Have you ever heard someone claim they’re a “little OCD,” but what they describe is being organized or a perfectionist?
The difference between these harmless traits and clinical obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is one can lead to annoyance or increased stress, but the other is debilitating.
OCPD is a pervasive preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control that ultimately slows or interferes with completing tasks or life functions.
A Redditor with OCPD got into a conflict with their husband over personal hygiene.
Unable to self-assess due to their condition, the OP turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for telling my husband I find him disgusting and I want us to sleep in separate beds?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My husband (43, male) and I (31, female) welcomed our second child four months ago. With having a new baby, I’m extra cautious about germs and cleaning. This got me thinking about my husband’s shower routine.”
“He will take a shower in the morning and go off to work. He’s a chemist, so mostly desk job but sometimes he walks outside from one building to the next.”
“They are less than a block away. We live in humid, hot Florida, so that adds to the equation some inevitable perspiration. He’s also a manager, so he deals with people all day long.”
“I have tried to bring up the subject of him taking a quick shower when he gets home from work or even just before bed. He says that he does not need to take another shower since he showered in the morning.”
“I try to explain that I don’t feel comfortable with him laying in the bed because I lay our baby there sometimes, and I feel like the bedsheets are dirty by him laying on them, same with our comforter.”
“Note: Baby sleeps in a bassinet safely next to me, but during the day, I will lay him in the bed while I do chores around him like folding laundry, etc…”
“I realize everybody has their own routines, but I have washed my hair in the morning, showered and gone through the day. At the end of it, I’m feeling dirty, grimy, and in NEED of a shower before bed.”
“How can he be okay with having gone through the whole day and not feel like he should shower? I finally told him I’m not comfortable with him laying in bed dirty, so he should sleep in the guest room.”
“I have OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder), so it’s really hard for me to not have things be the way I feel they should be in my mind. In my mind, it’s disgusting for him to lay in bed dirty, but what do you guys think?”
The OP summed up their conundrum.
“I told my husband he’s disgusting for only showering in the morning.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was the a**hole.
“Gentle YTA. I think you’re overreacting to how ‘dirty’ he is. If he’s only going to and from work and not doing manual labor, I don’t see how he can be ‘dirty’ unless he fell on the ground or someone spilled a drink on him.”
“Seems it would be smarter to not have the baby in the bed.”
“If you’re too overcautious about germs, that can actually be bad for a child. Nor do you necessarily have to shower/bathe every day. And doing so more than once a day can be bad for you.”
“From WebMD: What Happens When You Shower Too Much?”
“Normal skin has a protective layer of oil and a balance of ‘good’ bacteria that help protect your skin from dryness and germs. If you clean it too often, especially with harsh soaps and lots of scrubbing, you can strip away this layer, leading to dry, irritated, itchy skin.”
“This can cause cracks in the skin that allow germs and allergens to get through, resulting in skin infections or allergic reactions.”
“In addition, your body’s immune system needs some stimulation from germs, including those that live on your skin. If you scrub them away too quickly, your body doesn’t have a chance to produce the antibodies that protect against them.”
“Antibacterial soaps can actually add to this by killing off the natural bacterial protection against more infectious germs on the skin that are harder to treat. This can make an even bigger difference in kids as their bodies develop.”
“That’s why some pediatricians and skin doctors recommend against bathing children every day.” ~ stroppo
“YTA. This is a you problem, not a him problem.”
“In terms of hygiene, if you shower in the morning, all you really need to do when you get home (and after bathroom use) is wash your hands. That’s it.”
“In fact, being overprotective of newborns in terms of cleanliness and germs is a big cause of allergies. Our immune system is actually primed by encountering things in our environment.”
“Subtract too many of them, and you increase the chances of allergies.”
“Your husband is not disgusting.”
“You are not managing your mental health, and you are unfairly taking it out on him.” ~ GreekAmericanDom
“That’s the thing with mental health issues, though. In her mind, this wasn’t a ‘her’ issue; it was his. She thought he was unhygienic and dirty, and that was her reality.”
“Coming from someone with an anxiety disorder, sometimes things like this feel so real and SO important. It isn’t until I’ve let my anxiety go too far that I realize I was in the wrong, and then I have to put my tail between my legs and apologize.”
“Our mental health isn’t our fault, but it’s our responsibility.”
“Personally if I was in her position, I would have Googled my anxiety-driven concerns before suggesting my partner sleep in a separate room. And I definitely wouldn’t call my partner ‘disgusting.'” ~ Echolyonn
“YTA. He has a desk job, he isn’t digging ditches for a living, and you demanding that he either shower for the second time in a day when he doesn’t feel like he needs it or sleep in the guestroom is unreasonable.”
“If you’re uncomfortable laying your baby down on the bed, then first throw a clean blanket down or put the baby in their bassinet. You need to loosen up, for everyone’s sake. It sounds a bit controlling and over the top.” ~ BurritoBowlw_guac
“Yes, YTA, but I’m going to go soft on this. I’m not licensed in anything except food safety, but I can recognize misplaced anxiety and fear a mile away.”
“I know it because I used to live it. I think it’s time to look within because it may be that your anxiety is starting to affect your personal life.”
“As a new mom, I get it. My son is 17, but I still remember his first year. Again, I’m not a therapist but maybe ask yourself where this may be coming from, and if it’s too much for you to process on your own, please find a counselor.”
“It helped me understand how I can’t control anyone in my life under the guise of my own anxiety. I learned my triggers and how to manage them in a healthy manner.”
“If I’m wrong, allow me to apologize. I, too, lived in Florida, so I understand the 2 shower a day thing; however it doesn’t sound like he needs one, given his working environment. He’s not seemingly a dirty guy.”
“I don’t think you have anything to actually worry about. The baby will be fine.” ~ whippedcream81
“I am a therapist who struggles with anxiety, so I’ll chime in here.”
“Your anxiety about germs seems like it’s being projected on your husband. I would recommend therapy to find out what’s triggering this and learn to better manage it.”
“It’s not fair to expect your husband to shower multiple times a day because you’re feeling anxious about germs.”
“So gentle YTA, and there is help out there. This is treatable. I wish you the best.” ~ GamerGirlLex77
The OP added an update after receiving judgment.
“OK, I’m the a**hole. I am in therapy with a licensed psychologist and have regular appointments with my psychiatrist who diagnosed me with OCPD and generalized anxiety, so the shoe does fit.”
“I apologized to my husband, who was understanding of my anxiety to overprotect our baby. He accepted my apology, and he’ll be sleeping next to me tonight, having only showered this morning. 🙃😮💨“
“I’ll talk to my therapist about this tomorrow at our appointment.”
“I’m way more ‘germ concerned’ since COVID, and with this new baby, I keep thinking of horrible illnesses he could get from germs or anything in life that could hurt him.”
“I also have postpartum depression. I’m being treated. I sometimes don’t realize I’m being unreasonable in my requests for ‘cleanliness’ so this post helped me realize that I was in the wrong.”
The OP appears to have accepted the feedback they received and taken steps to make things right.
Best of luck to them and their family.