My Husband Works from Home And Doesn’t Care about Hygiene

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 40s. I need your advice about my husband who works from home.

My husband started working from home two years ago. He works hard for the family as he has always done. But because he no longer goes out, he doesn’t care about how he looks and has become more stubborn in how he interacts with the family.

He shaves every day but takes a bath only about twice a week. He doesn’t change his clothes as often as one would expect. As a result, his body and hair have a strong odor and his workroom is brimming with that stench.

Before he started teleworking, he used to work so energetically. My daughter, who is in junior high school, can’t stand him now because he doesn’t bother to care about his hygiene while working. She has started to ignore him when he tries to talk to her.

I chide him in subtle ways from time to time. But he doesn’t like to be talked to that way, so he doesn’t listen to me.

He also no longer makes an effort to communicate with others since he is always at home, and is becoming more stubborn day by day. What can I do to change him?

C, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. C:

Working from home enables people to avoid commuting hassles and work relatively flexible hours. But that’s not always a good thing.

I’ve been working from home for many years, and I devise ways to maintain an active lifestyle. I push myself to go to the gym three times a week and I try to eat out with my wife at least once a week.

I never say no to school reunions, parties and similar events. I use them as opportunities to communicate with others.

No animal stays in its nest all the time, right? People, too, need to go out and be active from time to time while they are still physically capable of doing so, or they will eventually become too stressed.

You, too, should try to take a positive approach to your husband, instead of “chiding” him. How about eating out together? When you do, why don’t you give him clothes as a gift and compliment him, saying how nice they look on him?

He needs to regularly take in fresh air and get some exercise. How about going for a walk together? You said he shaves every day, so while he still does so, it might be fun to ask him out for a date like when you two were younger.

Tomomi Fujiwara, writer