S.S. wrote: “Hey Liz hope you’re doing great. I have a beard (not a full one) and my wife HATES it. She calls it ugly and frequently comments how it’s uncomfortable if I kiss her. I keep it because I have an executive position in a corporate environment where all of my coworkers and most people I interact with are much older then me and it makes me look and feel older, but mostly it’s because I have a chubby face that I’m extremely insecure about (and my body in general but that’s a whole different story) and my beard makes me hate my face less. It does seem to genuinely annoy her. Am I inconsiderate for keeping it?”
Liz says: I can relate to her feelings, full disclosure. Facial hair can be handsome, but kissing a scruffy face *hurts*. My husband has grown facial hair off and on during our entire relationship. When he’s craving a different look he’ll simply grow it out for a bit and then he’s back to clean-shaven within a few months. Perhaps it’s because he isn’t married to the facial hair that I don’t complain about it. If he never shaved it off I would probably speak up.
I think it’s inexcusable that she calls it “ugly” though. There’s no reason to be cruel about it. It’s one thing to lovingly tell you she prefers your bare, handsome face and another thing entirely to be verbally abusive.
That said, do you think that your beard is acting as a barrier between you two? Meaning, are you subconsciously putting up a “wall” that keeps you two from expressing physical affection? Is there a part of you that’s okay with not kissing your wife as much as you would be if you were clean shaven?
Sometimes upon further reflection we realize there are deeper reasons for behavior that may seem superficial at first glance.
A lot of people alter their appearance to seem older and more experienced in the workplace. I don’t blame you; sometimes I wonder if appearing to be in my 20s is a reason why I have a harder time being taken seriously as a relationship and sex advice blogger (I’m actually 43). And if you feel like it thins out your face a bit too, that’s understandable. One reason I’ve never had short hair is because it makes my face appear rounder. However, keeping the beard comes at a significant cost. If you shave it, you won’t be fired from your job, but if you keep the beard it could push your wife away and physical affection between you two could further languish.
Really, it boils down to this: do you want to enjoy kissing your wife more often or not?
Consider the fact that it’s a good sign she complains. If she didn’t want to kiss you, she’d use your beard as an excuse but she’d compliment it so you keep it.
One of the biggest contributors to divorce, according to divorced couples, is when one spouse stops taking care of themselves, let’s themselves “go”, and gets “too comfortable”. This often happens because the spouse is taking their partner for granted, assuming their wedding vows were written in stone and that their partner will find them sexually appealing no matter what they look like or how they behave. Wearing clothes and hairstyles that the spouse finds unflattering falls under this. This may or may not be what’s happening with you, but please think about it because if this applies to you it’s not too late to turn things around.