I've been with my boyfriend for two and a half years now and we've been living together for a year and a half. The things is that we always have those kinds of arguments that people have when they live together - about things he's left around the house, about the bathroom being messy, and about him not helping with the dishes, etc.
Yesterday he told me that he wanted to get his own place for a while since we're always arguing about household stuff. He wants to see if things improve in our relationship. I know that he is certainly not thinking about breaking up with me, but I feel bad about him moving out. I'll miss him, and I like sharing our home. On the other hand, I think that I should let him go so he can miss me and not take me for granted.
What should I do? Let him go for a month or two, or insist he stay??
-Loving Living Together Laura
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Dear Loving Living Together Laura--
You are describing the problems that all couples have who live together. If he takes a "break" and moves out for a while, it won't magically solve these problems. As soon as he moves back in after missing you for 2 months, your problems will still be there. I suggest that he doesn't move out.
The only way to fix these problems is to be proactive about it. You've got to sit down together and set up some guidelines and a cleaning schedule so you each know who is responsible for what. You should both be in charge of cleaning up after yourselves, and when it comes to other household chores, you can either take turns or assign certain chores to each person. Maybe he does the vacuuming and takes out the trash, and you do the dishes and clean the bathroom.
It sounds like he's freaking out about having to answer to someone and he doesn't like being nagged. When he lived alone, he could do what he wanted and leave his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor. Now that he's living with you, it's all about respecting the space that you two share. Cleaning the house is no fun for anyone, but it's just not fair when one person is doing all the work. Once you guys work out a schedule, you'll be able to focus on the fun parts of your relationship.