Having Partners Who Do Not Understand Allergies

I was hoping someone in this forum could help me with my current life partners knowledge on pollen in the home and how we can minimize it during pollen season. My husband and I have been together for 14+ years, and over these last 14 years he refuses to make minor lifestyle changes during allergy season. I have accute allergies to pollen, tree pollen, and grass pollen specifically. I have had these allegies my whole life. Like I am sure many of you, my doctors have always told me to keep all the doors and windows closed during pollen season to help keep pollen out of the home. My husband refuses keep the windows closed. He use  to leave them open at night and told me, " pollen does not come into the windows at night" ( not joking). He has since stopped opening the windows at night because we have put in an air conditioner. He still however, refuses to stop opening the window when he takes a shower. He again informs me, " Pollen can not come into the window when steam is going out, its physics".

If anyone in this forum could help enlighten him I would greatly appreciate it. I am currently taking 2 medications to keep my allergies at bay, and would appreciate my husband being more empathetic to my allergy needs. 


Comments 22

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my goodness. This sounds so tough, and you've been dealing with this for 14 years!

    Could you have your DH go with you to your next doctor's appointment so that he can hear from your doctor what you should be doing? 

    On the shower — is there a way you can install an exhaust fan to pull the steam out? 

    I'm so glad you have an air conditioner! I'm sure that has prevented lots of arguments! 

    If he's the type to put more faith in information that's been reviewed by medical experts, how about AAFA's blog post on ? It has a cool infographic that you can share with him — and it includes "keep your windows and doors closed."

    AAFA also has a great resource on .

    But most of all, know that you are not alone. We're here for you, and we totally understand how tough pollen allergies can be!

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh … and another suggestion. Your husband's idea that, "Pollen cannot come into the window when steam is going out, it's physics," sounds like a great question for AAFA's free Ask the Allergist™ service.  You can fill out this , and a board-certified allergist will reply within 2 weeks. 

  • LK

    Jo S,  Oh, my!  I am sorry you have to deal with all this!  I have severe asthma.  My DH of over 30 years sometimes has that same mindset – if he says it then in his mind it's true, no matter what the actual evidence is.  Makes me speechless and exasperated.        For my DH, he always "hears" it better from someone else other than me.  I can try to tell him something for years but if he hears it from someone else who he respects then he acts as if it's a revelation that he has never heard before.  Afterwards I try to not adopt an "I told you that" attitude even though it is so tempting!  

    I applaud you for sticking with it all these years and trying to inform him of the facts.  Hope he starts understanding how it really does work.  

  • Jo S

    Thank you Lisa and K8sMom. I appreciate the suggestions and support. Marriage is work and here is a perfect example of a moment in our marriage where it requires some work. We do have an exhaust fan in our bathroom ( actually an almost brand new one as we just renovated our bathroom a few years ago).

    I have also reached out to the “ask our allergist” resource so hopefully they will be able to further solidify my point of view on the importance of not letting allergiens in our home this time of year. What a fantastic resource. I look forward to hearing from them. 

    And Lisa, you are spot on, my husband needs to hear it from someone else. So hopefully he can read this thread and understand this is a real thing! 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Hello Jo. Nice to meet you! My DH never listens to me. He is the same way as your DH. We live in the woods and wetlands with the highway behind the backyard .Opening the windows here is a disaster waiting to happen. Our vehicles are older .That means exhaust fumes .When DH opens the windows, the vehicle exhaust enters the vehicle. 😷

    I had used an old walk behind lawn mower for over 8 years, because it belonged to his mother .The mower's deck had a hole rotted through it. Pure grayish black smoke would pour through that hole and I would get that in my lungs. I could go on with more stories, but we only have so many years… 😄😠

    If your DH accompanies you to the doctor…..your doctor could explain your situation. I know that did not work in my case. Hopefully, it works for you! You should always do everything you can to prevent and avoid all triggers. Wishing you the best. We are all here when you need us! 😁

  • Shea

    Happy wife, happy life! 

    Im single so Im not good with marital advice but I am good with knowing how to keep myself taken care of if someone rlse will not make changes when my health is at stake. It is so hard to have allergies and have so many places you cannot go or go not feel safe in or cannot be for long amounts of time without feeling ill. The home should not be one of those places. The home should feel like a sanctuary, a safe place, with mininal triggers. All he had to do is keep the windows closed. He doesnt suffer from kerping them closed near as much as you do from keeping them open. If he wants fresh air he can go outside. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Such great advice here! And as always, knowing that we're not alone is a good thing!

    Jo S, could you try a brief set of sessions with a counselor or family therapist? Even if you go by yourself, it could help you figure out your boundaries and some good techniques for how to work with your DH.

    Sometimes people don't want to accommodate because it somehow makes a family member's disorder "real" to them and they want to stay in denial. Guys can be especially prone to this because they tend to be of the "fix-it" mentality. If some guys can't fix it, then they sometimes like to pretend it's not "so bad" or "so serious" that it requires changes to the way the family lives.

    Short focused therapy sessions can help your family negotiate new diagnoses or changes in a chronic disorder. I compare it to stopping and asking for directions when I'm lost … of course, some guys don't like doing THAT, either.

  • Melissa G

    Welcome to the AAFA forums Jo! 

    That has to be very frustrating. I agree with others, taking him to one of your dr's appts may help. 

  • LK
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Such great advice here! And as always, knowing that we're not alone is a good thing!

    Jo S, could you try a brief set of sessions with a counselor or family therapist? Even if you go by yourself, it could help you figure out your boundaries and some good techniques for how to work with your DH.


    I did go see a counselor for a few months last spring.  Dealing with a very long flare with my severe persistent asthma and my DH had made my mind start going in circles.  I had asked DH if he would go with me but he didn't think anything was wrong.    The counselor was able to give me several helpful ways to step back from some conversations and not take my normal way of reacting to DH's comments.  It really did help.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    I'm glad counseling helped you Lisa. I know that if I end up going, things will never change here. I would be learning to deal with the things here. 

    My DH and his entire family have things going on. Hi-polar disorder, depression, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, narcissism, the total need to control, selfishness, hoarding…plus more. My DH has alot of these things going on. Refuses to get help. His family has drummed it into his head that I am no good. His sister told him that I am a gold digger. Never to put anything in my name. I only live in this house to try and take the house from him. There is no gold here!!! I couldn't afford to live in this house by myself! I have heard alot of horrible things said about me. I was badmouthed at a family picnic. His brother begged my DH not to marry me in front of their entire family. I have learned to ignore. When DHs sister passed away, his family purposely left my name out of the obituary where it lists siblings and spouses. My mother cried. I just live my own life. If the time comes that I have to live alone, I don't know how I'd make it. I would be in a bug infested slum. Those are the only type of places I could afford to live around here. If you get rental assistance, those are the types of places you end up. I was lectured this morning about how much insurance costs. I guess he gets mad because I am sick and it costs him alot of money. But for so many reasons, I am sick because of him. I cannot reverse my lung diseases. I say…let's all make the best of each day! I find my own happiness! ☺

  • Shea

    Debbie, I am so sorry you have to deal with such hortibly mean, rude, just disgusting behavior from your DH's family. I hate that. They hurt themselves by treating you rudely too. After the birth of my son and my heart attack from allergic eosinophils surrounding my heart, and the doctors helping me tell all my family I cannot be around dander, my exes family told me that no one would ever find homes for their animals for me, and what was wrong with me. His mom was especially horrible. It was very hurtful. It still hurts. I had been nothing but nice to everyone all the time but for some reason he and his family never cared about us. Im thankful I dont have to see them. I have had a hard time trusting people ever since. You are such a strong person Debbie, you have found your internal love and character and dont let others break that even when facing a storm of yucky people, and I am so glad that you do stand against that, because you are such a kind, caring, sweet, funny, hard-working, and talented person. I just pray that others in your life will realize that and treat you with love and respect.

    My only thought on the future if your husband passed would be either finding another person with similar lifestyle as you to rent a room and help out, or to or sell the home you have now and buying a smaller home, possibly a manufactured home that is still on the newer side (in my experience they cost less but the newer ones especially are built really well since they made higher coding standards– and sometimes you can get a brand new one for a great price too). Something that'd be easy to clean and care for, and they have them in either communities with some areas in the community/neighborhood that are common rooms where you can go to socialize with others, or completely your own on private land. I live on private land in my manufactured home. It is double-wide. I love it. I had to let it air out really well in the beginning because of off-gassing, and then let my purifiers and AC run through for a while too. It has not bothered my asthma ever, my asthma actually improved some upon moving in. 

    Having a plan is something you could talk to your DH about, and maybe say look thatd be a lot for me to deal with, just if you passed before me, not only would I be without you, but what would I do?… Id like to come up with just a plan in case, or even us do something together now, to prepare for the event that either of us were without the other. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Shea. I could not thank you enough for you very kind words. If you were here, I would take you to Starbucks and let you pick out anything you want…ala GRANDE!!! 

    I am sorry that you have had to experience this horrible side of people. This house is only in DHs name. He has no will. More than likely, this house would have to go through probate court . Maybe a decent judge would see that I would need to sell the house to get the money! DHs debt would have to be paid off. I have tried talking to DH in the past. He used to say that he'd be dead and it wouldn't matter. Or, I took care of you when I was alive…I won't know..I'll be dead. I am positive that his brother put those ideas in his head. Shea….we both know what that's like and we both know there is no reasoning behind this.

    I will keep working on this future plan. I have no family that I could stay with. It's nice that you care enough to think this through and post it. I appreciate it…very much!

    Have a great day Shea..aka Tommy-Mommy!!

  • K8sMom2002

    Lisa, thank you for sharing how counseling helped you figure out your boundaries and how to handle things. 

    Deb and Shea, your experiences have been horrendous … you deserved better than that! I'm impressed with your positive attitudes and willingness to help others.

  • Shea

    Debbie– Mmmm grande Starbucks… Maybe Ill have to treat myself to one after my fasting labs today! 

    I have to update my will. I made one using a while back… I had very little to give to anyone but I wanted also to mark who Id like to care for Tommy in my family and to hold certain things for him until he was 18. It was fairly simple and didnt take long. Then you just print it and take it to a place to notorize it and mail it in and they mail you an official copy. I think I will update it today. It doesnt cost a lot either to do. 

    Lisa, I also wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience with a counciler and that progress in communication is possible especially when you have a person to back you up and coach you through it. You are such a strong and kind person!

    Thank you Cynthia for your kind words– Debbie is right– you are a special lady


  • Deborah Bartlett

    Good idea to update your will, Shea. Good idea to grab a Grande! I had a will when I was married to DH #1. Had a living will too. I actually owned stuff then, plus had money. I still have my living will, but it needs to be updated. 

    Lisa is a smart, strong and sweet lady! 💛💙💜💚❤

  • Shea

    Thanks Debbie. I got my blood work done, grabbed a starbux, and updated my living will, durable power of attorney, and last will all on today and printed it out and I am taking it to the notary with my witness next week… It will be nice having it all done and updated and hopefully it will never be needed, but if it is it should be helpful to my family and keep Tommy as safe as possible with my means. 



  • Deborah Bartlett

    Glad you got that done Shea. Peace of mind. It's always smart to plan things. I certainly hope you never need it! You are the best Mom. Everything you do shows your love for Tommy! ❤💞💕

  • kira

    Jo S, I’m wondering about your bathroom windows — is it still a point of contention between you and your husband? I’m hoping that maybe something has changed and your husband has agreed to leave the windows shut.

  • miri

    Hello all! I can relate to this. Where I live makes it impossible to open the windows. Highway pollution, mold, mildew, bacteria, pollen….

    When my husband opens the window in our master bathroom, I go right in and close it. Anything from outside just goes right into the bedroom.

    I hope things are going well for you, Jo. I understand what you are going through. Everything outside here right now is coated with green pollen. We certainly don’t want that in our homes!