General Question

poofandmook's avatar

You've discovered that your new significant other has a pretty icky habit...

Asked by poofandmook (17285points) August 12th, 2009

…you don’t really feel like it’s worth ending things over this habit, though it is pretty icky and you can’t really overlook/ignore it. What do you do?

I’ve got no intention of disclosing what this habit is, but suffice it to say it’s something that little kids very commonly do, but are generally taught not to do that fairly early.

I’m really really really stuck here. Help?

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55 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

I would never settle for my wife smearing her shit on the bedroom wall.

Out, I say!

marinelife's avatar

Can we assume that you have revealed to your SO how personally upsetting to you this habit is?

If they are not willing to make this change for you, can you continue on?

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

I wouldn’t care as long as she’s hot.

samanthabarnum's avatar

Tell him to stop picking his nose because it’s icky. If he doesn’t, smack him when he does.

poofandmook's avatar

no, Marina… I have NO IDEA how to bring this up to him. He’s very sensitive and shy and I know he’ll be mortified.

Dave… it’s something that doesn’t affect anybody unless they see him do it.

Facade's avatar

Tell them that yes, eating your boogers does ward off sickness, but Vitamin C is just as good.

Or just bring it up jokingly and hope that the possible embarrassment stops the habit

AstroChuck's avatar

Mmmm. Salty.

drdoombot's avatar

Is it just me, or was it completely obvious from the question that it was nose-picking?

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, you could use the redirect method. Show how gross you think it is, everytime he does it, by walking away, looking disgusted, or something like that. He should get the picture really fast. And make him wash his hands before he touches you, everytime.

AstroChuck's avatar

Who here never picks?
Yeah, right. Liar.

charliecompany34's avatar

what? like eating boogers? oh wow. yeah, that’s a problem.

sjmc1989's avatar

If it’s eating boogers I had an ex that did this. I could never bring it up but if I caught him I would just think of an excuse not to go near his mouth until I saw him brush even then I couldn’t stop thinking and obssesing about it. Notice I said ex.

seekingwolf's avatar


Yeah people pick. But it’s not in public or anything. It should be done in the privacy of a bathroom and your partner shouldn’t ever be able to see it…or anyone for that matter. Yuck.

And using a tissue is imperative. Yuck! I hate the idea of anything but a tissue going in my nose, even my own finger!

Yes, I’d indirectly show your bf than you hate it. Say that you hate it and when he does it, scoff and move away and don’t let him touch you. He’ll get the point.

SuperMouse's avatar

I’m guessing picking his nose in public, in which case I’m with @tinyfaery on the redirecting plan. You could make a pretty big show of averting your eyes or walking away. Maybe you could always have a tissue at the ready and hand it to him when he starts in. Eating his snot would be a deal breaker for me.

AstroChuck's avatar

Hey, wait a minute. Could we be talking about thumbsucking here? I have a grown cousin that still sucks her thumb when she gets stressed. If so, it’s not that uncommon among adults.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

I’d still like my SO if she does thumsucking
if I ever have a SO :(

kevbo's avatar

n.b. the vagina also produces discharges mucus.

YARNLADY's avatar

My Hubby picks his nose and eats it and I ignore it. It’s really none of my business. Once in a great while I might say something jokingly about it when no one else is around, but life is way too short to stress over such a petty thing.

AstroChuck's avatar

But how do his kisses taste?

YARNLADY's avatar

@AstroChuck I can’t say I ever gave it much thought, the two activities don’t occur at the same time.

poofandmook's avatar

my biggest thing is that I need to bring this to his attention gently. The disgust aspect isn’t going to work; the relationship is too new. I’m NOT willing to end it over this… not at this stage, anyway. I’ve thought about using the indirect approach… “ugh I saw so-and-so do this at work and it was SO NASTY!” but I feel like that would be just as bad as if I said “ew you’re gross, don’t do that!”

There’s no un-awkward way to do this, but I must do it, and it must be done gently. I just don’t know how.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

If you truly love him, then I think you should set him free…

Sariperana's avatar

If you cant beat them, join them??

@kevbo Im gagging and dry retching into my coffee… that thought/image is possibly the most horrific way i have ever started my morning. thats lurve for all the wrong reasons.

SuperMouse's avatar

I wouldn’t have an issue with thumb sucking or sleeping with a teddy bear or other security type thing, I think I might find that rather endearing. But eating one’s own snot is just too far beyond the beyonds for me, I couldn’t do stand it. Even if I looked away and pretended it was none of my business, it would always still be there nagging at me.

@poofandmook not knowing what exactly the issue is makes it kind of difficult to come up with ways to break it to him gently. If he wipes his fingers on his pants during a meal, you could begin each meal with him by handing him a napkin and make a big show of placing your napkin in our lap. With the nose-picking issue, you could hand him a tissue. If it is another, more challenging, personal hygiene issue it might be more difficult to discuss it gently. Perhaps you could just be honest with him and explain that his particular habit of his makes you uncomfortable. If you are sure you don’t want to end the relationship with him this might be your only option. If you bring it up as having seen someone else do it, there is a good chance he will see through your ploy and make this even more awkward.

marinelife's avatar

@poofandmook OK, I get that he is sensitive and shy, but telling him is the way to go here. You really need to do it in a very caring way.

“Sweetheart, you know I love you more than anything. Because we are building a life together, I do need to say that one habit you have is really hard for me to witness.

Let me be clear. I don’t want to change you, just this one behavior. When you X, I am concerned because it is (unsanitary? unhealthy? unsightly? not socially acceptable?).”

poofandmook's avatar

edited by me

nikipedia's avatar

I can see three possible solutions:

1. The mature way: Talk about it seriously (“hey, I wasn’t sure how to talk to you about this but I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal so I’d just say it…”)

2. The half-and-half way: Talk about it, but make a joke out of it (“HAHA! DID YOU JUST EAT YOUR BOOGERS!!! GROSS!”)

3. The easy way: SEND ANONYMOUS EMAIL!

Sariperana's avatar

This reminds me of a song:

Aggaaa doo doo do
Pick your nose and have a chew
If its nice, pick it twice cause its very good for you!
Having fun, fun, fun flicking boogies at the sun,
When the sun gets to hot – the boogies turn to snot!

(to the tune of Black Lace ‘Agadodo’)

marinelife's avatar

@nikipedia I like 1 and 3 is OK, but if the habit is as intimate as is indicated, would anyone but @poofandmook have seen it?

nikipedia's avatar

@Marina: I’m sure the guy has snuck a pickypick in public when he couldn’t resist it now and then. Who knows, maybe he’s even paranoid about people finding out.

I like 2 because for better or worse, this guy is a nose picker. Even if he stops doing it in front of @poofandmook, he’s never gonna stop doing it. Everyone has weird or stupid or gross habits. Better to find a way to laugh about them, I think, especially one as harmless as this.

But I am clueless about relationships, so @poofandmook, don’t listen to me.

SuperMouse's avatar

Removed by me.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you are tip toeing around him with something so minor, I don’t see how you’ll ever talk to him about anything, especially if he is too “sensitive” to handle the direct approach.

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery agreed. That said if the two of you can’t be completely comfortable around each other (farting, burping, whatever you do) that’s unfortunate, to say the least

poofandmook's avatar

lol no, believe me, we’re comfortable with each other. It’s one of those things that would be generally embarrassing if attention was brought to it. Just a special circumstance that as a HUMAN, not even a significant other, it would be hard to discuss.

derekpaperscissors's avatar

Just tell him/her about it, but don’t make it a big deal. You love someone not to change them but to give them love. The changes usually come naturally. From what I understand, when you love someone, you love the whole package, not just one’s looks or the way she brushes her hair or crinkles her nose. You’ve also got to accept the fact that she farts a lot or what not. So, just tell them about it. At least she/he knows and could do something about it. Humor’s usually a good approach so if it doesn’t work out, you can always laugh about it.

hearkat's avatar

When my son was young and I needed to break him of the nose-picking habit, I’d just hand him a tissue whenever I caught him. Those pocket packs were always on my person! It’s a subtle way to point out that you are aware, and that it is not acceptable to you.

rebbel's avatar

What you need, in my opinion, is a third person, who makes an, out-of-the-blue (green?), remark about nose-picking/X.
You can then safely say “Oh, don’t you just hate it/get disgusted when you see somebody do that”.
It’ll probably/hopefully makes him realise that he actually does this very thing, that you, his SO, so much loath.

YARNLADY's avatar

@hearkat I love that idea. I might actually use it.

hearkat's avatar

@YARNLADY: I hope it is effective!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

well you’re his wife so if you can’t tell him, who can?
and since you’re not ending your marriage, thankfully, over this then figure out a way to communicate that to you his habit is icky…technically speaking, the choice to stop it or not is up to him and that has to do with whether or not the fact that you find it icky is enough to stop him from doing it…

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I don’t know, can’t help on this one. I’m still trying to come to rest with the thought that women poo…..

SeventhSense's avatar

This speaks to a seriously deeper issue.
WTF is he 5 years old? If I was ever with a chick and she had that habit at anytime other than a gross joke once in a while I would toss her. I don’t care if she was Michelle Pfeiffer.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SeventhSense you would ‘toss’ her? yeah, real nice

SeventhSense's avatar

Figuratively speaking of course.
Kick her to the curb,
Give her her walking papers.
Dishonorable discharge

Supacase's avatar

I am guessing he is aware of the fact that you are aware of this habit? If so, just toss it out there in the open – you will probably both be glad to get the elephant out of the room. If not, you could “accidentally catch” him doing it and act surprised, as though it is the first time you’ve seen it. Sometimes it is easier to say something when it first happens instead of finding a way to bring it up after a lot of time has passed.

eadinad's avatar

@ Simone – they are not married, it’s a new relationship.

Kayak8's avatar

First of all, I find that if I refer to the practice as “nose maintenance” it is a bit easier to have a light-hearted conversation about it. It could go like this, “Honey, I realize nose maintenance is important to you. I really get it and I got you this little pocket pack of tissues [hankerchief with your monogram—whatever] so you can do it properly.”

Once in the tissue, the proclivity to move it to one’s mouth seems to be reduced dramatically (unlike with a finger).

This method also works with children as in “Billy, nose maintenance is important but it is something we do in private—take this kleenex and go in the other room until your nose is comfortable again.”

Bizarre but it works . . .

poofandmook's avatar

I actually got this out of the way last night. I sort of played victim… I acted like something was bothering me a lot and he kept prodding to find out what it was, and I asked how comfortable he was with me and he said very, and then I asked how sure he was that I loved him and that it would take a lot to change that… and he said very. So I stumbled over it a lot, and I said “I noticed something that you do, and it’s silly really, but it’s pretty socially unacceptable and I feel like I’m responsible for telling you so you know to be mindful but I don’t want you to change for me” and the more I stumbled with spitting the actual words out, he thought it was funny… so I played on it, and when I’d decided he’d laughed at me enough, I said it with my face buried in a pillow. He’d gotten such a kick at how hard it was to say it that by the time I said it, he said something like “THAT’S what had you worried? Telling me that??” as he laughed. Then he said he doesn’t even notice it half the time and it’s a nervous thing and he’ll try to be conscious about it and stop doing it. I added again that I didn’t want him to change because of me and he agreed but that it’d be a good idea to nix the habit anyway.

Thanks for your help guys.

@SeventhSense: Not to you. Obviously, I was torn over it. Your insensitivity makes me wonder how much time you would have before you were kicked to the curb for a bad habit you have. Or are you perfect?

SeventhSense's avatar

I’m sorry. I guess I was insensitive but Im not a Nazi although i play one on TV~
I’ve kicked, I’ve been kicked and I’ve been kicked in the balls.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@eadinad oh. well all the more reason to get this out early

trailsillustrated's avatar

just piss and moan and make a big big deal about it. ask how can he/she do that around you, are you nobody? dont they care that to you it’s a great big turnoff? get REALLYREALLY upset about it some evening. flounce out of the room.

AstroChuck's avatar

Start eating yours and see how he likes it.

Sariperana's avatar

Ask him to share?

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@kevbo thanks for linking that. i missed that gem some how, and it just made my day hahaha

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