Neat Freaks Livin' With Slobs (or, I may be heading for disaster)

See, I resent this kind of shit. I simply would not change so that my house would pass muster by his mother’s standards. For the first few years, I was this house cleaning machine and I was stressing to the point where I’d arrange the fringe on the area rug. Then I decided it just wasn’t worth it.

He’s ex-millitary (everything in its place). I decided that if he isn’t going to help with housework (and he isn’t) then I’m just not going to worry about it. When the workload gets too unbalanced, I threaten to hire a maid. Then he’ll help out a bit. Other than that, I just had to decide if housework (and the inequality of it) is a deal-breaker. it’s not. For us, anyway.

I’m best friends with his ex wife. I’m a gazillion times better at keeping a clean place than her, so I guess he feels like he’s stepped up.

And that’s the kind of thinking that worries me.

I’ve got two young kids. I’m not the least bit work shy about doing their laundry and cleaning up their endlessly occuring messes. I do my own bed making and counter cleaning. I teach them to pick up after themselves to the extent that they are able to instill good habits early. I don’t expect to have to teach an adult to do the same. It’s just not in my grand scheme of things to do in a day. I guess training adults to be reasonably neat, pick up after themselves, be considerate of my neatness habits and not have me lower the bar on a largely desireable personal habit is not in my genes, eh?

But it’s big of you to not object to his cleaning your mutual kitchen messes and making your common bed. By the way, what keeps you from doing some of that? That old cheerleading arm injury?

Oh, thems be fightin’ words. I was so never a cheerleader.

First off, I know how to clean. Like I said before, I clean this little box every Saturday morning. I’m not the one with the “princess” nickname, remember? When I was growing up, I was in charge of cleaning the house every week. Trust me, no one cleaned up after me, ever. If anything, I cleaned up after other people, most of my life. I repeat, I am not a dirty person. Dishes are not left in my sink. Trash does not stink up my kitchen. Yes, there are clothes on my bedroom floor, my bed is not made and my closet looks like a big fluffy shoe cloud just exploded. These are things I’m okay with, because I don’t consider them a big deal, like a sink full of dirty dishes or stinky trash not being taken out.

No one needs to teach me how to clean up after myself. I’ve lived on my own since I was 18 and haven’t been swallowed by the mess yet. Hell, my house is routinely cleaner than my parents’. See, I grew up in a house where I’d get screamed at if I left a sock on the garage floor on my way back from doing laundry, or for leaving a few crumbs on the kitchen counter. (Kind of ironic that my parents house is such a sty now) Now that I’m on my own, I’ve developed my own standards of what’s acceptable and what’s non-acceptable.

So yeah, I tend to resent someone telling me what “needs to be done” as far as cleaning goes with reference to communal things, such as the bed and kitchen. That’s because these things are communal, which means it’s not soley my responsibility to make sure they stay up to someone elses standards. I’ll meet him halfway as far as individual things go, such as clothes on the floor, but the bed? The hall closet? I will not take sole responsibility for those items because this is not 1952, I am not a housewife and frankly, I don’t care that much. If the bed not being made every morning gets his and your tighty whities in such a damn bunch, he and you, can make it your damn selves.

Fortunately, he’s mature enough and cares about me enough to realize this, as our talk last night demonstrated. I’m glad your X girlfriend got out while she could.

It’s getting scary in here. :eek:

Oh, she’s not so scary. I’ve heard worse rationalizations.

Too bad we don’t have a forum for posting opinions that only agree with the OP.

Can I suggest professional help?

If your a third year law student, your income will presumably be going up here in a year or so. As soon as it’s finacially viable at all, I’d suggest paying someone to come in once a week and return y’all’s place to pristine. For many people, “cleaning house” has a lot of moral implications–paying someone to clean your house seems recklessly indulgent. But don’t think of it as paying someone to clean your house, think of it as paying to not have the same fight everyday. If once a week the house is clean without anyone having to have gotton bitchy or self-rightous or indignant in the process, that’s worth a lot, and dealing with the rest of the week will be easier.

If this is really the only area of concern, a housecleaner is cheaper than a therapist.

In the '70s I lived with a man who was so compulsively neat that he made Adrian Monk look like a slob. I’m a bit of a clutterbug myself. Although many people warned us that we’d never be able to live together comfortably, we made things work out quite well by agreeing that if he wanted things tidier than I did, he’d do the additional cleaning himself. He did so, with few complaints. Although we later broke up, it wasn’t over the neatness issue.

I’ve just moved to a new apartment. Me and my soon-to-move-in BF have yet to establish our new cleaning habits.

So, just as much to nip nagging in the bud, as to structure my own cleaning, I made a cleaning-schedule. It’s an Excel-sheet with household tasks, and for in the appointed day for that task, either his or my initial is set in it (large bold transparent grey typeface).
I’ve hung it on the bathroom wall, with a pencil beside it. It gives me a nice feeling to be able to check a task done, to know that I’m on schedule for the week. And dit prevents arguments like :
"Have you vacuumed yet? "
“um…”
“You haven’t vacuumed in months, have you?”
“Yes I did”
“Musta been when I wasn’t looking, then”.

Such a schedule is a nice way to talk about your cleaning wishes, to make the whole thing more concrete.

Hey, you can disagree all you want, just like I can disagree with your disagreement. Opinions tend to differ, that’s what makes them cool.

Manda Jo, yeah, except I’m a third year in a four year program. Paying my own way, so I won’t be seeing any discretionary income for a long time.

Well, if it really does turn into the one thing you fight about, keep it in mind. A good relationship sometimes needs to be invested in.

Oh, no doubt. Thank you, and everyone here who offered constructive criticism, for the advice. We’ll see how it plays out. :cool:

One of my best friends is a neat freak. I am clean but not tidy. We seem to have reached a satisfactory resolution- she enjoys tidying so much that I have ceased feeling guilty about her reorganizing my fridge when she comes over.

Trust me. It sounds like I’m exploiting her, but I’m not. She cackles with delight as she’s cleaning. Weirdest thing ever. Also she comes over twice a week and eats my food, so there is some kind of mutal exchange-of-labour happening.

Sorry. That was unrelated, but I think our situation is so funny that I wanted to post it somewhere.