When we meet someone for the first time, we notice how good or bad looking a person is, how stylish or classy or youthful looking the other person is, when it comes to external assessment.
One thing that hardly crosses our mind at such time is where he/she stands when it comes to the hygiene level. We almost assume that because a person is well-dressed, wearing branded clothes and sporting branded perfume, the person must be aware of how important cleanliness is. But believe it or not, many newly married couples have had a rude awakening because they discovered the “dirty” side of their partners.
Take the case of Sushant and Aditi, who had been dating for almost two years before they got married. But during the honeymoon period, Aditi got a shock of her life when she discovered her husband’s smelly side.
“At first I couldn’t figure out why there was a stale smell in the room that almost bordered on stench. To my disgust I found that my husband had this terrible habit of not changing his socks for days. He would wear them again and again till they were so dirty that they could not even be washed. He would then throw them away and wear the next set of socks for days again,” she said.
“I felt miserable and even told him that his feet smelt as did the whole room for hours after he took off his shoes. But it made no difference to him, even though I told him that even the bed smelt,” she added.
That was what our first fight was about. There was a lot of tension but I stood my ground. Finally, he agreed to change his socks and our marriage was saved,” say Aditi.
While Aditi was lucky that her problem could be solved, there are many such hygiene issues in partners that sometimes are very difficult to negotiate without the relationship being affected.
This is what happened with Tarun and Meher. Their marriage had been fixed by common family friends but the two had ample time to meet and get to know each other before saying yes.
“What I was excited about was that we shared a good physical chemistry and I couldn’t wait to sleep with her. She had an amazing figure and carried herself really well,” recalls Tarun.
But he was in for a major disappointment when they got married and went for their honeymoon.
“The first time I found that she had such a strong body odour I was really upset. I didn’t know what to do and how to say that to her without embarrassing her. It became a torture for me,” he said.
Psychologists say that people do not attach much importance to personal hygiene, but what they don’t realise is that the lack of it can impact a marriage in a drastic way.
It is not only newly-married couples who face the hygiene demon. Sometimes, a partner starts demonstrating lack of hygiene over the years, as happened in the case of Rohit and Meera.
“Things were fine initially but with time I realised that he started neglecting his personal hygiene. He would often forget to brush his teeth and it became a major problem for me,” she said.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to bear the breath, and I couldn’t tell him either because I knew he would not take it nicely,” she confesses.
Soon distance started creeping up between them and ended up in alienating Rohit from her.
Experts feel that it is a good idea to talk things over if lack of hygiene is leading to a situation where the marriage might disintegrate, even though the unclean partner may not take it with a smile, so to speak.
But marriage counsellors strongly suggest that the rejecting partner must take the risk of letting the partner know what and where the problem is. The risk of upsetting a partner is much less than the risk of losing him/her and breaking your marriage.
Amrita Sharma is author of the book “What Did I Ever See in Him” published by Penguin
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