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AIBU to expect my husband to wash?

(155 Posts)
crafter1957 Sun 10-Apr-16 10:26:07

I would be grateful for an outside perspective please. I don't think I am being unreasonable or asking too much of my husband - but he does.

He will only shower twice a week. Daily he shaves and washes his face. He says it makes his skin sore if he showers more often, and I've tried to be understanding about this. BUT he does not wash his armpits or genitals in between showers as a rule (there is the odd exception but mostly not) and I find this offensive, off putting, hurtful and disrespectful.

We have had a huge row about this earlier today. He said he forgets to wash if he doesn't feel uncomfortable, such as when he has been doing physical jobs or exertion such as a long walk, he does not believe me when I tell him that he doesn't need to be exerting himself to start smelling stale, it's what happens to a human body naturally if left unwashed. He also thinks it pertinent that as he has a poor sense of smell does not have the ability to tell if he needs a wash. I feel that he shouldn't actually need to get as far as being smelly, that he should wash as a general daily thing regardless of whether he smells or not. I always wash and would be devastated if I thought he was feeling about me the same way he makes me feel about him.

He cites the fact that there are no flannels available (there a piles of them in the airing cupboard 3 feet away from the bathroom). He says there is nowhere to hang a dirty flannel (I've told him over and over again to put it in the bath and I will launder it straight away). He looks always for an excuse (he calls it a reason) to normalise his washing routine.

I've lost count of how many times I have noticed an unwashed odour when we have had sex, but I don't want to hurt his feelings so mostly I try to just put up with it, but last night he "forgot" to shower (last time was Tuesday so 4 bloody days ago) so I wouldn't let him cuddle up to me at bedtime. I'd had a couple of (unrelated to this) upsetting moments during the day and this was the last straw, which lead to this mornings row. He maintains he "meant" to shower or why else would he have put his pyjamas in the linen bin that morning? This, apparantly should be enough for me to "understand he doesn't mean anything by it"

So am I being unreasonable? I want to show him this thread later on tonight (yes, even if it turns out most of you think I am actually expecting too much) so any responses would be appreciated.

daisiesinthespring Sun 10-Apr-16 10:29:56

You're not being unreasonable AT ALL - however I would be wary of taking it as a personal slight on you.

It does sound as if for whatever reason showering is arduous to him.

Seeyounearertime Sun 10-Apr-16 10:30:33

When did this regime begin?
has it always been this way before you got together or did he shower more often before you married?

For the most part it's not horrific not to shower for 3 days, twice weekly would mean no more than that I guess. but it depends what hes doing? does he have a manual job or an office work? does he go to the gym etc.

Don't know about anyone else but way back in the 80s it wasn't unusual to have family bath night once a week. grin

KittyCheshire Sun 10-Apr-16 10:32:40

he probably doesn't smell 'stale' he smells like a person, which in this day and age people object to.


Wolfiefan Sun 10-Apr-16 10:32:41

I think showering (or proper washing) once a day is a minimum. Dirty flannel. Yuck. He's gross. Just stand in the shower and rub shower gel all over. Takes about 3 minutes.
Oh and I have eczema. I adjust the stuff I use in the shower so it doesn't dry my skin.

flanjabelle Sun 10-Apr-16 10:32:45

Yanbu at all. It is disrespectful to you, especially if he wants you to be intimate, and frankly disgusting.

Is there any chance he could be depressed? It's not normal to be ok about being dirty. He should want to keep himself clean as part of generally looking after himself and presenting himself in a positive way to the world. Often if someone is depressed this is not how they feel and don't care enough about themselves to bother.

If he is not depressed and is just a mucky bugger I would stop pandering to it and be quite frank in how I addressed the issue. It's not pleasant for you, especially getting intimate and it needs sorting. .

A huge yanbu from me.

YoJesse Sun 10-Apr-16 10:33:49

Hahaha there are so many threads like this! I love it because I used to think my dh was the only shower shy minger grin. At least your one shaves. To be fair I've never seen a speck of knob cheese on him!

flanjabelle Sun 10-Apr-16 10:34:03

If the sore skin is not just an excuse, then he should try washing with aqueous cream. It will get him clean, but it won't dry out his skin.

Junosmum Sun 10-Apr-16 10:34:07

YADNBU. He's a grown man and he should be able to remember something as simple as washing his pits and bits daily.

I'd refuse physical contact if he's smelly, I'd have no choice, it would repulse me. I can't stand BO/ stale body smell. I'd also tell him why. You wouldn't be hurting his feelings, you'd doing him a favour. Other people-friends, family, colleagues must be able to smell him too and probably talk about it behind his back.

I'd do the broken record thing " I'm not hugging you until you've had a wash" and then "you smell nice, come here" on days he's showered.

If showering genuinely hurts him he may have a skin condition so you could try getting him so special shower gel, I'm sure other MNs can recommend some.

Pinkheart5915 Sun 10-Apr-16 10:35:16

I don't think your being unreasonable.
I wouldn't want to cuddle up to him or have sex if he has bad body odour.
Has this always been his routine? Has it only just started bothering you?

My dh showers every morning and on the days he goes to work he showers once home too and he is a solicitor so no manual heavy job to make him sweaty.

TheCrumpettyTree Sun 10-Apr-16 10:35:36

Yanbu. He should at least wash inbetween showers. If you don't wash you smell, and it's not nice for anyone around.

Yeahsure Sun 10-Apr-16 10:36:46

That is a good point actually Seeyou - in fact in t'80s we didn't really shower, we had baths and that was often just a couple of times a week! Seems nuts now.

OP I really sympathise, can you tell him it makes you feel unattracted to him and say you won't sleep with him unless he showers? Stop pussy footing around that one - say it's putting you off having sex! It's the truth, truth hurts sometimes.

What's the uncomfortable skin about, is it psoriasis or eczema? There are so many ways round that, my middle dd has skin probs but manages it very well with different lotions and potions.

Costacoffeeplease Sun 10-Apr-16 10:37:22

Yuk, yanbu

RatherBeRiding Sun 10-Apr-16 10:41:23

YANBU at all. If he has a skin condition then a daily shower might not be the best thing for him. BUT:

a) see a GP about the skin condition and get some sensitive cleansing products for him
b) Clean flannel daily - pits and bits - flannel straight in linen bin.

I would refuse to share a bed with someone who was smelly, let alone have sex with them. Yuk.

TheDowagerCuntess Sun 10-Apr-16 10:41:26

Oh, that's just so grim.

Why on earth would he think someone would want to have sex with a 4-day unwashed person? 😷

Who does he think he is, to expect you to find that attractive?

SausageSmuggler Sun 10-Apr-16 10:41:29

Ew YANBU! My DH is a bit of a shower dodger but will do if I tell him to. I don't want me and my bed ending up smelling because of him.

Yes in 'the olden days' people didn't shower or bath as much but the OP is saying he doesn't wash in between at all.

HPsauciness Sun 10-Apr-16 10:42:13

Yeah people may have only bathed once a week, but they did strip washes or flannel baths every day. They knew it was difficult to keep clean (and didn't have anti-perspirant) so made an effort to do so. I was taught by my mum how to do a strip wash at the basin for days we didn't have baths/showers.

Couple not washing with wearing synthetic clothing and heating in public places/offices/homes and I'm sure he doesn't smell great.

People in the past didn't have a choice about smelling, even though they tried to prevent it. We now have a choice, that's the difference (and he doesn't have to use shower gels, even just water and perhaps an eczema wash would help, we use one from the drs).

Little children don't need to wash daily but grown sweaty men do!

TheDowagerCuntess Sun 10-Apr-16 10:43:19

he probably doesn't smell 'stale' he smells like a person

No, he will definitely smell stale. We're talking four days unwashed here.

MadAboutFourteen Sun 10-Apr-16 10:43:54

So rather than seeking medical help for a dry skin condition, he's happy for everyone to know him as the minger that smells? Gross.

I have dry skin and eczema. I moisturise after my shower, job done.

seven201 Sun 10-Apr-16 10:49:43

Yanbu. Maybe he could change to every other day as a compromise. I don't enjoy showers so I usually have a bath - could he do that sometimes?

My husband doesn't have a sense of smell and refuses to wear deodorant and has a physical job! To be fair though he does shower twice a day. He just doesn't understand deodorant and gets all upset when I tell him his armpits smell so I've given up. I just don't get it as I know he wouldn't want other people to think he's smelly, but he is sometimes!

MatildaTheCat Sun 10-Apr-16 10:50:06

Does he have any mental health problems or a neglectful childhood? If not supply whatever shower products he can tolerate and treat him like a child. 'bath time!' shower

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 10-Apr-16 10:51:08

I am quite happy to skip a days shower if I will be just chilling at home, or will be doing something mucky and I'll want to shower afterwards. But I wouldn't be expecting anyone to cuddle me let alone have sex with me!

I feel grubby without a shower except when camping (somehow being outdoors all the time seems to blow away the grime). Even then, pits and bits washed daily.

But i don't understand why you're having sex with him in that state if it bothers you so much.

superwormissuperstrong Sun 10-Apr-16 10:53:05

He's being gross.
Yes can understand he may not like it because of his skin conditions so he needs to learn how to look after them. With DD's eczema we use a moisturising lotion instead of soaps and shower gels to clean with in the bath or shower. Then the affected areas are regularly moisturised with a rich greasy cream. Might need to try a few different creams till you find the one that works for you as everyone's condition is individual.
Even if he doesn't full on wet shower or bath he should be cleaning his armpits and between his legs even day.

Penguinepenguins Sun 10-Apr-16 10:53:23


Echoing what other posters have said, who would want to sleep next too, let alone have sex with a four day unwashed man... And not even a flannel touch up inbetween even more disgusting. No way would you want to be getting up close and personal to that, well I wouldn't anyway massive turn off.

And all that smell must rub off onto your linens... I love getting into bed when it smells all fresh and clean, even towards the end of the week it smells reasonable as DP and I both have regular washes I would have to be washing sheets constantly with that going on.

Out of respect for you he should at least wash his man parts before having sex with you, oh it's just disgusting.

Really feel for you OP

YoJesse Sun 10-Apr-16 10:54:39

I don't think everyone smells after 4 days unwashed. unless you get really close

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