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Concerned Husband , 20 Apr 2009

When Your Wife Bites Her Cuticles Fairly Nonstop

My wife is a beautiful, stylish, successful professional woman to whom I've been happily married for 32 years. She is the last person on earth I would ever think would have an anxiety problem as described by others on this blog - but over the past ten years she increasingly bites her cuticles, frequently to the point of them bleeding. It happens most of her waking hours to one degree or another, but it is especially incessant whenever we're watching tv after dinner (now often resulting in her chewing on two or three fingers in her mouth at the same time in between pickings.) I've bought special gloves for her to wear, but she gets extremely angry if I ask her to wear them. When she does agree to talk a little about it, she says I couldn't possibly understand because she says it feels like Pepsi Cola fizzing/bubbling underneath her skin. She's said that her grandmother suffered from this condition and feels its therefore hereditary and it'd be best to leave this matter alone. I keep asking myself if the problem's with me, if I'm the one obsessing on something. (Admittedly, I'm far from perfect myself.) But, to be honest, this behavior of her's is not attractive and its not pleasant to observe, particularly with it steadily ramping up. Now that I've read about these spinner rings, I'll probably buy her one of those. She also suffers from restless legs and hot flashes so her late 50's are not exactly a pleasant time for her. If any other spouses out there have come up with a solution to a similar situation, and have any suggestions, I'd like to read about it. Maybe I just need to shut up and be glad its nothing more than an annoyance.
2 Answers
October 12, 2009
There isn't anything you can do to make your wife stop chewing and picking her cuticles. Trust me. I have been doing it for 26 years (i'm 31) and have been married for 11 years. There is nothing ANYONE could say to me to get me to quit. It's WAY too satisfying and too much of an unconscience habit at this point. Your wife will need to do this on her own...sorry to take away your hope.
October 14, 2009
I am 30 years old and have been biting at my cuticles since my early teens. I remember being grossed out if my mom were to touch me with her fingers, which were always bitten up, red, crusty, and generally gross. Now, those are my fingers. I am convinced the desire is somewhat hereditary and the behavior is learned. As much as I rationally know that the behavior is undesired and the results will be atrocious, I continue to bite at my cuticles. There are some nights that I go to bed with band-aids and neosporin on every cuticle. I rub Burt's Bees on my cuticles on the nights when I have bitten them down and no longer wish to bite. I have been reading about Habit Reversal Training, and think I might look into it further as a way to stop this annoying, painful, and unsightly habit. It would mean visits to a therapist, but I think it will be worth it to finally be able to keep my hands in plain view while around colleagues and superiors. Just something you may want to mention to your wife.

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