My Weird Fear Is Hurting My Marriage

LOL 21

I have a unique drinking problem. I won't share a glass of anything with my own wife. Swapping spit during a kiss presents no problem, since I am in love. Yet the champagne switch toast? Gross!

I didn't really understand my phobia until last year, when my sister -- who, unlike me, is not otherwise crazy -- explained that she won't share a glass with her husband, either. When we were toddlers, apparently, our stereotypically overprotective Jewish mother warned us how much sickness and death would result from this act of germ-spreading outlandishness.

And so, here we are, in our 40s and, ahem, not sick at all. (To be fair, Mom was merely a victim of her own dysfunctional upbringing. So I forgive her. However, that doesn't solve the problem.)

How I found the one woman on earth willing to put up with this nonsense is beyond me, but I did. Jo Ann constantly negotiates the tightrope between following a long list of rules to sidestep my triggers, and becoming a slave to both me and my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She will give me tons of shit, both privately and publicly. But she will eggshell it around my sensitive issues. Last month, I almost drank from her glass by accident. "No!" she screamed, as if saving me from some rational danger.

At Jo Ann's insistence, I'm in therapy. She attends most sessions -- both to get a better handle on my problems and because my memory is not good enough to recall all the times I piss her off. Marriage is like a tape recorder for everything the husband does and says wrong, with no erase function.

At least once during our monthly really bad fight, Jo Ann will express doubt about my progress. After three years of therapy, she wonders if I've plateaued. My shrink doesn't agree -- an opinion I would trust more if she didn't enjoy being paid on a regular basis. But I'm worried. Frankly, I have never seen the payday in our relationship for Jo Ann. As difficult as you might find this to believe, I am not a laugh a minute to live with.

So tonight, I prescribed myself a dose of what is known as exposure therapy. No longer would I be phobia's inmate. I waited for the woman I love to set her water glass down between bites of her Greek salad and prepared for a new life of freedom. My eyes closed as her glass approached my lips. I imagined sauntering down a city street, grabbing half-finished drinks of God-knows-what off vacated restaurant tables and downing them with mother-ignoring abandon.

I gulped and… Gross!

OK, well, baby steps.


Image via Juan Antonio Capo/Flickr

marriage, turn-offs, living together


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ds79 ds79

I laughed out loud!!! What a refreshingly funny and well written story:)

SRTmo... SRTmom6127

I too have the same phobia! I have had it for as long as I've had children, 23 years now. As a kid and then as a teen I had no issues whatsoever because I never put much thought into it, I could have drank anything from anyone's glass no problem, then when my oldest started trying to drink from my glass at around 1-ish and I could see backwash it was over. Anytime I think someone-anyone-husband included tried to drink from my glass/bottle/can I have to start fresh, it just gives me the creeps. 

the4m... the4mutts

At least you recognize the problem, and are trying to fix it in your own OCD way. I hope your wife sees your effort. I would sincerely hate to see a future post about you being in couple's therapy next. You sound like a sweet person.

kisse... kisses5050

 Such a little thing... my mom was the same way... and my daughter is the same...  I would say if this is is her only reason for sending you to are doing better than most.

nonmember avatar Reh2002

Congratulations! Good for you! Keep it up!

Zenezzy Zenezzy

I was the same way until I was about 13 or 14 and really hungry and found a couple of dollars I used to buy an ice cream.  Another girl asked if she could share, and since I knew being hungry isn't fun I agreed.  I was kind of grossed out by the time she took her first bite and put her saliva covered spoon back into the ice cream, but my hunger pains soon got me over it.

Maishe Levitan

By the way when having liquor( because of the alcohol which is a microbe killer) there is a very small chance of transferring germs.
Your over-protectlive mom

nonmember avatar Rachel

My parents are both like this. They will not share drinks/food/etc with ANYONE. If u even touch my dads glass, he freaks. But I on the other hand share drinks with my best friend all the time and it doesn't bother me at all. I don't think it's that uncommon to be so against it. I once saw 2 friends share a piece of already chewed gum. THAT is too far.

NoWei NoWei

But you have sex. You have issues. Keep going to the therapist.

squee... squeekumsaus

NoWei, thats what a phobia is, an irrational fear. You know its odd but your subconcious brain over rides the concious 

So they have sex, yes but thats not what his brain was trained to think will cause unspeakable ill health 


Take me, fear of syringes. Full blown panic attack if I even see one. Not even blood done in pregnancy as it was deemed unsafe given my reaction

But I could go get my tounge, bellybutton and lip pierced, no issues.

Only because a piercing needle looks nothing like a syringe

Completly irrational and I know it but put a syringe near me and I have no control over my reaction

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