I have been seeing a wonderful man for the past year. We met at a support group, having both lost spouses due to long term illnesses. We have so much in common: love of travel, golf, photography. The list goes on. We especially like to read mysteries and adventure tales to each other. I feel that, in so many ways, I have met my soul mate.
However, I have a problem. This wonderful, handsome man has terrible body odor! At first, I thought that maybe he had stepped or sat in something smelly, but this odor has lingered throughout our relationship. I know that he bathes and changes his clothes regularly. He always looks fresh and neat. But he just smells awful.
I have tried to bring this problem up to him in gentle ways, never accusing or maligning him, but he either laughs it off or immediately changes the subject. So now I find that I can’t stand being indoors with the love of my life! What do I do now?
I’ve had to do some research myself to respond to your question. This is what I’ve found. Body odor occurs when the body’s sweat glands-the general skin “eccrine” glands and the underarm and crotch “apocrine” glands- secrete fluids that combine with bacteria normally found on the skin. In most instances, excessive sweating and/or poor hygiene causes body odor to increase, and can easily be neutralized through regular bathing, use of deodorants, etc. However, if body odor persists, this may indicate an underlying medical condition, such as a genetic disorder, the presence of infection, diabetes or an overactive thyroid, among other less common causes for this symptom.
Repelled, what is important right now is for you to confront your friend directly and honestly. Let him know how much you care for him, but the difficulty you’re having with his body odor is negatively affecting your relationship. If he continues to deny any problem, there is little you can do to help. However, if he accepts that he does or may have a problem, he’ll most likely be open to receiving help. This allows you to be a supportive partner in helping your friend to find a solution.
The first step is for your friend to make an appointment with a doctor. This visit may include reviewing his medical history and having blood and urine tests to further determine causes. Depending on the results of these tests, the doctor may refer your friend to a specialist. Treatment could include a change of diet and/or use of prescription antiperspirants. As there is much more to learn about the condition and treatment of body odor, I’d refer you to a good resource for information and advise, the web site: www.mayoclinic.org., and search under “body odor.”
Repelled, what is important now is that you support your friend through this process, which for him could be revealing and embarrassing. This requires you to be caring and kind, never demanding or expressing frustration. Whether or not you continue to develop your relationship together, he will hopefully remain a good friend, and even thank you for helping him to honestly confront this problem.
All the Best,