After two years of our relationship, my BF and I have entered into blissful cohabitation. After some time, I realized that I hadn’t shared a major pet peeve. I fear it would come across as nit-picking if I brought it up now, after 2 years and many meals together. It’s the slurp and crunch. My BF loves his morning cereal. A few days a week, he’s eating as I’m leaving for the gym. The sound of chewing/crunching/slurping in an otherwise silent room curls my spine. This isn’t the only time solo eating occurs, just an example. Irrational or not, it disgusts me. I don’t know why, it just does. Often, we are eating in tandem, so it has never come up. Do I bring up this petty annoyance, or learn to share our air space with more compassion? While I acknowledge it IS petty, it genuinely grates on me. A lot.
Wearing earplugs in BK,
As I’m listening to my dog indelicately house his kibble in my otherwise quiet apartment, I’m thankful that I am not as easily grossed out by the soundtrack of mealtime as you evidently are because I’d probably be running for the hills. I’m not sure from your post whether you are just repulsed by the general concept of someone eating alone within earshot or whether your boyfriend has uniquely disgusting table manners. If it is the former, it’s obviously going to be tough to insist that he adhere to your eating schedule in his own home.
On the other hand, if your man really does chow down like the crazy nastyass honey badger, you might be able to intervene, but proceed with caution. No one wants to be told that anything they do makes their significant other’s spine curl, and telling him straight up that his boorish habits have driven you bonkers for the entire two years of your relationship is likely to make him feel self-conscious and defensive. For that reason, it’s probably best to catch him in the act, mid-slurp, and ask if he can’t please close his mouth while he chews. Hopefully, a few well-placed comments will get the message across, but keep in mind that he is an adult who managed eating in public just fine before you came along. There is a chance that he will be put off by the criticism, and it might help if you mention that you realize it’s petty.
You say your living arrangement is otherwise blissful, and you clearly think your bf’s attractive qualities outweigh the lapses in mealtime etiquette, so give some thought to whether the situation is objectively gross enough to justify rocking the boat. You guys won’t break up because you chastise him for eating cereal too loudly, but it might mean open season on your own irritating foibles. Make sure you are ready to be criticized for forgetting to clean your hair out of shower drain or for the way you absently hum while you putter around the kitchen, because that just may be the price of your honesty.
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