DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We’re both 30, and we have pretty much decided to tie the knot. The only thing holding me back is his hygiene.
When we met, he wasn’t all that into showering and using deodorant. Slowly, over time, he has started to shower daily and wear deodorant, but he still doesn’t brush his teeth.
His apartment is my biggest nightmare. It is filled with opened delivery boxes, there are beard trimmings all over the bathroom, a pink ring of death in his shower, and his stovetop — well, you get the point.
Should I mention that I’m one of the cleanest people I know? I grew up with well-dressed, great-smelling men in my life. They’re the walking, talking real-life versions of a men’s fashion commercial.
Is this a make-or-break situation? We get along in so many other ways. — HYGIENE’S THE PROBLEM
DEAR H.T.P.: I’m glad you asked. Yes, this is a make-or-break situation, and it needs to be resolved before you sign up with this “cellmate” for life. While I appreciate his making the effort to shower as a step in the right direction, his lack of attention to his dental health is a cause for worry. Decaying teeth and periodontal disease can cause serious health problems — including heart issues — later in life and may be related to Alzheimer’s disease.
If you think his living conditions are a turn-off now, consider how they’ll affect you if you marry him. He either never learned or doesn’t care to pick up and clean up after himself. That task will be all yours. If you really love him, draw the line now, and perhaps it will put him on the right path. Better late than never.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of several years financially supports his parents for cultural reasons. It was expected of him from an early age because he is the only child, and he intends to support them for the rest of their days.
Not only does he pay their mortgage and provide a sizable monthly allowance, but I have just learned that he is paying off all of the debts his father has accumulated over the years as well. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in spending money he has given them to visit the homeland every few years. Combine this with his massive school loan repayments and it’s unlikely he will have enough to be able to retire, let alone for us to have children.
I am at the age where if I am going to have kids, it needs to be within the next few years, and it is looking unlikely. I love him dearly, but I’m wondering if I should stay with him, knowing that his parents will eventually need to live with us for the rest of their lives. Even questioning this is making me feel guilty and selfish. (By the way, he has told me he would have proposed by now but couldn’t afford a ring as all of his discretionary income goes to his parents.) Advice? — GETTING RESENTFUL
DEAR RESENTFUL: Have you told your boyfriend how you feel? If you haven’t discussed it with him, you should. He sounds like a caring and dutiful son. However, unless you intend to join him in becoming a childless indentured servant to his parents, end the relationship.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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