By Dr. Seth Meyers
If you take away one little nugget from this article, let it be this: Never, ever let a good egg go because of bad breath, style or kissing. These problems are fixable – and ultimately bearable, so making any of these annoyances an actual deal breaker would be an impulsive mistake. True, dealing with these issues takes a little technique, so I’ll share a few tricks that will make life with your new beau a lot more enjoyable!
Putting things into context always helps to make things more manageable. In the beginning of the relationship, there’s so much anxiety and anticipation that the littlest things can actually feel like the most important factors in the world. The truth, however, is that couples fall into their usual routines several months into a relationship. There will inevitably come a time for every couple when the desire for physical connection isn’t as intense as it was in the beginning. In other words, couples at six months aren’t as focused in that gotta-have-you-now way. (We’re all in agreement, too: That part kind of sucks.)
But I get it: It’s annoying to have to deal with any of these issues. While the relationship is new and there is a lot of spontaneous kissing, dealing with bad breath or bad kissing may be a necessity that you need to confront. If your new guy or girl has a personality that turns you on and interests you, it’s worth using the techniques below to try and make it work.
When his style is a turn-off — or even embarrassing…
I recently saw singer Jennifer Lopez interviewed about boyfriends past and present. In the interview, she talked about her past romance with actor Ben Affleck, and shared how she told him specifically how to dress when they were together. And Jennifer isn’t alone in this behavior, because scores of women young and old tell their guys how to dress. When it comes to style suggestions, it’s usually the woman telling the guy how to dress. The point is that women – or men, for that matter – shouldn’t engage in behavior that could be perceived as controlling or nagging by their partner. Everyone – men especially – hate to feel claustrophobic in a relationship, so don’t suffocate them by overcontrolling them. If you want to change your guy’s style, first feel him out to see if that kind of behavior would bother him. Ask with a smile on your face, “Can I please be your go-to fashion consultant?” By asking the question in this playful manner, you’ve made him feel like he has a choice, as opposed to coming across as a nag who wants total compliance. (Plus, it really shouldn’t matter to you that much how he dresses!)
When kissing her is like kissing a washing machine…
Bad kissing is the easiest of these annoying problems to fix because every couple, at first, must deal with the kissing-style issue. If, say, the woman you’re dating kisses in a way that turns you off, don’t focus too much on it. Say something harmless, such as, “Can I show you the way I love to be kissed?” Deep down, each one of us wants to be the one who can sexually please our partner, so I believe you’ll find that most bad kissers are actually open to a little consultation!
When his breath could knock a boxer unconscious…
Bad breath is a noxious odor, and when we smell things that smell bad, our body has a physical reaction. In short, you have a physical reaction to repel away from the noxious odor. When you’re triggered by bad breath, the last thing you want is your guy pulling you in for a longer, deeper kiss. So, how do you fix it?
Let’s be clear: Offering your new date a mint isn’t going to cut it. If you have detected bad breath on more than one occasion, you need to find a more systematic way of dealing with the issue. To deal with your date’s bad breath, the technique I recommend involves a mix of breezy nonchalance with outright, no-he-didn’t honesty. Go in for a quick kiss and then pull back, saying, “Hey, I think your breath might be a bit funky. Will you brush your teeth so I can kiss you for real?” If this happens again, use the exact same technique, and he will become more vigilant about keeping that mouth as fresh as a strawberry field in summer.
Conclusion: If you are truly committed to finding a good long-term relationship, letting someone go because of bad breath, kissing, or style would actually be self-destructive. These three annoyances are often called deal breakers by many men and women, but there will always be some negative factor with anyone you date. I say, if you find someone who shows up on time, makes you laugh, and always has your back…well, isn’t that all that really matters?
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.