DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I have been dating for about eight months. He is a great guy, and we get along very well. He is very generous and open, which is refreshing for me. I have had some weird relationships in the past. I feel very fortunate. One thing, however, feels a little too intimate for me. My boyfriend thinks we should share a toothbrush. He has it in his head that this is a sign that we are really close and that we have nothing to hide. I think it is unbelievably gross. I was taught that nobody should share toothbrushes for any reason. I'm not a prude, but I believe in cleanliness. How do I address this without upsetting my boyfriend? I have no intention of giving in to this idea. -- Solo Brushing, Salt Lake City
DEAR SOLO BRUSHING: Celebrate your boyfriend for the things that you love about him and your relationship, and draw the line where it doesn't make sense. Speak up for yourself and let your boyfriend know that you do not consider sharing a toothbrush to be hygienic. Tell him you appreciate his desire to be romantic and intimate, but that you draw the line at this action.
If he gets upset about this, you must continue the conversation. This is ultimately about values. You two must talk about everything from hygiene to sex to family values. Put it all out on the table so that you can learn where your points of intersection are and where you disagree. Consider this a good thing, as it is sparking a deeper conversation that you will need to have if you hope to evolve your relationship.