After 3 kids and 10 years, my wife says she can’t stand my smell and has always felt this way.

Bayo Ajibola

We’ve been with each other for nearly 15 years. We split up for a couple of months some time ago and almost divorced, however we reconciled and have been honestly strong ever since then. We have a marriage counsellor and we have been having a rough go of it of late, but we’ve been seeing progress in a number of areas.

Sex has been a major issue for some time, though. She is on medications for her mental health that she claims affect her sex drive. A few months ago, we had a serious crisis when she was suicidal and was almost hospitalized. After that, sex has become a lot more of a challenging topic. Our therapist made a number of suggestions which my wife couldn’t or wouldn’t follow-through. I became much more frustrated and there were a lot of occasions where we had heated quarrels.

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We arrived at an agreement a couple of weeks ago to put the sex goals on on standby until our reality stabilized a little – the social isolation has been tough for the whole family. Last week we had a fantastic day together; she was engaging and lively, more affectionate than normal. But, nothing physical happened. The following day I told her that I thought it was sweet how vibrant she was the evening before.

I told her, “I was looking forward to going down on you, however you came upstairs and was fast asleep within 5 seconds of getting in bed. It was precious and I was happy to snuggle you instead.” She became very put out by this statement which was a complete surprise to me. I said i was sorry, but confessed I was baffled by her reaction. She brought it up all over again , we spoke about it briefly, nothing heated or upsetting, and 10 minutes later, she told me she’s leaving to stay at a friends house.

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Monday evening, she told me that she had an epiphany. She told me she is repulsed by the way I smell to her. I’m a very clean and hygienic person, but clearly she just doesn’t like my natural pheromones. Also, she said that she has always felt this way, despite saying the exact opposite for our time together. Literally, my smell is one thing she has talked about, unprompted, many times over the years, to be comforting and even extremely sexy. I dealt with the news pretty well, but I’m deeply hurt, perplexed, and a little angry.

We have three kids – our oldest is disabled, a new house, two cars, a wife with bipolar disorder, severe depression and anxiety, and a global pandemic… our life couldn’t get much more challenging. I don’t have a clue how we can make progress. My wife hasn’t said that she’d like to split up, she wants to continue counseling and I do too. I’m dedicated to being amicable come what may, but I’m troubled and a bit terrified together with my confusion and preexisting frustrations.

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I don’t know what I expect to hear, advice wise. But our therapist appointment is a few days away and I’m trying to unpack this enough to not lose myself. Does anyone see this as a surmountable issue? I’ve heard of and experienced this with pregnancy, but this is different. Also, just curious, is there a way to change my smell?

Thanks for listening.

Bayo Ajibola

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