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by Abigail Van Buren

Ex Wife Is Caught Unaware in Couple's Snare of Deceit

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Gene," retired 10 years ago. During his long career, he wore a suit and tie every day. Although Gene was never a slave to fashion, he showered and shaved, used a deodorant and put on clean underwear every day.

Since Gene's retirement, his attention to personal hygiene has deteriorated. He showers, shaves and changes his clothes only once or twice a week. I have to constantly change our bedding and use room freshener on the pillows, sofa cushions, etc.

I have tried presenting myself as a "role model," telling my husband how good it makes me feel to be clean and start "fresh" every day, hoping he'll get the message. But he thinks I'm being obsessive. Abby, what should I do? -- WANTING A CLEAN GENE IN A LAS VEGAS SUBURB

DEAR WANTING: It's time to talk to your husband's doctor. Changes in personal hygiene can be a symptom of serious depression. Your husband's whole identity may have been tied to his job -- and now needs help. He needs a mental and physical evaluation by his doctor. Marriage and individual counseling could also benefit you both. Please don't wait.