Should Bad Habits Keep Us Apart?

Dear Evan!

I’ve been reading your advice for a while. I like how you talk about not putting so much importance on chemistry and how you should focus on how the person treats you. I met a guy on Plenty of Fish in January. We became exclusive in March. He treats me wonderfully and loves me unconditionally. I’m legally blind. He accepts me and gave me the chance to demonstrate that I’m independent. However, there are certain things that turn me off. He doesn’t care too much about appearance. He can go to work without showering! Also, during sex, he doesn’t want to talk but I do.

I’m confused because here’s a guy who treats me well and yet, I question his habits. Aren’t hygiene and sex important? I’m afraid I won’t find someone that will accept me because of my situation. It’s been hard for me. Here I have someone and I’m not sure if I would be able to live with him. Are these reasons not to be with someone?


Dear JoJo,

You illustrate a very important point — the heart wants what the heart wants.

Then again, the people who live by such credos often find themselves sleeping with their own daughters, so we have to be careful of being too rigid about such things.

First of all, let me give you credit for a few things: dating actively even though you’re legally blind, appreciating that it’s hard to find someone who will accept you as legally blind, and, finally, caring so much about appearance when you’re legally blind.

That’s some powerful irony right there.

No one will say you’re wrong for caring about appearance, wanting a man to shower daily, or desiring dirty talk in bed. The heart wants what the heart wants.

However, if you’re considering these things as fodder to justify breaking up with him, I think you’re going to have to try a little bit harder.

You don’t get to iron out all of your partners’ flaws… ESPECIALLY when you have flaws of your own.

And that’s about the hardest message that I have to deliver on a daily basis in my role as a dating coach. You don’t get to iron out all of your partners’ flaws, ESPECIALLY when they’re not necessarily flaws, and ESPECIALLY when you have flaws of your own.

Case in point: it is not mandatory that men talk in bed. You may prefer it, but he may prefer focusing his energies on finding your erogenous zones instead of narrating how he’s going to be doing it.

Case in point 2: it is not mandatory that men shower every day before work. If he goes three days without showering and smells horrible, that’s one thing. But just because he doesn’t do exactly what you do doesn’t make him WRONG. It only makes him different than you.

Has it ever occurred to you, JoJo, that you may have half-dozen habits that your boyfriend absolutely can’t stand? Your propensity to complain about the temperature in every room, your highly questionable taste in music and literature, your refusal to engage in anal sex, your ineptness in the kitchen, your annoying and catty girlfriends.

If you’re intolerant of others’ flaws and oblivious of your own, well, you just may be alone for a very long time.

I don’t know you, but I know “people” — and EVERYONE has qualities that have the potential to drive someone up the wall. If you have a low tolerance for others’ flaws, and choose to break up with men each time they rub you the wrong way because You. Just. Can’t. Live. With. That, it’s entirely your prerogative.

It’s hard enough to find love online. It’s gotta be doubly hard if you’re blind. But if you’re intolerant of others’ flaws and oblivious of your own, well, you just may be alone for a very long time.

If I were you, I’d appreciate the boyfriend, offer to hop in the shower with him, and engage in a sexy conversation about how it turns you on when he talks to you in bed.

And if you need to get back out there online, I’ve got just the resource to help you…

Click here to learn more:

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  1. 1

    I’ve been with Jake 4 years.   I can rattle off, at the drop of a hat, a dozen things that drive me CRAZY.   I ask myself on at least a weekly basis (sometimes more frequently – whenever he does one of these things) – if it’s worth it, if I can put up with it, if I can be with him forever if he always does these things.

    The answer has always been yes.   It’s worth it, I can put up with it, I can be with him forever AND BE HAPPY.   I have my flaws that drive him crazy too (though he admits that his flaws make him a much harder person to get along with than I am), and part of what love is is that he tells me every day that I’m an amazing human being, inside and out, that I’m the best person he’s ever met and he loves me completely, when I know he could choose rattle off a list of things he hates that I probably wouldn’t/couldn’t change and would feel bad about.

    Love is stronger than a shower 🙂

  2. 2

    This is interesting.   This is why I say that going in, you have to know what the the dealbreakers are.   I’m not disputing what Evan says, merely pointing out that these things require a little bit of thought ahead of time.   But kudos to OP for asking the question.   She is at least willing to question herself rather than just putting the kabash on it.

  3. 3

    I don’t think its too much to expect someone to wash their ass every day.

    On to the less crude portion of my comment…I wouldn’t advise anyone to break-up with a boyfriend over something like his not wanting to talk dirty  without explaining your preference to him and seeing if he will accomodate you, at least some of the time. I guess the same could be said of the washing thing although really as a grown man his hygiene habits may not change as easily.

    1. 3.1

      Yes, wash yourself! Holy crap, I can’t believe he didn’t agree!!

      Dirty talk….you have time to workon that 🙂

  4. 4
    Parker Lee |

    I would say it all depends on how bad you smell. I personally think a person should take a shower at least once every other day, UNLESS they stink 🙂
    I personally shower everyday, but I know some people who naturally, don’t smell, don’t ever get dirty.
    And a day without showering wouldn’t kill me nor them.
    To each their own, I guess 🙂

  5. 5

    I was married for almost 15 years to a man who had poor hygiene habits. After awhile I didn’t really want to have sex with him. It’s not much fun when the guy stinks, has bad breath and you find suspicious brown looking stuff down there. Really…the poor hygiene thing would be a deal breaker for me. Also, if he’s doing this now, I guarantee it will get that much worse if they marry…when he really feels sure of himself and comfortable.   Good luck on that one!

  6. 6

    Unless he smells or his hair looks greasy, I think it’s okay (for humans in general) to shower every other day.

    Also, if you start talking dirty on your own I bet he’ll eventually decide to join in.

  7. 7

    Unless the OP is from the Southern hemisphere, it’s summer. Upper 80s-90 and humid where I am. I cannot imagine a human adult male going without showering for over 24 hours and not being smelly/sticky. This would be a huge turn-off for me. That he goes to work like that and believes no one will notice would make me question his social skills/professionalism, i.e, another turn-off. Sorry Evan, IMO this is in a completely different category than not wanting to talk dirty.

  8. 8

    I wish I knew more what “legally blind” means in this case. I know being legally blind isn’t the same as being, well, blind in the strictest sense of the word… Is her disibility really an obstacle in dating? Because that would affect how picky I’d advise her to be, if we’re being honest.

  9. 9

    I’ve gotta say — personal hygiene is a big deal to me.   JoJo said her boyfriend doesn’t care too much about appearance, but then goes on to give an example of his not showering daily.   Which makes me wonder: Does he simply look a little unkempt or does he smell bad?   Because, to me, there’s a difference.    (I get the feeling she meant he stinks but she didn’t want to be  crude or cruel and just say it outright.)      I had a great lover for over a year who was always wrinkled, and he didn’t care.    A friend of mine called him “The Great Un-ironed One.”If  we were going out somewhere and I just couldn’t stand  to look at his wrinkled button-up shirt all night, I’d iffer to iron it for him, and he always agree.   He thought that was a very loving and sweet of me, and  I felt better, so we both won.     And I admit it —   I was worried what other people would think… about him and, thus, about me.   Okay, my bad.    However, if a guy stinks and refuses to wear deoderant and/or shower more…. it’s a physical turn-off for me and no matter how great a guy he is, I’m not going to want to get physically intimate with him.   So:  dealbreaker.     I’m glad JoJo wrote this letter, because it took guts, and she brought to light an issue that most of us have dealt with.     So, Evan, while I agree with most of what you said, I do think that neglected hygiene can be more than idiocyncratic.     As for sex talk — my experience is that if a guy doesn’t do it, it’s because it makes him uncomfortable (he’s shy, doesn’t want to say the wrong thing) or, like Evan said, he’d rather focus on other things.   Either he’s a talker, or he isn’t.   And I’ve never known a guy to NOT like it when I talk during sex. More importantly, I’ve found that when I suggest a guy talk during sex & he gives it his best shot, it always sounds forced and — seriously — it’s everything I can do not to laugh.     I know, bad.

  10. 10

    What I don’t get is, how can someone, after actually being told that they smell, not take any measures to prevent it from ever happening again? I personally would be completely mortified!   😮
    Or perhaps I am assuming too much and she has never actually told him that anything bothers her. 😐
    And I am also confused on the appearance vs. hygiene issue.

    1. 10.1

      Id be mortified, too!!!!

  11. 11

    about the sleeping with daughters thing…at least Woody and Soon-Yi have made it last. 😉

  12. 12

    Legally blind people are sighted.   They can see how someone looks.   And they have feelings, desires, needs, quirks, just like everyone else.   They do no have to be desperate because no one will want them.  They can even be the ones doing the rejecting of a partner.     You may never even notice that a person is legally blind in many situations.     The OP may even be more in tune with other senses ( smell, voice) that she is more sensitive when there is something missing in these areas.  

  13. 13

    My boyfriend is legally blind and the biggest “detractor” I can see from a dating standpoint is that he is can’t drive. When you are in a long term relationship with someone who will never be able to drive there are some adjustments to be made. One of the biggest is that we can only live in places with very good public transportation so he can get around on his own. That means it’s likely we may never be able to own a home, as the only affordable options are far outside the city where the bus access is poor to nonexistent. We also have higher rent in the city.
    If you were to choose to be in a relationship with someone who is legally blind, but instead drive them around everywhere, then that would also be an adjustment you would have to make. You’d have to be ok with knowing that it would be permanent.

  14. 14

    Quite a few assumptions being made here.

    She didn’t say he smelt did she? She said he didn’t shower before going to work. Does he shower in the evenings?

    And what is it about his appearance that is bothersome other than that? Not enough info imo.

    And not talking dirty in bed, has she explained why it turns her on? Are there things she can do in bed, that turn him on more? Sex takes a lot of time I think, to really get to know what’s good and not good. Is he “lazy” in bed, or is this just something he struggles with?

    Perhaps he can talk dirty at other times, when he isn’t trying to focus? Perhaps he isnt’ comfortable with it, but can try it in a situation where he isn’t already trying to “perform”. I think there are a number of options available there.

  15. 15

    Add me to the list of folks who think that bathing every other day (barring stinkage) is just fine.   And this is coming from someone who lives in south Louisiana, the land of the hot and humid.   Of course, when it’s hot and humid most everyone spends all of their time in air conditioned buildings and vehicles, so there’s not much opportunity to get all sweaty and stinky.
    As for the sex talk thing, she should explain her views on it, but should also hear his.   Maybe see if there’s a modified version that would work.   Or see if there’s some other activity they could do that would work as a suitable replacement.   Or even see if they could compromise as to how often the sex talk happens (every time, or just once in a while).
    If these are his biggest two faults, I’d say that he’s a pretty good guy.

  16. 16
    Karl R

    Anette said: (#14)
    “Quite a few assumptions being made here.”

    I have to  agree. JoJo said nothing about whether her boyfriend  smelled. She didn’t say he got sweaty. She didn’t say what kind of job he had.

    A-L said: (#15)
    “Add me to the list of folks who think that bathing every other day (barring stinkage) is just fine.”

    Add my girlfriend and I to that list too.

    Evan said:
    “I don’t know you, but I know ‘people’ — and EVERYONE has qualities that have the potential to drive someone up the wall.”

    That’s the truth. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re aware of the flaws that   your partner is going to have to accept.

    It’s a little hard to be self-righteous about your partner’s flaws when you’re acutely aware of the ones she is consistently overlooking.

    Evan said:
    “If I were you, I’d appreciate the boyfriend, offer to hop in the shower with him, and engage in a sexy conversation about how it turns you on when he talks to you in bed.”

    That’s the elegant solution. You can’t get the other person to change, but you can change your actions  to  circumvent the problem.

    My girlfriend frequently forgets to lock the car or the house. We could fight about it constantly, or I can check the doors and lock them for her. I’ve chosen the latter approach, and my relationship will last much longer because of it.

  17. 17

    Thank you Evan and everyone for your comments.   I would like to clarify that I didn’t say I wanted to talk dirty during sex.   I said that he didn’t want me speaking or asking him anything in bed becausue he looses his concentration.   I don’t care about talking

  18. 18

    Hi, Just wanted to say that JoJo did not mention anything about talking dirty in bed.We’re assuming that its sex talk. Also Im sorry but I could not be with someone who doesn’t bathe everyday. A few hours after showering,our asses do not smell too clean so imagine 24hrs later. Hello pls shower everyday.

  19. 19

    Why  do you assume  she wants to talk dirty in bed?   Maybe she wants to discuss her day while they’re banging away.   That would drive me nuts too, and I wouldn’t be doing any talking.

    Also: stepdaughter.

  20. 20

    Thank you Evan and everyone for your response.   I would like to clarify that I didn’t say that I couldn’t talk dirty during sex.   I said that he didn’t want me talking or asking him anything during sex because he loses his concentration.   I personally don’t like to talk dirty.   However, I do like to ask how does it feel and things of that nature.   I felt like I had to keep quiet.   As far as the hygene, he would go to work without showering and not even the night before.   He even wore socks with holes on them.   If you’re planning to stay home, then I don’t see anything wrong with not showering.   If you’re out in public, I think a daily shower is appropriate.   Yes, there were times that he didn’t smell pelasant.   I didn’t break up with him; although there were a lot of other things such as his immaturity and him making me wait when we had plans that made me unhappy.   He actually broke it off 2 weeks ago.   I was willing to work things out because he is a good person, but he gave excuses and said that I deserved better.   I know that no one is perfect and that’s why I tried and at the end, he broke it off.   I guess we just have to figure out how much we are willing to compramize in a relationship.   I was certainly willing to try.   I have concert tickets that we were supposed to go to in 2 weeks.   There has been no communication between us.   Would anyone still go with him?

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