A woman turned to Reddit’s Relationship Advice for help with her sex life.
35-year-old Redditor ThrowRAQueenAvocado and her 37-year-old husband are currently trying to conceive. But his personal grooming habits turn her off.
The Original Poster (OP) wrote in the subReddit:
“My husband has poor hygiene and doesn’t understand why I don’t want to have sex with him.”
“We have been married for about 2 years, and lived together for about a year before we got married. While we were dating and early in our marriage everything was pretty normal.”
“We didn’t have a lot of sex, but neither of us seemed super into it at the time so it worked out.”
“About a year into our marriage we started trying for a baby. As we had more sex we both started enjoying it more, and of course wanting to do it more.”
“But this is when I noticed that my husband’s hygiene started slipping.”
“He works from home (permanently, not just during the pandemic) so he really doesn’t leave the house much, but I noticed he only showers 1-2x a week.”
“He will wear the same clothes for days in a row. He won’t brush his teeth, unless I mention something about his breath or refuse to kiss him.”
“I’m not a facial hair person and he knows that, but he won’t shave. Then he will try to initiate sex, but it will gross me out so much that I turn him down.”
“He won’t get a haircut unless I tell him to.”
“I have talked to him about it a few times. Every time he is good for about a week, and then he slips back into his old habits.”
“We have gone to counseling together (not for marital issues, but mainly to help deal with my own depression) and have talked about this problem there, seeing if maybe there was some sort of depression/anxiety going on for him, but he denied it and didn’t really have an answer for why he won’t take care of himself.”
“As we have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, we have had to have sex, but it has become very mechanical. I will tell him to shower or brush his teeth beforehand and he gets offended.”
“It’s so hard because I really do want to have sex, but when he won’t take care of himself it just disgusts me so much that I don’t even want to kiss him.”
“I don’t know what else to do here. I do love him very much and know that he loves me, but I’m tired of having to tell a grown man when he needs to take a shower or get a haircut.”
Redditors offered their insight.
“This is a tough pill to swallow, but why keep trying for a baby if he can’t take care of himself?”
“It’s so serious it’s been brought up multiple times in person and in therapy. It’s obviously important to you and he just doesn’t take your concerns seriously.”
“If he isn’t willing to improve the situation by simply taking a damn shower, how good is he going to be at parenting duties. Don’t get blinded by the baby fever.” – ThrowRAQueenAvocado
People pointed out the OP is his wife, not his mother.
“I’ve been going through a similar scenario at home and had a realization: you are not your partner’s mother.”
“You should not have to mother them. A 13-year-old boy might be nagged by his mom to brush his teeth, clip his nails, maintain basic hygiene, etc…”
“That’s not within the bounds of your role as a partner.”
“If he’s failing to do these things without being pestered, that is his own dysfunction, and it is NOT your job to fix it!”
“Your partner is shifting the burden of these activities so that he can’t be held accountable – it’s inappropriate, can be abusive, and yep, it’s absolutely only going to get worse, especially with a baby, unless you really address it ASAP.”
“In my situation, we started going to couples counseling. It’s not that my partner is depressed, but that he perceives all criticism as negative, and fears that ‘change’ is mean and bad.”
“He sees a world around him that wants him to change because he’s somehow wrong – rather than looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘how could I be better?'”
“Careful, constructive criticism and intentional change are how we grow as people. He discovered that he’s been confusing vulnerability with hypersensitivity.”
“If my partner has bad breath and I let him know, it’s not because I hate his body and I want him to feel ashamed of his breath – it’s because I love him and it’s easier to kiss him if his face smells good.”
“He’s slowly working to change his entire worldview, which was very fearful and negative, to one that’s confident and positive. It’s a lot of work, and it’s required a lot of really long and difficult conversations for both of us.”
“But he is happier and more confident, and he’s less reliant on me to ‘mother’ him into being functional, so I’m happier, too!”
“I don’t know if this is helpful, but it’s where we are. He’s recognizing that his actions have impacts on our relationship, and that it’s not (and shouldn’t be) my responsibility to show him where corrections can be made.”
“The next step is for him to check in and openly welcome constructive advice, rather than avoiding problems until the only solution is criticism.”
“I’m working on taking the same steps for myself and honestly, just putting it into words and being on the same page has been immensely helpful to us. Good luck OP!” – munchnerk
Many Redditors doubted the husband would be able to take care of a child if he was incapable of taking care of himself.
“The baby will only add more pressure and stress to someone who doesnt seem mentally ready to process what awaits him.”
“He cant even do the basics for himself. Put the potential baby on hold till you’re sure it’s both what you want and can manage.” – Kredhead17
“I mean…forget about a baby. As an adult who has access to basic necessities of life, how do you allow yourself to take a shower once or twice a week and don’t do all other stuff like brushing teeth etc. especially after counseling etc.”
“I would probably start thinking about whether you want to live with such a person, let alone having a child with.” – crypto_pro585
When asked if her husband was always neglectful of his hygiene and what the counselor had to say about it, the OP replied:
“I meet with the counselor privately as well and have asked, and she just said that if he is truly depressed and doesn’t want to seek help for it there is nothing we can do.”
“I kind of get that, as I had to be willing to get help for myself and tried to pretend everything was fine before that. Yes, I think he has always been like this.”
“When his parents come to visit from out of town he acts the same way and his mother doesn’t seem alarmed by any of his habits, so it leads me to believe this has been going on for a long time if not his whole life.”
Many of the Redditors continued expressing their doubts about the husband’s ability to raise a child.
While the OP didn’t get a foolproof solution, they did get validation for their feelings and some helpful advice about therapy and dealing with a partner unwilling to change.