Background: we’ve been together for five years, living together for one. I don’t know if I really noticed or paid attention to how often she bathed until this past summer when she would often come home smelling… musty. I noticed that she sometimes goes as long as 72 hours without bathing.
On top of that our bedroom has been smelling musty from the bedding and her clothes. I gave her some hints before but this evening I calmly asked her, “is there a particular reason you don’t shower every day?” (Thinking maybe it dried her skin out or what not). She said no, just that it’s never been her habit.
I told her I would like her to try to and that I felt it was fairly normal to bathe once a day (here in America at least - I know this varies). I said all this as gently as I could and never made mention of her smelling less than fresh. She’s upset now though and not talking to me. I feel bad, but it was also bothering me especially since I’m pretty clean and hygienic in every area of my life.
people are asking how I didn’t notice this earlier in the relationship. I honestly don’t know. This was a hot summer and she took on extra stress at work (stress-sweat is a thing) and that got me noticing her bathing routines in general.
folks are advising me to be more blunt, ie “you stink.” Well I’ve said exactly that in weeks past and it honestly went over fine with no emotion. She would respond well and take a shower but the problem is it would be the same thing week after week. I’ve tried hinting at her taking showers before - “hey I’m done in the bathroom if you want to shower.” But still the habit (or lack of it) persisted.
I felt a more somber and direct conversation was necessary cause I don’t think it was getting through to her that this was important to me, and a little baffling. There’s no perfect conversation and no perfect time to bring up an important issue.
Nta. You guys have been together for 5 years. You shouldn't be walking on eggshells around conversations like this. How have you not noticed this habit? Did it get worse recently? It's not unreasonable to expect your partner to shower regularly.
NTA, but i find it odd that you're 5 years in and still trying to be gentle about it. my partner and I have been together for a little over a year and it's totally normal for one of us to say "have you showered? you smell" or "might wanna grab some deodorant before we go out" to eachother.
NTA. This is a deal breaker for me. My olfactory sense is very strong and I'm easily offended by body odor.
NTA. If you're close enough to get in each other's private parts, you're close enough to talk frankly (and kindly) about hygiene. I was an every two days-showerer, at least in winter, but my bf really prefers showering before climbing into the bed every night, so you're not just lying there in the filth of the past five days, so, I shower every night now (save for a few particular circumstances.
My skin does get dry from showering every day, so the tradeoff is that he puts bodylotion on my back.) Good going on asking if there's a reason she doesn't, a lot of the time there is a reason why people act "irrationally." There might still be a reason and she's feeling embarrassed to say it.
She's probably just feeling self-conscious, but see if she doesn't come around cause you really need to be able to talk about things like this. And I think it's very reasonable to make hygiene requests of a partner.
NTA it was always going to be tough to talk about. You did it as gently as possible.