Suffering because your partner is too clean


After cleaning three times from inside to outside, adjusting the bed sheets and kitchen towels to square, Ms. Thanh was still startled when she saw her husband slamming into the house.

“If you have a pair of shoes that you can’t even put them on, what can you do?”, grumbled the husband as soon as he got home. Knowing that her husband likes to be clean, Nguyen Thi Thanh, 29 years old, from Minh Khai, Hanoi, rushed out to straighten her shoes while her husband continued to rage in the bathroom: “Not even a few hanging towels. regulations”.

Thanh stood outside the door and sighed.

Wearing a ready-made tray of rice and his wife and children waiting, Mr. Minh Duc turned on the water to scrub the toilet one more time, went back to the kitchen to clean the cupboard, then took a broom to sweep the windows… “Feels like being in the house. Every room must be as sterile as the operating room,” Thanh recalled the situation yesterday afternoon in her home.

Hanoi women are not strange to count their husbands because they have been living together for 7 years. Since he just got married and moved out, Mr. Duc requires everything in the house to be very neat, the furniture to be in the right place, the clothes to be folded squarely, arranged in color groups, and ironed straight before wearing. At first, the house was only the husband and wife, so everything was not too difficult.

Since the birth of their twin children, their lives have been turned upside down. The children are naughty, or take out their toys and throw them everywhere. Even though she stayed at home all day, Ms. Thanh couldn’t clean up compared to the fussiness of her two children. Once, Duc came home from work and saw that his children’s two cars had not been finished playing, so he kicked them straight into the wall and put them in the trash.

Illustration: HH

Nguyen Van An, 37, from District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, calls his wife a “perfectionist”. Thu Hoai, his wife, outside of work hours, at home, her only hobby is cleaning. Every centimeter in the house on the street is never dusted because her hand is always cleaned twice a day. Instead of exercising every morning or relaxing in the afternoon, she worked hard to clean every stair step, every small corner on the door.

Hoai never invites friends to her house for fear that they will bring dirt in. At the time of the wedding, An’s family came to visit, the guest just came out of the toilet, she went to clean. Cups for guests to drink water, she immediately brought them to wash and then dried in the sun to disinfect or throw them away. The husband was narcissistic and scolded his wife for not respecting his family, but later learned that anyone who came to her house also behaved the same way.

Her husband and children come home from work, and before they can hang their shirt on the hook, arrange their hats and briefcase properly, they will be yelled at by her. Children who spill food on the floor will be scolded by her sister, forced to dry the floor before standing up. “My father and I just wished that my mother would go on a business trip to be free,” An said.

Not only at home, every time when going to a restaurant, she prepares a separate set of chopsticks and spoons. Sitting at the dining table, she asked the staff to rinse their bowls with boiling water for peace of mind. Many evenings, when the couple was close, she rushed to take a bath.

Psychology Master La Linh Nga (Hanoi) admits that many of her clients complain of fatigue, frustration, and even fear of the family atmosphere because their spouse is too clean and tidy.

Thanh said that she always tries to keep her living space neat and clean. But his overly detailed demands made her nervous and stifled. “When I go home, my two children are silent, as if they dare not breathe,” she said.

An also advised his wife to be less harsh with herself and her husband and children, but Hoai affirmed that “can’t live with dirt”. He hired a maid to free his wife, but since the beginning of the year, three people have quit because they cannot meet the requirements of the landlady. Depressed, Mr. An often comes home when his wife and children have gone to bed. Ms. Hoai suspects that her husband is unfaithful, constantly interrogating, making the family atmosphere more tense.

No one denies being clean brings many health benefits. Research conducted by professor NiCole R. Keith, Indiana University (USA) shows that people with clean houses are healthier than those with messy houses. However, scientists also show that a too clean lifestyle changes the bacteria inside the body and easily leads to allergies, asthma, and type 1 diabetes. Scientists from Cancer Research UK. think that living too clean makes children’s immune systems not work properly.

Not only physical health, if a person is too clean, it will create psychological pressure on other family members. Carefree spouses are not affected much, but most are tired, stressed and inhibited because people who are too clean often clean and complain at the same time. “Those little things that accumulate can cause a marriage to crack,” said Ms. La Linh Nga.

A survey by the insurance agency Risk and Underwriting in the UK found that, on average, couples argue for 40 minutes a day over housework. On the list of the most controversial chores, the top is throwing clothes indiscriminately, causing up to 35% of conflicts. Another reason that often causes couples to be aggressive is spilling or dirty wires in the house, not cleaning the bedroom, not taking out the trash…

Foreign researchers confirm that, in some cases, patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) also have “too clean and tidy” symptoms accompanied by feelings of discomfort and restlessness. Josephine Elia, a medical doctor, AI duPont Hospital (Delaware, USA), said that people with OCD cleanliness disease may show symptoms such as fear of dirty objects, the need to wash hands or wash regularly, find ways to clean yourself and your house; change, wash clothes several times a day, and refuse to allow others to enter their deemed clean and safe spaces.

According to master Linh Nga, people who are too clean themselves also suffer because they often bury their heads in cleaning, so they do not have time for themselves. She once advised a client, even though she was a housewife, she stopped cleaning every day until 11pm.

Experts find that there are many things that are superfluous on the to-do list of the day. For example, some positions in the warehouse can be cleaned once a week, she still cleans every day, the pan doesn’t cook, but every meal is rearranged and washed. After discussing the things that need to be prioritized and a series of things that can be eliminated, the female client shortens the housework and has time to go to the gym.

Children in families with overly clean parents also have negative emotions and are easily isolated. Minh Hoa, grade 2, was brought to a psychologist by her mother for counseling because she often shouted and cried. The little girl said, her mother made her clean twice a day, even the top of the cupboard climbed up to check if the dust was clean. “I hate my mother,” the child said angrily. The psychologist must invite the mother to talk to her, analyze how she is being strict with her child, and give advice to reduce pressure on the baby.

The three-year-old daughter of Thu Hoai and Mr. An are at home during the epidemic season but have almost no friends to play with. Neighboring children found the baby cute, so when they wanted to hold her, Ms. Hoai forced her to wash her hands before she could touch her child. She often reminded, scowled when the neighbor’s children came to play to mess up their slippers and climb on the chair. Seeing the landlord’s attitude, the children’s parents did not allow their children to play anymore.

Master La Linh Nga said that wives and husbands who are too clean should instead set a fixed time frame for this and only spend time on things that really need to be adjusted. “Cleanliness that makes other people in the family stress and inhibit should be balanced,” the expert said.

Ms. Thanh said that the kindergarten reopened, she sent the children to school and was looking for a job. “I have to take the initiative in my life. If there’s no way to change him, I have to gradually separate,” she said.

Pham Nga

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