Self-care is one of those things all of us should work to prioritize more, but some of us need extra help to get it done.
Unfortunately for one couple, it repeatedly led to awkward silences, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor CatMeat13 kept trying to make sure their wife was taking care of herself, but eventually, she had heard enough.
When they saw her reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they overstepped.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for asking my wife to shower once in a while?”
The OP was concerned about their wife’s hygiene habits.
“I am currently in the dog house, so to speak, because I asked my wife to shower once in a while.”
“For context, we are both 27 years old and we both work.”
“I work outside, so I shower every night.”
“My wife works an office job at a chemical plant, so she showers every couple of nights.”
“At least it used to be every couple of nights. Now, she showers every three days, sometimes every four to five days.”
“She has gone a whole week without showering before.”
“I had to ask her to shower, and was quite embarrassed that I had to ask.”
“Keep in mind, while she does work an office job, she is still exposed to the smells of the plant and the outside world.”
The OP’s wife was upset when they brought it up.
“So tonight, we are sitting on the couch, I said, ‘When was the last time you bathed?'”
“She laughed and said, ‘Oh god.'”
“I asked if she had bathed at all this week, and she responded with a head nod indicating, ‘NO.'”
“I then said, ‘Please bathe every once in a while. I hate having to ask you to shower.'”
“Now she is upset.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP could have spoken in a nicer way.
“When she said ‘No’ to his question about showering that week, it would have been a great time to say something like, ‘I’m not saying this to shame you but I’ve noticed you haven’t been showering regularly. Are you doing ok?’ to open that conversation.”
“She still might have reacted negatively but at least it would have been coming from a place of concern for her.”
“Depression isn’t always crying in bed, sometimes it’s fatigue and inability to complete basic tasks.” – VanityFlare
“NAH. While your wife could/should be showering more, you also handled this poorly.”
“As others have said, lots of depressed people struggle to do anything. This includes showering. You went about this like she was inconveniencing you and not like you were concerned and wanted to make sure she was okay.” – denimpanzer
“Since this is a change in behavior it might be indicating she actually isn’t doing that well. NAH but I think if you’d approached it from a more empathetic and curious and concerned point of view you would’ve gotten farther.” – lileltrain
“But what’s going on? I mean, people don’t suddenly stop regularly showering for no reason. Is she doing ok? Depression can make it really hard for people to do things like taking proper care of themselves.”
“Personal hygiene is important and it is perfectly fine to want to have a clean partner. Obviously, it is also a delicate situation and she got offended. A gentle conversation is in order to talk about what’s happening.” – ClearWaves
Others were worried about depression.
“When I wasn’t doing so well and getting out of bed was an everyday struggle, opening my blinds out of the question, feeding myself an actual challenge and showering the last thing on my mind, would someone have said ‘I hate having to ask you to shower,’ I would have burst in tears and cut them off out of shame.”
“OP’s wife doesn’t seem to be in such a severe state, but everyone is different and his comment obviously struck a chord; it would be worth trying a different approach to see if she’s okay.” – Taluzt
“It’s possible that she might already be thinking about whether the current meds are right still or not. It could be, for example, simple exhaustion because her work has gotten busier/more stressful, etc.; so it might improve in time anyway once whatever factor changes back/resolve.”
“Or, it could be a change in mental health which needs clarification and then support, which could include trying new meds. Context – this is from someone with a similar issue and who isn’t entirely sure herself of the reason.” – Sufficient_Fish_1486
“I’m on antidepressants. Have been for 10 years. Managed to wean myself down to the lowest possible dosage and was fine for over a year, but going through a very stressful few months took its toll on me. I had to go to the doctor and bump my dosage up to help cope, and I’ve decided to go to therapy as well.”
“In the worst periods of the stressful few months, I neglected to shower as often as I should have, and eat as often as I should (I don’t binge/comfort eat when stressed/depressed, I starve).”
“NAH. OP, I do wonder if your wife needs additional help by way of higher dosage meds or talking to someone.” – chillyfeets
“I am someone who usually showers every couple of days or so, and the last time I went a whole week without showering, I was severely depressed. If I were OP, I would be concerned about her mental health.”
“He should also pay attention to things like whether she’s still brushing her teeth and combing her hair fairly regularly to get more clues as to whether it could be that (because she may not want to verbally admit to depression being the reason—although he should ask as well).” – schrodingers_cat42
The OP was unsure how to handle the situation after their wife was upset for how they approached the issue of showering at home after work.
Some of the subReddit said that the OP could have afforded a little more tact when approaching the conversation, but others were concerned about another issue entirely: the wife’s mental health. No one can say for sure how the OP will approach the situation going forward, but it’s clear they will have to be careful and encouraging when they bring it up.