Question: Hi Luise: I love my husband dearly but have a problem with him brushing his teeth or lack thereof. I have mentioned it to him and have even refused to kiss him or make love until he brushes. He seems to think a little swish of Listerine is acceptable. It is even disturbing my sleep. I have to change my position not to be face to face. He is a mouth breather and the “swamp-mouth” odor is very offensive. Advice needed disparately. Susan
Answer: Dear Susan: Just curious, but did your husband’s breath smell wonderful when you were dating? I ask that for a reason, because you either ignored it then or he knew how to handle his personal hygiene when he was willing to bother. The truth is that what you’ve got now, for better or for worse, is Mr. Swamp-mouth. Right? If your very pointed complaints are going unheeded, and he thinks what he’s doing is solving the problem (when you have made it clear that is hasn’t), then the ball is in your court.
It’s time to take care of your self. Obviously sleeping with your back to him hasn’t worked for you. Is that because you can’t sleep that way for some reason or is it because you haven’t accepted that Dragon-mouth is here to stay? How seriously this problem is affecting your comfort and well-being will determine how drastic your solution needs to be. It’s too bad that your distress is of no serious concern to him, but it looks like that is true. So, look and see what you need to do. Putting up with it isn’t working or you wouldn’t have written to me about it. Wishing it wasn’t so and hoping he will fix it is self-defeating. So, what’s left? Well, you have twin beds to consider or the more drastic solution of sleeping in your own room. You have rights. Do you see that? Not to change someone who doesn’t want to change, but to change your own, personal circumstances. Blessings, Luise