We all have those conversations … You know the ones that we’re dreading to have because we care about the other person involved so much. In this case, your lover or s/o has let themself go, and you want to encourage them to implement some of their old healthy habits. Let’s be clear, it’s important to express how you feel, but vital to keep in mind that your delivery on this topic is everything.
To guide us with some professional insight, we tapped Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author whose most recent work is The Dang Factor, to share her thoughts on how to kindly let your partner know it’s time to focus on their personal care.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
“This is an all-too-common scenario in marriages or long-term relationships. One person in the marriage makes the assumption that the license to marry also counts as a license to let themselves go. Unfortunately, this situation, which may seem minor to some, is actually a major reason for divorce or breakup. When one party stops putting in the effort to reasonably resemble their pre-wedding appearance, resentment begins to build in the marriage or LTR.
It’s a frustrating situation to be in for sure. Not only is it a huge turnoff, but also it’s disrespectful to you. My guess is he took care of himself during your dating years and even brushed his teeth on a regular basis. For him to change his hygiene habits, after you married, means one of two things: either he takes you for granted and expects you to stay attracted to him or he simply no longer cares about the union for whatever reason.
It’s vital that you have the awkward and uncomfortable talk with him and tell him exactly how you are feeling. To keep your feelings bottled up will only create resentment. Men are a lot of things, but they are not mind readers. You need to explain to him that you don’t feel attracted to him when he does not keep up his hygiene.
Talk about the issue. Wait for action (this means daily teeth brushing and proper hygiene). Have a plan of action if he refuses to change. In the meantime, I suggest all intimacy be put on hold until he makes himself presentable. That might kick him into hygiene high gear.”
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