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Germophobe wife says I hate her

Community Member

I've been having difficulty with my relationship with wife, we have lived together just over a year and got married recently.

My wife is a self admitted germophobe, it has gotten far worse during the pandemic. She is also a HSP (highly sensitive person) and sees a psychologist monthly to help her with perceived problems she is having.

The issue is I will do something like leave a tap askew rather than straight, or accidentally let the corner of a clean blanket touch the floor. She will then spiral out of control and what follows is always the same pattern, I will go into it bellow.

First she will get angry and accuse me of all sorts of things like being dirty, not listening to her/caring about her or saying my wedding vows were a lie.

I apologise and tell her that I'll be more mindful of the tap, or wash the blanket again, etc. But this never satisfies her, she will berate me saying 'you don't listen to me', 'I can't trust you', 'you never learn', 'you make me so angry', 'you ruined my day', etc.

Eventually she will say I have to make it up to her, so I start to suggest things I know she likes. These suggestions are always met with a 'no', 'that is stupid', 'do you even know me?' type of comment.

After this she tells me to go away and leave her alone. Eventually her anger subsidies and I try and apologise again and make it up to her, this is followed by the same conversation every time. Again I'm accused of not listening to her, I have asked her why she thinks this and she will say I always do things wrong and that my actions speak louder than words. I promise her I will try harder to not do it again in the future, then I'm told my words mean nothing. She will ask me why I'd did what I did, I'll then tell her why (usually I was thinking of something else or rushing) and she will then say stop making excuses and tell me to admit I'm lazy/don't care/am dirty/my mum didn't teach me right, etc.

Sometimes I will be so worn down that I will lie and say something like 'sorry I was lazy'. Eventually if I admit to having enough faults she will calm down and the whole thing fizzles out.

However, this time I've had enough so I told her what I feel, that is I put up with so much from her and I have never had anyone else talk to me the way she does and have never heard a anyone talked to the way she talks to me. She said if I feel that way to leave, I said no so she went to sleep on the couch and has now left.

I need advice, I don't know how to go forward.

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Snozzcumbers~

I'm very sorry that you have ended up in this position, one where you have been powerless to form a comfortable relationship with your wife, and have now reached the stage where you are not together.

I strongly suspect this is the same person you wrote about as your girlfriend a couple of years ago, the common factor being taking a minor matter, blowing it up out of all proportion, and not being amenable to reason. I think back then Juliet_84 was spot on in saying it is not you, it is on her.

If a person has a mental health condition they may well overreact, or not listen to reason, or even believe they are cared for, and this may be the circumstances here. I'm not sure "Highly Sensitive Person" personality trait covers things, a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment might be in order. Obviously the current therapy is ineffective.

I'm not sure, give how things stand, you could persuade her to do this.

I'm also not sure where you go from here, is there anyone in her life she might take notice of to persuade her to seek further psychiatric help?

Your own welfare seems to me to be at risk, and I'd strongly urge you to see your GP and say what has been happening. It would be all too easy to blame yourself even though you are the one ill treated and not the cause.

Do you have a family member or friend you could lean on at the moment? Not someone who wants to 'fix' everything, but just listens and cares? Trying to cope with all this in isolation is extra hard.

I'd really like it if you came back and said how you were managing


Community Member

Hi Snozzcumbers,

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I am also married to a germophobic person and can understand some of the things you are going through. I too have been told off for my towel touching the floor!

Unfortunately, germophobic behaviour is an OCD/anxiety disorder and it causes the person to see things exaggerated - for want of a better explanation I just can't think of one. I too have had similar things said to me at times but usually at something a little more clumsy or careless like eating with my hands before washing them or something like that. The comments are hurtful and degrading. It now affects our child because our lives aren't "normal", and it's still a constant battle and the rules are still there. I've actually found it's affected me and I've become sudo germophobic because of it. I'm now too scared to go out to places where I can't control what I touch or eat and can not get sick at all.

I know you might not want to hear this, but unless you can 100% commit to this way of life, then you are best to part ways before it does affect you more than you can handle. I've been on the depression battle ground myself because of my situation and feel I am locked in for good - despite DV being involved.

I wish you well and please know this is not your fault and you are not to blame. She has a mental illness that only she can address with professional help.

Hi there

Thanks so much for sharing your posts here. As a germophobe I have found it helpful to hear from people on the other end of the experience.

Community Member

Hi Snozzcumbers

I don't know anything about germaphobia, but I do know something about toxic relationships. And this sounds like an absolutely classic example. Just reading your account shot me straight back into memories of abusive relationships I'd been in, complete with manipulation, gaslighting, mind games, and threats. And germophobe or not, this is a terrible way to treat someone you love.

Your wife may or may not have a mental illness, I couldn't say. But I can't see how germophobia would justify treating your partner in such a way that involves days of mental torture, over and over again. You'll excuse me for being blunt, but it sounds like she's using mental illness as an excuse for treating you in a terrible manner. I have bipolar 2, and I don't always treat people how I should when I'm ill; but when I come back to normal, I am always horrified by what I've done, apologise, and work to try and make sure it doesn't happen again (manage my illness better, put checks in place to try and prevent it from re-occurring).

I would urge you to seek some one-on-one counselling on your own, and even relationship counselling if you feel it would help, but to me it sounds like you're in a DV relationship. You deserve love and happiness and support in your life; additionally, you are not responsible for someone if they can't be bothered trying to be responsible for themselves and their own behaviour. Germophobia is not a Get out of Jail Free card, it needs to be managed by the sufferer in such a way that they are mindful of their behaviour to others.

I hope you find happiness and peace going forward, all the best.