Ask Amy: Boyfriend's showering habits causing a stink

Posted: July 05, 2010

Dear Amy: Help! I have been dating the most wonderful man for eight months. He is the most kind, caring, and loving man I have ever been with.

My problem started when I sold my house and moved in with him temporarily.

Since living with him I have learned that he doesn't shower every day!

He doesn't have body odor and it's not obvious that he doesn't bathe, but now that I'm living with him I've seen that he sometimes lets as long as four days pass between showers.

I was raised to shower every day and I really find this disgusting.

I've tried every way I can think of to persuade him to shower every day - joking, cajoling, and being stern. For me, this is a deal breaker.

I realize I shouldn't have moved in with him and that situation will change soon, but can you help me come up with ways to convince him that he must bathe every day?

- Clean, Not Mean

Dear Clean: I'll point out that the practice of showering or bathing daily is not universal; I assume that people who bathe daily are probably in the minority - in this country and elsewhere.

If you two had a frank conversation about this, your guy might point out that his skin gets yucky if he uses soap too often - or that he is motivated by the thought of saving thousands of gallons of water each year. (If that's his reasoning, perhaps you could suggest that you two share your showers.)

Most important, if you are a bathing maniac and yet don't notice any ill effects of his bathing schedule, then why do you care so much? And if this is so important to you, couldn't he compromise and shower more often?

If you declare something to be a deal breaker and he doesn't cooperate, then it may be time to pack your shampoo and go.

Dear Amy: I have been married for 15 years. We have two amazing sons. I just found out that my husband has been having an affair for the last 18 months. I forgive him - but he is not letting his relationship go!

We have been to one session of counseling and he doesn't want to continue with counseling. He thinks he should be with his girlfriend and with me. Is this the most selfish and disrespectful thing you have ever heard? I can't live like this.

He says he wants to be free and wants no one to control him. Is it so wrong that I want to know where he is and what he is doing?

I am really working to make my marriage work again, especially for my children.

Do you have any advice for us getting through this rough patch?

- Worried Wife

Dear Worried: Is this a rough patch? It seems more like a serious condition than a glitch in your marriage.

Your husband has announced that he intends to continue to have a girlfriend, regardless of how this relationship affects your family. He doesn't seem overly worried about your sons' welfare.

It's hard to imagine how staying with him under these circumstances is good for you or your sons.

Continue counseling on your own. Don't focus on how to get your husband to change. Concentrate on figuring out what you want and develop a strategy for what you will do if he does not change.


Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to "Ask Amy," Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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