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Thursday, September 21, 2023


I (24M) said that my girlfriend (24F) not washing her hands after pooping is gross – she says I made her feel disgusting. Was I in the wrong?


So a bit of context: my (24M) girlfriend (24F) of 4 years has been having a bit of a hard time with her mental health recently, i.e low energy, anxiety, lack of motivation so I can understand completely if she’s struggling with the motivation to do some basic things, but has still been able to perform daily basics such as cooking, eating, walking the dog, laundry, hobbies, etc.

However, this morning she said to me that she’s been getting much better at stuff like brushing her teeth and other things, but then followed up with that she’s been getting better at washing her hands after she takes a poop. Until that point, I wasn’t aware that she wasn’t washing her hands after having a poop.

There’s been similar issues in the past with her not washing her hands after she pees, which, fine, I understand forgetting sometimes but not all the time – twice I’ve asked her nicely “would you mind trying to wash your hands after using the toilet, it’s something I find a bit yucky/gross” – she said she would, and we left it at that each time.

After she told me that she hadn’t been washing her hands I said that I was really proud of her for getting better with other things (brushing teeth, showering) but that I find not washing her hands after pooping a bit gross, and could she start doing it.


She immediately said “way to make me feel disgusting” and got very upset. I understand how it would make her feel bad, but I think that is one thing that isn’t optional, and should be done every time you use the bathroom, especially when living with other people.

I’ve had severe problems with panic attacks in the past, so I completely understand how she’s feeling, but I’ve never neglected something so basic before, especially when it would affect other people – I mentioned this to her, and her response was “well that’s good for you then”.

She said that she knows that it’s gross, but just wanted me to be proud of her for doing better – I absolutely am, in terms of brushing her teeth, showering etc, but I do feel that getting better at washing your hands after using the toilet isn’t something to be necessarily proud of, but should instead be done automatically.

She wasn’t raised in a way that would mean she wasn’t aware of the importance of washing her hands, so I don’t think it’s that.

Following this, a pretty big argument ensued – the most heated it got was when she said I was “bashing her” for not washing her hands and “making her feel disgusting” to which I raised my voice and said that “I’ve already asked nicely about it before, it’s not unreasonable for me to be upset about this”. I since apologized for raising my voice as it wasn’t helpful.


She asked me what my expectations of her were, in terms of personal hygiene, I said that I could completely understand struggling to brush her teeth, shaving, showering, and cleaning, and that it didn’t bother me if these weren’t done as much as normal as long as she was trying, but that one of my only expectations was basic hygiene like washing her hands, as it affected me too.

Eventually it ended with her saying the way I approached it wasn’t good, and that I made her feel bad about herself for not washing her hands.

I said I didn’t think it was unreasonable, especially as I’d talked to her twice before about washing her hands after peeing, let alone pooping, and that I wasn’t shaming her, but trying to let her know that this was a basic expectation of mine.

I also asked her if she would wash her hands at work after using the toilet, which she initially said she would (she works in food service) – if she would wash her hands there, why not at home?

She did then later say that “honestly, she probably wouldn’t wash her hands at work over the past few weeks, while she’s been feeling crap”.

Anyhow, sorry about the essay – did I approach this in the wrong way, or was I being unreasonable? Going forward, what would be the best way to resolve this argument?

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