Inside His Head: Husband doesn’t care about his appearance anymore

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Welcome back to Inside His Head, a monthly feature on nwaMotherlode which offers women an opportunity to take a little spin inside the minds of men.

From time to time, all women ask themselves this question: What was he thinking?!

In this space, our panel of anonymous husbands answer questions from local moms like this one:

Dear Husbands,

My husband doesn’t seem to care about his appearance anymore and it drives me crazy. I don’t think he’s depressed or anything; he just seems to be fine with being sloppy, like he doesn’t need to impress me anymore. I feel shallow about being bothered by it, but I can’t ignore the fact that it does. How do I bring up/talk about this topic without coming off as mean?

GRAY: Has your prince charming gone the K-Fed route, exchanging his swagger for fat-covering sweatpants? Do you find yourself looking at photos from a couple years ago and wondering what the heck happened? Well, welcome to being an adult when our metabolism slows down and we’re too stressed out between mortgages and work to find time to go on those 5-mile runs every day.

Speaking as a man, I’m not a physically glamorous specimen, nor am I a keen dresser, nor am I the most fastidious housekeeper; however, I wasn’t aware part of a husband’s responsibility was to keep their wife impressed in that manner.

If I’m going to be impressive it’s going to be by doing something like getting our taxes done and still making it to my daughter’s softball practice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the wave of obesity our country seems struck with. Health issues are serious things and making an effort to eat in a healthy manner and stick with an exercise program.

It’s easy enough to talk a guy into taking evening walks or a bike ride…maybe even join a fitness club together to give each other some support. And if he’s just suddenly become slovenly, then make him pick up after himself. It shouldn’t be a spouse’s responsibility to clean up after their mate as they would for a child.

At the end of the day you need to ask yourself if you’re concerned about him because you love him or if the real issue lies elsewhere. It’s never meanness when a conversation comes from the heart and because of compassion for another.

MAVERICK: You say he doesn’t care about his appearance anymore, which indicates he once did. So what has changed since then?

If you’re still making the same efforts you did to impress him, it seems like he’s had some sort of disconnect.

Barring some passive aggressive stuff, I think it really boils down to falling back into old bad habits or establishing new, bad ones.

You use the term sloppy, which doesn’t seem to mean he’s let himself go physically, more like he’s just not concerned much about his overall appearance, so that means clothing and/or haircuts.

Haircuts are simple. Tell him to go get his haircut when he looks scruffy.

Good example: “You’re looking a little scruffy. Why don’t you stop by and get a haircut on the way home tonight and then we can go out to a movie.”

Bad example: “You look like a freaking hippie. Don’t come home tonight without getting a haircut. I didn’t marry the wolf-boy from the circus.”

Next, I’d suggest taking him shopping to get some new shirts, pants and shoes. Something nice but not super pricey unless either he or you can afford it. Guys can get into a clothing rut pretty easily and we tend to stay in said ruts far longer than women. Once he has some new stuff he’s much more likely to wear something less grungy.

Try letting him know that some of his clothing choices are not particularly appealing to you and likely by extension most of polite society, but do it nicely. When  he opts to wear a ratty t-shirt, maybe suggest something different, but don’t be hyper-critical.

Good example: “I really wish you’d wear that nice shirt you got last week. I’m wearing some of my nicer stuff –  we’d match a little better.”

Bad example: “Oh, my God, I can’t believe you’re wearing that crappy ‘I’m with Stupid’ t-shirt again! You look like a hobo for crying out loud.”

What ever you do don’t ditch his stuff. We guys get attached to some of our clothing, t-shirts in particular. Just help him add more acceptable stuff to his wardrobe. The older stuff will eventually be worn out, eventually.

I’ve needed new shoes for months now and I keep either forgetting or balking at price.

If my wife bought me some new ones, I’d say thanks and wear them. My money says your husband will do the same thing.

MICHAEL: First I’ll assume that you take care of yourself. You’re not shallow to want your husband to look his best for you.

When we get married we’re making a commitment to each other to do our best for each other. Part of that commitment is to take care of our appearance to maintain a level of attractiveness that keeps our spouse interested. Having said that, I don’t think it’s unusual for a person’s level effort in this area to fluctuate at times due to things like fatigue or stress.

To address the issue, you need to approach it in a positive way.

If your husband isn’t  dressing well comment on ads that you see with clothes that you’d like him to wear. Ask him to go shopping for some clothes. If he needs to work out, ask him to go on a walk with you or suggest he go to them gym for his health. If none of those things work, you’ll simply have to ask him why he doesn’t put forth the effort that he used to.