His treasure = my mess.
September 16, 2011 4:22 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are moving in together, and he wants to bring two very large, very ugly (to me) pieces of furniture with him, as they are of sentimental value to him. All I ask is that he puts the pieces in storage, because the items are just not things I want to look at on a daily basis. (Apologies for a long post inside).

Apparently, this is a common problem with couples moving in together before marriage. His treasure is her mess, etc. I would be very appreciative and grateful (you'll save my sanity!) for some advice on handling this situation without bickering and general unhappiness all round. We love each other very much, and are looking forward to spending our lives together, but somehow this has become a point of contention - his sentimentality vs. my need for a "nice" (cleaner, newer) apartment. Almost everything else we agree on.

As I write this, I'm trying to stay as objective as I can, so my boyfriend's side of the story gets told as well. He has a round dining table + chairs, it's a set from decades ago that he grew up with, and occupies a lot of space. He also has a huge, antique wine rack/ kitchen dresser type piece that he bought secondhand from his neighbor during a period of time he lived on the east coast. Neither of these pieces match each other or anything else either of us owns. Now, this somewhat scoffy description is coming from me, and while he also admits that these pieces aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing (read: HIDEOUS), they do hold much sentimental value to him.

From my point of view, as we move into a new apartment, I'd like to minimize the amount of old 'stuff' we bring with us. He's willing to give up pretty much everything in the apartment that's actually nice, but is insisting on bringing what happens to be the oldest items he owns because of sentimentality. Outside of the furniture, a glass ale jug a friend gave him, an optometrist's model head and little odds and ends that he's been carrying around since he began college (he's 34 now). He is willing to critically downsize his belongings and has said that he will not insist on displaying any articles in the apartment that do not "fit", he just does not want to throw them out or get rid of them. Not sure what “fit” means (the aesthetic? space?) but I'm pretty sure that once he starts looking in his boxes of stuff he'll find more he wants to bring - old comic books (worth a lot, so I understand if he wants to keep it for a bit), and pint glasses he's collected (ok, those we can keep), etc. We already have rugs and other of his family heirlooms that will have to go into storage. Exactly how much “storage” he thinks we’re going to have, I’m not sure.

To me, this is clutter. I'm not a sentimental person, and if there was something I owned that was bulky and took up a lot of space, if he asked me to let it go, I would. We don't have much money, so I'm not expecting that we're going to go out and replace everything we have, but spending a little bit of money on one or two inexpensive new pieces of furniture when we begin our lives together does not seem to be excessive, especially since we probably will not be able to afford our own home for a very long time. My boyfriend doesn't understand the symbolism of this move, and feels I am being petty and superficial in not recognizing the sentimentality of his belongings. Problem is, I can understand sentimentality of maybe one big piece of furniture and a couple other things, but not two humongous elephants in the room, so to speak. Personally, I will bring nothing extraneous, as I'm the opposite of a pack rat and refuse to have anything that will disturb the overall feng shui of the apartment. People walking into my apartment always comment on how cozy, welcoming and lovely it is - and I probably don't own anything that cost more than $150.

We have both decided to not have a wedding due to cost concerns, and although this is a decision I agree with, it does mean I'm not getting a shower or the opportunity to get new things for our apartment, so we most likely will have to get some mileage out of some things we already own. Normally I'd be okay with that, but this is a guy who just doesn't seem to take the same pride in his surroundings as I do, as evidenced by the fact that not one single piece of furniture in his apartment matches another, and who in the seven years I’ve known him has never purchased any furniture that’s not from Craigslist or the sidewalk, even when he could afford to. We had a conversation with his mom about his need for patio space or hardwood floors (not particularly a dealbreaker for me when choosing an apartment), and her argument was that the place you live in has to be pleasing to our eyes, a place of comfort and harmony for both of us. I agree with her and if that's important to him, I wouldn't consider an apartment without those amenities. But I feel he should give me the same considerations in letting go of some possessions that might be sentimental but are just absolutely hideous (to both of us, but less importantly so, to him). I'd rather have no furniture than mismatched, ugly ones. On the point of sentimentality - I do see it. Back when we were still friends and he moved to the east coast for a while, I took beautiful photographs of his neighborhood and gave him a series of them... that was almost five years ago, and he has never gotten around to putting them up. To his credit, he has nothing at all on his walls, but if sentimentality meant that much to him, maybe the effort of putting them up is warranted.

Am I being unreasonable or superficial to ask that he give up some of this stuff? Are we incompatible? I see no beauty in bulky, weighty "antiques" (ugly old things, to me). There are nicer, newer, cleaner things that he owns that I would actually be willing to keep. I'm even willing to compromise that if he keeps the table, the chairs go, or vice versa. With the kitchen armoire, the top half is removable and is the ugliest part. But no, even that won't work. It's all or nothing. Should he agree to this? Please help me, Mefites. I am feeling like he's completely ignoring what I'd like, all for his "sentimentality". Also, apologies for this long post. I'm aware that it might sound like venting, but writing it was pretty cathartic.
posted by Everydayville to Human Relations (69 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just to clarify: he refuses to put these things in storage? And he wants both pieces in your home?
posted by Specklet at 4:28 PM on September 16, 2011


He isn't refusing, he wants to see if they "fit", first. I'm not sure how they would "fit", since they don't match any of our things, and they are too big to put out of sight.
posted by Everydayville at 4:31 PM on September 16, 2011


I don't have much of an attachment to anything, and I understand where you are coming from on not having a sentimental attachment to furniture and things. On the other hand, after talking to a lot of people, I also realize that not everyone is this way.

I do think you are being somewhat unreasonable. Is there a way to change the furniture at all? Refinish in a way you like more? Compromise and keep one of the two items and find a way to make it work in a way you are happy with? Does he really think they are ugly, or is he just agreeing with you to be agreeable?

Also, I think you need to separate this argument from the "not having a wedding, not getting new stuff" discussion altogether, because it's really kind of irrelevant and is actually counter intuitive with you wanting to get rid of stuff.

When you say "they don't match any of our things" are you actually using items from both of you, or are you saying "it doesn't match my aesthetic"? If it's the former, then perhaps you need to have more discussion about why he wants them there so much. If it's the latter, I think you need to give some thought to compromising some of your vision.
posted by Zophi at 4:35 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I completely understand since I am more like you, but I think you have to compromise and allow at least one of the pieces. What is important to him is the presence of sentimental items. What is important to you is clean, matching items. He is not asking that you completely adopt his way of living so you should afford him the same consideration.
posted by murrey at 4:37 PM on September 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


It sounds like you guys come from opposite ends of the "attachment to stuff" spectrum. It can be very difficult to convince someone to give up something they have a sentimental attachment to. For example, my grandmother still had beat-up GI Joes from when my uncle was a kid. He's almost 50. It's taken my mom and aunt 3 years of yard sales and gradual convincing to get her to get rid of maybe a quarter of her crap. But you have to respect that when he says he has a sentimental attachment, he has it. What possible motive could he have for faking that?

You also have the problem of a difference in tastes... I see this a lot with my parents. My dad is happy with the 25-year-old curtains in his office. And the 30-year-old curio in the dining room. My mom, redecorating, has given up on convincing him that they need to replace such things and now she just takes the initiative when she sees something she wants. (I don't recommend that -- this was after ~25 years of marriage.) She also shops a lot at a furniture consignment shop -- good items for good prices.

I think the first thing you should hold onto is that you guys need to compromise. Second, that convincing him to get rid of them is probably going to be a gradual process and you may want to get in the state of mind that you can deal with having them temporarily. Then you go out looking for good-priced replacements that you like; once you find something that you love (and can afford), then you can convince him that the piece would look fantastic.

Maybe you can do some catalogue browsing and find some pieces that *would* match what you have, and show him these, so that he sees how much better they look.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:39 PM on September 16, 2011


Can they be refinished? You'd be pretty amazed how a totally-out-of-place dining set can be transformed by a coat of lacquer.
posted by padraigin at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


If he only wants two things, seriously, don't get petty, let him have them.

He'll most likely give you the entire rest of the house/apartment. Humor his few decorative whims.

/ Out of 60 linear feet of closet space, including two walk-ins... I personally have four linear feet (a pole I installed myself the short-way across one of the walk-ins) and one little filing-cabinet sized three-drawer chest-of-drawers for all my stuff. She has the rest.
posted by pla at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2011 [38 favorites]


Is there any way you could rehab them so they would fit? Like with the wine rack, could you sand down and vintage-ize it so that it would be more of a piece with the rest of your furniture? Could you upholster the dining room chairs and refinish the dining room table?

On preview, what padraigin said.
posted by stellaluna at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Compromise with him. If it were me, I'd keep the table and chairs. You could buy a lace table cloth to help cover it up.
posted by royalsong at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be perfectly honest, this sounds like a trivial argument to me. You're going to need to learn how to compromise, both of you, because I can guarantee you you'll have much more significant arguments about higher-stakes subjects than this in the long term. There's a lot of resentment in your post ("He's willing to give up pretty much everything in the apartment that's actually nice") and you have to tone this resentment down if you want to have a productive discussion with him.

You need to understand his sentimentality, and he needs to understand your hatred of clutter. There's no need to call his furniture "hideous" because that's pointlessly mean, just as there's no need for him to call you petty and superficial. Recognize that you each have different values that just happen to conflict, and this does not make either of you a bad person.

He is willing to critically downsize his belongings and has said that he will not insist on displaying any articles in the apartment that do not "fit", he just does not want to throw them out or get rid of them.


He's already trying to compromise with you, and you're resisting. I suggest renting out a storage unit for him to keep the things you absolutely cannot stand to have in the house. But part of a fair compromise in my mind would be allowing him to keep certain articles of furniture in the house on display.

I'm even willing to compromise that if he keeps the table, the chairs go, or vice versa

This doesn't sound like a fair compromise to me. The tables and chairs are part of a matching set, right? I think you should let him have at least one full set of furniture in the house. I can understand his desire to keep each set of furniture together in its entirety. It seems like it would be fair to let him have at least one set in its entirety in the house, although considering the amount of furniture that goes into a house, I can't see that having two sets of incongruous furniture will be a problem. As pla said, you'll have the entire rest of the house to decorate as you see fit.

Neither of you is going to get exactly what you want so once the terms of the compromise have been settled, you cannot allow it to become a point of dissension in the future.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:46 PM on September 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


If I'm reading your post correctly, you haven't yet found the apartment you'll be moving into, correct? And you don't yet possess an alternate dining room table or chairs? The short version of my advice is that you should, indeed, move with these items and see how they "fit." Moving is exhausting, and you will be--slowly--turning it into your home over a period of years, not days, and it seems unnecessarily stressful to need to buy a new dining room set immediately simply because you've "won" and gotten him to store the set he likes.

Regarding the wine rack/kitchen piece, it will quickly become obvious whether that item fits in your space. You may find a place with a room he uses as his office where that piece could go. Or maybe you'll pick a 400 square-foot studio and it will become quickly apparent that there is no room for that item anywhere.

Don't die on this hill when it's only a hypothetical apartment that you are imagining furnishing. You that he is "completely ignoring what [you'd] like"... while doing exactly the same thing to him, and if nothing else, I think practicality sides with moving with his items and taking it as it goes from there.

(As a side note, it comes across as if you are confident that your taste is superior to his, to a pretty patronizing degree, and there seems to be a lot of bitterness or even contempt hidden under what you're trying to simplify as a "sentimentality vs. nicer/newer/cleaner," and it shows in your comment about the photographs of his neighborhood that he hasn't yet hung. I think it is a good sign for your relationship that he is standing up for what he wants, rather than just letting you "win," but you both might benefit from trying to sort out some of the tensions that are underlying this debate.)
posted by argonauta at 4:49 PM on September 16, 2011 [36 favorites]


If this is only about the furniture, I'd try to either get him to decide for one of the pieces only, or consign them to his space (how big is the new place? Do each of you get a separate space, for instance an office?). Or what others have suggested - bring the pieces more in line with your tastes/vision for the new place. I don't really know how feng shui works, but would it be an option to feng shui the items themselves? Maybe strip them down to the wood/ cover them in plants/ have a water feature cascade down from the armoire, or run under the table. You could find that lacy tablecloth, arrange plants under the table and hide a lightsource or a waterfeature amongst the plants, with the light pointing upwards, slanting through the filigree of the lace - might something like this, or along these lines, work for you?

What I'd also consider: he is sentimental about those pieces of furniture, but you, too, are very attached - sentimentaly, symbolically, to moving to a new place with a clean sheet, aligning it with feng shui precepts, etc. This: "Are we incompatible?" is slightly worrying - is the "new beginnings" symbolism more relevant to your relationship, or to you, then it appears from the furniture cunundrum?
posted by miorita at 4:55 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


What if everything in the new apartment represented *his* aesthetic alone. Would you feel it was your home?

It doesn't matter if the furniture is ugly. It's his, and it is important to him to have these pieces in his living space. Does your desire to live in an attractive space trump his desire to live in a comforting space? Not if you are equal partners, to my way of thinking.

Hey, it could be worse -- I had to let a television in my house when I got married. But I did, because it wasn't just my house anymore.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 5:20 PM on September 16, 2011 [26 favorites]


Since this is a long term relationship that is important to you, since this is your partner, I would consider what provides the greatest pay out to the relationship.

Honoring those two pieces of furniture for the meaning they have to him, even finding some way to kind of like them? This has a high potential for paying out in his increased esteem of you that would likely translate into both small gestures of affection and deeper feelings of love for you as he takes in your acceptance of him and where he has been. More, it is also likely that this will allow him to see your aesthetic for what it is under all this bicker--the desire to make a nest for two.

I would rather, daily, look at a couple of goofy pictures of furniture and see, daily, loving gratitude in my partner's face (for my acceptance of him) than look up some day and see resentment framed by the perfect living room.
posted by rumposinc at 5:30 PM on September 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


You can't stage your life.

Spend a few minutes looking at Unhappy Hipsters and come back to us.
posted by holgate at 5:35 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The first item you see when you walk into my apartment is a bookshelf populated entirely with Transformers - the plastic-molded, 1980s children's toys. There are several dozen, all in full battle mode. It's ridiculous. And this a small apartment - bedroom is exactly two feet wider than the bed, not a place with room for extra furniture. I'm not exactly a person with taste (matching furniture? why?), but I'm pretty sure it's high up on the tacky scale. But my awesome husband happens to love tacky 80s toys. So I've accepted that there may well be Transformers on display in my home for the rest of my life. At this point, I find them endearing. Most of the time. Less so when we're moving and packing a dozen boxes of them, each necessitating its own bubble wrap. But husband is awesome and so he gets allowances.

Yes, you sound petty. You're talking about wedding showers and matching furniture like they're the natural order of the universe, which they're not. You also sound like you take pride in your taste and in other people's admiration of your taste, which is fine, but this new place isn't going to be just yours. You'll figure out a solution - keep one piece and trash the other, keep both of them in a lesser-used room, whatever - this is a trivial disagreement. But don't go into that conversation with an attitude that he is WRONG and he clearly doesn't understand the Grand Symbolism of the move. He just doesn't share your taste in furniture.
posted by orangejenny at 5:35 PM on September 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


I think you should try living with the pieces, esp. if you don't have anything to replace them. Matching furniture is out-dated, except among those who worship catalogues. Check out Apartment Therapy house tours--often the biggest weird thing in the place is what totally makes the look. And feng shui? Please, don't use fake ancient Asian wisdom to trash your boyfriend's heirlooms.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:43 PM on September 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'll tell you this much: if you were my partner, and I found out that you had been talking about me and my tastes and my feelings this way, I wouldn't move in with you. Being a bit of a packrat and having sentimental attachments to things is part of my personality. I like that about myself, and I'd be really hurt to find out that someone who loves me doesn't like about me the things I like about myself. Your post here comes across as deeply disrespectful of the things (and I don't just mean the physical objects, I also mean the values and beliefs) that matter to your partner.

To you, this is about the way you want your apartment to look, the appearance you want to project to yourself and to the world. Fine. But to him, it's about his life, his memories, and his feelings. You're either not understanding that, or you've decided that your desire for a certain aesthetic trumps his feelings. Either way, I think you need to take another look at the situation. Because right now, when you talk about him, about his taste and his desires and yes, his feelings, you sound contemptuous and superior. And I'm sure that's not the way you feel, or else you wouldn't be in the relationship, but it's what's coming out in the way you talk about him.

This may be one of those dichotomies like introvert/extrovert or light sleeper/heavy sleeper where two people on opposite sides of the divide may never fully be able to understand each other or get why certain things are important to one another. Because of that, the mere fact that something is important to your partner--even if you don't understand why and it makes no logical sense that it would be--has to be enough for you to respect. These things are meaningful to him, and he has feelings about them. The fact that you don't have feelings about physical objects doesn't make you better than him, and it doesn't mean that he's wrong and needs to change and give up those feelings.

Obviously, if your partner insists on getting his own way about everything, that's a control problem in the relationship. But when someone tells you that they're willing to have everything just the way you like it, with two exceptions, I think you need to meet him halfway. Give him his dining table and his wine rack. Ask him whether it would be okay with him to refinish them or get a table cloth or spruce them up somehow. But when he's giving you basically everything else you want, give him this. And if you can't find a way to do that joyfully and gladly just because it makes him happy, I think you should rethink moving in together.
posted by decathecting at 5:45 PM on September 16, 2011 [60 favorites]


I would say that part of this depends on how big an apartment you're looking at getting--I could see some argument for storing a table and chairs if you're moving into a studio. To speak more viscerally, I personally am more attached to sentimental objects than my boyfriend is, and I'm a big fan of mismatched individual things because I like them and they have a history for me. I think I would be really hurt if my boyfriend told me to get rid of things that were mine and mattered to me because he didn't think they would fit into some nebulous idea of what a future apartment would look like. I also don't think he's the sort of person who would ask me to do something like that, which is a quality I really value about him.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am very sentimental about objects and always have been. I can't even throw away clothes that are too small/stained/1980's if a friend gave them to me. I still have birthday cards and stuff from years and years ago that I look at. I'm also like your boyfriend in that I have next to nothing in the way of furniture and decor, don't really care about that stuff, etc, but if someone calls my clown dog lamp ugly or whatever I am wounded because that is my STUFF, man. I have some sort of story attached to most things I do have and I cherish those stories. The memories make the pieces great to me, even if they are truly ugly, and throwing them away would be like discarding bits of my history.

However, I admire people who like a nice place and who will do what it takes to have that, so I am sympathetic to you, as well. I don't think you are at all petty. Your home is where you live your life, of course you want it to be comfortable! Of course you want to feel good while you are there. It's not a small business.

My inclination, from just reading your post, though, is to suggest you let him keep the stuff. There are things that are more important than being stylish, and this is one of them. There is some real feeling attached to these items for him, and in my view, it's cruel to insist he get rid of them. Like I said, as a sentimental person, it's like asking him to throw away his past. That just won't do.

It also won't do, though, that you hate them. So maybe you can stipulate some conditions. If you haven't found your apartment yet, you can go in to the search looking for a place to hide the beasts. I mean, that wouldn't be your only criteria, of course, but something to keep in mind. Also, the refinishing idea is a good one. Can you cover them up in some way? If you are beyond hope there, perhaps you can spend the money you hoped to use for new stuff to have a professional fix them up. It would be lovely to transform something that is meaningful for him into something you like, as well. Also, how much does storage cost? You mentioned his mother. Can she hold the objects for awhile? Any other places you could possibly keep them not in the house?

Anyways, I would try not to make this issue about Your Whole Relationship. That's a mistake, I think. Just because he doesn't want to give up his stuff doesn't mean he doesn't care about you, and just because you don't want him to have his stuff doesn't mean you don't care about him. It's just furniture.
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compromise, compromise, compromise.

Can you possibly afford an apartment with an extra bedroom? It may be worth it for you as you can make it "his room" where he can put whatever he wants in it in whatever arrangement that he chooses.

This way, you will not have to see it and can just close the door when company comes over.

About this:

Back when we were still friends and he moved to the east coast for a while, I took beautiful photographs of his neighborhood and gave him a series of them... that was almost five years ago, and he has never gotten around to putting them up. To his credit, he has nothing at all on his walls, but if sentimentality meant that much to him, maybe the effort of putting them up is warranted.

I am going to take a stab in the dark and suggest that you would not have mentioned this detail if it was not important to you. Are you hurt that he seems to have an unwavering sentimental attachment to some furniture that he bought secondhand from a neighbor yet does not even bother to hang up the creative and thoughtful gift that you made for him?

If I was in your shoes, that would be the amplifier to an otherwise small issue. The fact that he refuses to compromise on the secondhand furniture yet has not hung the gift after 5 years would be like a slap in the face.

I am not agreeing with either him or you, I am just saying that I can see how you might feel slighted. You may want to talk to him about this if it is indeed how you feel because my gut reaction when reading your post is that this issue goes much deeper then "his furniture is ugly".
posted by Shouraku at 6:14 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Semi-sentimental packrat here with a very strong personal aesthetic. The desire to throw out perfectly good furniture in favor of "new, clean" things without even considering repurposing old stuff sounds wasteful to me. Plus, if these were my pieces of furniture, and the home I was looking forward to sharing with you, I'd be highly insulted by your attitude toward both my feelings and my right to have some say in the space. He is willing to critically downsize his belongings and has said that he will not insist on displaying any articles in the apartment that do not "fit" . . . God, if I were in his position, I'd feel really, really diminished. I really think you need to let go and learn that when you live with other people, you need to learn to adjust to their needs, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:22 PM on September 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Totally been there. It's just furniture. I'd let the guy I'm in love with paint big pointy arrows on the wall in order to feature the old bulky furniture. Heck, I'd make it the center piece of our new place. Truly. It won't be easy but at the 20 year point, it will be a family joke. And, there will be 20 years if you let the stupid inconsequential stuff slide.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 at 6:28 PM on September 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Am I being unreasonable or superficial to ask that he give up some of this stuff?

Yes, you are. This is just stuff. The stuff makes him happy, why try and make him give it up in order to keep you happy.

I'm like, my wife is like your BF. After 10 years of living together, with her taste for antiques, I can see that things work better when each person can be who they are in the relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:29 PM on September 16, 2011


I sympathize, believe me. One lesson I've had to learn is that combining two lives is a gradual things. Eventually you'll figure out how to blend your stuff together. It's an organic process. (Believe me, I wish it wasn't. I'm pretty damn impatient, but some things just take time.) Maybe someday you'll get used to the pieces, or he'll decide he doesn't really need them anymore, but if you try to force it, it will just breed resentment. (been there, done that.) Also, new paint and hardware can do awesome things for old furniture.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:36 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sit down together and watch this clip from When Harry Met Sally about a wagon wheel table the boyfriend didn't want to throw out.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:45 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think part of this is that you're worried what your more stylish friends and family will think of the ugly furniture and how it reflects on you. You're known for having a nice home and you don't want to lose that.

Let me tell you something; no one really cares that much once the following conditions are met:

- clean, extremely comfortable couch or chairs with coffee table or whatever makes sense. good crash and socialize area. this is mostly what's going to make your place seem comfy to others. keep the ugly stuff, splurge on the best couch

- well stocked with snacks/wine/beer

- nice TV; I don't have one but I like going over to my friend's houses who have good big flat screens to watch a movie

- clean organized kitchen where you can find a glass without asking or looking too hard

Meet these other criteria and everyone will laugh and overlook the hideous furniture. Really.
posted by slow graffiti at 6:52 PM on September 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


decathecting: " Either way, I think you need to take another look at the situation. Because right now, when you talk about him, about his taste and his desires and yes, his feelings, you sound contemptuous and superior. And I'm sure that's not the way you feel, or else you wouldn't be in the relationship, but it's what's coming out in the way you talk about him."

Myself, I'm sure it *is* the way you feel, though you likely don't know it. But I'd bet he could tell us about it. I wonder what his AskMe would look like.

Are you really sure you want to live with somebody? I mean, not a dog or a cat, where you get to buy their treats and beds or whatever, but a person -- you're sure on this one?
posted by dancestoblue at 6:53 PM on September 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


If it makes it easier, I was your boyfriend in this scenario. My wife and I lived with the big orange plaid couch from my parents' 1970s living room set for ten years in two different apartments. Now we live in a house and it's gone. Let him bring the furniture in. I know this sounds paradoxical, but your willingness to accept it now makes it easier for him to let go of it later.

Not gonna lie, though, I still miss that couch.

Am I being unreasonable or superficial to ask that he give up some of this stuff?


Not at all. He needs to know what your desires are. But it would be unreasonable to insist. If I understand your post correctly, he's already thrown out a ton of his stuff. The compromise has already been made, and it's that he keeps just those two pieces.

Are we incompatible?

Nope. This is small stuff. Let me tell you what happens if the furniture stays; you get used to it and it just becomes part of your surroundings that you neither love nor object to. Let me tell you what happens if the furniture goes; a year from now he's more or less forgotten about it. The stakes here are not actually very high -- unless one or both of you makes a symbol out of this furniture. This may have already happened.
posted by escabeche at 6:54 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


though you likely don't know it consciously.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:55 PM on September 16, 2011


I just gave up my modern dining room table and replaced with my mother-in-law set, because my husband wanted it badly, and because his mother wanted to keep "it" in the family. Every day I stared and said to myself "ugly, ugly, ugly, but... is real wood". You will get used to the ugliness, and perhaps it will grow on you, just as I'm getting used: pleasing the people you love is worth a lot of ugliness. (I'm not quiet about either, but me calling the buffet and table ugly is becoming a family joke)
posted by francesca too at 6:55 PM on September 16, 2011


I don't even need to read your entire post to know the solution is for you to find a furniture re-finisher to update the pieces - maybe paint, upholstery, etc.

This will be so much cheaper and more enjoyable for both of you than putting the pieces in storage, which it a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY.


Enjoy your new life together and your new furniture!!
posted by jbenben at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am feeling like he's completely ignoring what I'd like, all for his "sentimentality".

I am feeling like you're completely ignoring what he'd like, all for your "aesthetic". He's willing to give up (or hide) nearly everything he owns to make you happy. All he's asking for are a couple of items that have a lot of meaning to him. Why is this not okay?
I know you said your post would stay objective, but honestly, it didn't - you've actually managed to paint yourself in a pretty unflattering light.
posted by spinturtle at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


I'm very much of the same aesthetic desires as you, and I still can't believe you won't just let him keep the two things. My husband could ask that we have a giant red plastic Playskool dining set, and if it really was important to him, I'd just say sure and tell any visitors who were rude or judgmental about it to fuck off.
posted by Nattie at 7:41 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


decathecting: He saw this post before I posted it, and I told him he could edit whatever he wanted, and he did. He likes my taste, likes the way I decorate, and no, he's not giving me the rest of the space to do whatever I want with. We are keeping old rugs of his that I don't particularly like, but since he wants them, it's okay with me. I don't mean to come off as contemptuous of his tastes or superior - honestly, I like a lot of his other stuff and am happy to accommodate his tastes with most of his things. There's plenty of other items he can have that I don't particularly like - you won't hear a peep from me over them. These two items are just... large and imposing and for some reason I've had a visceral reaction to them for a long time. Also, the wine rack has a slightly bad association for me, but if this were a smaller, less awful-looking item I really would have let it go. His couch is quite masculine and clunky, but he's keeping it with no objections from me because he thinks it's comfortable and likes laying on it to watch TV.

If it makes a difference, I was in a LT relationship before where my opinions meant nothing. He knows this, and I am trying not to let that baggage cloud my reasoning in this instance.

Thank you all for your responses. I do realize this is trivial, but it's becoming a life-lesson to me in a few ways.
posted by Everydayville at 7:49 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


A relationship is about being a team, and every decision you make should be made with this question in mind: "will this help us become more like the kind of team we want to be?"

(I'm a sentimental packrat whose furnishings all have stories and who finds buying new household stuff that isn't absolutely necessary, or at least filling a hole not occupied by something else, almost impossible. If I had a dog in this fight I'd be really annoyed by the "two hideous items of no value versus My Golden Vision" vibes in your question.)
posted by SMPA at 7:59 PM on September 16, 2011


I'm sorry, this is a sitcom problem, and I immediately thought of the wagon wheel coffee table issue from When Harry Met Sally. I understand you want control of your environment; I've lived alone for a long time, and i know how hard compromise can be. But take it from a single woman who's come home from yet another lackluster date--it's amazing that someone wants to "start a life" together with you, and just compromise and don't make waves over him wanting a few things to bring with him. Don't set yourself up as the arbiter of taste and clutter/not clutter in your home.
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's already willing to "critically downsize" his belongings for you. Let him bring whatever else he wants. If you feel the place is too cluttered, get rid of some of your own stuff.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:05 PM on September 16, 2011


For what it's worth, I don't have or want a "perfect" apartment. However, I think it's a little bit unfair to me to say that my desire to have a nicer/ newer/ cleaner place is vain or petty without knowing where it comes from. And I reiterate - there's a ton of his stuff coming with us that I don't like, but he can keep because I know he wants/ likes them. These two things are beyond what I can honestly handle seeing on a daily basis - and I'm even willing to compromise on keeping them if he would meet me halfway.
posted by Everydayville at 8:09 PM on September 16, 2011


ThePinkSuperhero: Everything I'm bringing fits into three boxes. That includes clothes and all the kitchen stuff.
posted by Everydayville at 8:11 PM on September 16, 2011


However, I think it's a little bit unfair to me to say that my desire to have a nicer/ newer/ cleaner place is vain or petty without knowing where it comes from

If it comes from some place specific, you're going to have to share it with us. In light of what you said about the wine rack ("the wine rack has a slightly bad association for me") and your language about the items generally ("beyond what I can honestly handle seeing on a daily basis"), I get the feeling you're leaving something out of the story here.

Otherwise, seriously, it's just stuff. Refinish the table and chairs and let him keep them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:12 PM on September 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


My childhood wasn't the happiest. My mom tried to keep a nice apartment when my abusive biological father left, but until she remarried when I was a teenager, we made do with big, clunky old pieces of furniture that she either found in thrift stores or that were given to us by people who probably didn't want them anymore. By the time she remarried, I was living with my grandparents who also had similar "antique" furniture that was dark and depressing. These two items of his remind me of one of the most unhappy periods in my life - a time when I spent as much time away from home as I could. I recently visited my mother, with whom I don't have the greatest relationship anyway - and she had so much clutter (odds and ends and knickknacks) I felt like I was going to suffocate.

The wine rack was something he got while he was in D.C. We had just started dating before he left, and when he was there, our relationship was pretty damn hard. There were things that happened during that time (and soon after he returned) that we both don't want to remember - for him, it's the only thing left of that time, to me it's a reminder of how hard it was when he wasn't around. This is something I can live with, though - but both items are a bit much for me.
posted by Everydayville at 8:32 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the pain from events in the past linger so strongly that furniture similar to furniture you saw during that era triggers it, you need to speak to a therapist about unpacking it. It is not fair to your partner to force him to tiptoe around your pain- that's what you making him discard those items is, it's a band-aid on the wound of what is really bothering you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:46 PM on September 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thank you for being so candid. Clearly, there's a lot of stuff attached to "stuff", and finding an order that's yours and not defined by the stuff matters to you.

I'll repeat my earlier comment, with less flippancy: you can't stage your life. But you can look for an kind of order that's yours plural. If he's attached to a piece, but not precious about its current state, mess with it together. Make it collectively yours. Own it. Don't let it own you.
posted by holgate at 8:46 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe his furniture is the price of admission.
posted by southern_sky at 8:48 PM on September 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


My mom tried to keep a nice apartment when my abusive biological father left, but until she remarried when I was a teenager, we made do with big, clunky old pieces of furniture that she either found in thrift stores or that were given to us by people who probably didn't want them anymore. By the time she remarried, I was living with my grandparents who also had similar "antique" furniture that was dark and depressing. These two items of his remind me of one of the most unhappy periods in my life - a time when I spent as much time away from home as I could. I recently visited my mother, with whom I don't have the greatest relationship anyway - and she had so much clutter (odds and ends and knickknacks) I felt like I was going to suffocate.

I'm sorry. That must have been incredibly hard. I also came from a poor family who had a lot of thrifted furniture, but this meant something else to me--perhaps because my mother took pride in her ability to find quality pieces at a low price, or whatever. Today, my house is filled with thrifted stuff and hand-me-downs because I love the way they look (as per the apartment therapy link upthread, they're stylish) and because they last longer than cheaper furniture. All that being said, I do understand the feeling of being "wanting," of not having what other families have.

I think you might want to see a therapist about these issues, because I'm not sure that it's fair to project them onto your significant other like this. He's likely grateful to have these pieces from his past because they remind him of family and good times, because they give his life a feeling of continuity and stability. It sounds like his tastes might be different from yours, too, with his predilection for funky knick-knacks. And I'm really not sure that your own desire to completely start fresh every time you move is necessarily healthy, or practical, in other ways (financially, for instance). It sounds like you might be trying to avoid being like your mother, but you're not her. And like you're trying to escape the bad feelings you felt when he was in DC. It sounds . . . a little bit like you're running away from your past. So talking to someone might help, because it sounds like there might be something unresolved there.

A reasonable compromise with these pieces might be for you and your boyfriend to work together to repurpose, paint, refinish, or alter them. A weekend together sanding down that wine rack and painting it your favorite color isn't just changing the thing, but also creating new memories with him about it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:49 PM on September 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


everdayville..I have a feeling I (unfortunately) have the same dining room set. I moved in with my s.o. over a decade ago. This horrible dining room set with "captains chairs" were (are) very important to him also for "sentimental" reasons. The set belonged to his parents, and they actually NAMED it in their will to be left to him! I have hated the set continually since 1999 when I moved in here...he has always loved it because his Dad sat at it playing solitare and his Mom chose the whole set. On top of all that, he really didn't get much property from his parents (his siblings did much better!) so the set has even more "significance" to him. It became clear early on that though he was reasonable about all other things the dining set was (is) not all that negotiable. I had to try to find ways to deal with it (I bought a beautiful Battenburg tablecloth..but there was never any way to hide the chairs). I had to admit that the seats were really comfortable. I lived with it, year after year and we had lots of good times at the table, but I never have liked it. Recently he "allowed" me to drag it into the kitchen and to "store" the chairs in an extra bedroom. This is progress! (haha)..! He is 67 and I am 60. He is a really great man and he is super wonderful to me. I am a lot like you that my house and how it looks it a top priority...but what I have to say is that looking back I am glad I allowed his awful furniture to dominate our space. He was staunch about how much he loves it.....because, well, he loves it. We did go round and round about all this for a year or so, because I have a perfectly beautiful dining set that looked much better than his! He may "come around" someday (though, I am still waiting, so I wouldn't really count on it). Enjoy your life together--He sounds like a sweet man....like mine.
posted by naplesyellow at 8:53 PM on September 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think what I just realized in dealing with this is that I do have demons from my past that need to be laid to rest. It's been pent-up inside me (I've never told my boyfriend that his furniture reminds me of when my family was poor), and even though we probably will never be rich, we're not church mice here, either. If anything, I want us to have things that we build our own happy memories around.
posted by Everydayville at 8:57 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


If anything, I want us to have things that we build our own happy memories around.

That's a much better way to frame it for him, imo. Tell him this, and tell him the backstory too, if you are able. Wanting a positive future is something he can buy into. Right now, I'll bet, he doesn't understand why this is so important to you. Give him a chance.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


naplesyellow: that's exactly what they are. Captains' chairs! Black plastic upholstery, and not in the least bit compact for a small apartment. Thank you for your response - I am trying really hard not to hate it, but good lord it is hard.
posted by Everydayville at 9:04 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's a much better way to frame it for him, imo. Tell him this, and tell him the backstory too, if you are able. Wanting a positive future is something he can buy into. Right now, I'll bet, he doesn't understand why this is so important to you. Give him a chance.

Well, but the thing is, he might still not want to. And I think it should be okay here. This is OP's issue, not her boyfriend's, and having a few pieces of furniture that remind him of his past shouldn't stop you from building a future with him yourself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: I do see where you're coming from, but I'd also like to say there are other things he's bringing that are as much a reminder of his past, that aren't as unbearably depressing as these are.
posted by Everydayville at 9:23 PM on September 16, 2011


Or, he could ask his mom for something else from his childhood that he likes that's pleasant to both of us - I'm sure she would oblige.
posted by Everydayville at 9:25 PM on September 16, 2011


I want us to have things that we build our own happy memories around.

Yeah - you want to build your own life together as well, one that is your own, and not necessarily a carry on from your respective earlier years.

I think if you talk to him about it in that way and explain why you have such a reaction to these two items, you will get somewhere - both of you.

You're in a relationship together - you're going to have to talk to him about the things that matter to you and as truthfully and honestly and openly as you can.
posted by mleigh at 9:31 PM on September 16, 2011


I was totally unsympathetic until I read your background information.

If you want this furniture to stay out of your home, you HAVE to stop framing it as "You have a stupid attachment to ugly things while I am a being of pure reason and sense." You both have emotional ties to this furniture; his are positive, yours are negative. That's a place from which you can negotiate and compromise, or at least have an honest discussion about the furniture and what it means to both of you. Just be clear and open about the fact that your reasons are as emotional and transrational as his are.
posted by KathrynT at 9:35 PM on September 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


He didn't necessarily choose in such a logical way what he's sentimental about, any more than you chose what you have a visceral reaction to. My husband has the same (unbearably loud and frustrating to program) alarm clock that he's had since he was six; he remembers the light comforting him at night when he was a kid. Long term relationships are all about sometimes-difficult compromises, and I think you'll get a lot farther if you open yourself to at least considering the worst case scenario of him keeping the furniture, because it means a lot to him in a way that's not necessarily logical, too.

And again, a lot of people here have suggested to you ways that the furniture can be changed or repurposed or updated (seat covers can be reupholstered!). You seem to be approaching this disagreement--with your boy, with people in this thread--from the assumption that you absolutely have to get rid of it. At least engaging in some thought experiments that operate from other assumptions might get you closer to an agreement that's amenable to both of you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:37 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


He isn't willing to repurpose/ refurbish/ reupholster anything.
posted by Everydayville at 9:40 PM on September 16, 2011


You should tell him about the bad associations you have with the old table and chairs, especially.

Your feelings make sense to me. I think some commenters in this thread are being over-harsh on you. Moving is hard; moving in with your boyfriend is also a big deal. I think part of it might want to be that you want things to be sort of neat and well-defined right away, following what is going to be a pretty big life-change. Having new furniture, or at least furniture that you feel good about, in a space you feel good about, can be really important, because it sort of smooths the transition, and it kind of helps you define yourself in this new phase of life. And it can also be symbolic of you and the boyfriend moving forward together toward the future. And, lots of people are assuming that sentimental attachment trumps your aesthetic comfort. I don't think that's necessarily true. Yes, you should respect your BF's sentimental attachment to things...that's going to come with the territory...but your feelings of comfort and control of your own environment are also important.

I don't have really bad associations with old furniture, but I did just move to a new city where I don't know anyone much, and into a house of our own for the first time; so most of our furniture is a hodgepodge of random stuff from graduate school, plus old stuff my parents brought us left over from their years of housekeeping. And I can tell you, I actually felt A LOT better about all the changes when I went out and got a new (well, to us) couch, just because it was something of my own, that I liked and got for myself.

At the risk of offensively generalizing, in my experience men tend to cling on to old things to the point of over-sentimentalizing them, sometimes because those things have real emotional significance and sometimes because they just don't want to change. You probably can tell better than I how important the furniture really is to him.

However, I think you're going to be able to make your argument more clearly once you have the furniture in an actual apartment, in part because you'll have a clearer idea of what a good alternative to the old table and chairs and/or wine-rack thingy would be...then you can hopefully come to an agreement that there's something better for both of you out there.

At the risk of getting overly nosy, could this also be about not getting married but just moving in together?
posted by daisystomper at 9:42 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I came in here to apologize. There are times I need to take a walk or a swim or whatever, rather than hitting that enter key. It was a cruel thing to say, a smartass way to answer -- ha ha. I feel so good now.

I do think that there is a discounting of his feelings. Why didn't I say that, rather than what I did?

A therapist told me, years ago, that if I were to live with someone it would have to be in a place set up like a duplex, they get to keep their side, I get to keep mine. And I love that idea, truth be told. It'd be great to have a door connecting them, with a lock on both sides. I love it!

But that interesting idea, it's never come to fruition. Why? Because I don't have the courage that you are exhibiting by moving in with your lover. I've lived alone, mostly, for decades. And I don't see that changing, nor do I want it to, not any longer -- I've gotten creamed by love about seventeen times too many, thank you very much; it's better they have their place, I have my place. That way, when things go south, it's not as painful as it would otherwise be; I wave them goodbye, head on home, check MetaFilter.

There is nothing emptier than a home you've shared with a woman, and now she's gone.

Nothing.

I'd like to hope that if you can find love with him that you be willing to sleep on that table. I'd like to hope that if he can find love with you he'd kick the thing apart, stomp it to splinters, burn it.

I wish you love.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:43 PM on September 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


daisystomper: it's not about marriage. I want nothing else, and I can't imagine life without him. Does he infuriate me with his stubbornness? Yes. But I accept him for what he is.

dancestoblue: no need to apologize. All day today I had to try to figure out if it was me that didn't want to live with anyone, as opposed to just about stuff. Well, it's not just about stuff, but I have a feeling that ten years down the line I'd wish fervently I'd just given in to the stuff and not left the man I love over it.
posted by Everydayville at 9:50 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't your shared living space be a combination of both of your personalities? Can you accept the story your boyfriend has about the furniture and have it be a special thing? If your friends/family seem critical about some of your decor, what if you said, "Yes, this dining room set is (BF)'s - he loved the meals his family had around it," or something similar? Yes, perfect furniture and decorations are great, but what about decor that reflects both of your personalities. To me (if i were your BF) that would go a long way toward your "lifetime commitment". This almost seems like a token issue - after you're both more settled with your lives together you'll probably each be more likely to compromise.
posted by bendy at 11:16 PM on September 16, 2011


Also, if you were my friend IRL, I would see a simple sacrifice like putting up with his ugly furniture as a sweet gesture that meant you guys were good together.

And, (just one more thing), this may be kind of an "adjustment" issue, sort of a reaction to the big big step that is moving in together. You're trying to figure out where to make your stand and worried about losing your independence. Really, you don't have to make every decision today: maybe you move in together today and he brings his table though it doesn't quite work in your kitchen. Maybe six months or a year down the road he says, "this table doesn't really work in our space, let's get rid of it and find something different." Just because you say yes to the table now doesn't mean you have it for the rest of your life.
posted by bendy at 11:27 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


As someone who is newly engaged, I have to say that many of the answers in this thread were very touching to me. There's a lot of great advice in here about being flexible, being generous, being open, and taking the long view. AskMeFi, you have given me the shmoopy.
posted by lillygog at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everydayville--haha "captain's chairs"!---they remind me so much of "the most interesting man in the world" ads. The top comes off of that giant round horrible table, so you can then wrestle it into another room. I know...I've done it! lol :) Accept the table with the provision that you can put your nice IKEA type set out for "occasions" --! Lots of work....but worth it!
posted by naplesyellow at 2:05 PM on September 17, 2011


1. I have been there and you have all my sympathy. Clutter to me = poverty, depression, inability to cope and be productive... And that's in addition to the aesthetic problem. Ugh.

2. Does he understand how this stuff, which would make him anxious to get rid of, makes you anxious to love with? Your anxieties are not less important than his.

3. Would you consider a compromise where you graciously put them in the new place, with the understanding that if they are still triggering to you in a year, he will graciously get rid of them?
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:29 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If ever a situation called for hiring an interior designer, I think this would be it. My suggestion is to do what someone suggested above, which is look for your new place with these pieces in mind, and to sock some money away to hire an interior designer once you move in who can design the room or rooms in such a way that the pieces are not so big and imposing that they overwhelm the room. The designer may even be able to suggest compromises that neither of you has thought of.

(I'm especially thinking of the designers that are a part of the Use What You Have Decorating network-thing, as they're used to, well, working with what you have. I've never used anyone like that, but have read a couple of books from authors who are a part of it.)
posted by telophase at 6:07 PM on September 17, 2011


we made do with big, clunky old pieces of furniture that she either found in thrift stores or that were given to us by people who probably didn't want them anymore. By the time she remarried, I was living with my grandparents who also had similar "antique" furniture that was dark and depressing.

Another perspective: my parents were not rich, by a long shot. They weren't college educated, worked hard, and were good people, but when I was growing up we had a lot of older, mismatched furniture. When I was first married, I did too. And we still have some dark, antique stuff that was his uncle's or my parents' in the kids' rooms.

I know you love the idea of starting with a clean slate, but part of building memories together includes saving up for those big, "nice" things and getting excited about those purchases to beautify your home, to build "us" space. And hat takes time. Pretty much no one has a perfectly furnished place when they start out unless they went into debt to get it, and that's not the way you want to start out your life together. Instead of those old pieces reminding you of a time when you were poor, you should look at them as insurance against that happening--you have a table! And chairs! And a wine rack to store stuff in, to tide you over until you can get nicer stuff.

Also, you did come across as feeling superior to your boyfriend. Now that I see you have these issues, you sound much more sympathetic. You really should talk to your boyfriend about these feelings.

Don't make him put his stuff into storage; that's not just ignoring his feelings, it's wasteful. If the two of you together decide that you are going to get rid of one of those pieces, suggest he give it to a relative or a friend in need. Then he will have the knowledge that someone else he cares about is enjoying that furniture, rather than it languishing, untouched, in some storage unit.
posted by misha at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2011


"Personally, I will bring nothing extraneous, as I'm the opposite of a pack rat and refuse to have anything that will disturb the overall feng shui of the apartment."

Feng Shui is a bit 90s, is it not?
Although I do get the impression that you are something of a minimalist, perhaps because of the past issues you mention. I'm also a pack-rat, and perhaps I could, like you, point to things in my past that influenced this, so I know where you're coming from. My boyfriend probably has similar concerns about us moving in together. I wasn't allowed a say in how much stuff I had or how my environment looked as a kid (my possessions would be deliberately broken or thrown out without asking me, even if ones belonging to other siblings who had left home remained safely stored) I lived somewhere which didn't have places to find things that suited my tastes, and then I left home and the freedom that sent some students into drinking too much manifested itself as collecting and spending money for me. I also have been renting rooms for too long and long to have My Own Place, and it's been hard not to give in to the old habit: see things and think 'oh, that will be perfect for mythical future dining table, I'll get one and store it under the bed'. So I understand how it's easy for past feelings and behaviours to influence where you are now.

"but this is a guy who just doesn't seem to take the same pride in his surroundings as I do, as evidenced by the fact that not one single piece of furniture in his apartment matches another, and who in the seven years I’ve known him has never purchased any furniture that’s not from Craigslist or the sidewalk, even when he could afford to."

Perhaps this stuff is just not important to him? Perhaps he prefers to re-use old pieces than buy new (they're often better made as well as environmental issues), or perhaps he likes the shabby chic/mismatched aesthetic - I personally prefer things not to match exactly but to have a colour family or similar in common.

I kind of know how you feel - I rent, and I really wish I didn't have an apricot-coloured carpet and hideous 1980s blah-pattened curtains.

But I think this is the smallest aspect in terms of how much where I live is also right for me just now. Perhaps you need to think of this furniture as the same. You get to live with your partner, you get a nice place to make your own, and it just comes with a couple of items that ideally you'd change for something else.
posted by mippy at 4:29 AM on September 18, 2011


Two words: Man cave

This is exactly what they are for; a place where guys store the stuff their women hate. Where he can have his own little space, and you don't have to look at it. Give him a little area to put the things, maybe a separate bedroom, or a corner that is partitioned off by dividers. If you can't do that, ask him to put them in storage and promise that when you can afford a house together you will find a place to put his things.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2011


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