A Weird Quirk Doesn't Have to Be a Relationship Deal-Breaker

Which is a relief, because I'm the one with the weird quirk.
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Carly Zinderman
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Which is a relief, because I'm the one with the weird quirk.

My bed has always been my haven. When I was a kid, it was where I would go when my parents were fighting. It's where I would try to sneak a late-night read — and then spend the next afternoon napping. My bed is the place where it's all me; I know exactly what's going on it, and in it, at all times. 

Which is why it's so aggravating to have someone come in and muck it up with their dirty-ass outside clothes.

Admittedly, I'm something of a neat freak. Nobody is going to document my habits anytime soon; I don't count or rewash or anything like that. But I do have an order that I like to keep. That includes what comes into contact with my bed: Anything but pajamas is just not acceptable.

A while back, I read that making your bed immediately after getting up can lead to a haven for not just me, but also bacteria — something grody about sweat not getting a chance to dry out. I'm not enough of a neat freak to be changing sheets on a regular basis (in fact, I hate doing laundry), but I am close enough to being a germophobe to take the advice to heart and not make my bed, even though I'm not a night sweater, which means that my bed is regularly open to outside invasion. I always plan to make my bed later in the day, but that only happens on laundry day because I don't want my clean clothes in the not-as-clean sheets. And I hate doing laundry. So my bed remains open and vulnerable most of the time.

Shhhh, it's sleeping.

Shhhh, it's sleeping.

My husband learned early on about my thing about my bed. In what would have been a romantic, Harlequin-novel-style gesture, as my then live-in boyfriend, he playfully tried to toss me on the bed. Usually, it's pretty easy for him to direct my less than five-foot frame, but I resisted. Strongly. It didn't take him long to catch on that I didn't want to touch the bed. It just wasn't sexy to me to be landing in my pristine bed in my dirty clothes. The ones that I had worn to a restaurant. And a movie. And sat in the same seat that others with possibly less hygienic habits had sat. And being in bed in those same contaminated clothes was just too much.

Until that point in our relationship, I had managed to keep a lot of my germophobia pretty low-key. He hadn't noticed that I keep the toilet lid closed to prevent spray from sullying the rest of the room. Or that I kept my toothbrush in the medicine cabinet, out of harm's way, for the same reason. Or that the first thing that I do when I come in the door from being outside is to wash my hands. But this was the tipping point. I couldn't keep quiet about my hate of the outside world getting inside my bed.

Not surprisingly, the discovery led to an argument about how uptight I am and how I can't let things go. I pointed out that I did let go of things — like his habit of not cleaning. That I did all the cleaning without complaint because I'm the one that cares about things being clean. And I even did the laundry, even though I hate doing laundry, because I'm the one that has access to the building's machines during off-peak times.

Now, over a decade later, my husband has become more aware of my "peculiarities." He's even adopted some of them. If we happen to get out of bed at the same time, he helps me turn back the covers. When he comes home, he heads to the sink immediately. And most charming of all, when he has the time, he does the laundry. 

He even makes sure to make the bed before dumping clean clothes all over it.