediately be on my side, though.

"What’s going on?" Dr. Phil demanded, fixing me with a gimlet eye. He looked like he was going to brook no shit from the bitchypoo.

"Well, if he isn’t in bed by 9:41 EVERY night, he bitches and whines and complains about it!" I blurted out. The camera panned to Fred, who was sitting in the front of the audience, looking smug.

"Every night?" Dr. Phil asked, eyebrows raised.

"Every night – even on the weekends!" I said, nodding vigorously. The audience muttered unhappily amongst themselves.

Dr. Phil eyed Fred. "Sounds like YOU are in a RUT, buddy!"

Fred rolled his eyes. "If I’m going to get up at 4:30 every morning to exercise, I need my sleep!"

More eyeing from Dr. Phil. "You get up every morning at FOUR THIRTY?"

And then Fred began telling the story of how he’d dropped 162 pounds over the course of 16 months, and he’d never felt better, and he’d made a commitment to exercise every single day so that he could be a better father and husband and blah blah blah bragcakes.

When Fred finished his story – and stripped off his clothes to pose in his underwear for all and sundry – it was clear that the tide had turned in his favor.

With disapproving looks – even Oprah looked displeased – they all turned to face me.

"The MAN," said Dr. Phil, "HAS to get up every morning to EXERCISE. You would deny him that?"

"Nooooo!" I said defensively. "I just wish he wouldn’t have such a cow if he looked at the clock and it was ONE MINUTE later than 9:41. He looks at the clock, sees how late it is, jumps out of bed, and all but runs out of the room!" Not a sympathetic face in the crowd.

"Wait," Dr. Phil interrupted my pity party. "Why does he run out of the room at bedtime?"

"To go to bed," I said, thinking to myself that Dr. Phil wasn’t all that bright.

"He jumps out of bed to go to bed?" Confusion on the faces of all and sundry.

"Oh," I said, "Yeah, we sleep in separate rooms. I grind my teeth in my sleep, and he snores. And we like our space."

Dr. Phil looked at me judgmentally, and I began to babble.

"We have to be in our bed by 9, or he has conniptions. And if he’s not headed to his own room by 9:41, he has a fit as well."

"So, y’all go in one room at 9 and then he goes to his own room at 9:41?"

"We lay in bed and talk and snuggle from 9 until 9:41," Fred interjected helpfully.

The audience began muttering loudly, and I could hear more than one "bitch" tossed in my direction.

"So let me get this straight," Dr. Phil said with a predatory gleam in his eye. "The man LAYS down and TALKS to you for 41 minutes every night before going to his OWN room, because he doesn’t want to BOTHER you with his snoring, and he sleeps for a few short hours before exercising his ASS off to be a better father and husband to yourself and your daughter, and THAT IS A WOE TO YOU?"

I sat with my mouth gaping open, trying to find a way to respond. The audience went from muttering to shouting, and the things they shouted weren’t terribly complimentary. Women began tossing their phone numbers at Fred. Fred gave me a smug smile. Oprah sat in her chair and giggled heartily.

"You could put it that way."

Dr. Phil waved his arms around and began pacing. "I think you just did!"

"Phil, what exactly is the problem here?" Oprah asked, humorously moving her chair away from mine to avoid the line of fire.

"The PROBLEM is that if you put the ice in the sink, that dog won’t jump!" He glared at me. "Do you have ANY idea how many women in this audience would DIE to have their husbands devote forty-one minutes to them every single night?!"

Women in the audience were climbing over each other to reach Fred’s side. Fred was sniffling, nodding, and wiping his eyes.

"You don’t appreciate what you have!" Dr. Phil accused, waving his index finger around wildly. "When the going gets TOUGH, it’s time to feed some cattle!"

The sound from the audience was terrifying. They were throwing things at me and clawing at each other to get to Fred.

I woke up screaming, with Dr. Phil’s voice echoing in my head:

"If at first you don’t succeed, turn off the lights!"