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Slovenly Lifestyle Could Be a Relationship Deal-Killer

DEAR ABBY: I've been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We're both 30, and we have pretty much decided to tie the knot. The only thing holding me back is his hygiene.

When we met, he wasn't all that into showering and using deodorant. Slowly, over time, he has started to shower daily and wear deodorant, but he still doesn't brush his teeth.

His apartment is my biggest nightmare. It is filled with opened delivery boxes, there are beard trimmings all over the bathroom, a pink ring of death in his shower, and his stovetop -- well, you get the point.

Should I mention that I'm one of the cleanest people I know? I grew up with well-dressed, great-smelling men in my life. They're the walking, talking real-life versions of a men's fashion commercial.

Is this a make-or-break situation? We get along in so many other ways. -- HYGIENE'S THE PROBLEM

DEAR H.T.P.: I'm glad you asked. Yes, this is a make-or-break situation, and it needs to be resolved before you sign up with this "cellmate" for life. While I appreciate his making the effort to shower as a step in the right direction, his lack of attention to his dental health is a cause for worry. Decaying teeth and periodontal disease can cause serious health problems -- including heart issues -- later in life and may be related to Alzheimer's disease.

If you think his living conditions are a turn-off now, consider how they'll affect you if you marry him. He either never learned or doesn't care to pick up and clean up after himself. That task will be all yours. If you really love him, draw the line now, and perhaps it will put him on the right path. Better late than never.

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