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My better half finds this disgusting...Should I stop?

My job requires that I work out of my home office at least a couple of mornings each week. My routine consists of a light breakfast, then I'll brew a pot of coffee that I'll sip on while I make phone calls, answer emails etc, for a few hours.

My dilema is that frequently, I'll finish about half a cup of coffee before it gets cold. If I pour fresh, hot coffee into my cup, the cold coffee makes the entire cup luke warm. If I dump out the half cup of cold coffee, I always run out of coffee. My solution is simple. I just pour the cold coffee back into the hot coffee pot, and then pour a new cup. It's always hot!

Pouring my coffee from a cup that I was drinking from back into the pot really bothers her, but I'm the only one here that drinks it. I would never consider doing that if others were there, but it's only me! Even if she occasionally wants a cup, I still don't see the big deal, heck we share drinks all the time.

Do you think I'm off base on this?


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  1. wait...you share living quarters, a bed, and (presumably) close personal contact, and she's worried about the coffee that she rarely drinks?

    1. Maybe you don't have one, but for me this is why microwave ovens were invented.

      1. I do that, when the whole pot is mine. Compromise by agreeing to wash the carafe before making a fresh pot.

        1. I expected something really bad from this title, like, sucking bone marrow right from the bone while watching tv in bed. I am fairly easily grossed out by people's odd eating habits (my husband eating chicken cartilage makes me nuts; I have to leave the room) but your offense is so minor, I can't imagine anyone being bothered by it. So I rule in favor of you.

          2 Replies
          1. re: christy319

            Exactly. Generally, I'd say that if your SO thinks something is disgusting, you should refrain just out of courtesy. But this is really beyond what one can reasonably be disgusted about.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Thanks for the responses, they are kind of funny! The odd thing is, she's really not fussy about anything else! I do eat chicken cartilage and suck bone marrow (although not in bed) and it doesn't bother her.

              I'm not going to throw her down the stairs though....That might be a little extreme.


          2. ROFL...I am hyper-sensitive about "backwash". Even my husbands, and children's. Maybe she's concerned about dust, molecules, cat hair, or whatever else may have landed in that cup as it sat unattended.

            1. Either...

              Fill the cup halfway to start or

              Get a smaller cup

              6 Replies
                1. re: Philly Ray

                  My thoughts also.

                  As for if you should stop doing something that your "better half" finds disgusting that you don't think is a big deal - All it comes down to is: Is doing it (or not simply doing what Philly Ray suggested above) giving you enough satisfaction that it offsets your dis-satisfaction by disgusting them? Because if you think that you are going to be able to convince them not to be disgusted through feedback off o an opinion poll off of the internet, you are setting yourself up for disappointment!

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    This was my immediate reaction as well. Just pour it half a cup at a time. I frankly would not want to drink someone else's old coffee. Yes, I share a bed and life with this person, but I don't remember shared coffee being part of our vows. Some things are just sacred.

                    1. re: Cachetes

                      but she only rarely even drinks it, according to the OP.

                      If she drank coffee every day, maybe...but if she only rarely drinks it?

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Could be she actually wants to drink it and would drink it more often, if only the OP would stop dumping his half-drunk mugs back into the pot.

                    2. re: Philly Ray

                      Instead of a smaller cup, why not one of those keep-it-warm cup trivets? I used to have one. Worked really well. Wonder what ever happened to it?

                    3. (I am a girl--but I can't say this is the every-girl perspective...)

                      Personally, I think that's fine--especially if sharing living-quarters.. what's the difference (you're probably scraping your toothpaste off the same toothpaste-nossel which is even worse).

                      At the same time, I just solve this problem by dumping in hot coffee.. resulting in luke-warm coffee and then nuking it in the microwave.

                      1. If you're the only one ever drinking the coffee, she's just busting your chops.

                        However, if she occassionaly takes a cup, I think it all comes down to being considerate.
                        If someone at a restaurant did this would you be okay with someone doing the same thing?

                        1. Oy. I do this all the timeand never gave it a second thought. But I guess everyone has their one little thing that makes them feel a little nuts, and this is hers. :) Should you stop? How insane with rage does it make her? Is it a blip or a dealbreaker? That's where you'll find your answer.

                          1. I think it's gross. Can't you just use a smaller mug?

                            My husband was baffled last month when I threw away my toothbrush after he used it. No thank you. Not into sharing toothbrushes or backwash.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Njchicaa

                              I don't mean to get personal, but I will. :)
                              Don't you think "backwash" happens when kissing...and a little more?

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                Oh I know. Still, I think dumping half-drunk coffee back into the whole pot is gross just like I think using someone else's toothbrush (or mine after someone else uses it) is gross.

                                1. re: Njchicaa

                                  "I think dumping half-drunk coffee back into the whole pot is gross..."

                                  Even if he is the only one drinking from the pot (which seems to be the case most of the time, according tot the OP)?

                            2. I see nothing wrong with what you are doing. May I ask exactly what your wife sees is wrong with doing this especially if she is not drinking from the pot at all? I'm curious.

                              1. Why don't you get an electric mug warmer for your desk? I use one at work every day. The office kitchen is literally 10 steps from my office but I'd rather use the warmer than get up to reheat my coffee.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                  I was going to suggest this also [not that I have any issue with pouring the coffee back into a single-user pot. But this IS a "better half" were talking about.]. I have one that plugs into a USB port.

                                2. I think what might bother her is that you don't show an awareness of the whole backwash/communal container thing and she wonders what else you might be doing that also demonstrates this lack of awareness....she's questioning your judgement regarding clean habits, perhaps.

                                  I agree with those who suggest that you just take half a cup to begin with or else nuke your cooling brew.

                                  I hope the pot gets washed every day!

                                  1. (this is a general staement; it is not directed to anyone in particular)

                                    I just have to go there...
                                    if you are in a committed, loving, sexual relationship with someone, don't you exchange MANY MORE bodily fluids with your SO engaging in lovemaking, etc., than you can ever possibly do just by drinking from a pot of coffee that one of you has "tainted" with the remains from your coffee cup???
                                    Maybe guys just see this differently. :)

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      Girl here, but that's exactly what I thought too.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        Maybe just you and I think differently. Yes I take your point and agree but drinking someone's backwash in my coffee is nasty. I'd just as soon have them vomit into it.

                                        1. re: Njchicaa

                                          "I'd just as soon have them vomit into it."

                                          Are you talking about the coffee or the physical intimacy?

                                        2. re: ttoommyy

                                          In women (and I think men also, but the study linked to below did not study them) sexual arousal reduces feelings of disgust. It also reduces disgust-induced avoidance.


                                          1. re: khuzdul

                                            Yes, this, exactly. Out of the context of smooching, I do not want to consume my husband's spit. So we don't share toothbrushes, or pass bubble gum back and forth - and if I found my husband doing this coffee warming trick we'd be discussing alternatives pdq.

                                            I think the getting a smaller portion a very reasonable idea. It's what I do!

                                            1. re: khh1138

                                              I guess it all really depends. My partner and I share one soda at FF places, share a fork or spoon sometimes with dessert, have been known to share a toothbrush, etc. One person's gross is another person's no big deal. It all really comes down to that. No right or wrong. Of course if one person objects, the other person should be considerate.

                                        3. I don't think what you're doing is all that gross, but I'm not your wife, either. In the interest of domestic harmony, if I were you, I'd modify my approach to one that is more to her liking. Unless it ain't really about the coffee, in which case Chowhound is probably not the right forum!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ricepad

                                            I'm with you ricepad. If his wife is otherwise a normal person but she happens to find this DISGUSTING, I would certainly hope the OP would do what she wants.

                                          2. I don't do it but I'm sure my wife would find it disgusting. It has nothing to do with exchanging bodily fluids but just the thought of pouring coffee back into the pot after sipping on it for an hour or two would give her the willies. Not logical all things considered, but it's just the way it is. As Veggo said give a little, get a little.

                                            1. If it's your pot and you clean it out after you are done who cares? It's not like you do something unmentionable like fart on your cup before you pour it back. Even then, if you are the only one that drinks it, then more power to you. I agree with one of the posters below, then she is just busting your chops.
                                              However, if she DOES drink out of the same pot, I probably wouldn't do it. Then it could be like if she hawks a loogie into the pot, would you drink it? I mean you do share drinks all of the time.
                                              Yes, it's a crass example, but she could construe your backwash to her loogie.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: mpron

                                                So now all of a sudden farting in my cup is a bad thing, too? Jeez.

                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                    Unless you are making espresso. Then is it perfectly ok.

                                                1. 1. get a coffee pot that you keep on your office space that is used for you only.
                                                  2. use a travel mug to keep the coffee you do take from getting cold
                                                  3. electric cup warmer

                                                  If she is asking you to not do it is this one REALLY worth pushing to buttons to make it continue? I'd pick a much more important battle if I were you. I just wish I had an conscious sitting on my shoulder to remind me of this sort of thing when I could use the reminder myself.

                                                  1. May I ask just how long have you been married to this sensitive creature?

                                                    1. If I were your spouse and I routinely drank from the pot I would not be pleased.

                                                      If I were your spouse and I did not drink from the pot (nor did anyone else) I would live with it.

                                                      I'm not your spouse. Disgust is often not rational. Disgusting a spouse can become a slippery slope. Get a mug warmer or pour half cups. Be sure she notices you made the change. Get massive points for listening and caring enough to make an adjustment for her happiness.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                        1. All afternoon I have been rethinking this question and have to wonder why someone would even consider continuing to do something their spouse found "disgusting" if total strangers thought that was a good idea.

                                                          1. Two thoughts....1) when you're kissin' (or otherwise intimate), it's fresh spit, not some hour-old coffee tainted stuff. And 2) If you're working at home,.you're probably not naked, and naked spit is way less ookey.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                              .........naked spit is way less ookey..........

                                                              Words to live by :)

                                                            2. Buy her a pot of her own. Present it nicely wrapped, with a card that uses the word "love" at least twice.

                                                              1. It isn't about whether or not it's really gross or not, or whether she drinks the coffee or not. If she doesn't like him doing it because it skeevs her out, he has several other avenues that give him the opportunity to not gross her out. He can choose to take one of those, or continue irritating her. Deciding whether or not one person's phobias or weirdness is "ok" or not via the internet is just not the issue. The issue is you live with her and she doesn't like it and it's behavior easy enough to modify so either knock it off or knowingly and purposely continue to gross her out.

                                                                If she didn't like you peeing with the door open but the majority here ruled it was "ok" and "not gross," would you continue to do it because it doesn't bother YOU? Or would you stop doing it out of courtesy.

                                                                Courtesy is one of the quickest and most dangerous things that is lost through long-time cohabitation, and it is a slippery slope.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                  "Courtesy is one of the quickest and most dangerous things that is lost through long-time cohabitation, and it is a slippery slope." Agreed, but so is tolerance and that is a two-way street.

                                                                2. This is EXACTLY how Nazi Germany got started.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                    Ya know how sometimes you say stuff and immediately think, "Did I say that out loud?? Maybe I shouldn't have said that...."?

                                                                    This medium really sucks at conveying the tone of your message. One would hope, at least.

                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                      but somebody always needs to prove Godwin right.

                                                                  2. That's a famous line from the britcom Fawlty Towers. Not sure exactly what it has to do with this thread though:-)

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                                                      Ha. Fawlty Towers. Best comedy ever.

                                                                    2. Yes you are right, she is being too sensitive...etc....etc....etc....etc.....Et Cet era.

                                                                      The REAL issue is how badly you want peace and happiness in your home. Let THAT be your guide.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                        However, if the list of things that a wife wants her husband to change about himself is much longer than the list of things that the husband wants his wive to change, you'll never have peace and happiness .

                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                          Not sure, I think that's a given in most relationships.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            Women marry with hopes that their husband will change, and they don't. Men marry with hopes that their wife won't change, and they do.

                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                              "Women marry with hopes that their husband will change, and they don't. Men marry with hopes that their wife won't change, and they do."

                                                                              If so, what happens in my situation? We're both guys. :)

                                                                      2. Do you put milk in the coffee? Then that would be kind of gross.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                          When I still used a drip coffee maker, I used to first pour cold milk into the carafe so it would heat up while the coffee brewed. But I wouldn't do it if anyone else was around who might want black coffee.

                                                                        2. Are you certain she's your "better half?"

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: beevod

                                                                            Are you certain we know enough from this thread about the OP and his partner to ask leading questions about their relative worth as people?

                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                              I believe beevod was making a joke.

                                                                          2. If I was in this situation, I would promise NOT to pour my coffee back into the pot if my partner was drinking coffee that day. I would also make sure I washed the pot between uses, in case they might want coffee the next time it was made. but I'm not sure I'd stop the practice... since most of the time you say she doesn't drink coffee.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                              This is probably the most practical solution yet.

                                                                            2. I have a coffee maker that I am not using. You can have it.

                                                                              1. Much ado about nothing. JMHO

                                                                                1. Without reading other replies, I'll just say that if she finds it disgusting then no rationalization that she doesn't drink from it is going to make it any less bearable. Everyone is going to have their pet peeves when you live together. So, don't do it!

                                                                                  1. I still say, as I posted earlier, that I think there's a greater issue here - she questions your habits in general relating to having an awareness regarding cleanliness. The coffee pot thing is just the main example.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      "I still say, as I posted earlier, that I think there's a greater issue here - she questions your habits in general relating to having an awareness regarding cleanliness."

                                                                                      The OP specifically states, "The odd thing is, she's really not fussy about anything else!"

                                                                                    2. Sounds to me as if you're pushing each other's buttons.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. My question is, how is the coffee in the pot staying hot? If it's one of those drip coffee pots with the warming plate, I consider that a bigger problem than the backwash in the coffee pot. When a drip coffee pot is finished making the coffee, after about 20 minutes the coffee starts to become bitter and nasty from sitting on the hot burner. When drinking coffee at home I always turn off the burner as soon as the coffee is done and then if later I want more hot coffee I'll reheat it in the microwave.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          I know what you are saying, as I've had many coffee makers that would make the coffee bitter. I bought this one several years ago, a Krups, and it really keeps the coffee at the perfect temp. It never gets "burnt", but still keeps it very warm.