DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful woman, "Leora," for 35 years. We have five grown children any parent would be proud of. Throughout our marriage, I worked while Leora took care of the children. I retired about three months ago. Now I am home with Leora all the time and have just realized that she bathes only about three times a week. This has not only upset me, but also disgusts me!
I know she used to bathe the children every night when they were little, and she insisted they bathe regularly growing up. When I asked her about this, she said she has "always bathed when she needed it," and that might be nightly -- or not. She attributes this to being raised on a ranch where water was scarce. Abby, we live quite comfortably. The cost of water is not an issue.
I told her that people have to bathe daily in order to be clean. She asked if I could ever tell she hadn't bathed daily and the answer is no, but I know now, and it bothers me.
Please tell her that people have to bathe daily to remove dead skin cells, etc. She seems to think if I couldn't tell for 35 years that she hasn't bathed every day the topic is not an issue. It's getting to the point that I don't want to sleep in the same bed with her knowing she hasn't bathed that day. -- SEPARATE BEDROOMS IN THE FUTURE
DEAR SEPARATE BEDROOMS: You say you retired three months ago and now you're at home with your wife "all the time." If ever I heard about someone who needed to get out and find a hobby, do volunteer work or start a new business, it is you. For the sake of your marriage, please stop obsessing about your wife's hygiene.
For people with oily skin, or in professions where their skin becomes sweaty or soiled, a daily bath is a must. However, for people with dry or delicate skin, a sponge bath may do the job very well. If you haven't noticed until now that your wife didn't bathe every day, it's time for you to ask yourself why you are digging for trouble. At the rate you're going, you could wind up with more than separate bedrooms.