My boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months now and I am madly in love with him. He is one of the most genuine, sweet, honest and funny guys I know. He is so perfect that sometimes that I sit and wonder what I did to deserve him. He binge watches Gossip Girl with me even when he wants to watch Avengers, he sends me chocolates three days before I begin my period and feeds me tubs of ice cream during the week. All in all, he is really nice and this is the happiest I have been with someone.
BUT (and I have realized, there is always a but) his personal hygiene is really problematic. And that has become a major issue with me. Since we don't live together, I didn't realize how bad his personal upkeep was until we took a four-day trip to Bali, which turned into a nightmare for me. The entire trip instead of enjoying the beach, sunset and unlimited margaritas, I was left with the disgusting feeling of having to go back to the same room with someone who was not as neat and tidy.
For instance, he didn't cut his nails for weeks and even his touch left red marks on my skin. His hair had dandruff because he didn't wash them for several days straight, and once I even found food stuck in his beard. What made this harder was that he was really good in bed so I wanted to get intimate with him as he made me feel really good but the thought of touching someone who hadn't showered in probably a week, was horrifying.
He complained A LOT about his acne and how he would do anything to get rid of it. So I got him 3-4 skin care products which he promised to use religiously and actually did. I thought things were changing but he went back to his old ways of not taking care of himself. I asked him why he didn't use it and he said that he always forgot.
But when I came to think of it, I wanted to be in a relationship where we were both equals. I certainly didn't want to treat him as my child and become a nagging babysitter. So after taking advice from a lot of my friends, I decided to talk to him. But the approach centred around my love for him. Instead of saying, "Oh you are so unhygienic, I cant live with you", I gave him a manicure at the excuse of obsessing over a new manicure kit I bought. I started wearing really good perfume which he loved and somehow started wearing it himself. I started tricking him into going for regular haircuts by kissing him in a new place every time (think car, public washrooms, and even electric shafts). Eventually, he couldn't live with a shabby haircut.
The only learning I had from my experience was that cleanliness is relative. Girls like me change their sheets every day, shower twice a day and keep their nails clean and trimmed, but boys like my boyfriend might not think of these things as important. So, with positive affirmation, I decided to transform things about him that really bothered ME. And here we are - living out one day at a time, with my not-so-dirty but gem of a boyfriend.