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"My boyfriend has bad hygeine"

I'm only 14 and I finally have my first boyfriend. I know that he is crazy about me, and before he asked me out I used to be absolutely crazy about him too. But since we've been going out, Iíve gone off him, but I don't want to dump him because it will really upset him and also, Iíve met all his friends and I really like them. But if I dump him, I won't be able to see his friends any more.

I've gone off him because he is really embarrassing, and smells sometimes, and is sometimes quite unhygienic. I really don't know what to do; I don't want to upset him, and I really like his friends and I don't want them saying Iím horrible and stuff.

3 Nov 2006
Name: Laura
Age: 14

Dear Laura,

Oooh Ė thereís nothing less attractive than someone whoís smelly and unhygienic! Iíve been there. Too many times! Your heartís pounding, youíre a ball of anxious excitement and you go in for that kissÖonly to be repulsed by your partnerís dragon breath and bad body odor. Ew!

But besides the whole lack-of-hygiene problem, does your boyfriend posses any other qualities you do like and are attracted to? Because, although gross, smelliness and bad hygiene are problems that can easily be remedied; itís a touchy subject, sure, but there are definitely subtle ways to hint that you wish heíd get in the shower, learn to use his toothbrush and, just once in a while, spray on some deoderant!

You can start by telling him how much you love snuggling up to people who smell clean and freshly showered Ė tell him itís your favorite scent! And on top of that, buy him a bottle of your favorite cologne and request he wear it every time heís around you; not only will you be happy he finally smells great, heíll be thrilled to get the gift! If heís got a bit of a breath problem, Iíd try the age-old, ďhere, want a piece of gum?Ē trick. Or maybe even talk about how disgusting you think it is when people donít brush their teeth. Without making him feel like youíre talking about him, go on and on about how bad breath is your biggest pet peeve Ė a deal-breaker, even Ė when it comes to the opposite sex.

Now, if youíve decided your guy has no other redeeming qualities, and youíre just over it and no longer want to date him, thatís okay too. I know breaking up with people is tough Ė we donít want to hurt their feelings, and, as youíve said, we donít want to lose the new friends weíve made through the relationship, but the truth of the matter is, staying with someone for the wrong reasons is actually MORE hurtful to our partner than the alternative.

What I mean by this is that right now youíre holding onto your boyfriend (even though youíd really rather be done with the relationship), and so youíre preventing him from moving on with his life, and getting out there and meeting other girls who actually do want to be with him. And the same goes for you! As long as you remain tied to him, youíre not going to meet anyone else, either! So, if youíre certain you donít want to be with him anymore, the fairest and most kind thing you can do Ė for both of you! Ė is to end the relationship so the two of you can move on.

We canít force a relationship to work if we just donít feel it. Itís like trying with all your might to jam two mismatched puzzle pieces together. We can try forever, and we may even get them to semi-fit, but when it comes down to it, those pieces are incompatible and will never really suit one another perfectly. And thatís not something to feel guilty about Ė it just is. And so, we break apart the pieces, and begin the search for their corresponding parts.

As for your fear of losing his friends, youíre right, it could possibly happen. After all, their loyalties lie with him, and when we endure breakups its kind of an unwritten law that we donít fraternize with our best friendís ex. That being said, if the breakup is friendly and thereís no malice involved Ė which, in this case, sounds like it will be; you have no hard feelings towards him Ė then it is possible to maintain friendships. Especially if you can maintain a friendship with your ex; if you can do this, then his friends will have no reason not to talk to you. And, if they do stop talking to you, and if they say mean things, understand itís a defense mechanism and not personal. Although not right (and definitely hurtful) theyíre doing their part (or at least they think they are) to stand up for their friend. But I guarantee the cattiness will not last forever. Time truly does heal everything; give it a few weeks, and I promise, as your exís heart heals, any bad feelings will begin to fall by the wayside and you can once again attempt to initiate friendships with his circle.

What matters most, though, is that you follow your heart. Donít stay in a situation just because youíre afraid to hurt someoneís feelings, or because you want to remain friends with his friends.

Good luck!

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