Is it normal for a 37 year old man to live in filth? What to do about it?
June 6, 2006 5:44 PM   Subscribe

[NormalcyFilter] Is it normal for a 37 year old man to be a slob? And what can I do about it?

I've been living apart from my boyfriend of 4 years (3 years living together) for the past 9 months. I was abroad doing a master's program. I returned to "our" apartment to find a fridge full of moldy, rotten food (most of which was purchased when I was here at Christmas), toilets with nearly permanent stains, and tons of messes. Every drawer in the kitchen, office and bathrooms is now a "junk drawer." I did not leave the house like this. When I first moved in with him 3 years ago, I did a similar big clean. I though that by keeping our house similarly clean since then would have taught him, but I guess not.

I spent a number of hours scrubbing out all kitchen applicances, bathrooms, etc. I don't have abnormal standards, I just want things to be clean and hygenic. I only clean a few times a month and not obsessively.

What I want to know is: 1) is this normal behavior for a 37-year-old man? I'd assume by this point he'd know enough to give his fridge and bathrooms a good clean, especially before girlfriend arrives home. Or maybe are other people in similar circumstances? 2) do I have any right to get mad about this? I've been passively angry all day and have told him off about it. 3) what can I do to change this behavior? I'm leaving for another few months soon and I don't want to repeat this again! Or, instead of changing his behavior, should I hire a cleaning person so I'll stop getting mad at him?
posted by k8t to Human Relations (40 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about 37-year-old, but in my personal experience, and from how I see my male friends live, home hygiene goes along with all other personal grooming: it's good when you're single, and it tails off when you're in a relationship.

The mouldy flat is just like moulty feathers, I fear. I'd hire a cleaning person. Why not?
posted by bonaldi at 5:49 PM on June 6, 2006

Yes, get a cleaning person. Some people are just not as clean as other people - it is just not a priority or concern for them - and the person that likes things cleaner always suffers. I've been in both situations - had both male and female roommates and/or boyfriends that were either way messier or way cleaner than me. Get the cleaning person and save yourself from feeling the anger. It's a good compromise between having a clean place and accepting your boyfriend as he is.
posted by gt2 at 5:50 PM on June 6, 2006

I'm 36. If my wife didn't care, or if I was alone, I'd probably live similar to your boyfriend. Messes don't bother me at all.

I'd guess that he'll be as messy as you let him. If he knows you're going to come home and clean it up, he'll let the place go to hell. If he knows a clean house is important to you, he may not keep it spotless, but he will most likely try harder.
posted by Jesco at 5:51 PM on June 6, 2006

Response by poster: And any recommendations for a cleaner in Santa Barbara, California? :)
posted by k8t at 5:52 PM on June 6, 2006

Best answer: 29P 760- 830-6313

1) Normal for a bachelor who had a mom who took care of all that stuff for him, yes.

2) Whoa yeah. Switch from passive to active. Dirt bad. Mold very bad. But don’t get pissed (see #3).

3) What you’re going to have to do is ask him to integrate that stuff into his life.
I had a real problem with this myself.
I was/am a slob. Even in the military. But my weapon was always spotless, so I got by.
In the same way, it sounds like your guy is a bit like me. Probably hooked on leisure, disordered, but analytically minded. I tend to leave stuff where I need it, not where it’s “put away.” Although again, I tend to be clean, but not neat.
So it sounds like your guy needs a list and a routine of stuff to do to hold back the mess.
I’d make a list - some things to do once a day, once a week, once a month, etc. and - most importantly - set a date.
If, for example, I knew I had to clean the toilet bowl once a month, I’d put it off indefinately.
As opposed to having to clean the bowl when I come home from work on the 15th.

That sort of thing.

It wouldn’t do to get mad at him, he just wasn’t housebroken.
Been through it myself with my wife.
He just doesn’t think of chores that way.
Also - link it to another routine. Whether it’s going to the gym, eating, coming home from or going to work - whatever.
If a routine doesn’t exist, that’s kinda a tough one. But - instill one.

I myself never understood there is a problem with stains in the toilet bowl (never really understood how it is we piss into clean potable water either). But I do get that my wife wants me to scour and brush the bowl the last weekend of every month. So - simple.

Beyond that lay other issues. He’s either happier with you or with the ultra-relaxed lifestyle he has going there.

But my guess is he just doesn’t ‘see’ the filth.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:25 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The bachelor mindset:

Moldy food never hurt anyone by just being there, especially if it has a cover on it. In the fridge is a good thing. It keeps it from smelling too bad. He knows which ones not to eat. (All of them.)

You don't touch the dirty part of the toilet, so who cares? It's a toilet, you crap in it. It's always dirty.

And finally, putting stuff in drawers is clean. You can't see it when the drawer is closed. Dirty is piling it on the floor, where it can be seen.
posted by smackfu at 6:25 PM on June 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

/ignore that first bit. Hazards of cut and paste. Argh! I even hit preview, dumbass.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:27 PM on June 6, 2006

I though that by keeping our house similarly clean since then would have taught him, but I guess not.

This is the saddest fact of human existence, really.
Men go into a relationship expecting her to never change, but she does.
Women go into a relationship expecting to change him, but they never can.
posted by nightchrome at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2006

As of September of last year, I was a 26-year-old bachelor, with many bachelor friends of the same age.

With that as the extent of my experience, I feel compelled to say holy shit your boyfriend has some sort of a mental disorder. Not only has he been living in this filth, but he's so unbelievably inconsiderate as to not clean at all before you arrived? (Or, worse still, maybe he did clean?)

I once spent six months living in the woods. At no point did anything get as disgusting as you describe.

I'm baffled by the replies thus far. No, this is not normal. I speculate that there is something actually wrong with him. Humans have instincts that give us a base level of sanitation. Clearly your boyfriend is suppressing this instinct. Yes, be angry. Yell at him. If he's not nuts, he'd best have a damned good explanation.
posted by waldo at 6:44 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I dunno, that sounds pretty outrageous to me. Even if you aren't in a direct mutual live-in relationship - where he should at least meet you halfway on cleaning standards and practices - I'd find it personally embarrassing to live in such filth.
posted by prostyle at 6:49 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I think you could probably get calibrated to what's abnormal by checking out Squalor Survivors. Depending on what you conclude, you may want to tune your boyfriend into the "overcoming squalor" section, as well as the forums.

From the site:

At fourth degree squalor, you have all of the above, plus you have human faeces and/or urine in your house that is not in the toilet.

posted by IvyMike at 7:04 PM on June 6, 2006

Response by poster: Probably hooked on leisure, disordered, but analytically minded.


Great responses.

He's maybe 2nd degree squalor. But he has no desire to stop people from seeing his home. This is sad to me. Our poor pet sitter had to use THAT toilet. :( I can't believe that I may have to face her in public now.
posted by k8t at 7:08 PM on June 6, 2006

I thought that by keeping our house similarly clean since then would have taught him, but I guess not ... I'd assume by this point he'd know enough ... I've been passively angry all day ... what can I do to change this behavior?

Your boyfriend is a slob. You should get a cleaning person. You should also examine all these loaded phrases in your question and ask yourself how much of the "he'll change if only I can show him the light" thinking you want to entertain before you have bigger issues on your hands.

Just saying. ;-)
posted by frogan at 7:12 PM on June 6, 2006

Best answer: Well my SO goes through this with me....quite often, what works for us is a list.

She leaves a list on the computer keyboard, I do what list says, house is clean and liveable.

Now don't take it that I don't enjoy a clean house, I do but I don't get bothered by a disorganized and needs-some-cleaning living space.

She used to worry about nagging me, but really, it's how I happen to function. If I have a list of things that are important for her that she needs me to get done, they get done. Clean the fridge, to the laundry, vacuum, clean the kitch/bathroom/etc.

I had to make it very clear that I did not view it as being naggy, I just don't operate the way she does and I don't mind a disorderly house.

My take is there's nothing wrong with him, try the list thing, the last thing he wants is for you to be angry with him he could just be one of those folks who don't look at the world like that.

The leaving again, I'd have to second the cleaning person but make a list for him to get done so the cleaning person has a shot at keeping up with it. Lists work, if approached the right way.

And yes, I was raised by wolves in a barn.
posted by iamabot at 7:23 PM on June 6, 2006

I'm pretty guilty of this and I'm 38. It's just not something I normally think about until. Eventually either I notice it, get fed up and go on a cleaning binge or if I'm expecting company I clean. My fridge usually doesn't have moldy food in it though, but sometimes I do forget (did you know that lettuce and tomato will both eventually turn liquid?) that I even bought something.
posted by substrate at 7:23 PM on June 6, 2006

I think your boyfriend, if he's not willing to keep up his end of the bargain of maintaining your household, should be the one to bear the brunt of the cost of any household help you bring in to clean. If I'd come back to a house like that I'd have revolted.
posted by cajo at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2006

Man, have any of you lived with college students? More often than not I see things deteriorate (with men and women) to the conditions you describe.

I would say it is normal, especially if you're the only one that's been doing the cleaning. If you've never involved him in the cleaning, then there's no way he's going to suddenly start doing it himself when you leave. The ability to clean does not actually come naturally. The knowledge of which cleansers to use, which sponges and cleaning materials, the best way to attack a problem, how to organize, these are not inborn talents and believe me, I was pretty shocked to learn this when I came to college. I had to teach some of my friends how to properly clean, properly do the dishes, how to remove stains from their clothing, etc etc. If they never had anyone to do it, it's likely they could be that 37-year-old slob who just doesn't clean.

And people do have different levels of tolerance of cleanliness. My mom was fairly nuts about a clean house, so I have a pretty low tolerance for moldy shit filling up the fridge. I have a few friends whose moms were not that way at all, so clutter and mold and dirt don't bother them a bit.
posted by schroedinger at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2006

1) is this normal behavior for a 37-year-old man?

The mess? Sure. He's just a slob. Lots of people of both genders and all ages are slobs.

Not cleaning up for when you get back? He should know better.

2) do I have any right to get mad about this?

That it was messy while you were gone? No. None of your business. That it was a disaster when you got back? Sure.

3) what can I do to change this behavior?

Tell him he must clean. Compromise as to degree and frequency.

You seem to have a mildly unpleasant attitude about it. It is not something to see the light about. Being a slob is not something that is some great failing in him. A clean house is merely something that you like. And he should clean house with you because it is something that you like; it does not need to be anything more than that. Making it more than that is inviting in other issues and larger problems.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:02 PM on June 6, 2006

Once I went on a trip for two weeks, and came back to find a sheet of moldy french fries in the oven, that my boyfriend had cooked and then forgotten. Not to mention all the spoiled food in the fridge. And I was only gone two weeks!

I think with this type of person, they don't even notice. Like I'll ask my boyfriend to help clean the bathroom, and he'll be surprised that I think it needs cleaning, because it looks fine to him.
posted by clarissajoy at 8:14 PM on June 6, 2006

Response by poster: An update: As Waldo suggested, he did pick up before I came he says. He even told me to ask a mutual friend about how he couldn't go out last weekend. Ergh.
posted by k8t at 8:31 PM on June 6, 2006

Just as a data point: I'm a 28 year old female, and I'm a slob. I don't really want to give examples, but there are things in this apartment I don't like to think about.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:02 PM on June 6, 2006

Differentiate between issues of what's dirty and what's not how you like it. Moldy food in the fridge is universally no good, but "every drawer is a junk drawer" is your preference.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:16 PM on June 6, 2006

He sounds like a normal slob. The relationship I have with my bf is sort of similar to what iamabot described. I am stressed out and tired when I return home from trips. I like thing sto be at least passably clean. My boyfriend is not a mind reader and doesn't have a great memory for what "clean like *I* like it" means. Might be nice if he did but he doesn't and I love him anyhow.

So, before I leave we sit down and make a little list of what getting the house tidy before I come back means. Usually it's pretty basic stuff like "please don't have the bed covered in books and the table covered in week-old coffee mugs" but it can also be stuff like "please don't park in my parking space, please have milk in the fridge, please get the mail at least twice" It's a simple set of things, he's happy for not having to think about it (it's my responsibility to let him know what I feel like I want done, if it's not on the list, I have to suck it up) and then I am responsible for dealing with all my other re-entry agitation.

Since he didn't know what the plan was (I assume) it's not cool to get angry at him, though you can certainly explain that you are frustrated and annoyed, but you'll have to sort of own that yourself. Next time, plan better, and if I were you I'd have him go the cleaning service route, and maybe try to get him to stay out of the drawers if them being all messed up gets under your skin.
posted by jessamyn at 10:20 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hire a cleaning person for ONE DAY. I'm a slob like this, but once the place is actually clean I take a certain pride in having a clean, put away place. It's when the place is so messy it feels like a huge job that I let it slide like that.
posted by shanevsevil at 10:23 PM on June 6, 2006

I'd like to think I'll be better at 38, but... eh. Especially with you abroad for 9 months. Like it was previously said, he was in bachelor mode. Chances of him cleaning up before you got back, possibly 50/50. Probably didn't occur due to procrastination or being overwhelmed at the realization of the EXTENT of the mess that existed once the fog cleared and he really looked at it.

Of course, you would never have seen its original state if he'd cleaned it all before you arrived, and a major motivator for all labor a guy ever does is so he can point at the results and go, "look what I did."

I'm speaking for a solid majority of men I've ever personally interacted with to varying degrees here. If some guys are different... good for you. That's something to be proud of.
posted by empyrean at 12:37 AM on June 7, 2006

Friends of mine facing the same problem struck a deal -- in exchange for her being the one who notices that something is dirty, he'll be the one to clean it. Like above, he won't view it as nagging. He is grateful that she'll be the one who notices, and grateful that she won't get mad that he didn't notice it before her, and grateful that she'll take the trouble to say, "can you please clean the toilet sometime today?" And in exchange for her doing that, he'll do all the actual cleaning of things.

Sounds crazy to me, but hey, she says it works great for them.
posted by ruff at 1:04 AM on June 7, 2006

I'd say you can get mad at him for the moldy food in teh fridge. For somebody who "cleaned up before you got home", moldy food is a no-brainer. That's just silly. It's the equivalent of having big muddy footprints all over the house.

I'd ignore Waldo, as well.

But don't get mad at him for being sloppy. Some people are just slobs, and cleaning up really DOES just mean "throw it into a drawer". If *I* know where it is, that means it's fine. My girlfriend and I have issues with cleanliness - I'm very much a slob, I prefer to have my stuff where I *know* it is, not tucked away in some drawer somewhere that I'm guaranteed to forget about. And if my girlfriend bitches me out for not cleaning things to her specifications, it just makes ME angry and resentful. She never handed me a manual when I moved in with titled "How to clean the apartment to keep the girlfriend happy", so when I clean and it's "Not good enough", and she gets angry at me, it's kind of a piss off. You have to understand that your man is not a mind reader, and if you want things cleaned a specific way you have to TELL HIM THAT. Show him how you like it cleaned, and tell him that you appreciate the effort he put in, but that *this* is the way that the house should be cleaned (if he's cleaning it for you, at any rate).

Don't expect him to clean it that way until you get back though, if you're going to be gone for 9 months. I know I'd be doing it on the last day :)
posted by antifuse at 1:44 AM on June 7, 2006

You may have a problem. In my experience many men simply don't care as much about cleanliness, so some normal sloppiness is to be expected. However, what you describe sounds to me like "call the health dept. and have it condemned" dirty. Or were you exaggerating? If you weren't, that level of being unclean is a bit over the top. Here's a question, has his personal hygiene also suffered? Did you come home and find him unshaved, unshowered, wearing dirty clothes? Could he possibly be depressed? People who are depressed often let their environment and/or personal hygiene degrade. If it really is just run of the mill sloppiness, then by all means hire a cleaning person if you can afford it. However, that doesn't mean your SO can't learn to practice general tidyness like putting his laundry in the hamper and cleaning up after he prepares his own food.
posted by katyggls at 4:43 AM on June 7, 2006

Waldo is abnormal, and looses any geek cred he may ever have held.

Your bf is normal. Where else would you keep moldy food? In the bedroom closet? Out of sight, out of mind, you know?

Cleanning ladies are modern-day saints. Mine is here today. She is eating her lunch just now, before she leaves. The secret is, she motivates me to keep things better than I otherwise would. And she does stuff I would neglect horribly (the woman does floors! Yes, those things we walk on, she cleans! It's amazing!) Every week I scury around picking stuff up so it goes where I want, and isn't in her way. Presto!

Seriously, your standards are not his standards. And it has nothing to do with how clean is mother was. Mine was a total freak who would rant on-and-on if there was so much as a few grains of sand on the kitchen floor.

The list thing sounds cool, and I dare say, I'd do more if someone was supervising my housework. But that doesn't beat a cleaning person coming by once a week (mine knows how to iron shirts! I'm actually phobic of irons, for real).
posted by Goofyy at 5:28 AM on June 7, 2006

katyggls - if an unscrubbed toilet and moldy 6 month food in the fridge is signs of depression, then I and every single guy I've ever known had serious depression issues. Don't get me wrong, it's gross, but single guys are gross, much of the time. If there were 6 month old moldy piles of food on the counter, or under couch cushions, then I think we might have more to worry about.
posted by antifuse at 5:42 AM on June 7, 2006

Maybe you could try setting up a system like the one in this video?

No, seriously...
I spent a number of hours scrubbing out all kitchen applicances, bathrooms, etc.

Bad mistake. You should have made him clean it up. If he can't be bothered because he's too lazy, you should tell him to hire a cleaning person, with his own money, to do his part of the cleaning he is supposed to do when you're both there, and the 100% he's supposed to do when you're not there.

You're his girlfriend, not his toilet scrubber. Get some respect, woman!

All this "yeah it's normal, single men are slobs, you're a cleaning prude" talk is just a lot of sorry excuses. He's not single, he doesn't live alone, you're not supposed to clean after him, he's not 12 and you're not his mother! Where's the manly pride gone, guys? takes second place to convenience, eh?

Oh, and, each to their own, but there's really no need to be cleaning nazis to avoid having months-old mould in the fridge. You know, extremes, and reasonable middle grounds? I myself tend to be very wicked and lazy, and I like to have my own erm 'creative disorder', and I hate cleaning, I really do, but I hate mould, rot, grease, dust, cobwebs and roaches much more. My partner is the fussier one, but we have a small place and little furniture, so it's not such a big deal to notice what needs cleaning and just do it quickly.

If it's a bigger place you have, then he kind of is almost excused a little more. Not the mouldy rotten food though. Past the student age and/or the days of living in drug-induced squalor, that's just unforgivable.
posted by funambulist at 6:56 AM on June 7, 2006

if an unscrubbed toilet and moldy 6 month food in the fridge is signs of depression, then I and every single guy I've ever known had serious depression issues

Yeah, I agree, seeing it as a sign of mental problems is definitely over the top.

There are much more important things in life than cleaning and there are much more important and lovable character traits than the propensity to keep a house clean. Laziness is forgivable. Provided a lot of other conditions are there.

But, a little more effort, a little middle ground, come on, that's not so hard... especially since the boyfriend is actually sharing a place with the girlfriend here, not living apart. He can't expect her to do all the work, even when she comes back after months. It's just not cool.
posted by funambulist at 7:03 AM on June 7, 2006

Waldo is abnormal, and looses any geek cred he may ever have held.

Sixth month old food in the fridge?


Nothing normal about that. Real geeks are awesome chefs.
posted by waldo at 7:03 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I though that by keeping our house similarly clean since then would have taught him, but I guess not.

My mother thought that about me and my father, too. Result: neither one of us are very good at it, due to lack of training and practice. As I've gotten older, my standards have improved, but I have a massive tolerance for clutter (I prefer to have things at hand) and can turn a blind eye to a certain amount of grossness.

I have learned how to actually clean, which didn't happen until I was about 30, but have never been able to make it a habit. I can, however, look around and roll up my sleeves and dig in when the mood strikes; my husband has a list (mostly of his own making, though it started out as things he agreed to handle), and cannot really see beyond the list. Like, I have to tell him that the grass needs to be cut. He's starting to catch on and can sometimes identify too-long grass himself now, but it's been a couple of years coming.

I sympathize with your boyfriend, because I have been the one who "really did clean! I stayed home all weekend!" and being embarrassed and frustrated and only marginally aware of how little I'd really done in real actual sweaty exhausted hours of work. I remember having a conversation with someone else about the epiphany that cleaning the bathroom actually took 10 minutes, not several hours, if you did it twice a month instead of twice a year. I am apparently not the first person to have that flash of inspiration.

If he wants to participate, then help him learn how and expect it to take a lot of time. You can get a housekeeper, but I didn't think they would clean out your refrigerator or your junk drawers; you have to do a certain amount of pre-cleaning so they can clean. I think it's only fair that he help with that, but I know that there are people who wouldn't be interested in doing that and would rather make you do it, since you will if he won't. You can't make him.

It's sort of eyeball-exploding and too-twee, but for analytical minds who can ignore the purple fluff for the 6-8 weeks it takes to get the hang of it, Flylady is not a terrible system. I know a number of geeks who have adapted it for their own purposes very well, so if he might understand or appreciate a methodology over the "it's dirty, you just clean it" of people like my mother, he could check it out.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:05 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

What I don't understand is why you cleaned up after him? Sure, he's a slob but you're not his mother. Did you think he would 'feel your pain' or something? You should have told him that the place was disgusting and you're not coming back until he cleaned up. Then gone and stayed with a friend. Yeah, normally, these sorts of ultimatums aren't a good idea but there are lines that shouldn't be crossed in a relationship and this is one of them. Let him hire a cleaning person or do whatever, but it's his responsibility not to let you come home to that.
posted by nixerman at 7:54 AM on June 7, 2006

I am a smart, totally functional, and kind of successful guy (27 years old). I think that my fiancee would agree with that. She does, however, treat me like a child when it comes to cleaning/picking up. This is, counter-intuitively, the most dignified way for both of us to deal with the situation. Lists, specific requests, etc. are important. My brain is wired for sloth. It just is. But she likes things very clean, and I want to make her happy and to make a fair contribution to everything, so she organizes things. It is, after all, a bigger priority for her than for me.

If you don't have a washer/dryer, I highly recomend passing off laundry to him entirely. He leaves with dirty clothes and he has to come back with clean clothes. It can't be procrastinated if he wants to come home. Just load up a laundry basket, hand him a roll of quarters, and push him out the door. And while he's gone you can clean other things while not getting mad that he isn't cleaning (he is, after all, doing the laundry). Even if he's clueless now, it is easy to train someone to do laundry acceptably. Also, try to exploit things that he does like which require cleaning. Does he like cooking? Grilling? If you "really want" to cook together, he will have to do dishes. This will probably work for cleaning the shower/tub, as well.

Basically, trick him like he's an idiot. He will likely appreciate it. It is not a sign of disrespect. Teach him to be disrespectful to dirt.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:57 AM on June 7, 2006

I'd say he sounds like the picture of mental health. Except for some of the details like age, etc. I might have though k8t is my gf. I'm neater when the gf is around because I know she can't tolerate the state of things the way they would be if I wasn't. General filth will eventually get even to me but disorder, sealed containers of moldy food in the fridge and mildew in the shower just don't register.

One of my issues with my ex-wife was excessive tidiness. I couldn't find anything because it was always being put "away". Drove me nuts.
posted by Carbolic at 9:42 AM on June 7, 2006

I will admit I'm slightly anal, but as a young male (age 22) this drives me crazy. Three of my roommates this past year would have let the house deteriorate into this type of situation if there hadn't been the other two of us as balancing influences. Partly it was because they just didn't see anything wrong with leaving things out and letting filth accumulate everywhere, and partly it was a result of them having mothers who did everything for them, so they haven't really learned how to take care of themselves.

I'm sorry to say that while it might be somewhat common, it isn't normal behavior for any well-adjusted adult. Depression is possible, but I wouldn't pin his behavior on it. His negligence is just him being inconsiderate. He doesn't seem to consider or understand your desires for a clean place.

It's a good sign that he says he at least did some cleaning before you came back, though I would hate to know what it had been like before. If he hadn't, I would say there was something bigger going on. I agree that anger is not the answer, but neither is a cleaning service. Paying somebody else so you don't have to deal with your problems doesn't sit well with me. He just needs to figure out that some standard of cleanliness is important to you, and work with you to keep that standard because it pleases you.

Perhaps remind him of some basic hygiene issues. It's not that you have to "fix" his behavior necessarily, but he needs to know for sure what's expected.
posted by kyleg at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2006

I divorced my first husband for many of these reasons. He simply would not clean anything. He had a spare bedroom in our home just for himself-his playstation, his "space". You could not see the floor in that room. He had empty iced tea bottles, soda bottles, paper plates, boxes, newspapers, you name it, it was in there. I gave up trying to clean, it was, after all, "his space". We had "dishes" wars, where I refused to clean up after his late night eating binges. We ran out of dishes. During our divorce, which actually was amicable, we were sitting in his car. The entire floor of the driver's side was covered, two inches deep, with sunflower seed shells. I hated bringing our kids to his house for visits. I didn't want any bad habits to rub off. Unfortunately, I think it's genetic.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anal when it comes to cleaning. But my second husband is anal, and now he gets frustrated with me. Half the time, I never even get the chance to clean, he jumps on it as soon as he can. I think he enjoys cleaning, to the point where he cannot even see when I HAVE cleaned. The point to all my rambling, think seriously about your future with him. You will get your degree, you will be around all of the time, then what? Do you want to pick up after him all your life? What can be annoying now will be motives for murder down the road.
posted by annieb at 6:07 PM on June 9, 2006

I would say your SO lacks self-respect. If he respected himself, he would at least scrub the toilets before you arrived home. I am not a psychiatrist, but I would say he has self-loathing or depression issues. Also, he may have ADD. People with ADD are often messy housekeepers, hate to clean, and can't get started.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2006

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