DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating a guy for about six months. He is nice and thoughtful, but he wears way too much cologne. I’m not sure why he thinks he needs to spray it on so heavy, but sometimes it gives me a headache. I am very sensitive to smell, which he doesn’t know. I figure he sprays it on a lot because he wants to impress me. How can I let him know I would prefer he didn’t wear it, without hurting his feelings? -- Creative Courting, Dallas
DEAR CREATIVE COURTING: You have endured too much cologne for six months, which means your guy probably has no clue you don’t like it. Speak up, using your sensitivity to smell as the lead. Tell him how you react to fragrance, whether you get a headache or sick to your stomach, whatever happens. Explain you didn’t want to hurt his feelings because you know he likes to wear cologne. Admit that while you think it’s nice, it really is hard for you.
If you like this guy, you must give your relationship a chance by asking him to take away this barrier to intimacy. You cannot expect him to know how you feel about fragrance -- or anything else -- if you don’t tell him. The key to a successful relationship is communication. It’s the little things that make the difference in effective communication, too. Be kind and clear when you talk to him.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)