So I just started officially dating this really sweet guy, and it’s been going really well! However, he is a huge runner and usually runs every night. We are both in college so we usually hang out after he runs, but he never showers before we hang out! At first I thought it would be a one time thing but it keeps happening, and I really don’t like cuddling with him all sweaty. How should I approach this? We just started dating and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I really wish he’d just rinse off or something. Am I being too picky?
Within relationships, sometimes you have to communicate awkward things to the other person. It’s also very normal for things that weren’t issues in the first heady rush of “You like me? I also like you!” to become issues the more time you spend together. The best approach, I’ve found, is to be very brief and direct. “Boyfriend, so glad you’re coming over tonight. Could you rinse off after you run?”
“Oof, you’re sweaty. Can you jump in the shower for a second before we cuddle?”
- Cuddling, etc. when you are unhappy and stressed about bringing something up with him.
- Silently accepting his musk all over you in the hopes that the situation will change on its own.
I’m glad things have been going well so far. The most likely outcome is that your boyfriend says, “Of course!” and does the thing. He might get embarrassed and wonder why you didn’t say something before, to which you say, “I thought it would be a one-time thing and then when it wasn’t it was time to speak up. No worries!”
If he laughs at you for asking…
and/or tries to cuddle anyway…
(or treats you like it is an unreasonable request and that there’s something wrong with you for asking)
(like ranting about “society” and its fake/commercial/arbitrary/silly/over-zealous hygiene rules and how they don’t really apply to him)
…then you’re probably gonna want to re-evaluate being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t think you’re allowed to want things. That would not be a problem you of being “too picky,” that would be a problem of him turning his momentary discomfort about something he did into being a jerk to you.
People live in bodies and bodies sometimes stink or need a quick teeth-brushing or need their nails clipped. People have different tolerances for funky body stuff. Intimacy with another person means being gentle and loving and accepting of each other’s bodies, and it also sometimes means communicating things like “That aftershave smells great but I am sadly allergic to it” “A little to the left” “Let me move my snuggling position so your chest hair doesn’t go up my nose” “Wait, nope, that’s your armpit” “Nope, chest hair again” “Armpit” “Let’s try a spoon” “That’s better!””EEP! TICKLISH! BELLY BUTTON AREA IS A NOPE!” “I would like to make out with you but I’m afraid I will fart let’s try later.”
If communicating about things like that horrifies you, dear reader, try asserting yourself positively when positive things are going on. “That feels great!” “You smell fantastic!” “You look wonderful in that!” “I am happy to see you!” It will get more comfortable to express preferences and feelings over time.
You are allowed to want things and ask for those things.