- Dr. Love in the Media
Lady Whose Lover Never Heard of Soap or Toothpaste
January 19, 1998 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
When my boyfriend comes by my home after work, I would prefer that he takes a shower ( and cleans his teeth) before he lies in my bed, and especially before we make love. I enjoy sex so much more if he has had a shower.But he almost refuses to have a shower or cleans his teeth. I cringe and close my teeth together if we must kiss. And I hate have his sweaty body next to mine...Am I being unreasonable? When he leaves my house, the first thing I always feel like doing is to change my sheets.
I am very concerned that you would doubt your own desires for even one second. When it comes to our feelings, the word unreasonable doesn't apply. In other words, feelings simply are. They aren't right or wrong, reasonable or unreasonable. Feelings are to be respected, not judged. This being said, I want you to know that if you don't honor your feelings, and second guess yourself, worrying that you are unreasonable, you will find that others walk on you. In other words, if you don't feel entitled to your own feelings, how can you expect your boyfriend to take you or your feelings seriously.
So, what is happening here is that he is running over you because you are running over yourself. If you want to have him respect your wishes, you must first feel 100% entitled to your feelings. When you do, you will find that your lover, magically, takes you seriously and respects your wishes.
Many people, especially women, find that if they respect their feelings, and see to it that their deepest needs and desires are met, that they are being selfish or unreasonable. Guess what, when it comes to your feelings, you are supposed to be selfish. You are supposed to make sure that you are treated in ways that make you feel good about yourself, not disgusted, mistreated or degraded. You can call this selfish. I call this just plain self love.
So, entitle yourself to your feelings. This will necessarily lead to an alteration in your behavior. You will probably feel like putting your foot down with him--no bath no sex. Before taking any stands, be aware of the fear inside you that has kept you from taking a stand so far. You probably fear that if you tell him where the bear shits (or should I say bathes) that he may not like you anymore. Do you worry that if you don't give in that he will leave you for another woman who puts up with his filth.
It is true that taking a stand means taking a risk--the risk that he will be displeased and take a hike (instead of a shower). Being able to take this risk means that you value yourself enough to know that you don't have to tolerate behavior that disgusts you. You know that you don't have to degrade yourself in order to keep a man in your life. Once you are willing to take your stand and risk losing him, he will sense your strength and respect your wishes. I am sure of that. When your water bills increase, smile. It's a small price to pay for being respected.
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