My Boyfriend Has Bad Hygiene, How Should I Tell Him?

My Boyfriend has poor hygiene. His breath is not fresh; his feet stink; I have also seen dried snot in his nose.
I genuinely love him and have already raised a few of these hygiene issues, but sometimes I am afraid to hurt his feelings. Often, his poor hygiene is a big turn off for me. What should I do?
– Karen

Bringing up issues related to your Boyfriend’s lack of hygiene can be very uncomfortable for you. Even telling someone that there is food in their teeth can be a bit embarrassing.

To get to the core of the situation, you can try to talk to him about why being hygienic and clean doesn’t carry much importance to him.

If you’ve already discussed the issue of hygiene with him, the next time, instead of pointing out and instructing them to take care of their dental hygiene, you can ask them politely why they have been neglecting their hygiene.

You must note that poor hygiene practice can also signify your partner’s bad mental or emotional state.

Many people struggle to keep their dandruff under control, while some have this routine of wearing the same socks for a few days. But it is an entirely different level if you see your Boyfriend being completely unhygienic by skipping showers day after day, leaving their cracked lips the way they are, etc.

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The recent Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have left a very negative effect on the mental health of people. However, if you have seen your Boyfriend ignore basic hygiene even before the pandemic, it indicates that he has been dealing with the underlying issues for quite longer instead of just the past few months. Try to find out if he is doing okay.

Next time you discuss hygiene with him, you can start by letting him know how much you care about him. Tell him how you have noticed him ignoring basic hygiene, ask him if he is okay.

Being direct about issues like these is often the right thing. You can say – “Hey, I noticed a few things; please understand, I care for you, and I am worried. Are you okay? I can’t help but notice; it doesn’t seem like you. Are you comfortable if we talk about it and maybe get you some help or if you need something from me?

If he tells you that these hygiene-related issues could be the result of his mental health, you can help him with some mental health resources. Try making yourself available to him to help him cope with the situation; let him know how much he means to you. Taking up playful and lively approaches like taking a shower together may help lighten up the situation.

If you feel that there is no mental health issue and he just doesn’t care to follow good hygiene practices, then also, it is best to take a direct approach.

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Beating around the bush may cause misunderstandings and may also hurt his ego. When in a healthy relationship, both parties should show tolerance towards honest feedback.

Let him know that you don’t like it when he doesn’t pay much attention on his grooming choices. Tell him that when he maintains poor personal hygiene, it makes you feel that you are taken for granted.

Personal hygiene is a touchy subject; When you are straightforward about these issues with your Boyfriend, he may be taken aback. If you feel that your Boyfriend is not showing any willingness to change and is holding your concerns against you, it can be an eyeopener for you that brings more clarity regarding his priorities.

What To Do When You Are In Love With A Guy Who Has Poor Hygiene Habits?

Questionable hygiene habits like not showering for days, poor dental hygiene, messy hair or dirty clothes – might seem like something that you can ignore; this is mainly if everything else in your relationship is almost perfect. But, you must understand that, in the long run, none of you should ignore your frustrations regarding his poor hygiene.

Your Boyfriend’s bad hygiene can hurt your relationship. Apart from affecting attraction and physical intimacy, it also negatively impacts the communication between you two as his hygiene becomes a reason for constant conflicts between you two. In the long run, if your concerns are not adequately addressed, it can weaken the bond and impact the love felt between you two.
One such instance is – when a husband who was very particular about his overall hygiene, for reasons best known to him, kept on delaying a visit to his dentist to fix a decayed tooth.
His wife continuously complained to him about his bad breath. She avoided kissing and getting too close to him. It resulted in poor intimacy and communication problem between the couple.

If you can relate to this situation, below, you can find some tips to deal with this touchy subject-

It Is Not Just A Personal Issue.

When you genuinely love him, you start caring for him. Understandably, you want to avoid hurting his feelings. No one likes hearing about their poor hygiene from others. But still, if their poor hygiene levels have reached problematic levels, then you should take it up with him.

By maintaining good hygiene, you are showing love and respect to your romantic partner. When you view things this way, it becomes a topic that should be addressed because it’s not personal but a relationship issue.

Don’t Judge.

When you speak about his hygiene habits, it should not look like you are judging him. It should look like that you are just curious. If you have been together for a long time and the hygiene issue is just recent, you can take a straightforward approach with politeness, compassion, and kindness.

For example, you can say – I love how you smell once you step out from the shower. However, I’ve noticed that you aren’t doing that much recently. Is something going on?”

The target should be to politely initiate a discussion to understand the core of the issue.

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On the other hand, if it is a new relationship and you are already frustrated by his poor hygiene, it can be a deal-breaker.

There is nothing wrong with looking for a partner who gives importance to self-care. If personal hygiene is important for you and you start dating someone who does not shower for days. It is perfectly fine for you to leave him for this reason alone.

It is very uncomfortable to speak with your partner regarding his poor hygiene habits, but at the same time, it is also a sign of a healthy relationship. A relationship should be strong enough to withstand honest and constructive feedback.

Even though they may not think it this way but, by addressing this issue, you are showing them how important they are to you. In a way, you are helping them to become a better version of themselves.

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