Annoying Little Habits

Dear Courage,

I love him, I really do, but really! Some of the little things he does just drive me nuts. He never cleans up after himself when he trims his beard. Every day I clean little beard clippings all over the vanity. He uses the cap on the mouthwash to measure out how much to use, and drinks from the cap, then puts it back on the bottle without rinsing it. Ew! The bottle gets all sticky, too, and it leaves a mouthwash ring on the counter. He never puts the cap back on the tube of toothpaste, so it leaks out and hardens on the counter into a gooey mess. It’s so gross! But I haven’t killed him yet. Do little things like this ever get to you?

Grossed Out.


Dear Grossed Out,

Yes! I think it would be impossible to live with another person and not find some of their habits annoying! Whenever I make a sudden noise, like dropping a pot on the floor, he says the same stupid thing. “Need a hammer?” It was funny the first time, annoying the second. After hearing it for thirty-five years, I’m about to rip my hair out. For a while, I would try to come up with a witty response, like, “Yes. Can you get me one?” Now, I just pretend I didn’t hear him. He knows I’m hard of hearing, too. So maybe he’ll eventually give it up? I can always hope!

As for how to deal with your husband’s annoying habits, you could do something. You probably won’t be able to change him, but you can change how it makes you feel. Are you fortunate enough to have two sinks in your bathroom, or at least two bathrooms? You could stop cleaning up after him. Maybe you need to use a different bathroom for now, or the other sink – but leave his beard trimmings. Let them collect for a week, a month. Eventually, his mess will reach critical level, and he might say something. Maybe he’ll say, “Geesh, honey, the house is a mess.” And that’s your opening to talk calmly, explaining that you clean up after yourself, but he’s a big boy now and can clean up after himself, too. Period. Maybe he’ll take a hint?

As for the mouthwash and toothpaste, get separate bottles. That’s what I do. Every member of my family has their own tube of toothpaste. I felt it was kind of gross, that we would touch the tube of toothpaste to our toothbrushes that had been in our mouths, and then pass the tube to the next person to use – especially if someone in the family had a cold. Also, some people squeeze from the middle, and others want it squeezed from the bottom… so if we all have our own tube, it’s more sanitary, and there’s one less thing to argue about. You can use your own bottle of mouthwash, keep it away from his side of the sink, and your bottle will never be sticky and gooey.

Of course, if you only have one bathroom, and only have one sink, this isn’t going to work for you! In that case, you might just have to hire a housekeeper and give yourself a break.

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