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Till Excessive Slovenliness Do We Part

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Dear Annie: I've known my wife for two years. We've been living together for five months and married for one. I love her a ton.

I pull my share of the load around here, including paying half the bills and buying the groceries. I cook, clean and do all of the yard work and home maintenance. The problem is, my wife is a slob.

I'm not a perfectionist, but I like things tidy and organized. My wife has no problem making a snack in the kitchen and leaving the mess for me to clean up. She never makes the bed. She drops things all over the house, and I end up picking up after her constantly. She says I'm "such a sweetheart," but I'd gladly give up the moniker for a little more help.

This sloppiness is a side of her I didn't know. She sometimes goes two or three days without a shower, and it is noticeable. How do I approach her about these things without upsetting her and starting a fight? — Eating on Me

Dear Eating: We are continually amazed that people can be so blind to the bad habits of a loved one when they have been living with them for months. You may need to tell your wife that she has a strong aroma that others may notice. But you also can encourage her to bathe more often by showering together as part of foreplay, telling her how much you love her clean scent. You can remind her to pick up after herself or, if you can afford it, hire someone to clean your place.

You can "train" her, but it will take time and loving patience. If she is unwilling to work on this, get professional counseling before throwing in the (clean) towel.

Dear Annie: I am a retired married woman in my 50s and try to go to bed before 11 p.m. every night. For a combination of reasons, I can't get comfortable falling asleep. Sometimes I will read awhile, but either the nightstand light bothers me or my arthritis does.

So I toss and turn.

My husband is up until the wee hours. If by some miracle I have fallen asleep, he wakes me up fiddling with his iPod. Then my cat wakes me by scratching the mattress for an early morning feeding. So on a good night, I average five hours of sleep. It not only feels lonely lying in bed by myself, but this regimen has got to be taking a toll on my body. How do I cope? — Not Counting Sheep or Blessings

Dear Not Counting: It is not unusual for husbands and wives to have different sleep schedules. Try some relaxation techniques. Don't read in bed, and turn off the nightstand lights. Take a hot shower or bath. Make the room as dark as possible, or wear a sleep mask and earplugs. Invest in a fan or white-noise machine. Keep the bedroom door closed so the cat cannot get in. Explain to your husband that you need him to be sensitive to your sleep problems. Also, get a complete checkup, and talk to your doctor about medication and a referral to a sleep clinic.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Can't Help Being Concerned," whose boyfriend has rape fantasies. You said this was fairly common and suggested she consider role-playing. However, you left out an absolutely vital piece of advice.

Rape fantasies can too easily become actual rape if she becomes frightened during the role-play and wants to quit. Usual protestations like "Stop!" could be mistaken as part of the role-play. To be protected, they must first agree on a safe word (unrelated to the activity) that will end the role-play immediately. — Safety First

Dear Safety: You are absolutely correct, and we were remiss not to mention the necessity of a safe word. (We suspect yelling out "Annie's Mailbox!" would get the message across.)

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

67 Comments | Post Comment
Re: Lise Brouillette
Actually a matter of money came up long after the dad died. A lawyer handling it told the siblings this sister had to be included equally and they were all fighting to not include her. I suggested DNA testing and they all, including my husband, informed me point blank I was just an in-law and to mind my own business. Makes me wonder if they were afraid the DNA tests would prove them wrong and they might have to apologize to her after all these years. I don't know if she was or wasn't, I just know it is wrong to sow such seeds of hatred like that among the siblings, that as adults they all shared their father's anger. They say she doesn't look like the rest of the family, but I've never met her and she isn't even in any family pictures so I'll have to take their word for that. Oh well, I'm sure if I outlive my husband, most of them will conveniently "forget" my existence as I have been reminded multiple times I merely married into their family. We don't live near them and our kids are grown.
But, that is why I find it hard to even imagine this "grandpa" simply wants a relationship with his grandson. If he has such hatred for the mother that he cannot stand to see or talk to her, how can he honestly love her child?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Elizabeth
Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:02 PM
The above post went with yesterdays. Apparently it switched as I was writing. Sorry.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Elizabeth
Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:05 PM
LW2's letter sounds like something I could have written. I have a husband who works from home and sometimes likes to stay up late or come to bed just as I'm dozing off - after which it is difficult to get back to sleep. And I have cats who like to try to get attention at 2am. I know for a fact that earplugs can be bad news. After awhile, they irritate your ears and can even cause ear infections. But really, these are small issues that are only little pieces of her insomnia. . She said she can't get comfortable enough to sleep, which means there is something physically going on.

What she really needs to do is read up on insomnia and experiment with different ways to help herself get to sleep, regardless of what the husband is doing.. I've noticed little things help: stopping all caffeine after 6PM, not watching TV right before bed and remembering not to just lie there if I can't sleep. Get up out of bed and read a book instead of tossing and turning so that you don't associate your bed with the stress of not being able to sleep. Recently, someone suggested that I take magnesium supplements. I was surprised to find that they truly made a big difference in fighting insomnia. Since I've been taking them, I actually go to sleep and stay asleep more often without being woken up by every tiny disturbance.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Datura
Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:38 PM
LW1 makes it sound like he met his wife for the FIRST time the day she moved in! Was this an internet/long distance relationship before they moved in together? If so, they got married WAY TOO fast.....if not, they dated for 19 months before living together, and he never saw her living space? Or smelled her? Right. Either he's extraordinarily self-involved and oblivious, or, he proposed to her but now he wants her to change.
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Oh, and this attitude always gets my hackles up; "....and leaving the mess for me to clean up." That's highly unlikely. Truth is, she's not leaving a mess FOR YOU, she's leaving a mess because frankly, she could care less if there's a mess. Doesn't bother her in the least. When she lived alone, before you met her, she left a mess. Was that for YOU, too?
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YOU are the one that cares. LW1 --- not her. She's just being herself, and YOU are taking it personally.
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It's controlling behavior. You're saying that YOUR cares and desires are The Only Way Humans Should Live, and any violation of that proves other people are doing it wrong. They are inferior and a burden.
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I once had a roommate who acted like that -- he would say things like "and I suppose I'll have to polish the woodwork alone tonight since you're working?" as if I cared a whit about polishing his grandmother's dining room set twice a month!? After living with him for just two months, I absolutely dreaded going home; I'd drive by waiting for his bedroom light to go off before sneaking in. When home, I never left my room. I never cooked; heck, I kept granola bars in my car just to avoid touching anything in his precious kitchen. I thought I'd managed to stay completely out of his way....but one morning -- the final straw was taped to my door: "When you use mouthwash, can you please run the water for a few minutes after you spit it down the drain? If you don't, I can smell it."
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Here's the deal, LW1 --- she's not a guest in your world. She's your wife. You're supposed to be equals. She's probably just as anxious about your non-stop cleaning as you are about her polishing-apathy. I bet she'd like to feel at home. I bet she'd like to think your love isn't dependent on her ability to act JUST LIKE YOU.
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LW1: Quit whining about it, accept her for who she is, and get a housekeeper! It's your hangup, not hers.
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Comment: #4
Posted by: Johanna
Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:01 PM
To LW1, if you're reading this, please forget trying to get your wife to change her habits with "sex games" and "foreplay" and such. What are you supposed to do when you're not in a mood for sex? The Annies mean well I guess but their advice is off kilter. Forget the cutesy nonsense... you don't need to work for the rest of your life playing little games to get your wife to take a shower. You do need to sit down and have a frank discussion with her. Tell her you love her and are happy with most things about your life together, but that you need some things from her: to shower every day, to clean up messes when she makes them, because cleaning up after her is grating on you. Say it simply and non-judgementally. If she gets mad, get mad back. What your marriage needs isn't cutesy evasive games and manipulations, it's a little unafraid communication.


To LW2, you need a room of your own you can sleep in at least two or three nights a week without interruption. Even knowing you have that room available, a private, totally quiet retreat, will probably help you to sleep better on the nights you do spend with him. Make clear to your husband what your needs are, and enlist his help in setting up the kind of environment you need.


To the Annies, you redeemed yourselves for your bad answer to LW1, and made me laugh, with your answer to LW3.




Comment: #5
Posted by: sarah morrow
Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:16 PM
To LW1, if you're reading this, please forget trying to get your wife to change her habits with "sex games" and "foreplay" and such. What are you supposed to do when you're not in a mood for sex? The Annies mean well I guess but their advice is off kilter. Forget the cutesy nonsense... you don't need to work for the rest of your life playing little games to get your wife to take a shower. You do need to sit down and have a frank discussion with her. Tell her you love her and are happy with most things about your life together, but that you need some things from her: to shower every day, to clean up messes when she makes them, because cleaning up after her is grating on you. Say it simply and non-judgementally. If she gets mad, get mad back. What your marriage needs isn't cutesy evasive games and manipulations, it's a little unafraid communication.


To LW2, you need a room of your own you can sleep in at least two or three nights a week without interruption. Even knowing you have that room available, a private, totally quiet retreat, will probably help you to sleep better on the nights you do spend with him. Make clear to your husband what your needs are, and enlist his help in setting up the kind of environment you need.


To the Annies, you redeemed yourselves for your bad answer to LW1, and made me laugh, with your answer to LW3.




Comment: #6
Posted by: sarah morrow
Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:17 PM
Re: Johanna


Hi Johanna, there's a price to pay for the kind of slovenliness you seem intent on defending. It's not just a matter of personal preference or a lifestyle choice. When you live like a pig there are consequences. I know a couple who lived like the wife the LW described... leaving messes, not taking out the garbage, leaving sinks full of dirty dishes. They would sometimes let the garbage sit for two weeks before taking it out. They were worse off than the LW and his wife because they were both total slobs. They had "found each other."


They had constant problems due to their housekeeping, and always complained about them. They got a gnat and fly infestation, but didn't learn anything from it. After that they got a rodent infestation... mice AND rats found their way into the house and set up housekeeping in the walls and ceiling. I visited once and could see why the rodents had been attracted to the house. There was an underlying smell of decay that the couple had become oblivious to, after living in it for so long. Friends stopped visiting and they complained about the fickleness of their friends.


You described the LW's wife well: she's "leaving a mess because frankly, she could care less if there's a mess. Doesn't bother her in the least." The question is whether someone who knows the value of a clean house, would want to stay married to such a person. If your point is that we shouldn't become compulsive and obsessive about cleaning, I would agree with that, but a spouse whose spouse lets the housekeeping become nonexistent, has a legitimate complaint.


Re: your incredulity that he didn't know she was like that, most likely she was on "good behavior" when they were dating. They after the marriage vows, she decided to "just be herself," i.e., be the slob described in the letter.
Comment: #7
Posted by: sarah morrow
Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:32 PM
I doubt very much that the slovenly wife either leaves messes on purpose just to cheese-off her husband, OR that she is "just as anxious about your non-stop cleaning as you are about her polishing-apathy," as Johanna so snidely put it. My experience has been that when there is an "odd couple" (a neat freak living with a slob, whether married or platonic roommates)...the slob does like having the clean space. The only caveat is that she doesn't value it enough to put in the effort herself, and why should she? She's got an unpaid maid who walks around picking up after her. I faced a similar situation when I first began going to college away from home. I rented a two-bedroom apartment near campus, and a guy that I knew only slightly, moved in with me. I soon found out that he was a first-class, grade-A slob. I'm talking: does laundry only every six months (and then when the dirty clothes are literally ankle-deep in his room) and left dirty plates in his room to the point where it smelled like something died in there. You get the idea. I think I saw him wash a dish precisely ONCE in the entire time we lived together and then it was because he needed to use it on the spot and there wasn't anything else clean. I by contrast had come from a home where the theme was "a place for everything and everything in its place," spotless all the time. Arguing with my roommate went nowhere. I soon realized that if I wanted the apartment cleaned to my standards, I would have to do it myself, including cleaning up his messes in the kitchen AND doing all the regular housework, because he wasn't going to help and nothing I said or did would change that. Eventually his slovenly ways rubbed-off on me and I stopped caring about being tidy, partly out of resentment. After that I cleaned my own dishes only and did housework only periodically. The upshot is that we got along a lot better after I arrived at that conclusion. Years later, a neat-and-tidy girlfriend moved in with me, and it was deja vu all over again. Only this time, I was the slob, having been trained by my college roommate. Eventually, the pattern repeated itself - she stopped hassling me and gave up. She cleaned up her own mess only and made no effort to keep the apartment tidy or extra clean. As with my roommate, we got along better after that.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Matt
Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:53 PM
Re: sarah morrow
I agree with most of what you say....but LW1 never even remotely suggested that his wife was nearly as bad as the people you describe. There's a HUGE leap from "she never makes the bed" to "living like a pig." Me? I clean in waves -- typically once a week I do a thorough cleaning of everything. Which is fine by me. It's just not important to me that every single surface shines every single moment of every single day. LW1 wouldn't be complaining about "picking things up" if he was finding dried pudding in their keyboard. It sounds like he's annoyed she left her scarf hanging on the doorknob, not a rotting bag of leftovers from the 4th of July picnic.
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Personally, I'm just not concerned with little messes that are the result of active living -- like a stack of work papers on a coffee table or leaving a peanut butter jar on the kitchen table while eating my snack and working. If my old, controlling neat-freak roommate walked in before I bothered to put back that PB, well, then I was "leaving my mess for him." I suspect LW1 is the same way. If she were living in a bug-and-rodent-infested apartment before they married, I think LW1 would have mentioned it here....or at least noticed!
Comment: #9
Posted by: Johanna
Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:08 PM
To Eating on Me (LW 1) I'm surprised you didn't see these "sloppy" habits during the 5 months you lived together. However, they are happening now. If you want a sandwich, fix it yourself. If your wife drops her things and clothes on the floor, move them aside so no one trips and let them pile up. See how many days it takes for her to move them. I disagree with the Annies: do NOT suggest a shower together as "foreplay." Your wife is a grown woman and knows she should bathe or shower every day. Inform her kindly that she must shower every morning, or before bed, not only for hygiene but to help prevent itchiness and potential yeast infections, which are horrible. Suggest you share the laundry chores: either split it up (you'll load the washer, she can fold the clothes from the dryer) or you can take turns each week doing the job. If you enjoy watching programs together, during a commercial, say, "Let's get those dishes washed up." Let them drip-dry in the drainer to be put away later. Thank her when she does remember to pick up after herself. I hope your marriage can outlast this issue, because you obviously love her. Be patient and tolerant, and work on little things, one at a time, until she gets the habit herself.

To Not Counting Sheep or Blessings (LW 2) I have Bi-polar disorder and struggle with insomnia all the time. I have night medication which I use properly and sometimes I still do not fall asleep easily. I sleep soundly, yet I often wake up after 3 or 4 hours, which means I have trouble getting back to sleep. It's horribly frustrating, so I understand what you are going through. You really need to see your G.P. and ask for a referral to a sleep-study doctor. If there is a medical reason for your insomnia, they will try to discover it. If you need medicine, ask them to start with something mild, and non-narcotic (which means it's not as much of a threat to become dependent on it) such as Ambien, which I take. The other suggestions to cut out caffeine, use your your bed for sleep or sex only, read while sitting up in a chair, keep your cat in another room so she/he won't interrupt you, asking your husband to please use his Ipod after he wakens and gets OUT of bed, will all help too. I also take my baths late as night to help
myself relax. I mean relaxing in the tub, not just standing under a hot shower for 5 minutes, as that can actually "stimulate" your nerves in a positive way and may bring your body "more awake." I would write down the times you wake up during the night and how long you think it took to actually fall asleep, so you and your doctor can have a starting position to work from. Good luck, I hope you'll be able to count your blessings soon.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Jean
Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:37 AM
LW1 - I was thinking the same thing Johanna posted - did this man never see his wife's home prior to their marriage? Or notice that she hadn't showered in a few days before they got married? He didn't state in the letter that she was never like that and changed after they got married so I assume she has always been that way. If she was like that while they were dating and he still married her, then he has nobody to blame but himself. A good friend of mine has always been a slob and her husband knew that going in to their marriage. That's why they have a cleaning lady. As for the non-showering, I would be tempted not to be anywhere near her when she's ripe.

LW2 - Try Melatonin. You can buy it with the vitamins in the store. It's a natural hormone that tells your brain it's time to go to sleep. I've been using it for quite awhile since I have an odd work schedule. Take it about 1/2 hour to an hour before you want to go to sleep. I've had luck with it. It's worth a shot.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Michelle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:44 AM
LW1's story is a good example of why I advocate living together before marriage. I agree with Sarah Marrow in that playing "sex" games and "training" exercises aren't going to change his wife's habits. She is who she is. Some people are slobs and others are neat freaks. It's been that way forever. The trick is to find a happy medium. My advice is for LW1 to sit his wife down and lovingly explain that he prefers a certain standard of housekeeping and personal hygiene and anything less than that will cause resentment and stress. Then, he should figure out where his wife's strengths lie and shift household responsibilities accordingly (perhaps she excels at money management, home improvement projects, or gardening). In any case, the LW should accept that he'll be the one handling the housekeeping if he expect an orderly and neat environment. A marriage counselor will be a good mediator for those times when nerves fray. Good luck!
Comment: #12
Posted by: Chris
Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:26 AM
A cleaning lady isn't going to help - she's there to clean, not pick up and put away everything that's been left out. She can't clean if she can't get at what needs cleaning.
We have a cleaning lady and my husband has no problem coming in with muddy feet and tracking all over the house right after she's come - what's the big deal, he says. He also has no problem making a sandwich a nice clean counter after he's left the bread in a different place while he puts the rest back (without the twist tie to keep it fresh for everyone else) or leaving his cap and jacket draped everywhere. Even though I've asked him several times to clean up after himself, he just doesn't care enough. I'm not his mother and I would resent being told I have to "train" him - that was his mother's job.
Some people just don't care enough about the people in their lives.
Comment: #13
Posted by: also tired
Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:54 AM
Not to defend LW1's wife or anything, but I never understood the point of making the bed. Keeping clean sheets/pillow cases, yes. Making it daily, no. What's the point when you're just going to mess it up again in approximately 12 hours?
Comment: #14
Posted by: Candi Anne
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:01 AM
Both the husband who wants a cleaner house and the wife who can't get any sleep have roommate problems, not marital problems. I guess this will sound weird to many of you, but my DH and I have so many differences in what we want, including schedule, temperature, privacy, neatness, sleep habits, and food preferences, that we live in a duplex. The door is always open, and we spend as much waking time together as most couples, more than many. Our relationship is loving and sexy, but we don't try to be roommates.

We rarely sleep together because we're rarely sleeping at the same time anyway. He takes care of his own cleaning, I take care of mine. He's responsible for the car, I'm responsible for the yard. We don't interfere or second-guess each other, and we're extremely happy. We've been together on this basis for twelve years, married for six. It works.
Comment: #15
Posted by:
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:18 AM
On 'Can't Help Being Concerned': I remember reading the original letter from the young woman whose boyfriend had rape fantasies, and found it very disturbing. Even more upsetting was the fact that the Annies actually encouraged rape role-playing, saying it could add spice to her love life. If a woman wants to engage in that it's her choice, but nothing in the original LW's letter gave me the impression that she would be into that sort of thing. It also bothered me that so many posters were getting on the bandwagon stating how 'normal' rape play during sex is. Some people may enjoy it, just like some people enjoy getting tied up and spanked during sex. But to me there is something abnormal about bringing pain or the possibility of it into sexual activity. It should never be suggested as a way to improve someone's love life (and what does love have to do with such behavior anyway?)

The current LW's idea of a 'safe word' is a good one. But in my opinion, if you put yourself in a situation where you would even need such a thing, you're asking for trouble. The original LW's boyfriend may not have been dangerous; he sounded like he was confessing something he felt she should know. But if he tries to actually act out these fantasies, and she isn't 100% in agreement with it, she should say no and not back down. And if he seems unwilling to take no for an answer, well, there's only one thing for her to do: RUN, and don't look back.
Comment: #16
Posted by: JMG
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:19 AM
I can tell you that the two different personalities and their preferences for cleanliness in the house will tear apart this marriage if it is not dealt with. They will end up hating each other. I've been there, only it was him that was the slob. Sex "games" are not going to do it. A good counselor, an agreed upon housework chart, and a shower agreement are the only answers.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Robin C
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:28 AM
LW1:
Where did the Annies and everyone else pick up that he was being blind to her behaviour? He distinctly said, "This sloppiness is a side of her I didn't know".

I once had a boyfriend move in whose apartment was spic and span. We had been dating for over a year when he moved in, and he had been the perfect host whenever I was a guest at his place, not to mention that there was nothing out of place in there. The minute he moved in, he stopped doing anything. When I expressed surprise, he stated that, once there was a woman in the house, he felt "devirilised" about doing housework. Right.

This happens a lot. People change - or should I say, they change back. They put their best foot forward, they make a supreme effort not to show a side of themselves they, deep down, know perfectly well is unacceptable - until they feel safe that they've won the conquering game and then they get real. I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't case of that here. That wife sounds like she thinks she won the find-a-spouse game. I have news for her - there's also a game called 'keep-a-spouse'.

I hope Mrs Slob doesn't lose that second game the same way Mr. Devirilised did with me - there were a few other unsavory things about him that started popping up even as he was moving in. You are "continually amazed that people can be so blind", Annies? What am I continually amazed at is how anyone expects to get away with it when they change the deal abruptly. This is outright false representation.

Comment: #18
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:33 AM
Re: Candi Anne

It looks tidier and more inviting, I suppose... But you're right, I never make mine either.

Comment: #19
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:36 AM
Re: Elizabeth

I would guess that yes, they were all afraid that the DNA tests would prove them wrong after all these years of using this poor woman as a skapegoat for their hostility. The DNA test should have been suggested by the lawyer, but I'm sure you had no idea your own husband would turn in on you over that, otherwise you would have suggested it to him, not to your husband.

It sounds like the whole bunch - including your husband, unfortunately - only count people as family when it suits them. What a hornets' nest you landed in! I hope for your sake that your husband has sterling qualities to compensate for the fact that he can turn on you like a snake.

Otherwise, it sounds like you're sleeping with the enemy, honey, and I feel for you.

Comment: #20
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:45 AM
LW1 - As this letter could ALMOST have been written by my husband, I have many thoughts on this.

Showering every day, for more people, is unnecessary and a waste of water. Most people should be washing their hair 2 to 4 times per week. However, washing every day IS necessary. I shower every other day (unless it's a workout day in which case I shower regardless), but I have what I affectionately refer to as a "whore's bath" on the days that I don't bathe. By that, I mean washing out the "smelly parts" - crotch, pits, feet. Your arms and legs aren't going to reek by not washing them for a couple days.

The Annies' advice to make showering part of foreplay is cute, but impractical. She may not enjoy having someone in there with her when she's trying to shower (I wouldn't) and, if in a few years their sex life slows down, LW1 will have the same problem. If her body odour is noticeable to others, he should do her the kindness of telling her. I don't hesitate to tell my husband "eww, you stink" if he does. The one time I went three days without bathing (I was very, very ill but didn't realize how bad it was at the time), I sure heard about it. However, if by "noticeable" he means when he gets close to her head she has a slight odour, that isn't worth getting into a tizzy. People smell like people. It is only very recently that we have decided that people should smell like NOTHING.

Regarding various cleaning up chores. At home, my husband does the dishes, the laundry (he won't let me wash his clothes anyway), the cat litter and most of the tidying. I do the cleaning (carpets/floors, bathrooms, windows, etc) about once a week. I suggest that LW1 and his wife list the various chores and split them up. LW1's goal should be that the house be presentable should a guest stop by.

Then, LW1 should accept that he will always be the cleaner one in the relationship. An unmade bed isn't a big deal, but food lying around is. Both partners should be willing to bend a little to make it work.

Re: Johanna

She may have made more of an effort while they were dating (cleaning before he came over, showering before they went on a date).

Re: sarah morrow & co.

We don't really know how bad LW1's wife is, though. Based on LW1's description, I'm thinking she's messy but not filthy. As in, doesn't make the bed, leaves things lying around, but wouldn't let the garbage pile up for weeks or never wash the dishes. LW1's comment that "she sometimes goes two or three days without a shower" makes me think that at her worst, she really isn't that bad. Bathing every 2 or 3 days "sometimes" (I assume that the rest of the time she showers daily) isn't a big deal AT ALL. It's not even "once every three days" ALL the time, let alone once or twice a month or something.

Re: jean

Yeast injections are CAUSED by bathing with soap (among other things) because it washes away the bacteria that keeps the yeast in check. Bathing every 2-3 days, she is FAR less likely to get yeast infections than someone who bathes daily.


Re: Chris

Did you know that living together prior to marriage actually makes couples MORE likely to get divorced? I'm still all for living together before marriage but the proof is in the pudding.

LW2 - Separate bedrooms. It sounds unromatic but it doesn't need to be. You'll both sleep better, in the conditions you want.

LW3 - RE: JMG

I don't go for that kind of thing either but your comment is ignorant. Just because you don't engage is such activities, doesn't make them dangerous, or wrong, or "asking for trouble".
Comment: #21
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:11 AM
@sarah morrow
The couple you described sound like they would be excellent candidates for that show Clean House with Niecy Nash!
Comment: #22
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:12 AM
Lots of interesting comments on LW1s dilemma, although I think Johanna's first post is so hostile it sounds like a backlash at her former roommate instead of the letter writer. Roommates are one thing - spouses are another, and there's a side of this that hasn't been mentioned. This wife may have sloppy habits, but it's disingenuous to say that's "who she is." I believe the number one thing that tears marriages apart is simple lack of consideration. She leaves her mess on the sink even though she knows how much it bothers him. A considerate person would clean up after themselves. Very few people love doing housework, but considerate spouses don't make more work for each other. I'll wash the dishes even if most of them are my husband's because I love him. He does most of the cooking - and laundry too. People who love each other want to make life easier for each other, not harder, and that simple consideration should go far beyond "who they are" as an excuse for what they do or don't do.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:39 AM
Maggie, thanks for an excellent post. If we were always all allowed to be "who we are", we're all still be throwing tantrums like two year old children. She will likely never be a clean freak and that's okay, but she should make some effort to show that she cares about her husband and their household.
However, if LW1 doesn't say anything (his letter indicates that he has not) and just stews over it, he has only himself to blame. It is also possible that he makes it difficult for his wife to help as my husband used to do before I made him aware of it. If I started doing the dishes, he would come into the kitchen and say "don't worry about the dishes, I'll finish them" and then complain that I never helped with the dishes.

I finally just told him that if he wanted help with his daily chores, he should just ask ("I'm exhausted, can you do the dishes?") and that I would gladly help. And likewise, if I was very tired and trying clean the house, I might ask him to do the windows.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:52 AM
LW1: How does one LIVE with someone for 5 months, and never notice what they noticed after they married? Was the wife neat and clean for 5 months, then got the ring, and got sloppy? Something's amiss here. She needs to be told that she has body odor. And her husband is the one person who can tell her without repercussions, because it's hard for a friend or coworker to say such a thing. Only spouses or family members can be that honest with each other.

LW2: To sleep, try something really boring. We have a TV int he bedroom. Every time we plan to watch a movie or something, we wind up falling asleep to the tv. In fact, sometimes we will watch something really boring, like "How It's Made" on the Science channel, or "Build It Bigger" or some other show geared towards people who have nothing else to do, and it works like a charm. Trying to concentrate on something so utterly boring will put you to sleep fast. I'll eventually turn off the tv while half-asleep, and sleep through the entire night. Also helps to be physically tired, so do a lot of activity before sleeping, like dishwasher, tidying up, feeding the cat at night (maybe change her feeding schedule, or leave enough dry food out so that she's not scratching your door for food - obviously she doesn't have enough in her bowl).
Comment: #25
Posted by: Salty
Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:52 AM
Re: Salty

I like your idea about being tired before bed and changing the cat's eating schedule, but I disagree two comments. Turning the TV on fall asleep is a waste of energy if you're doing it more than once or twice a month or leaving the TV on for more than an hour at a time.

Additionally, the fact that the cat is scratching the door in the morning probably doesn't mean she "obviously doesn't have enough food in her bowl". In fact, she shouldn't have food available to her at all times (it may lead to obesity). She is just used to that schedule. But changing the cat's eating schedule is a good idea. Just ignore her until you're ready to feed her (maybe at 9 am or something).

Why can't the husband feed the cat if he wakes up that early to play with his iphone, anyway?
Comment: #26
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:04 AM
@Chris - LW1 said that he lived with his wife for four months before and they were married. Obviously, living together first didn't help in this case.

@Kitty O'Shea - I LOVE Clean House. I know what Neicy would say, "uuuhh, what's going on with all this mayhem and foolishness up in here??!!"

LW1 reminds of minor cleaning issues my husband and I had when we were dating and early in our marriage. When we were dating, I was hanging out with him at his place when his sister called and said she was on her way over to meet me for the first time. I took a look around and decided we should straighten up before she arrived. I asked him if he wanted me to help him and he said yes so I went and started wiping down the bathroom. A few minutes later I noticed that he was still sitting on the couch watching a football game. I asked what he was doing and he told me, "if you are cleaning then I don't need to do it". I promptly sat down beside him. I told him that this was his place and if he didn't care whether or not it was presentable to his family, than neither did I. He turned off the TV and we cleaned together.

Then about a year after we were married, we decided to go to bed. When we got to the bedroom, I realized that I had stripped the bed of the linens in the morning to wash them and had forgotten to make the bed. While I went to the linen closet to get fresh linens, he decided to back to the office, telling me that he could work on his computer while I make the bed. I said, "aren't you going to help me?" He replied, "it only takes one person to make a bed." I replied, "well then I guess it only takes one person to sleep in it". I made the bed and got in it. A few minutes later, I heard him tip-toeing up the steps in to ouyr bedroom. I said, "do you seriously plan to sleep here tonight?" He wordless went back downstairs and slept on the couch. I haven't had an attitude about him helping me to clean since then.
Comment: #27
Posted by: sharnee
Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:28 AM
Re: sharnee
Love it!
Comment: #28
Posted by: Honor Girl
Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:41 AM
Johanna, I'll back you up here. I agree her messes were not laid out or left for HIM. That's absurd to say the least.
And, frankly, I have found, cuz I lived it for 2 years before vacating after having had enough of the nagging, a neat, tidy person tends to see clutter and messes though their own perspective, which is not necessarily what one would consider a “normal” perspective. And, it is controlling and he sound hyper-sensitive and somewhat martyrish

The boyfriend, after dating for over a year and he, practically living with me at my house with my 2 children, 6 and 18 yrs old, had us move in with him…more room! Right away, the nagging started: Kleenex goes in the toilet not the garbage cans, no garbage can allowed in the kitchen, no cleaning hands, hair, or mopping floors out of the kitchen sink, no kids were to touch the walls, if they dirtied a dish, they were to clean it and put it back, within minutes of walking thru the door, we'd here, “what's that cup doing there?” even if we were still drinking out of, or had just put it down, or “that sock/shoe/paper/book/whatever doesn't belong there. Put it away”. This incessant nagging over just about anything out of its place went on to the point I had to remove myself and kids from the home.
He was confused and not happy. I tried to talk with him multiple times about his over the top higher-than-normal expectations, especially the weird stuff like front seat cup holders were for the people in the front seat only, even when the back seat cup holders were not accessible (in his truck) and no kids allowed in our bathroom (because they make messes) even when their shower was not working or broken, and my all-time favorite: ”No using the front door, I don't so you can use the garage door like I do. It makes a mess in the entry way.” (feet dragging in dirt) and other equally as bizarre “rules”.
Was any of his neatiness or “weirdness” visible or noticeable when we were “relationing” at my house, even though my girls and I were the same? NO…. It took him mentioning marriage and relationship permanence, and my belief I don't marry anyone I have not live with for at least a year to make sure we were truly compatable before I even entertain any talk of permanency and then moving in to make it all come to light.
His excuse…..”I was raised in a certain way, I have certain ideas of how a home should be. People should pick up after themselves, I shouldn't have to.
Were we slovenly? No. Were we pigs? Not at all. We just were not up to his standards.
My point is LW1's “standards may be a bit higher than his wife's. He either accepts that or he will “nag” her right out of the relationship, for she WILL get tired of it eventually and leave.
Comment: #29
Posted by: learninfast
Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:55 AM
Re LW1: I've had literally dozens of roommates and, like Matt, have been on both sides of this - sometimes i was the slob, sometimes I was the neatnik. (However, unlike Matt, I sometimes in situations where the neatnik rubbed off on the slob, rather than the other way around.) I can see what Johanna is saying up to a point: the wife may not be leaving her mess for him to clean up; she may have left it just the same when she lived alone, and eventually cleaned it up herself. However, she does not live by herself anymore.
With my roommates, the rule of thumb that worked best, was that it was fine to leave stuff out as long as you were still hanging around, perhaps working on your computer or watching tv in the same room or an adjecent room. Maybe even for several hours. If another roommate enters and needs to use that area to do something like set down groceries, make a snack, wash a load in the machine where your laundry has been sitting, etc., you do need to clear it right away - after all, you ARE sharing a living space. That arrangement comes with advantages like lower rent, but the catch is you have to keep some areas a bit more clear of your stuff than if you live alone. Whether anyone comes in or not, by the time you leave the general area, to go out, or to go to bed, you need to have tidied up. You don't have to scrub every surface, but at least clear things away, so that other people living there can make normal use of the space if needed, without first having to clear your stuff away.
In other words, getting back to Johanna's point, if I have to clear someone's stuff away in order to use the area to perform a normal activity, then yes, they HAVE left their mess for me to clean up. The point that often got raised in discussions with my roommates was that even giving people credit that they would eventually have cleaned it up themselves, it just makes more sense to clean it up sooner rather than later - plus you have the added benefit of having better-looking surroundings in your home.
Balancing that off is the example about the roommate who expected help in polishing his grandma's dining set. He's out of line. Roommates only have to maintain the level of neatness that allowed you to go about a normal routine. If there's something you want cleaner than that, do it yourself.
As for the bathing, I concur with Zoe: taking a full shower/bath every day is actually not the most healthy practice, for your skin, your hair, or for the environment. I had a stylist at a very posh salon tell me to go as many days as I could stand between hair washings. Of course, the most I can stand is 2 days, sometimes 3 if I'm just puttering around the house for a few days and not going out in public. I also agree with Zoe that bathing more would actually correlate to more yeast infections, not fewer.
I just want to clarify one point Zoe made, about living together being associated with more divorce, not less. That is indeed true, but please note it's a case of correlation, not causation. In other words, higher divorce rate does not mean that people who live together first have less happy marriages, but rather, that people who wait until marriage to live together are more likely to believe divorce is wrong, so they may stay together even when the marriage is bad. Zoe's other comments suggest that she understands that quite well, but I just want to make sure other people reading understand that as well.
Comment: #30
Posted by: cassandr
Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:04 AM
Re LW1: I've had literally dozens of roommates and, like Matt, have been on both sides of this - sometimes i was the slob, sometimes I was the neatnik. (However, unlike Matt, I sometimes in situations where the neatnik rubbed off on the slob, rather than the other way around.) I can see what Johanna is saying up to a point: the wife may not be leaving her mess for him to clean up; she may have left it just the same when she lived alone, and eventually cleaned it up herself. However, she does not live by herself anymore.
With my roommates, the rule of thumb that worked best, was that it was fine to leave stuff out as long as you were still hanging around, perhaps working on your computer or watching tv in the same room or an adjecent room. Maybe even for several hours. If another roommate enters and needs to use that area to do something like set down groceries, make a snack, wash a load in the machine where your laundry has been sitting, etc., you do need to clear it right away - after all, you ARE sharing a living space. That arrangement comes with advantages like lower rent, but the catch is you have to keep some areas a bit more clear of your stuff than if you live alone. Whether anyone comes in or not, by the time you leave the general area, to go out, or to go to bed, you need to have tidied up. You don't have to scrub every surface, but at least clear things away, so that other people living there can make normal use of the space if needed, without first having to clear your stuff away.
In other words, getting back to Johanna's point, if I have to clear someone's stuff away in order to use the area to perform a normal activity, then yes, they HAVE left their mess for me to clean up. The point that often got raised in discussions with my roommates was that even giving people credit that they would eventually have cleaned it up themselves, it just makes more sense to clean it up sooner rather than later - plus you have the added benefit of having better-looking surroundings in your home.
Balancing that off is the example about the roommate who expected help in polishing his grandma's dining set. He's out of line. Roommates only have to maintain the level of neatness that allowed you to go about a normal routine. If there's something you want cleaner than that, do it yourself.
As for the bathing, I concur with Zoe: taking a full shower/bath every day is actually not the most healthy practice, for your skin, your hair, or for the environment. I had a stylist at a very posh salon tell me to go as many days as I could stand between hair washings. Of course, the most I can stand is 2 days, sometimes 3 if I'm just puttering around the house for a few days and not going out in public. I also agree with Zoe that bathing more would actually correlate to more yeast infections, not fewer.
I just want to clarify one point Zoe made, about living together being associated with more divorce, not less. That is indeed true, but please note it's a case of correlation, not causation. In other words, higher divorce rate does not mean that people who live together first have less happy marriages, but rather, that people who wait until marriage to live together are more likely to believe divorce is wrong, so they may stay together even when the marriage is bad. Zoe's other comments suggest that she understands that quite well, but I just want to make sure other people reading understand that as well.
Comment: #31
Posted by: cassandr
Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:19 AM
Re: cassandr

I liked your point about being able to go about daily activities without having to move someone else's mess out of the way. It's a very easy thing to understand, I think, and also very fair because I think it meets halfway between "slob" and "clean freak". As in yesterday's outfit on the floor in the corner is okay, as are a couple of dirty dishes on the counter for a day or two. But when someone's half eaten sandwiches are all over the table and the floor is covered in clothes, books, etc, or you can't walk around barefoot because of all the dirt on the floor, that is too much.

Actually, the explanation behind the "move in after marriage = fewer divorces" is somewhat different from what you stated (religion is not shown to significantly impact divorce rates, although it does a little bit). Rather, it is due largely to societal pressure and laziness. If you live with someone for a few years, you get comfortable, you stop dating (and possibly finding a better match) people push you to get married and you decide that that is the next step rather than haul your sofa out and find a roommate to live with. Then, ten years later, things haven't worked out because you weren't really a great match to begin with and you reach breaking point and divorce.

That said, I lived with my boyfriend/current fiancé for several years and we are just getting married next summer. I love him and am confident in our pending nuptials but I could definitely see how I could settle for "good enough" because we purchased furniture together, we have pets, and are used to each other and our families.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:31 AM
Re - bathing daily. Although I do shower every day - I agree that it is not ALWAYS necessary to do so. However, as an African American, our hair texture is in general very dry and course. Most of us can not wash our hair more often then once per week and even then we replenish our hair with added oils.

I think the reason (although this is just a personal observation, not scientific) that many people who live together for years before getting married end up divorced is because they often use marriage as a last ditch effort to save the relationship. It is basicly like saying, "we are growing apart, lets try to stop that from happening by handcuffing ourselves together". In those cases, it definitely won't work. But, even though I don't advocate living together from my religious moral perspective (which I apply only to myself) - I know couples who lived together for years - who loved and respected each other deeply. Their marriages endure because they had what it takes to sustain a marriage long before and the marriage commitment was only a symbolization of that bond.
Comment: #33
Posted by: sharnee
Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:05 AM
Hmm, am I not able to post a link to my source? Anyway, University of Denver did a study and concluded that "Couples Who Cohabit Before Engagement Are More Likely To Struggle" for the reasons I elaborate above. It is available online if anyone is interested :)
Comment: #34
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:06 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with Comment #16. I think the Annie's advice that it might spice up her love life was appalling. I cannot believe anyone would think violence nor the suggestion of violence/pain has anything to do with a healthy, loving sexual relationship. What is positive or satisfying about playing rape!!???? I'm sure any rape victim would tell you that there's nothing positive about it. I think a healthy sexual relationship involves making each other feel really, really GOOD and not feeling anything bad. I don't think there's anything wrong w/ her boyfriend having these fantasies, but I also don't think they're fantasies to be acted out.
Comment: #35
Posted by: cherriej
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:02 AM
My husband and I didn't live together before we got married.

It was a shock to find out he didn't know how to do anything except iron his shirts and trousers. He didn't wipe down counters or put juice back in the fridge. He could live on cereal three times a day seven days a week and not care one bit. Clothes belong on the floor in his world.

I told him if I had to pick up his socks, I would buy myself a new blouse. If I have to pick up his trousers I get a new dress. You get the picture. After two months of this I had a great new wardrobe but one month we almost couldn't pay the rent.

Twelve years later he still leaves his clothes on the floor, won't put the juice back in the fridge, and doesn't do laundry or make the bed. But he's darn good in bed and makes a great living. We do what we can.

Also, the first year of marriage is the hardest. LW1 needs to decide what he can live with and what he needs to fight for. Bathing is a non-negotiable point, if my husband had neglected his hygiene in any way, it would have been the end.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Chelle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:15 AM
Re: Chelle

"But he's darn good in bed and makes a great living." Those are what you consider to be your husband's redeeming qualities? Yikes.

Also, there's no way that the first year of the marriage is the hardest. If it were true, there wouldn't be any divorces after the first year.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:33 AM
I can't believe I didn't point out that my husband is also a good listener, fun and we enjoy many things together. It also helps that he is smart, funny and a great father.

And yes, it is a sad case of modern day life when sex, money and hygiene can make or break a relationship, but there you have it. Consult whatever polls you want to, but more marriages break up because of money and sex problems than violence or abuse.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Chelle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:45 AM
To Johanna and Cassandr, I agree that yeast infections can be caused by sweet soap or body wash, yet I'd like to clarify my comment: I also said failing to shower or bathe (or at least wash up real good) every day can cause itchiness in private areas, armpits, where odors linger most. I should have mentioned that I have type II diabetes, and now use insulin. If I have a high sugar spike, I can develop a yeast infection easily because there will be too much sugar in my urine. So I bathe or shower with a detachable shower head every day to ensure all my areas are washed and soaped, to remove possible "lurking" factors that can contribute to itching or a YI. Also, us women know when we DO get a YI, and start using ointment for it, it is much cleaner and feels better to shower or bathe there daily to keep the area fresher. Just wanted to add that, while agreeing YI's can also be caused by excessive bathing, depending on
the soap or body wash products.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Jean
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:49 AM
Re: sharnee, have you ever heard of J. R. Liggett's bar shampoo? It's unbelievably good stuff, made with gentle natural oils (no conditioner needed afterwards) and without SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), the harsh detergent that strips hair of its natural oil and can cause other problems. And it's excellent for traveling -- it's a bar, so no problem with airport security. I don't know how it would be on your hair, but it might be worth trying. Health food stores and co-ops sometimes carry it, or it can be ordered online. I tried posting this earlier but apparently Creators won't let me post a link....
Comment: #40
Posted by: Van Wickle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:05 AM
I think one thing is abundantly clear from this comment thread: adults just don't live well together!
.

But, after watching an hour-long documentary about the current conditions in Haiti, I stand by my assessment that a perpetually spotless home is really not that important. As long as your home is sanitary....being a neat freak doesn't make you superior to somebody who's more relaxed about housekeeping; and vise-versa.
.

I'm thankful I have a "home" to fight about - teeny-tiny as it is. I think I'm gonna go donate to the homeless vets now.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Johanna
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:21 AM
@Van Wickle - thanks for the tip - I will look in to it. I have been wearing my hair naturally (no chemicals like relaxer or color) for about a year and have been trying new natural products - still looking for the right combo for my hair.
Comment: #42
Posted by: sharnee
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:37 AM
I also have had many roommates over the years - some total slobs. Once I lived with 2 other women who were really bad. The dishes in the sink would pile up and you could see what each meal was as you unstacked the plates - eggs this morning, grilled cheese sandwiches yesterday, and on and on. Once I was cleaning out the sink to wash dishes and came upon what looked to be vomit half way down. When I yelped, they exchanged a guilty grins and admitted that one of them had thrown up in the sink. Apparently the bathroom was occupied - party hardy! I moved out. Another roommate would leave her morning coffee mugs everywhere. I watched for months as one mug got moldy and then dried up. Eventually the mold even disappeared and the mug looked amazingly clean! With that same roommate, I stopped cleaning the bathroom and 2 months after I thought it needed cleaning, she still hadn't thought to clean it. (This woman was beautiful and left the house looking like a million bucks.) Eventually the person I was dating cleaned the bathroom because they were so disgusted. Another time I was answering ads for roommates and one place with 2 guys were "thrilled" at the thought of a female moving in because "women clean." I declined that offer. As disgusting as those stories are, I do think there ARE people who are equally obsessively clean/neat freaks. One friend had a landlord who would call if their shades were pulled up uneven from window to window. LOL
Comment: #43
Posted by: Cindy
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:38 AM
I should also clarify, my ob/gyn told me that the first year is the hardest of marriage.
Here is what I was told and many women in my church, friends and co-workers have told me, "that is so true!"
The first year is the hardest living together AFTER marriage. When two people honor a commitment, both have to change and change is not easy. And whether or not you realize it, change also takes work. I never lived with my husband before I married him and I only had one roommate prior to living with him. My male roommate and I were not romantically involved and I tried to live with a boyfriend when I was twenty-two (it lasted two weeks), it wasn't the same maturity and growth as when you marry someone and live with them.
All through my dating years I was told that I was an awful girlfriend. I would be the perfect wife and mother, but not a girlfriend. Whatever that means. But when I got married, I got the shock of my life that I didn't just slide into the role like I thought I would. It took patience, forgiveness and lots of good will to make things work. When I went to my first ob/gyn appointment after getting married the year before, I was asked how things were going. I was so ashamed to tell her that if was really hard and not at all what I had expected it to be.
She had been married twice and her second marriage was going on thirty-five years. She then told me that the first year is the hardest when you change the most. Her first year of her first marriage was a snap, no big deals, but when it came to their fourth anniversary, they found they couldn't continue. Her second marriage was really hard but didn't realize it until her first anniversary and realized how far they had come in their first year together. She hadn't done any of the growing or changes in her first marriage that she had in her second. She also said the she worried about the women who came to see her and said things were so easy, so great. They were the ones she saw splitting up.
Zoe, maybe this all sounds like gobbely-gook to you, but it made sense then and it makes sense to me now. And I can't tell you how many of the ladies at my church have said something similar to me about their early lives in their marriages.
In a nutshell, in the first year I learned I wasn't always right. I wouldn't be first and sometimes I wouldn't be thanked. But then I realized I wouldn't always remember to be thoughtful because I was tired, stressed, hungry or overworked. My husband and I tried to agree, respect each other when we disagreed and it is hard to forgive and forget some things. Even something like burning a pot roast, smoking out our whole apartment and having to scrub the walls for two days, wash everything and apologize to the neighbors. After two years, our couch still smelled like burned pot roast. My husband was messy, but he loved me and we had to find a way to make things work.
And tough spots happen throughout a marriage, but for me, nothing was quite as hard as that first ye
Comment: #44
Posted by: Chelle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:59 AM
Re: Chelle

Phew! I knew there must be something else you love about him.

This:

"Consult whatever polls you want to, but more marriages break up because of money and sex problems than violence or abuse."

Borders on creepy for me. It is scary to see it put into words.

Re: Jean

I'm not sure you understand what a yeast infection is. Are you perhaps thinking of vaginitis which is a bacterial infection? A yeast infection is caused when there is too much yeast and not enough bacteria to keep the yeast in control. Obsessively washing away the bacteria is a very probably causing yeast infections to those who wash this way thinking they are doing their best to avoid yeast infections. Your situation differs from the norm because of the high sucrose levels in your urine, of course, but for most women, washing the "area" once every two days is sufficient to control bacterial populations enough to prevent any sort of infection. Of course, most of us (me included) prefer to up that once a day to prevent odour (I feel for any men reading this, hehe). So, while your advice works for you and others with sugar in their urine, it isn't good advice (to bathe more often to avoid yeast infections) for anyone else as it is untrue.

Regarding itching in the rest of the skin: you have to understand that our bodies were not meant to be bathed every day. They are almost self cleaning (go long enough without washing your hair and you'll know what I mean). By washing every day we strip away layers of skin and oil that should protect us and expose our skin to harsh soaps and exfoliants, causing us to have dry skin and making us more prone to skin irritation and various infections. You get to a point where if you wash too much, you have to wash even more to keep yourself clean. It's like hair: if you wash it daily and then skip a day, it will be a lot dirtier than if you washed your hair every 3 days using a gentle shampoo. I sound like a hippy here, so I will state for the record that I like to be clean, I shower every 2 days and have a whore's bath every other day. But I don't begrudge those who bathe a little less regularly than that, as long as I can't smell them (unless I'm right up against them - but like I said earlier, people smell like people).

Re: Johanna

About Haiti, are you kidding? You do realize they had a cholera epidemic caused by poor sanitation, right? I hear what you are saying (be happy you have a home to argue about the cleanliness of), but I don't think Haiti was a very good example and many people died precisely because they were unable to maintain clean water and food supplies for everyone.

Re: Van Wickly / sharnee

Have either of you tried African Black Soap? I have heard wonderful things about it but haven't yet given it a try.
Comment: #45
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:01 PM
Re: the question of rape fantasies, of course rape is terrible. But most sexual fantasies have an element of aggression. Sex play often does too. It doesn't mean the people engaging in such play are rapists, or potential rapists.
A very large number of women, in surveys about their sexual fantasies, have said that they fantasize about being taken against their will by a handsome man. Does this mean they want to be raped in real life? Absolutely not! But there's nothing wrong with them acknowledging the fantasy. And there's nothing wrong with men acknowledging it either. To fantasize about rape is NOT the same thing as being a rapist.
Of course you need to be careful, and be thoughtful about your choice of sexual partners and activities. And of course you should communicate clearly to your partner that it's just play, that you're not endorsing rape in real life. But if your response to someone saying they have a fantasy about rape is to run, as one person recommended doing, you'll spend your life running.
I tend to think that the alarmed comments being posted about the whole notion of rape fantasies, are generally posted by those whom have difficulty differentiating fantasy from reality. The need to police other people's fantasies is an indication that the person posting may need a reality check.
Comment: #46
Posted by: sarah morrow
Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:02 PM
Here is what I was told and many women in my church, friends and co-workers have told me, "that is so true!"

The first year is the hardest living together AFTER marriage. When two people honor a commitment, both have to change and change is not easy. And whether or not you realize it, change also takes work. I never lived with my husband before I married him and I only had one roommate prior to living with him. My male roommate and I were not romantically involved and I tried to live with a boyfriend when I was twenty-two (it lasted two weeks), it wasn't the same maturity and growth as when you marry someone and live with them.

All through my dating years I was told that I was an awful girlfriend. I would be the perfect wife and mother, but not a girlfriend. Whatever that means. But when I got married, I got the shock of my life that I didn't just slide into the role like I thought I would. It took patience, forgiveness and lots of good will to make things work. When I went to my first ob/gyn appointment after getting married the year before, I was asked how things were going. I was so ashamed to tell her that if was really hard and not at all what I had expected it to be.

She had been married twice and her second marriage was going on thirty-five years. She then told me that the first year is the hardest when you change the most. Her first year of her first marriage was a snap, no big deals, but when it came to their fourth anniversary, they found they couldn't continue. Her second marriage was really hard but didn't realize it until her first anniversary and realized how far they had come in their first year together. She hadn't done any of the growing or changes in her first marriage that she had in her second. She also said the she worried about the women who came to see her and said things were so easy, so great. They were the ones she saw splitting up.

Zoe, maybe this all sounds like gobbely-gook to you, but it made sense then and it makes sense to me now. And I can't tell you how many of the ladies at my church have said something similar to me about their early lives in their marriages.

In a nutshell, in the first year I learned I wasn't always right. I wouldn't be first and sometimes I wouldn't be thanked. But then I realized I wouldn't always remember to be thoughtful because I was tired, stressed, hungry or overworked. My husband and I tried to agree, respect each other when we disagreed and it is hard to forgive and forget some things. Even something like burning a pot roast, smoking out our whole apartment and having to scrub the walls for two days, wash everything and apologize to the neighbors. After two years, our couch still smelled like burned pot roast. My husband was messy, but he loved me and we had to find a way to make things work.

And tough spots happen throughout a marriage, but for me, nothing was quite as hard as that first year.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Chelle
Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:03 PM
Re: Chelle

Thanks for your input on that. I'll let you know how it goes after my first year of marriage :)

One thing that stood out was:

"She also said the she worried about the women who came to see her and said things were so easy, so great. They were the ones she saw splitting up."

Because I think that is true. Except in the movies, anyone who says that marriage is easy and great probably isn't working hard enough at it or making enough compromises to get along with someone every day for the rest of your life.
Comment: #48
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:10 PM
Re: Zoe

The cholera epidemic in Haiti was NOT caused by poor housekeeping and I never implied such a thing. I was simply saying that conditions in America are luxurious compared to other places. Complaining about about petty things like doing laundry or wiping kitchen counters is incredibly selfish and absurd when you see vast populations of humanity waiting in line for days, in the hot sun, for a jug of water or the hope of acquiring a clean bandage for an injured child.

Oh, and the cholera outbreak in Haiti was caused by UN relief workers from Nepal who allowed the medical waste from their tent to flow into a nearby water supply. It spreads rapidly from there. If your intent was to blame the victims of cholera for having "poor sanitation" then, that's just despicable. "Poor sanitation" in Haiti isn't the result of laziness or house-cleaning apathy, it's because they don't have access to clean running water!
Comment: #49
Posted by: Johanna
Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:29 PM
Re: Johanna

No, I am not blaming the Haitians for the cholera outbreak and I understood your point; I just thought it wasn't a good example because it IS a sanitation issue (water sanitation) even though it isn't housework related (as in, not vacuuming won't give you cholera), and that their awful sanitary conditions (not their fault, but it is common after natural disasters) is having a negative impact on the people there and their recovery.
Comment: #50
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:40 PM
@Zoe- Yes - I have been using African black soap for several months now... I love it! Target actually now sells natural beauty product lines, including one line called Shea Moisture. They carry African Black Soap - facial bar, body bars, body wash and an assortment of lotions. They also make some hair care products that I like. The price is pretty reasonable and my skin has fewer blemishes since I started using it. However, the soap can be drying so I always have to pair it with the moisturizer to be effective.
Comment: #51
Posted by: sharnee
Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:16 PM
Dear Annie,

My poor husband has been married to a slob for many years. I have tried to change but it is very difficult. The two things that have helped most so far are treatment for depression and treatment for ADD. When I am depressed I don't care about hygiene or tidiness. Depression can also cause a horrible B.O. I am also not very aware of things around me, withdrawn, forgetful. I find with ADD medication my ability to stick with a task is improved incredibly. So I am suggesting Eating get his wife to a Dr and talk about these things. I wish that I had gotten the medication and counseling sooner to help deal with these problems including the sloppiness. Good luck
Comment: #52
Posted by: Lois Davis
Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:57 PM
Re: sarah morrow

Your comments are generally intelligent and thoughtful, and I enjoy reading them.

However, I have to clarify a few things about the 'rape fantasy' discussion. Neither I nor the other commentator who posted on the subject are trying to 'police' anyone's fantasies. Fantasies are just that: fantasies. If all people who have rape fantasies are dangerous, imagine the people who have fantasies of killing people they are (perhaps justifiably) angry with!

I don't have any problem differentiating between fantasy and reality. But when rape fantasies turn into actual role-playing, it IS becoming reality. If a woman wants to engage in that sort of thing, as I said, I have no problem with her doing so. But many other women, including myself and the original LW who wrote in, do not. When rape role-playing becomes so much like the real thing that you need a 'safe word' in order to protect yourself, it takes sexual activity to a potentially harmful level. I think that the Annies were wrong to encourage it as a way to make sex more exciting.

As far as my comment that the LW should run, I didn't say that she should do that just because her boyfriend expressed rape fantasies to her. That would be overreacting. I said that she should run if he insisted on acting out those fantasies against her wishes. Any person who is that insensitive to another person's feelings is no good bet for a relationship.
Comment: #53
Posted by: JMG
Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:52 PM
Re: cassandr

"She doesn't live by herself anymore"
"if I have to clear someone's stuff away in order to use the area to perform a normal activity, then yes, they HAVE left their mess for me to clean up"
That's it in a nutshell. Very succinct.

Comment: #54
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:21 PM
Re: Zoe

if those are the qualities that endear him to her, to each his own, Zoe, to each his own... Whatever floats her boat.

And yes, I would agree the first year is the hardest, but that doesn't mean you're in the clear after that.

Comment: #55
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:23 PM
Re: Zoe
LOL! Skipping vacuuming doesn't give me cholera....but it sure makes me sneeze like crazy when I haven't vacuumed in a few days! Heck, I'd vacuum several times a day if I thought I might get cholera otherwise -- house cleaning is the only health care I have.
:O
Comment: #56
Posted by: Johanna
Wed Dec 1, 2010 12:46 AM
No married couple is ever in the clear!

A newspaper in Central Washington used to print the marriages and divorces in their community section, you know the part of the paper with births, deaths and engagements.

The marriage date and dissolution date were both reported and one couple had been married for 55 years when they divorced. I was a print journalism major at the time and I couldn't believe it. I pointed it out to the professor of the class I was in, and he did a little asking around and found out the couple in question had lived on their farm for 54 years when the husband got up one morning, looked at his wife and said "get out". And that was that.

And one of my favorite stories is of the little old couple who had been married for 75 years. When asked if they had ever considered divorce, they said "not divorce, but murder, yes."

Have fun Zoe and good luck!
Comment: #57
Posted by: Chelle
Wed Dec 1, 2010 8:44 AM
"Keep the bedroom door closed so the cat cannot get in."

Heh heh heh HEE HEE HEE HAW HAW...
Comment: #58
Posted by: Carla
Wed Dec 1, 2010 1:22 PM
Re: Chelle--One of my great-aunts finally got up the nerve to leave her husband after nearly 60 years. I don't think they divorced, because he died before they could get that far, but her daughters knew what an abusive SOB he was, so they and their husbands helped her move out.

My cousin told me that as they were driving her to her new place, they were talking about how tired they were and what a long day it had been. My aunt chirped- "I feel fine and I want to go to Denny's." Later, she told me she hoped my mother would finally get up the nerve to leave my father, because he is equally an SOB.
Comment: #59
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Wed Dec 1, 2010 3:33 PM
Re: Carla

You got ME laughing like you describe - Close the door indeed. I can hear the result all the way from here:
Scratch, scratch, scritch-scratch, meow-meow-meow, me-e-e-e-e-e-EO-O-O-O-O-OW!

Hey, I've had three cats together for a decade and a half, so I KNOW! :-))))))))


Comment: #60
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Dec 1, 2010 5:40 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette. I had the same problem with locking the cat out of the bedroom - he'd try to get in by scratching the door and even trying to "tunnel" through the carpet. (He succeeded only in shredding it.) I solved the issue temporarily by also closing the door leading into the hall near the bedrooms. Then I solved it permanently by moving to a house with a yard and putting the cat outside, never to be allowed back in. He is a friendly cat, but also obnoxious, sheds a lot, and pees on everything. Out.
Comment: #61
Posted by: Matt
Wed Dec 1, 2010 11:39 PM
Re: Matt

I don't know what kind of training you gave your cat, but none of mine ever did that. If training the cat didn't yield results, I would take him to the vet. Cats are naturally very clean creatures who don't like to soil their environment. I would suspect a medical problem.

Putting the cat outside permanently causes other problems. Apart from the fact that he no longer has a home, only some human who feeds him while he lives exposed to outside living conditions, he can get fleas and feline diseases.

Comment: #62
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Dec 2, 2010 6:47 AM
Don't you love family?

JoannaKathryn, families are a never-ending source of joy, amusement and anguish. Your father sounds like an angry, hateful old man. I am trying to write a book and one of the characters is an evil, hateful and all-around abusive despot, I am still developing him. In the story, he wins some, he loses some, but in the end, he is bested by luck and the simple goodness of someone he never suspected would turn against him.

Kudos to your great-aunt for her courage and energy. My great-aunts are Idaho farm girls and are a hell-raising hoot to be around. Being from Texas, your family is probably even more fun.

My great-grandmother threw out her husband of 40 years, he had been a good father and an amazing cardiac surgeon. But unfortunately, he'd been a drinker and a skirt chaser for all of their marriage, before they could divorce, he asked to come back but she said "NO", he died in a veterans hospital and my great-grandma refused to bury him or even make funeral arrangements. She died the year before I was born, but I hear she was pissed at him 'til the day she died.
Comment: #63
Posted by: Chelle
Thu Dec 2, 2010 10:19 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette--I used to try to shut my cats out of the bedroom, and they'd wake me up yowling, which drove me crazy. At one point, I had a large piece of plywood I'd slide across the hallway to keep them even further from the door.

Now, I feed the two I've got their nightly meal of dry food (canned food in the morning), so they have full tummies and are ready to sleep, on our bed, at night. After the first two, I started letting all the new ones sleep with us.

Sometimes, I can't get out of bed because one is on one side of my feet and the other is on the other side. Between a 17 pounder and a 15 pounder, I'm stuck. They do make great little bed warmers.
Comment: #64
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Thu Dec 2, 2010 6:07 PM
Re: Joannakathryn

Yeah, if you're alone in bed... if you're not and there's some "movement", if you know what I mean, then they go, hey, this looks like fun, POUNCE...

Comment: #65
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Dec 3, 2010 4:21 PM
@Lise Brouillette. We tried taking the cat to the vet. He said that the problem of peeing was "behavioral" without an underlying medical reason and that nothing could be done. As for putting him outside, he doesn't act homeless - he never wanders very far and certainly is johnny-on-the-spot each evening waiting to be fed. We bring him into the garage at night during the colder months, not particularly caring if he sheds or urinates there. Even if you're right about everything you said (a dubious assumption at best), we still decided that we had no choice about putting him out if we wanted to save our carpet and furniture from complete destruction. He made our apartment smell like a bus station bathroom when he was inside full-time before.
Comment: #66
Posted by: Matt
Sat Dec 4, 2010 12:29 AM
Re: Matt

If you took him to the vet and the problem was behavioural, then it's different. You can't be expected to live like that of course, not only it stinks to high heaven but it's unhygienic and an outright health hazard. Do you still have the cat? If yes, be sure you use a dermifuge regularly. Internal parasites are one of the health hazards and a very serious one. Some of them can transfer to humans and are extremely destructive. There is a series on telly on one of the French chanels here called "Parasites" and it really put the fear of God in me - I swear I'll never forget to wash my hands ever again!

Comment: #67
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sat Dec 4, 2010 7:57 AM
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