Psychologist and Clinical Psychotherapist
C.S.W; B.S.Sci.Psych (Hons); FACCP; LMAAPi

My husband and I have been married 9 years. When we first met, he was the perfect gentleman. He has since turned into the biggest slob…

He burps and farts in front of me and the kids whenever he feels like it, and they think it is funny, and now they do it too. He also goes to the bathroom and leaves the door open so that anyone can wander in, he has no shame.

I also think he has no respect for me because of the way he behaves. Whenever he does these things I criticize him so he fully understands that I do not approve, but this has no affect on him.

I don’t want to end our marriage, but I do feel resentful towards him and I can’t understand why he behaves this way. How can I get my gentleman husband back?

Answer

I suggest you stop criticizing him and sit down and have a quiet and objective discussion about the way he has changed since marriage.

Ask him is there anything that you do that irritates him and if he says no, that is  great, but if he gives you some examples, listen to him without  becoming defensive and tell him that you will do your best to stop whatever it is that irritates him.

Then tell him what he does that offends you and ask him, if he would be willing to change back to the way he was when you first married. Remember the secret in negotiation is to ask him if he is willing to change, not tell him what you want.

I personally think the ensuite bathroom is one of the worst things which contributes to loss of respect in marriages this century. Before the ensuite, people were more dignified, more conservative, more humble and more respectful towards their partners re the behaviors you describe.

There is nothing sexy or desirable when you lie in bed and can hear all the noises that come from a bathroom, and have the odor wafting into your room at the same time.

Nor is breaking wind and burping a respectful way to behave in front of anyone. Explain to your husband that this is very poor role modeling for your children.

Respect is a very important ingredient in a relationship, thus familiarity breeds contempt. When I have this conversation with some of my clients, and they state they can’t help themselves, I ask them if they break wind at work, at formal functions, in restaurants, etc, they usually respond with a no, and say they can control themselves when necessary.

My response is they should maintain this control at home, they can always go into the bathroom, and shut the door when they want to do any of the above.

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