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How to Get Him to Clean Without Nagging

Group Therapy: I Love Him, but Not If I Have to Be His Mother

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

OK I'm not writing this to complain, so I hope it doesn't come across that way! I live with my boyfriend in a small town, we're both done with school, college etc., both work full time hours at our jobs and like some other unmarried couples we split the bills.

Seems normal enough to me, however; the bills we are not splitting (cell phone, loan payments, etc.) his mother pays for, out of his bank account but still. I feel at 24 he should be able to take care of his own bills. Second, he never helps with anything around the house. Typical male behavior, but sometimes it feels as though I'm asking for help from a child. He'll come to help me when I ask if he's not doing anything, but sometimes he'll say he can't help me because he's playing a game. I've done that too . . . when I was about 12, and my parents didn't take it well either, haha.


So I end up cleaning the dishes and the rest of the house while he sits and plays a game. By the time I'm done, I can't play with him because I've got to go to bed to get up for work the next day. If he had helped me though, things would have been done sooner and we both could have played.

I feel this is what married life with this man would be like, and I definitely don't want that. I want to be married to a capable man, not a child. How can I get him to see that he needs to step up and be more responsible? I've tried everything to gently coax him into it, but nothing works.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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Amazinggurl Amazinggurl 6 years
Just leave. Been there done that, and it never gets any better.
ihaveaqtsn ihaveaqtsn 6 years
I agree with most other posters and can share some of my own experience in being married to a man-child. After trying a number of tactics outlined above, such as reiterating how important cleanliness was to me, that I was not his maid or mother, etc, my ex still chose to spend all his time playing video games and none of his time cleaning up after himself. This is probably due to the fact that he grew up in a "Leave it to Beaver" household and an independent woman like you would probably not be happy in that situation (I was not). Since the problem has to do more with the way he was raised (evident in the fact that his mother still takes care of his bills), you more than likely will not be able to change him long term. If this is the only issue in your relationship, you might be able to deal with it. I wasn't able to myself.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
I doubt that you can change his behavior. I agree with the posters that say that this will not change if you guys get married, I guess it will depend on how you can handle this or if you'd be ok with this type of behavior 'forever.' My husband is a bit like your bf in that aspect (but he does all work work outside/exterior of the house) and I found out it's because he's raised that way (men work out of the house, women are responsible for the inside type of household). So it's possible that his mom and dad basically raised him to be dependant on the female figure to take care of things like that (dishes, balancing the checkbook, etc). The difference is my husband won't say 'no' though, if I asked him to help out, BUT he will say 'wait a little bit' if I asked him to help me out when he's in the middle of doing something else. I usually won't make a big deal out of it and actually wait until he's done doing that to ask him again and he'll do it (ok, sometimes he grumbles a little but it's harmless). Because sometimes I get annoyed too if my husband interrupted me even when I'm just browsing the internet online. Playing games, browsing internet, etc can be our own way to 'unwind' (depend on the person) after working. Since you also want to play the game with him, how about you make plans to clean up before he's or insist on him cleaning his own mess. Make your life easier that way. Just tell him to mind his own mess and you won't ever 'nag' at him (as in, if he got home before you and eat dinner, etc, he'd better put everything in the dishwasher himself or do his own laundry). And share some duties as in, this week his turn to take out the garbage, next week is his. Or this week is your turn to vacuum and next week is his. I also find it weird that he still has mom pay his bills for him, there is such a thing as AUTOPAY. Tell him about that option if he's THAT lazy/ignorant/immature about this. And observe what he does about it. Good luck.
snarkypants snarkypants 6 years
that's not typical male behavior. saying that is insulting to males who actually have their sh!t together. i'd be frustrated too. but, you did say he helps when he's not doing anything. maybe just ask him when he's not busy? or say, "hey, when you're done with that [insert video game term here], would you mind taking out the garbage?", or while you're eating dinner, ask him if he'd help you with the dishes. don't nag, and don't act like his mother. as for his mom paying his bills, that's weird. but is it because she's a coddling mom who enjoys doing that stuff, or is it him asking her to do it? if it's the latter, that's a problem. if it's the former, i'm not sure it's such a big deal. it's super strange, but not anything you should worry too much about...unless it's your money that she's handling, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
medenginer medenginer 6 years
Is it possible for the two of you to hire a cleaning service and split the bill evenly? How he spends his money and who does it for him is his decision.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I agree that it sounds like this guy relies on his mother for some pretty basic adult responsibilities and will likely expect to do the same with his someday wife. I also agree that it would be annoying to be right in the middle of a leisure activity (like playing a game, reading a book, whatever) and be asked to drop everything immediately to fold laundry. If your relationship with this guy is pretty happy other than this one thing, then tell him how important it is that he help you out after he beats the next level or whatever. If your relationship suffers because of his immaturity in other ways, then I'd just get out now.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
Completely disagree with Helen, agree completely with berry243. This guy has been taken care of by mommy all of his life and still is. He is 24, not 15, and should understand that in a mature relationship with two working couples, all of the household logistics shouldn't fall on you. I am sick of these, "oh he's just a clueless guy" arguments.....he is immature because he is immature, the OP has nothing to do with it. I think "outsourcing the paperwork" IS a big deal. A mature adult should be able to manage his own budget and pay his own bills. This guy is playing house, and obviously has a different view of what a woman's role in the household is. Just because the OP asks his lazy ass to help her once in awhile, it doesn't mean she is treating him like a child and therefore that is why he is acting like one. Gimme a break. If you marry this dude, things will unlikely change so it is time to really think about how you want your life to be. Good luck.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
Lolz, pax. Can you please try to respond to at least one post without adding your Dr. Laura style commentary about premarital sex? About the bills... it's being paid with his money, right? The paper just goes to his mother? I don't see a huge problem here, but if it annoys you that much, can you just bring it up to him that you think managing your finances from one address would be easier? Or that you would like to maintain some financial privacy from the mom? And about the housework-- have you brought it up to him before? How did he respond? Have you brought it up that you would like him to help with housework so that the two of you have more time together? If you've asked him to help you out before and he isn't changing, that's one thing. If you've never talked to him about it, now is the time to do so.
GregS GregS 6 years
I find it incredulous that he's letting his mother pay his bills for him out of his bank account! Why, pray tell, does she have access to his bank account? Just let him miss one cellphone payment and see how quickly he learns that there are some things he needs to pay attention to. How you "cure" a slob is not in my abilities. My wife is like that and no matter the harranguing about it, nothing has ever changed. But I wouldn't classify that as "typical" male behavior. I know of few men who are like that. Most are neat or at least to some extent they are. The best way to teach a guy to be responsible is to let him fail. This should have been done while he was growing up. Personally, I'd walk.
berry243 berry243 6 years
I have no real advice, just some observations from my own similar experience. Full disclosure, we've been together 8 years, married 3. 1. Having a clean (by your standards) living space just isn't a priority for him. 2. He has no incentive to change. Even if he lived alone, he really wouldn't do anything different until things got really REALLY bad. And even then, he'd only do the bare minimum. 3. You're not his mommy, it's not your job to teach him how to clean up after himself or care for a home. Really, it's not, and you shouldn't be expected to do it. 4. If you get married, things won't change. If he's not behaving like a man you want to marry and marriage is a personal goal of yours, it's time to move on.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 6 years
Hey, if the bills are getting paid, how much does it really matter if he outsources the paperwork? You can get the essentials of what you want. But you can't necessarily have everything your way. That's the way it goes when you team up with another person you have no special power over. If you want help with the housework, you have to take into account your helper's agenda. Popping up in front of him while he's playing a game and asking him to help wash dishes, because it's a good time for YOU to be doing them...isn't going to get you a happy helper. That's interrupting him. True, playing games isn't important, but when you're in the middle of one it takes all your concentration. That's focus, not childishness or obliviousness. If you want an equal partner, that means you both get input into what gets done when. You don't organize his time for him. If he's not busy, and you have a task you'd like him to do, ask. Nicely. If he says no or gives you a vague yes that really means no, don't try to punish him. He's not your employee or child. Telling him what he should be doing and monitoring his behavior is treating him like a kid. And you said you don't want him to act childish...Don't back him into a corner where that's the only response available to him.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 6 years
OP, Does he admit to being immature about any of this?
pax4pax pax4pax 6 years
He's not mature. Society does not build men anymore as such characteristics are not applauded or encouraged. For instance, a responsible "man" would put your concerns first, including a promise that he would not use you for his sexual desires without a lifetime commitment. But, that's another subject. Either find for him or have him find a man who is responsible, with a job, a family, community involvement, and other characteristics you see lacking to mentor him. Appears his father is not such a person. His friends also impact the way he acts, so, as you find a mentor, find friends who are not abusing the system. Best wishes to you in this task.
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