The Lounge
Moderators: Mollybygolly, spoiled_candy, nomoreexcuses, peaches0405


How Do I Get My Boyfriend to Clean His Own Damn House?


Quote  |  Reply

so i moved in with the bf about a month ago. long story short, he's a filthy dirtball packrat and i'm not. the house hasn't been cleaned since before i met him (last autumn). cleaning must be done. like for reals. there's dirt, actual dirt from the lawn, all over the walls b/c he has an enormous, rambunctious dog. he has stuff everywhere, even in the spaces he's allocated to me.

i can't take this. i'm about ready to just burn the place down and start all over. and it's not like i think he should clean on his own. even though all the filth is his, i'm more than willing for this to be a two-man job, so to speak. but whenever i bring up anything that needs improving, he gets all bent out of shape and it turns into a mega argument. i don't feel like fighting; i just wanna live in a clean house.

anyone have any ideas on how to get this dirty bastard off his lazy ass and clean something? thanks!

20 Replies (last)
I can only relate in reverse - before we got married, hubby and I moved in together, and I had to get MY stuff straightened out.

It sounds like you two need to sit down and talk about expectations and ground rules. When you agreed to live together, did he just expect that everything would be fine with you the way it was? If so, there may have been a communication issue.

Since it appears he's defensive, try not to make it about what he's doing wrong. How would he feel if you just expressed how you're used to living in a different environment, and maybe there could be some compromise?

My husband used to be the same way and it's only been recently that we're really cracking down on the messes.  We had to divide chores, because trying to do them together lead to one of us always complaining about hating the chore and suggesting ways of preventing the chore from needing to be done, which usually insulted the other.

Alex has pet duty, dishes, and trash pick up.  I have floors and counters, laundry, and windows (which include opening windows, closing windows, and cleaning windows).  Anything extra, one of us will grin and bear it, or we'll do it together.

It seemed to help, and admittedly there's been a few times when Alex needed a reminder to do his chores.  For a while he would let the dishes pile up, stating there wasn't enough to do a full load of dishes and they could continue to sit another day and collect.  Worse was when he'd let them soak in hot water until the water was cold, slimey, and there were no clean dishes.  I ate off of paper plates in protest.  He ate out of pots and pans with the same dirty spoon (it was pre-seasoned and added nifty flavors). 

Eventually I did all of the dishes and told him the dishes would be done every day before we go to bed.  If that meant I had to turn off the television, take away his computer, and force him to sit in the kitchen with me while I did the dishes, then so be it.  The guilt got to him and he manages to get the dishes done now, especially if he washes them every night and there's only a few dishes in the sink to wash, rather than letting massive loads build up.

I'm training him to eat his meals at the table now.  I've got a little bit of a guilt trip against him (we're not going to let our daughter eat everything in her lap on the sofa, are we?) which does help a lot.  Overall, though, I've found that when there's less chores to be done at once, it's easier to get them done.  And if you skip chores for one night, it's really not the end of the world.

I say, as much as you don't want to and really shouldn't HAVE to clean up his mess, to clean it up anyway.  You're living there now, too.  Give him a fresh start, and slowly ease him in to doing the chores every day, or every other day if it works better for you.  Eventually it'll become a habit.

well...obviously you cant deal with his habits and something has got to give, so either:

1) you will have to clean it, or

2) he will, or

3) you will have to pay someone else to do it, or

4) you two can move into your own place that was never his and never yours.

if it was me, i work towards either #2 or #4 or both.

i would threaten to leave if he doesnt clean it up, and if he didnt, i would move out. i could never live like that so i get what you are saying. if his bad habits are more important to him than keeping you around, then theres your answer.

DO NOT establish any patterns now that you dont want to be expected to continue to do though the rest of the relationship. NOW is the time to make your rules, draw your lines in the sand, and stick to them.

good luck with that girl!

 

i hate cleaning, but I did it this week cause it had to be done..But heck I say hire someone to do it.....

i'd move out.

i'm totally down with not creating bad patterns now. i want the house clean but i don't wanna be the one who's always cleaning it. we haven't discussed this, at all. not even hinted at it.

as for moving, that won't work. it'd be great to have a place that's ours and not his, but he just bought this place b/f the economy tanked, and he couldn't give it away. plus, he's paying the mortgage, not me.

but i do like the "fresh start" idea, CD. actually, guilt works pretty well with him, now that i think about it. the day i moved in i cleaned the bathroom. he noticed, got off the computer, and started cleaning. yeah, it was just the floor (as always), but at least he felt bad enough to do something.

my god, is he defensive! it's his very worst trait. it's really hard for me to broach things with him without making it come off like everything's my fault just so he won't get his panties in a bunch.

boots, once the house is tip-top, and the bills are in a better place, you KNOW i'm hiring someone to do it! neither of us likes cleaning, but i like a clean house more than he does. and i don't want resentment to force me to dump him, b/c overall  he's a good guy, just a dirtball.

I just went and bought a whole bunch of totes (the plastic containers) and started putting stuff in them. My hubby is a packrat (although he denies it) and so I just boxed it all up. I didnt throw anything away.

You can't tell them to do it. They just get mad. So you have to do it yourself, and then train him to keep it clean. Its the easiest way.

Good Luck!

newveggie, that sounds like the road of least resistance. i'll try that. but i swear, if he just goes and trashes the place again, it's gonna be his nuts.

I am a slob, while I do like a clean house I'm not interested enough to do it myself most of the time and hiring someone to do it is ridiculous when you consider the size of my condo.

I do keep things reasonably neat in shared areas with my housemate (kitchen and living room).  I do warn visitors that they are entering at their own risk.  I do pick up somewhat before having guests, but that's because I feel guilty.

Every few months I clean enough that I can see the start but then I generally let it backslide.  I try not to make more of a mess in any given day, but not all days are equal.

I would suggest designating some areas as his and some as yours and some common areas.  You can keep yours as neat as you want, he can keep as much mess as he wants, but the common areas should be reasonable.  Since you're the one who cares about it (this isn't exactly fair, but then neither is making him clean his house), I'd say that you should be responsible for the initial level of cleanliness (although it would be nice if he helped) and the two of you share cleaning either apart or together via some schedule.  I warn you though that your definition of clean is probably going to differ from his definition of clean enough.

CJ and I don't mind doing chores, and we both like a clean house, so, for us, the actual cleaning isn't a problem.

In order to get us both off our butts to actually do the chores, I'll say to CJ "X Y and Z need to be done today.  Which would you like to do?"  He'll pick the one he dislikes least and I follow with "Great.  I'll do Z.  Whoever finishes first can start on X, then the other will help finish."

CJ and I also have different standards for cleanliness and/or different ways of getting things done.  We both understand this and when we choose chores, we never say anything about the other person's chores not being up to our standards or being done differently than we might do them.  We're just grateful that things are getting done.

This system we have works great because we end up getting things done pretty fast.

Also, I try not to load too much on us at once.  If I know 5-6 things need to get done I'll try to get 2-3 done one day and the rest done another day.

Move out.  Tell him you won't move back in until the house is clean, then stick to your guns.  Nothing is more demeaning than cleaning up after a grown , ablebodied person.

dalamalama, just wondering...has it always been so messy? And if so did you really expect it to change just because you moved in? did you just choose to overlook it before?

Original Post by atech:

CJ and I don't mind doing chores, and we both like a clean house, so, for us, the actual cleaning isn't a problem.

In order to get us both off our butts to actually do the chores, I'll say to CJ "X Y and Z need to be done today.  Which would you like to do?"  He'll pick the one he dislikes least and I follow with "Great.  I'll do Z.  Whoever finishes first can start on X, then the other will help finish."

CJ and I also have different standards for cleanliness and/or different ways of getting things done.  We both understand this and when we choose chores, we never say anything about the other person's chores not being up to our standards or being done differently than we might do them.  We're just grateful that things are getting done.

This system we have works great because we end up getting things done pretty fast.

Also, I try not to load too much on us at once.  If I know 5-6 things need to get done I'll try to get 2-3 done one day and the rest done another day.

THIS is pure unmitigated awesomeness!

When bf moves in, this will be us! He left home at 13 and was in the military once upon a time and has nooooo issues with pulling his share of the load. He cleans his own place about every other week. This system sounds perfect for us. Thanks for sharing!!! :D 

his place has always been a disaster but i overlooked it b/c #1, he's a good guy, #2, he works overtime damn near everyday (like 6 16-hour days a week), and #3, he's hot. but i didn't live there then.

<<rant>> what the HELL is the deal with this unwritten rule in modern life that we should just let guys be the crap-keeping, dirty, lazy bastards they've been all their lives, and we women should just drop who we are, accept their horrible crap, and be happy that there's someone willing to screw us?

his ass is damn near 40 years old. he should've learned to keep his house in decent shape by now. it is ridiculous. he's used to living in a dirty house; fine. i'm not. yeah, we need to compromise, but i don't think wiping the dog ish off the walls is asking too much. <</rant>>

i'm not gonna toss him over this b/c that's silly. we're still a pretty new couple, and we haven't even discussed this yet. but i did see a glimmer of hope yesterday. without my prompting he washed the dishes and vaccuumed the floors. i coulda screwed him.

My dh is a packrat and slob.  I have never been able to break him of it - divide chores (done and never gets done), do it together (not now hon I have an excuse), never could pay anyone to do it.   I even tried being a bigger slob so that the overwhelming mess would drive him insane enough to do something about it.  That did not work either.

So now we have a moth problem and he has no problem squishing the things on the walls and leaving the guts behind.  I totally flipped.  Dirty dishes are bad, junk in the house is bad - I can keep the important things done - but by god there has to be SOME standard that we do not fall below.  BUG GUTS - hundreds of black squashed spots all over the walls.  That is the height of low life disrespect to do that to ones own house!  I told him that he cleans it up and thats it - we are through.  After everything else we have been through it was the last straw.  He cleaned it up - but I know it was with a lot of damning me over it. 

 

so,  did you now that about him before you moved in??  good luck, you are going to need it.

Here's the thing.  You have different standards of cleanliness and you knew that before you moved in.  That doesn't mean you have to live in a pigsty, but it means you shouldn't expect your boyfriend to all of a sudden become Mr. Clean just because you want him to.  As somebody who had to live with someone with higher standards of cleanliness for a few years, I can tell you that using guilt as a tactic will just piss him off.  It sure pissed me off - to the point that I cleaned *less* than I otherwise would have.  If someone's going to try to manipulate me, I'm going to kick in my heels and pointedly not do what they want.  Yeah, it's childish, but if you're going to treat me like a child anyway, I get to be childish.

So, what does work?  Treating the other person like an adult.  Does he even know that the level of dirt bothers you?  Have you had the discussion in a nonconfrontational manner?  Have you tried doing a formal division of chores.  If he *despises* doing dishes, take that one on yourself and let him do something he hates less.  (Similarly, get him to agree to take on some of the chores you despise.)  And the reality is that, if you need to live in "sparkling clean" and he thinks it's just fine to get to "passably clean", either you're going to put in extra work to get from passably to sparkling *or* you're going to have to trade off in some other respect (letting him have something that's important to him that you don't really see the point of).

One suggestion I read on another site was to pick a time every day that you will both spend 15 minutes cleaning.  It can be any kind of cleaning, and you each get to choose what you do.  But, for that 15 minutes, that's what you're both doing.  You could get a ton accomplished that way.  I also like the suggestion above about "here's three things to do; pick one".  Just make sure you don't do that during his favourite TV show or while he's in the middle of working on something important to him.

I'm not actually a total slob.  I don't have piles of dirt on my walls.  I wash dishes every day.  But I've lived with an obsessive neat freak, so thought it was worth posting the other perspective because I get the sense that most of the responses have been from other neat freaks (though maybe not obsessive ones).

Thanks God for you guys!!! I have been brooding over the state of my boyfriends house: as it is... well, a nightmare....

But I got a lot of relief knowing that I am not alone and it is so good to see responses outlining solutions and I don't have to give up hope...

I am becoming more and more convinced that I must be neutral the 'next' time I mention this issue.  I tried to 'take charge' last night, I was not overly in his face but I was sweetly sarcastic about going to a laundromat so we can have 5 to 6 washers going at the same time to knock out 'just' the laundry.  His house is not only dirty but physically unsafe.  I have to negotiate getting around a saw and rollar blades strewn around the kitchen.

I was getting really down about it and it has been like a cloud over me the past few days.  My friends are sick of me 'ranting'... I just feel so powerless over him and I am so shocked at his unnacceptable dirtiness that it's like I am building a case, why do I do that? I love this man,  I want to be on his side... i understand the want to have him be clean and tidy.  But the reality is today, is he is not.  He's Mr. Piggy!  So I must stop the trap of arguing that he should be anything else today.  This doesn't mean that he won't change now that I can see some hope at the end of reading all of your responses.  

I fear being treated as a nag. But I see, from my friend grilling me today during lunch, that I cannot talk down to him and because of my high and mighty judging him, that I do come off as Holier than Thou and this is pure arrogance no matter how right I may believe I am.

I am going to address the issue with the same poise and forgiveness that I would show someone I love, cherish and admire: oh, that's my boyfriend!  I have been caught up in thinking about him negatively, and I want to show some patience and understanding.  I hope to broach the subject with so much more peace now that I have seen all my thoughts typed up in your e'mails... yes, I have thought all those thoughts... from almost wanting to break up in frustration to wanting to manipulate and argh!!! It goes on, the frustration!  But, I am so relieved to know that I am not alone.  My advice tp the lady who originally voiced he concerns about her boyfriend, which is advice that my closest and dearest have told me, is to pray about it, to be at peace and then talk about it. NO GOOD will come from 'shaming' him. I will refrain from that and now feel at peace with talking about it! You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for writing all of your comments...   

 

 

20 Replies
Advertisement
Advertisement