I’m interested in a man who’s everything I could ask for. However, I’m reluctant to take our relationship to the next level because his lack of hygiene bothers me.
He doesn’t wash his face in the morning, rarely uses soap in the shower, and doesn’t wear underwear.
As a result, a certain stench lingers on the back of his pants. When he sits on sofas or chairs, he leaves a trace of that smell.
I’ve twice addressed my concerns, and he said he’d make some changes. On his last visit, he didn't really work on anything we’d talked about.
A lot of his hygiene “practices” are habitual — he grew up in a broken home and didn’t have an influential figure to teach him.
When I first shared my concerns he was shocked because previous long-term girlfriends never raised this with him.
We speak almost daily (we live in different cities). I’m scared that the next time we’re together we’ll be discussing this same problem.
I don't want to give up on him because of this, but sometimes I feel it's my only choice.
Is Hygiene a Deal-Breaker?
Try staying together for a week – including sharing a bed every night - and you’ll make your choice.
He’s an adult, you’ve explained your concerns, now say straight-up that he smells, it’s unpleasant to be around, and in time you’ll find it disgusting.
Say that if he does not change his non-hygienic habits to a tolerable level for you, it IS a deal breaker.
State your limits – Example: Perhaps he doesn’t need to shower daily, but his privates and other pungent areas, like underarms, need to be cleaned daily, especially after activity.
Otherwise, his “everything” that interests you, will soon sour.
My sister became pregnant at a young age, and married her boyfriend.
Ten years later, she’s miserable. They fight in front of the kids, call each other names, and constantly point out each other’s weaknesses.
I get tired and almost stressed out hearing it.
I’ve suggested therapy, either individually or together, and said, “I just want you to be happy and healthy for your kids.”
I get back her defense, saying she doesn't have time, that her kids take up her time, that I don't know what it's like.
I'm worried that her children will resent or even hate her when they grow up.
She's a bully to them and her husband on good days, and has nothing nice to say about anything. Her blood pressure can skyrocket at any given time.
I want her to take the time to understand where the anger is formed, and raise two great kids, but she's so high-tempered that I don't believe anything will change.
She’s become a mean person, and I'm worried that she’ll give herself a heart attack with all her yelling.
Help me find the words to express my support and caring about her future without her blowing up at me.
Little Sister Watching and Worried
You already have the words, but you don’t have a receptive listener.
Build on your approach that you care about her and her health. And you worry that anger and stress will cause her some internal harm.
If she already has blood pressure problems, she risks heart attack and stroke by not learning ways to calm herself and defuse her stress.
Suggest that she see her doctor for a health check and offer to go with her, as a caring sister.
There’s nothing like a doctor’s severe warning for getting through someone’s defensive wall.
I manage a 10-worker team, but one very skilled worker repeatedly assigns himself to work that’s different from what’s needed.
This annoys his colleagues who feel it’s a power-grab.
I’m unsure how to respond when he asks for a separate project.
Sometimes, he’s already started. I’d love to utilize his skills but am tired of allowing him to self-delegate.
His natural skills can’t help but emerge. He may not be seeking power, just wanting to do more challenging work.
Ask what interests him. He may be an asset in another area. If you recommend him, recognizing his ability will show your management skill.
Meanwhile, help him understand the team ethic of not grabbing solo work.
When he mentions a project idea, suggest that a couple others work with him on it, and switch such opportunities among the group.
Readers in Management jobs: How would you handle this employee?
Tip of the day:
A purposefully smelly guy with a soiled bottom? You decide.