Many women would be thrilled if their husband pitched in with the laundry, but one man’s attempt to lend a helping hand has become possible grounds for divorce.

Posting on the parenting forum Mumsnet, the man’s wife asked if she were being unreasonable for feeling pushed to the brink of wanting to leave her husband because he had ruined her underwear while doing the laundry.

User Sprinklestar wrote her husband had retrieved her delicates from a separate pile and put them in the washing machine, forgetting they were “hand wash only.” As a result, her bras and underwear were ruined — yet again:

I have lost count of the number of times he has done this. It is just such a waste and will need replacing. We must have had this scenario every year for the past ten.

Sprinklestar wrote she and her husband had been together for years, but her breaking point had finally come because the laundry incident wasn’t a one-time thing: “It’s like that thing on the internet about the man whose wife left him over a cup left on the side,” she wrote, “its the constant drip drip drip effect and never learning.”

Sprinklestar added it wasn’t that her husband had ruined her underwear but that he was thoughtless about her belongings in the process: “I can’t stand his incompetence anymore. How hard is it to check a label? And not mess with the stuff in the separate handwash only basket?!” She ended her post with:

I am so angry.

Sprinklestar’s dilemma generated hundreds of comments from Mumsnet followers. While some debated the practicality of hand wash undergarments and if washing machines really do ruin them, many genuinely understood the wife’s complaint she felt disrespected and unheard.

One Mumsnet commenter offered a surprisingly personal revelation on the matter:

You’re right — it’s actually nothing to do with underwear — it’s the fact that (yet again) he couldn’t be bothered to give you a moment’s thought. You also sound like you’re utterly at the end; your respect for him has been entirely eroded. I recognise all this. Exactly the same happened to me. I left, and I haven’t regretted it for one moment. He was a f*****g awful husband.

Another commenter suggested the husband’s actions were calculated and considered a deeper meaning behind the destruction of her delicates:

Has he explained why he went into your handwash bag? It smacks of deliberate sabotage rather than just ignoring what you say

I can’t quite imagine underwear so delicate it gets ruined by a machine — is it very flimsy and lacy? Does he object to you wearing flimsy lacy things and link it to any lack of sex life issues between you?

Sprinklestar clarified her husband really did think he was being helpful, but that his actions were symptomatic of a larger issue:

He just can’t be arsed to take the time to think where I’m concerned.

As Sprinklestar explained, in an effort not to waste any space in the washing machine after loading the couple’s white bedding, her husband went through the hand wash basket and retrieved his wife’s white delicates.

The issue was her husband didn’t stop for a second to think whether his wife’s items could be put in the wash—meaning he didn’t stop to think about her: 

I don’t really know how to respond to his apologies. Yes, it was an ‘innocent’ mistake. But it’s one that is repeated with much regularity. Would he do the same with kids’ stuff? Likely. He just doesn’t use his brain, even after we have had countless arguments about this very issue. That leaves me feeling like he can’t be bothered to care.

She added:

He genuinely thinks he’s being helpful and appears not to understand my annoyance. I realize I have a lot in common with the ladies on the incompetent husbands thread.

Some commenters suggested Sprinklestar was being unreasonable:

If there are other issues then fair play but otherwise you really need to reassess your priorities. LTB [leave the b*****d] over a few bits of underwear? Life is short — yes it’s annoying and I’d be pissed off but to actually split up? Come on now! If it is a symptom of a general disregard as opposed to a bit of dimwittedness then you either need to address it between you or call it a day.

Another commenter agreed, advising Sprinklestar to look at the bigger picture:

He’s done it once a year in the last 10. 10 times in 10 years. Let it go.

Other commenters attempted to offer practical solutions to prevent Sprinklestar from packing up her bags. “I’m sure it’s very annoying,” one commenter wrote. “My DH [dear husband] was like this. I allocated him other jobs to do, problem solved. Frankly I would have done this 9 years ago.”

In the end, Sprinklestar thanked those in the audience who lent a compassionate ear but said the criticism over her earnest plea was just too much.

It leaves me wondering if I’d made up an item, like my car, or laptop say, the responses might have been different… But a woman concerned about something as frivolous as underwear?

“Nope — she’s to blame for daring to have nice things in the first place hmm,” she wrote.

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