We’re lesbians — My GF has bad hygiene and doesn’t care how she looks

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    I’m at a loss here. I’ve been in a relationship with this woman for ten years. We are in our late 50s. At first it didn’t bother me that her clothes were always stained, wrinkled, too tight, too out of style, too old. At first I didn’t even know that the crotch of her underwear almost always has poop or poop stains in it. Well, I know all of that now. And we haven’t had sex in about five years as a result. I’ve tried to talk with her about the clothes. She is a VERY high earner with a great career. She can afford clothes. She says she “doesn’t care” how she looks. Well, I care. And I care how I look around her. I make a great effort to look nice, be clean, smell good. She is getting worse, and I don’t know what to do. I’ve bought her nice things, and she either doesn’t wear them or she wears them and ruins them. She doesn’t seem to think about not wearing new clothes to do yard work or ride horses. Her work clothes (for the office) and her barn clothes and her yard work clothes and her going out to eat clothes are all the same clothes. Unless she has to go to court; then she pulls out a 20-year old suit to wear. I’m kind of getting embarrassed to be seen with her at times.

    How can I talk to her about this without it devolving into a fight? I talk for a living; I’m an award-winning communicator, so I know how to tread lightly with people, especially with someone I love. Well, she goes on the defensive right away. How can I tell her that her underwear is gross and she shouldn’t wear torn and dirty farm clothes out to dinner? I honestly believe she thinks it’s okay to have stained underwear, like she missed that lesson from her mother. And maybe her mother didn’t talk with her about how to dress. Again, she can totally afford anything she wants/needs. She just doesn’t seem to care. She’s the same way with our house. She’d let the place look like a frat house. People have commented on how clean this place is since I moved in.  She doesn’t understand why these things are important to me. I need to talk to her and tell her that her appearance and hygiene turn me off. I don’t want to hurt her feelings or make her angry.  I just don’t know what to say.


    I think that maybe you should shift your perspective, for just a second. Have you ever considered the reason she doesn’t care to do any of those things is because she is comfortable with you? She doesn’t feel the need to have new clothes or wash off after work, because she knows that you love her for her? She probably feels that your love is so strong to the point where she doesn’t need to put in that extra effort, because you’ll love her anyway.

    I would suggest letting her know that you do love her for her, but it’s safe to say, no one is turned on by poop stains. There are things I’m sure you could, and probably have, become accustomed to. There are things that you don’t want to become accustomed to. Let her know what those things are.

    Maybe ask her questions that let you know why she doesn’t do these things you’d like her to do. Are you having a hard time doing laundry lately? Are we out of toilet paper? I know its somewhat passive aggressive, but it could give you insight on WHY she does these things. And if you come to find out she truly just doesn’t care, and if it’s that big of a deal for you, try moving on. It’s not a crime to want someone with good hygiene.


    Dear Associatedlllumination:

    “we haven’t had sex in about five years… She says she ‘doesn’t care’ how she looks.. She just doesn’t seem to care. She’s the same way with our house. She’d let the place look like a frat house.. She doesn’t understand why these things are important to me. I need to talk to her and tell her that her appearance and hygiene turn me off.. I just don’t know what to say”-

    – I suggest that you plan what to tell her based not on what she does not care about/ values, but on what she does care about, what she does value.

    She doesn’t value hygiene, clothes, cleanliness/ neatness of the house, your feelings about her hygiene, having sex with you… well, what is it that she does value?

    You mentioned that she is “a VERY high earner with a great career”- maybe she values her career- what is it that she values about her career?

    Maybe she values making a lot of money, not to be used it to buy clothes or to arrange for a service to clean her house, but to be used for other things, things that she values. What are the things that she purchases with her money that she does value?

    And, most importantly, what is it that she values about you being in her life?




    Thank you for your response. The thing with her is that the only thing she seems to value is her horses. She spent $200k on one last year, and meanwhile there are things around the house that are literally falling apart. She loves her career and the money it provides her. She loves her bank account and retirement account and tells me often how much money we will have when she retires — except she doesn’t plan to retire until she’s in her 70s. I asked her the other day what purpose I serve here, because everyone wants to feel needed (at least I do). She said that she likes that I cook supper, keep the house clean, and take care of the dogs. That’s what she came up with. That’s what she values about me.


    Kylee – Thank you for your response. If only those questions would work. I seriously do not understand the mentality of having poopy underwear and walking around with fresh poop in your underwear. She doesn’t like me to do her laundry. I LOVE to do laundry, and am happy to do that for her, but she prefers to jam everything into one load and “get it all done at once” rather than sorting and pre-spotting. So she does her own laundry. I’m getting used to her sloppiness around the house. I figure I can either put up with it by cleaning up behind her, or I can move out. Moving out is not a good option for me for several reasons, so I clean up behind her. The nasty underwear and the stained, out-of-style, too-tight, torn, and ancient-looking clothes, though…I just don’t know what to do. I cannot think of words to use to talk with her about her underwear. I guess that is the most pressing issue I have. She buys new underwear — every 2-3 years — but doesn’t get rid of the old underwear, and then the new underwear ends up gross too. It’s such a delicate issue, but she wants us to have sex and I just can’t.


    Dear Associatedlllumination:

    “the only thing she seems to value is her horses. She spent $200 on one last year… She said she likes that I.. take care of the dogs”- she likes and values horses and dogs, who like her, don’t care about their hygiene and about how they look.

    She values 1)  owning and taking care of horses and dogs, riding horses, 2) doing yard work (“wearing new clothes to do yard work”),  3) spending time in a clean house (“She said she likes that I …keep the house clean”), 4) being presented with a home cooked meal (“She said that she likes that I cook supper”), 5) working hard and long in her career (“She loves her career… she doesn’t plan to retire until she’s in her 70s”), 6) enjoying and looking forward to financial security (“She.. tells me often how much money we will have when she retires”), and 7) having sex,  but not strongly enough to motivate her to improve her hygiene (“we haven’t had sex in about five years as a result”-a result of her poor hygiene, “she wants us to have sex and I just can’t”).

    You’ve been with her for ten years, since her late forties. All through these years, she was consistent regarding the way she dresses and her poor hygiene. But you managed to have sex with her sometimes in the first five years of the relationship. Maybe the sex stopped because her hygiene has gotten worse in the last five years (“She is getting worse”).

    You asked: “How can I tell her that her underwear is gross and she shouldn’t wear torn and dirty farm clothes out to dinner?… I need to talk to her and tell her that her appearance and hygiene turn me off.. I just don’t know what to say”- wait, you didn’t tell her yet any of these things in this quote??? And if you hadn’t, did she not ask you why you haven’t had sex with her in the last five years?



    Hello Anita, Thank you again.

    She values horses (I don’t ride) and working in the yard. She doesn’t care if the house is clean, but if I clean it, then she likes it. She doesn’t/won’t clean it herself, though, and I know this because I’ve gone “on strike” and the house went into a shambles. She likes the housekeeping services I provide. How romantic is that? It isn’t. As I said, her messiness (clothes, house, etc) didn’t bother me at first, but it’s getting worse, and I spend a lot of time picking up after her. I didn’t notice her dirty underwear at first, but when I did, that’s when the sex stopped. I’ve asked her why she wears the same clothes for everything and her response is always “I don’t care.” I don’t know how to respond to that. I’ve told her that I care, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference.

    Yes, she has asked me why I am not interested in sex. I made up excuses for a long time, and finally she quit asking. I made up excuses because I cannot find the exact words to tell her that her gross underwear — which translates to gross genitals — turns me off.  I’ve asked her doesn’t it bother her to wear stained underwear, trying to make it lighthearted like “You know what moms say about wearing clean underwear” but she answers that she washes her clothes, so what difference does it make. The difference is that she washes the clothes, yes, but she wears that underwear until the end of the day — with poop in it. And dark brown stains on white old-lady underwear is a turnoff. I cannot find the exact words.

    It’s really tearing me up, because I love her…or I love who she once was, but the thought of it just getting worse (which all habits do unless we want to change) as we get old…it’s overwhelming.


    Dear Associatedlllumination:

    I understand that “dark brown stains on white old-lady underwear is a turnoff”- and it is not only a turnoff, it is also dangerous to a woman’s health because of the close proximity of the anus to the urethra. A common cause of urogenital infections in women is fecal contamination. Therefore, it is important that every girl and woman wipes/ washes herself properly after a bowel movement/ fecal contamination, not just for aesthetics, but for health reasons.

    Here is something relevant that I came across online: “Poor hygiene, essentially, is a sign of self-neglect, which is described as either the inability or unwillingness to attend to one’s individual needs“.

    Neglecting one’s hygiene, particularly repeatedly keeping fecal matters in one’s underwear throughout the day (“she wears that underwear until the end of the day-  with poop in it”) happens with people who experience severe depression, severe anxiety, psychosis, dementia and certain physical disabilities.

    Question, why is your girlfriend, a high functioning career woman, one who has a loving girlfriend, neglecting her basic hygiene and risking her health, not to mention her relationship?

    It is hard to imagine, but perhaps she is not aware of urogenital infections, never has suffered from it.. is it possible that she is mentally unwell, although highly functional, that is, is it possible that she suffers from severe anxiety that exists particularly in the context of bathroom habits?



    Hey girl,

    Yikes. Your partner likes that you cook supper and clean the house? That’s how she values you? She makes you sound like a hired hand.

    Honestly, I feel like it’s an issue of respect–respecting herself, respecting you as a lover and partner, and also you respecting your time. Do you enjoy contributing to a relationship but maybe not getting what you need out of it? I don’t know girl, I mean, life is so short. Sometimes we can get so comfortable with someone–and it sounds like both of you are maybe a little TOO comfortable with one another–that we forget why we love them in the first place, or maybe fail to see that we don’t love them anymore. That we’re just….comfortable.

    Have the conversation for sure. In my experience there’s no perfect WAY to say anything, only intention. So what do you intend to achieve out of this conversation? What do you want out of this relationship? Maybe renegotiate the terms, if she’s open to that. At any rate, you’re totally right–it’s time for a convo for sure, I would say about five years time. And no, you don’t need to explain why poop-stained underwear is a no-go. I mean, no…just no.

    Good luck girl!

    Pink 🙂





    Hello Pink,

    Yikes is right. When she told me what she values in me, I felt as though she stabbed me. But then again, with no sex, I guess she views me as a roommate. She’s very repressed in terms of her emotions, sex/sexuality, and being gay. She has only had one other girlfriend, who left her after seven years for a man. I can kind of see why, because she is so much like a man…so why not just go and be with a man (the previous gf)? She is also very, extremely, independent and clearly doesn’t “need” me for anything, except sex. I feel purposeless. Honestly, if it weren’t for my financial and health status, I would leave because I’ve never been with anyone like this. So I continue to be the little housewifey because I have a great home and don’t have to worry about money or being cared for if I get sicker. I am saving money as hard as I can, though, so I will be able to leave one day.

    We do have some good times together, but now it’s as friends. So now, with us as friends/roommates, it’s hard for me to think of a way to even start “the” conversation with her. “You know how we haven’t had sex in five years? Well it’s because you don’t brush your teeth, wipe yourself, wear clean clothes or act like you care about anything other than horses.” THAT isn’t gonna work! I know I need to talk with her, but the words…what to say?


    Do you want to fix this relationship or leave? To me it seems that you are wanting to leave due to not feeling respected and valued and are biding your time while you save up to do so. You need to set boundaries in order to overcome this, and I believe your current financial situation is making you reluctant to do so as not being able to leave takes away your ammo.

    Try and see this from her perspective. Her partner will not have sex with her and will not give her a valid reason why. She will pick up on that something is wrong / untruthful there. I have been in this situation before, and it drove me crazy asking why, I eventually ended the relationship as I could sense he was hiding something from me and my self esteem had dipped so low, the shame nearly broke me first wondering if I must be so disgusting. I eventually put no effort in as what is the point anyway, he doesn’t see me.

    She is working hard and telling you about how well off you will be when she retires as she wants to provide for you – this shows she cares. She is asking you why you will not have sex with her – this shows she craves more intimacy with you.

    If you want to fix this relationship then you need to be very clear about where you stand emotionally. Tell her how you are feeling, and tell her how she can help with this. If she is such a high earner and you do not wish to do all the cleaning, can she not hire a cleaner part time? It could be that she is burnt out from work and just wants to escape (the horses). It could be that she is not confident in her body so does not like to wear nice things, or that thinking about clothes / teeth / chores is exhausting.

    You need to decide exactly what you want from this relationship and make it clear, set some boundaries. Don’t try to make light or skirt around subjects, be direct and clear. Tell her what she / both of you can change to make you feel valued and appreciated again. Tell her what would make you want to be intimate again, but make sure to reassure her that this is something that you really want, and that you are fully attracted to her and committed and want to fix the situation. Also be prepared that this is going to initially hurt her due to shame. She is likely to lash out at first. This is temporary, leaving the problem to stew is not.

    Bear in mind that being sexually rejected by a partner is very painful, she is trying to bridge a connection between you and you are pushing that away. To have sex with someone is to open up to them and show them yourself at your most vulnerable. At the same time you are looking for emotional confirmation of her feelings towards you verbally by asking what she values in you. I suspect you are both trying to find the same confirmation in different ways.

    There is a video on youtube that I think would be incredibly helpful for you to watch, called The Sex-Starved Relationship, by the school of life. Definitely worth a watch. Bear in mind that not everyone reacts by banging around dishes, other people react to emotional pain through escape, avoiding responsibility and chores, and detaching emotionally through hobbies that bring some kind of escape/joy.

    I hope things improve for you both. It sounds very fixable if you both love each other, you just both to be very honest with your needs, and accept things are going to have to get rough for a while to get better.

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