so fucking gross.
Shop around for a dentist who doesn't skimp on the pain meds.
Dear friends whom you have a history are invaluable, but I didn't see anything saying she is in love with him--feeling love for him isn't the same. It doesn't seem like a great idea to stay together just to be polite.
"I am not afraid of being alone really, but I feel sad at the thought of our relationship failing after having dedicated so much time and energy to it"

Hon that's called "sunk cost".

And it's only going to waste more time and energy before you leave him (which you will.)

"Despite the problems I feel love for my partner and I know breaking up will hurt us both. I know my description of our problems make him sound unappealing but he is a kind, loving and thoughtful man who is a dear friend to me as well."

He can be all these things as a friend. He's not currently your lover, he can't take proper care of himself to be a stable mate, can't handle basic hygiene, you're not happy or even "comfortable", you feel obliged to suffer in this misery out of some bizarre obligation/martyrdom.

It's not helping him and you're not a better person for it.

You can be a better friend than keeping yourself miserable where you don't belong.
@3: But think of all the valuable years she's wasted wanting to vomit into his mouth!

If she wanted to, she would have, as he is GGG, but staying together is still a bad idea.
Any man who won't go out with you, won't sleep in the same room with you, and won't floss and brush his teeth for you is not "kind and thoughtful." DTMFA.
Jesus, this letter is painful to read.

It leaves an odour and affects my breathing as I suffer from asthma

No, sorry, vaping has no more of an effect on your asthma than farting, and the smell lingers for about the same amount of time. In fact, many vaporizers use albuterol, which is exactly the same nebulizer used in your fucking asthma inhaler/vaporizer. You're just making up excuses to hate him when there's no need, you've got plenty already.
Yeah, this relationship may not be worth saving but if it is I would recommend placing vaping firmly in Category B. It is most likely the only thing keeping him from smoking, and it smells way better and is better for your and his health. Some people do have allergic reactions to some ingredients in ejuice so maybe use google and try some experimentation to find one that doesn't bother you as much?
OK, let's see. This guy:
1) Doesn't want to do any activities with you, and if you do he "usually feels stressed and wants to go home early"
2) will not sleep the night in the same bed
3) has sex twice a month (OK, sometimes more often)
4) uses his nicotine vaporizer indoors, even though you have asthma and have asked him not to
5) drinks several alcoholic beverages every night
6) Has breath so bad you "have developed ways to avoid smelling his breath" but refuses to do anything about it. "we kissed it made my stomach turn"

Lady, you've got A LOT more patience than me. Are you really so desperate that you are willing to settle for this so-called "relationship"? Breaking up is hard to do, but for god's sake DO IT NOW. Giving him a six month ultimatum won't grow him a new non-asshole-ish personality.
seandr@8 Vaping definitely puts chemicals into the air, why would you think it doesn't? By definition, that is exactly what you are doing...inhaling (then exhaling) chemicals. People with asthma are a whole lot more sensitive to these irritants than you think. (And BTW, I once saw a kid puke because the guy next to him let such a rancid fart. Honest to god.)
One small suggestion: How about if they have sex is HIS bed? Then he can't get up and run away immediately afterwards. She can go back to her own bed when she has had enough of a post-coital cuddle.
The breath thing, I agree would be a dealbreaker for me too. Yuck.
*in his bed... need more coffee.
Weirds me out that so many people are hung up on bedsharing. I'm an adult; I like to have my own room. Separate rooms means you can keep different hours, make different noises, tolerate different levels/types of mess, and generally have a much more chilled out relationship. I've been married for almost 8 years and we've rarely slept in the same room since we could first afford a place with two rooms (not even two bedrooms, two ROOMS). We can still sleep in the same place when we want to, but that's rarely the case. It's just way easier to sleep without another human trying to live in the same room.
Minus the dental stuff, this could have been me at various points. But he takes my concerns seriously and works on improvements, putting himself through stuff that is very tough for him. He would hopefully say the same about me (disability means there are some pretty grim things about living with me). Sometimes improvements have taken years, but we're both upfront about why changes are a challenge, without dismissing the other's concerns. So resentment hasn't been allowed to build to the possibly terminal levels experienced by the LW.

I wonder if some people are misled by myths that your lover should accept you as you are, and that you should feel safe to be fully yourself in your own home? A previous boyfriend was rather like that. I guess you need self-confidence to recognise the difference between someone trying to change your impact on their wellbeing, and trying to change who you are.

This man is not a good fit for you. You need an extroverted, nonsmoking all night snuggler with a high sex drive who takes care of himself. They are out there and when you meet the right one you'll wonder why you put up with this situation for so long.
She knows she has wanted out for a while, has developed/made up several reasons to hate him, and is now asking Dan's permission to dump him, in so many words.

Just do it, hon.
I'm just hung up on the fact that he doesn't brush his teeth and that even after she asked him not to vape inside the house, he still does. He seems like an incredibly inconsiderate individual who does not respect her at all. If after six years, he is still unwilling to brush his teeth on a regular basis, this guy is clearly unwilling to change and is quite stuck in his ways. Seriously, though, who doesn't brush their teeth regularly? Am I missing something? Is this such a common practice that you would overlook this considerably unsanitary and smelly behavior? How was this not like the biggest damn red flag in the beginning of their relationship? How is this not like, number one on the dating a forty something year old checklist. This behavior is cute in a child, but totally unacceptable in grown ass man.
I never could sleep with someone else in the same bed. Way back when when I had a relationship we had two single beds next to each other. That worked, apart from the occasional snoring episode.
It seems like all the right points have been hit already, but still bummed about getting to that 400+ post when everyone else had left, so...
Adults in relationships need at least the option of separate spaces, including for sleeping. A ‘snore haven’ has been a godsend for many relatives of mine who are perfectly fond of their spouses, but can’t get sleep in the same bed with them at night. But leaving the bed right after sex, as though the Stasi were gonna bust the door down, is some cold shit, not un-reminiscent of dealing with a prostitute.
Six months is waaay too long, it’s not like he has to learn to walk again or something. This guy gives the impression thru LW’s missive of being one of those people who said to themselves at one point, I’m a grownup now, so I’m gonna stop doing those things Mom said I had to, like adequate tooth care...
As noted by UAR above, when you have a losing hand, you don’t throw more money in the pot hoping your luck will magically change, ‘good money after bad.’ If you could go back in time, never start a romantic relationship with this guy, and be happier with that outcome, well, there’s your answer right there.
At first this seemed like a normal introvert/extravert letter, but hoo boy did it take a turn for the awful. Yuck. Dump the gross motherfucker already.

Poor hygiene is a DTMFA offense. So let it be written.
Not being able to sleep in the same bed with another person isn't a DTMFA offense, I'm thinking, but it's a pretty strong compatibility issue.
4-Undead-- Sunk cost was running through my mind as I read the letter. Glad to see you got there too.

SAD-- Perhaps it will help if you think about it this way: We can feel sorry for someone with bad breath and therefore feel bad about leaving someone over that. But bad breath is not the problem. HIS REFUSAL TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT is. His refusal is selfish and inconsiderate and shows his lack of caring about you, and THAT is a reason to get out of the relationship.

Here's another way to think about it: You were getting along okay for 6 years before you moved in together? Why not begin living apart again while continuing to see him? It's easy for me to say that you should break up, but it's obviously hard for you, so you need some help. While I see asking (demanding) that he move out as a stopgap on the way to breaking up altogether, present it to him as a see-how-this-sounds. It might work.

As an aside-- I'm in a good relationship where we sleep in separate beds. I too long for the days when I could fall asleep in his arms, but the truth is that neither of us gets any sleep that way. The compromise is in the amount of time we cuddle after sex. We get drowsy after sex, stay together, then whoever wakes up first, goes off to sleep in the other room.
Oh hun get out. You don't really like him, and not taking care of teeth is a breakup-level offense.

I don't know about asthma, but vaping sure does reek -- all those people are kidding themselves that it doesn't smell. No one who doesn't use is fooled.
Speaking as a middle aged lazy guy set in his ways like the LW's fellow: The asshole ain't gonna change for nothing. She might scare him into participating in the relationship like an adult for a while but he'll just go back to his old ways within three months.

Dump dump dump.
Yeah, dump this dude. You *might* convince him to quit the vaping and start brushing his teeth - maybe - but the antisocial thing ain't gonna get better. And it'll eat at you more the longer you stay together.

About the sleeping together thing, however (and I don't mean with the LW with this guy - I mean all of youse what don't sleep with yr partners) - what about a king-size bed? Those things are HUGE. You won't touch your companion all night if you don't wanna. Heck, I have a queen size, and me and the missus don't get up in each other's grills 'less we want to.
Eh, the vaping and the poor dental hygiene is a DTMFA offense. The rest, not so much. Although we sleep in the same bed, Hub and I sleep well separate. He isn't the fondest of that, but I like the space. Hub is an introvert and I go out without him. We do, however, actually go out together occasionally though.

A couple points to LW, since she isn't clear she wants to DTMFA.

(1) rushing home sounds like social anxiety? Just a thought.
(2) are there events he'd like to do out?
(3) dental work is expensive and rarely covered by insurance. While that doesn't excuse the "forgetting to brush" or the halitosis (oh gawd), it does to a certain extent excuse why he isn't getting his teeth done on your time line. Does he have a medical problem with the halitosis? Hsa that been pursued? It can indicate significant health issues when persistent.

Personally I don't do projects and this guy sounds like a project, so I'd DTMFA. I did a project with husband no. 1. Utterly *un*rewarding. Forget it.
Lance @26: You can still hear snoring loud and clear in a king-sized bed.
Is it me or does anyone else think Dan might benefit from a little, umm, intervention? Last week he gives sloppy advice because he's drunk (not the first time); tonight he's in a rush to get to a bar... is something getting in the way Dan?
I mostly came here to say I see nothing wrong with not sharing a bed. I am female and I snore, depending on how I'm positioned. Usually, when I sleep on my back, I don't snore,but I can't exactly control the position when I'm in deep sleep. I know I snore and so, I never sleep over at people's houses,friends or boyfriends. The one guy I dated long enough to move in with, I told him straight up that I snored and took over his guest room. He usually woke me up if I start snoring after sex and then I'd go to my room. Plus, I make more noise than a herd of elephants. I can have the TV on, the music playing at crazy sound levels,video games and still not feel it's noisy. I'm also the asshole who plays music at 2am in the morning and that's when having my own space is amazing.

I never saw it as him being an asshole. He worked at 6am and I worked at 10am. Snoring is noisy and just like any noise,can disrupt sleep. My experience doesn't invalidate her feelings though. I just think she has bigger problems than thinking not sharing a bed= he doesn't care.

Also, as someone who had dental issues until recently and now have all but 4 teeth in my lower jaw removed and with new implants, PLEASE drag this man to the dentist if you must! It is cheaper to pay for those teeth cleanings,etc with insurance than to pay out of pocket for implants. That and he should cut down on the alcohol. Alcohol is sugar and that's never good for the breath and dental hygiene.
@8 There isn't any real evidence one way or the other on the effects of second hand vapor (for lack of a better term). Listing one component of it and noting that it's also in an inhaler hardly qualifies as sufficient evidence to draw any conclusions from.
Just go. Please, just go. It's okay. You are a good person.

"I know bad things happen. Bad things happen. But you can still live. You can still live."
-Super 8
We can't edit comments?! One more thing: an extrovert and introvert can totally be compatible. Just understand that you're different and don't badger. Do you want him to go out with you because you want him to participate or you want to show your friends that you have a man? Also, are you doing things he enjoys or wants to do or just things you want to do? All that makes a difference.
@18: I've had six boyfriends, and every last one has had what I consider poor oral hygiene / bad breath. The difference is that three had mildly offensive breath and went to brush immediately if I asked. The other three had breath that I could only describe as "biohazard" and got downright hostile if I mentioned it could improve.

I've come to realize I'm way more fastidious about cleanliness than most. It made me second-guess how serious my grievances abut other people's grime and funk were. I sometimes needed to check in with third parties to make sure I was the reasonable one. "My boyfriend brushes his teeth only every other month and had maggots growing on his dirty dishes. It's this normal?"
@DonnyLicious: Vaping definitely puts chemicals into the air, why would you think it doesn't

Not what I said. I'm calling bullshit on her claim that she can smell the vapors after any length of time, and that they trigger her asthma. People commonly make up sensitivities as a way to control other people or receive special treatment, and I think that's what she's doing.

I live in a house with two women who have the olfactory acuity of a bloodhound. If I hotboxed a joint in my car in Portland and drove 3 hours to Seattle with all of the windows open, the first thing either of them would say to me when they got in is "You've been smoking pot in here, haven't you?"

A while back I went through a short vaping phase. I'd vape in the car, and in the house - bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, living room, closets, sometimes while one of them was in the room next door. Neither had any idea. It doesn't have much of a smell to begin with, and it doesn't linger for more than a minute. The molecules are too large, closer to that of a mist than a smoke.
Christ on a cracker, this sounds like the relationship I have/had with my soon-to-be ex!

My husband is checking out because he can't "bring me to salvation", which apparently makes him a "bad husband". Meanwhile, this sanctimonious piece of shit has been excessively calling his recently divorced, much younger female coworker, lying to me, etc etc.

Back to the grossness.....

My soon to be ex has FOUL breath. Like he was home from a business trip and I didn't see the toothbrush for 4 days. Plus he mouth breathes. And he leaves skid marks in his underpants. And he takes baths, not showers. And I'm not sure he knows how to use deodorant. Seriously gross.

The fact that your dude doesn't brush his teeth with any regularity and he vapes in your house DESPITE you asking him not to suggests that he doesn't respect you. I've realized that my own ex-to-be does not respect me. AT. ALL.

Life is too short for grossness. I deserve better. You deserve better.
He moved in to *your* place? And now his behavior has you thinking about leaving your own apartment? Because he is negatively affecting your health by polluting your air--I'm going to pay you the courtesy of thinking that you know more about your own lungs than a bunch of strangers do--and because he smells bad enough to turn your stomach? It's time for him to go. You can keep dating him, if you want, while he lives somewhere else, vapes somewhere else, and works out his dental problems, somewhere else.
I LOVE* (sarcastically) how people who vape and dont have asthma are Medical Experts on what triggers asthma. I am an ex-smoker, medical student with asthma and let me tell you, any sort of smoke including vaping, exhaust, campfire and weed smoke can irritate lungs. Just because YOU dont have asthma and like vaping doesnt mean asthmatics are pretending when they cough, gtf over yourself if that is your assumption.
PS: how much something irritates your lungs has nothing to do with smell, which is why you can suffocate on a gas you cant smell. !&@$#!
I agree that the vaping should not be a problem. Much better than smoking, and nicotine is not a particularly hazardous substance; in fact, it is probably protective against neurodegeneration.

But the bad dental hygiene is not only disgusting, it's a serious health hazard, which can lead to heart disease. And the unsociability seems very limiting to the LW. And different beds would be a total deal breaker for me. Sleeping in a hug is the most soothing thing in the world.
Anyone think that the guy might just be an introvert who is seriously depressed?
I have asthma and a boyfriend who vapes. It doesn't affect my asthma. It gives out less pollutants than are in the air in any city. If going outside your house gives you asthma attacks then maybe. But for most asthmatics, no. I love the fact he vapes because it means he doesn't smoke, and that would really be a problem.

Dump this guy though. He sounds gross.
@29 - oh shaddup. As the son of a functional alcoholic, I can tell you that Dan appears to be WELL within reasonable parameters. Granted, I don't know details, but my bet is, he's doing fine. Right Dan? Dan? Oh darn it.
Oh and vaping doesn't produce smoke. It's steam. Water vapour, hence the term vaping.
I will add though that his refusal to vape outside (and much else described in this letter) seems very disrespectful.
@26 - a king bed could help with smooth sleeping, if we had a room large enough to hold one. However, that doesn't help with noise, light, differing sleep schedules, preferred levels of tidiness, or any of the privacy and space factors that come up when you consider sharing a room with someone. It was such an obvious need within my own relationship that I was surprised to find out, once we'd got to the point where we could easily afford to live in a two-bed apartment, how taboo it was. Some people assumed we were breaking up because we wanted our own goddamn rooms. So I guess some people only share because it would be taboo not to, and really, I want to tell those people to just get your own rooms, it really is a huge quality of life thing if you feel that way.
I'm wondering if this guy has seen a mental health professional. Being introverted is one thing, but getting "stressed out" from socializing combined with the lack of self-care make me think social anxiety and depression. I agree with the other commenters that he's showing a lack of respect and should probably be dumped, but there may be a more significant underlying cause than immaturity/assholishness.

Re: king size beds: doesn't work if your partner is a sleep snuggler (or snores, as previously mentioned). Ear plugs are one of my favorite things, but sometimes I just have to sleep elsewhere to avoid the adorable but sleep-interrupting unconscious affections of my lover.
I feel like I have to put this out here: THIS DUDE SOUNDS SERIOUSLY DEPRESSED.

Withdrawn from engaging in any activities and becomes anxious and irritable when he does venture out. Multiple drug dependencies. Sleep disruption. Sexual dysfunction. Poor hygiene. Lack of motivation to change his destructive habits.

Let him skip the dentist for now and get him to a doctor who can help him get to a point where he's willing to address all the other concerns. And don't feel obligated to continue any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with him while he's recovering, but if you really do love the guy, be as supportive as you can while still taking care of yourself.
**the sleeping separately is only a problem if she is unhappy with it. Some people just cannot sleep with others. It does however sound like the LW's partner has a problem with some aspects of an intimate physical and emotional relationship.

**RE: vaping in the shared apartment. It's not like the LW has asked her partner to refrain from an activity that cannot be easily performed elsewhere (eg, outside). She's not asking him to change who he is, his feelings, his religion/politics! she is asking for consideration. She is asking him to compromise for her: no vaping inside.

**This sounds like a one-sided relationship. The LW's partner sounds like he has established patterns of behavior that he has no real interest in changing, even for someone about whom he cares. She should DTMFA.

@48. I agree to a point. his poor hygiene (eg, dental), lack of attention to one's own health (dental hygiene), disinterest in and total avoidance of social interactions and activities, and a disinterest in and/or lack of empathy for the feelings of others, especially that of a significant other, could be a sign of a mental health problem (eg, depression).
...or he could just be a self-centered gross stinky a$$hole.
@40 - Nicotine is absolutely a hazardous substance. It's used as an insecticide. Tobacco farmers are hospitalized every year from transdermal exposure to nicotine. My book of poisons rates toxins on a scale of zero (nontoxic) to 6 (the worst), and nicotine is listed as a 6. There are some real-life, Agatha Christie-type murders that have been committed using nicotine.

In addition, though the manufacturers of e-cigs still manage to keep their ingredients secretive, at least 10 known carcinogens have been identified in vaping exhalants.

In terms of odor, that too may vary by brand and flavor. A friend of mine used to try all sorts of god-awful smelling ones: grape, bubble gum, cherry, other grossness. Fortunately the city where I live now prohibits vaping anywhere where smoking is also prohibited.
@48 - I agree, his symptoms do suggest clinical depression to me, too.
@36 I really hope 'bring me to salvation' is a euphemism. If it's not, it needs to be. 'Dear Dan, lately I find that my partner can only bring me to salvation if I'm dressed up like Nancy Drew, he's a Hardy Boy and we're solving The Mystery of the Missing Anal Beads.' Before he used to bring me to salvation easily and without so much... drama.... What gives?'
Some commenters have suggested that SAD's uncooperative partner's problems stem from severe introversion along with depression. I have a couple of other observations. Could he be somewhere on the spectrum and hasn't been socialized in one-on-one interactions? The other possibility? That he's displaying (stereotypically male) goal-oriented behaviour - as in, when the sex/his orgasm is over, then there's no need for him to hang around in the same bed for any reason. SAD is already resigned to having sex ONLY when he wants it, and even then only in positions where his mouth isn't in kissing proximity, so I can understand how frustrating it must be when she doesn't even get to cuddle as a sort of consolation prize.

Is SAD feeling the pressure of aging that she would lock herself into a pale reflection of what a mutually happy relationship should be. And I'm not referring to the not-bed-sharing per se ... but his only rarely sharing purely social activities means that SAD has a partner-in-name rather than one who would be dedicated to not only trying to meet her minimal and pretty traditional current desires but also to think about other new ways to please her.

I know my description of our problems make him sound unappealing but he is a kind, loving and thoughtful man who is a dear friend to me as well.

He might turn out to be someone's "ideal" partner, but he isn't SAD's. Unfortunately, he is NOT "thoughtful", not when she's forced to become Mom (normally the kiss of death in a romance) regarding vaping and dental hygiene. She's already exhibited a Pavlovian response to kissing him even after he brushed his teeth. SAD, reclaim your dignity and dwelling, try to salvage a "friendship" with him only if you want to, but don't try to redeem a relationship that's been mired in a sad pit for years.
#52 - Good one!
If I hadn’t been off my game, I flatter myself that I might’ve come up with something like that sooner, but props to you.
I have to wonder what *she's* like. I doubt she's exactly perfect in every way either, and she doesn't talk about herself at all. It's all a laundry list of things she doesn't like about him.
@53: "I have a couple of other observations. Could he be somewhere on the spectrum and hasn't been socialized in one-on-one interactions?"

Being on the spectrum doesn't make your mouth literally rot from the inside.

I'm sure there's depression on his end, but her codependency isn't doing him any favors. He's not going to have any reasons to fix himself emotionally and physically so long as she's making excuses for and enabling his behavior.
@55: Putting up with all those things suggests things abut her enough, no details needed.
@undead: Putting up with all those things suggests things abut her enough

I don't know, I just think she (like a lot of empathetic female types) doesn't want to hurt the guy and feels guilty for not loving him anymore, so she constructs a list of faults and crimes, some fair, others maybe stretching it a bit, so that she can leave him and still think of herself as a good person.

You don't need to convince a jury, just leave the poor smelly introverted guy already!
@55, 56, 57, 58
I like to socialize and go out to see movies and bands, eat dinner with friends and family, and take trips away for leisure.
Mind you, that's HER own description of herself and she might be someone who leads an extrovert-to-the-max exhausting shallow whirlwind version of a life ... which means that she and he are extremely mismatched, even without his inability to clean up for her.

That is why I mentioned her possible fear of being alone as she ages. She's settling for him and that is sad. Even more than her acronym, SAD.
What is "Officially living together"? Either you live at the same address or you don't. And how did you date for 6 years and didn't know he was agoraphobic?
@59: Do you really have to attempt to discredit her, though? There's so much else to work with.

@58: "she (like a lot of empathetic female types)"

If she was fully empathetic, why would she tolerate this guy abusing himself through so many vectors and shrug? She's worrying here about what she can live with, not his long-term capability to stay alive.

Not trying to beat up on the LW, I wish her luck, but she's not really interested in his short term or long term benefit, which is a definite reason to get out on top of everything. He's a semi-chaste friend and current roommate, but that's not a true relationship.

Chiming in that I don't think separate bedrooms are a problem in themselves, given that people have apnea and other conditions (again in this case getting WAY EXACERBATED by his alcoholism, smoking, and inflammation from willfully untreated dental conditions.) She implies that he has the money and supplied medical care to fix them, but chooses not to, just as he chooses too go to bed without brushing every night.
This is the kind of letter that makes you wonder how these people ever got together in the first place. And if he was such a dud during the first 5 years, why move in together?
steam does have an effect on asthma. As do carcinogens. Again, just because you personally do not have symptoms from an irritant does not mean other people do not.
Don't tell me you smoke and drive, Sean. I don't drive, still, I'm not sure that's a good idea.
My kids spit the dummy if I have a joint or two. So I lock my studio door, and smoke out my tree lined
windown , at back of room. If any of them say anything, I remind them I'm not a flamin' two yr old.
@63: "steam does have an effect on asthma"

Vapor is not steam.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.