From Singapore: My 43 yrs old wife is upset whenever we talk about cleanliness. Based on a therapist here, she says it is not OCD, but attributed to my wife’s upbringing and values. For example: my wife gets upset whenever she sees the in-laws coming home and not immediately taking a shower. She resorts to cleaning where they sat down on the sofa with a cloth for concern of my daughter. She also mops where they have stepped on. My wife feels very stressed whenever I try to talk to her about it (her distress has been kept latent too long, because my mother – a midwife thought it was OCD).
Some triggers – my wife absolutely abhors it when a person is sweaty (after a hot day) or her clothes has a pungent smell or is covered with the smell emanating from deep-fried oil (so no going to the restaurant or food courts); that person must have an immediate bath upon reaching home, or my wife will be very unhappy.
Help. Talking about it makes my wife really blow up very easy, although I have learned that she finds it beyond her to control herself and that she was brought up this way – to be clean. Worse still, my wife recently got a positive pap smear report, which is not a good indicator of the stress she has been suffering from.
What should I do? Conform to my wife’s wishes and ask everybody living in the same home to be ultra-clean so we can help her cope with her aversion to being unclean? Or should I return to her therapist to pursue this further?
PS – The rest of us at home do bathe at least once a day, just that it doesn’t have to be immediate upon reaching home.