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Is it Too Late to Change Him?

Dear Sugar--

My boyfriend supported me while I was in college and I did all the housework. Now I support him and expect him to do the housework. He doesn't! - instead he plays video games, watches TV, or uses precious gas to visit people. We have a hard time making ends meet and we fight over him not cleaning all the time.

We have roaches, and the dishes and trash just pile up. We've talked about it several times, and he says he'll change and start supporting me by cleaning, but he doesn't. I love him so much, but it's so frustrating because he only goes to school for 4 hours a day, and doesn't do his homework at home and the place is always a wreck.

When I was in school, he always asked what I did or how I was contributing, or why I didn't work, and I kept the apartment nice and paid all the bills and took care of groceries, everything. Now I feel ripped off, because I work, and still have to do all of the same stuff. We've even talked several times about how I need him to support me by cleaning and taking care of bills, and he says he'll change and he's sorry for being selfish.

We've been together five years, am I asking too much or is he never going to change?

--Annoyed Anna

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Annoyed Anna--

No, you are not asking too much and if I were you, I'd be fed up too! It's no fun dealing with all the housework on your own, and you shouldn't have to. It sounds like he's gotten used to you doing everything (even though he didn't seem to notice it) and his laziness is getting the best of him. For some people, having a clean house just isn't that important, and they don't mind living in filth. If you want to remain in this relationship, you are going to have to come to some sort of compromise.

Instead of telling him he needs to do the dishes, do the laundry, take out the trash, and vacuum the floors (which is probably overwhelming for a messy person), start off slowly. Give him one chore - ask him if he could please do the dishes. When you get home and if he's done what you asked, thank him for it (don't focus on what else needs to be done). Gradually you can start adding more chores to his day without bombarding him all at once.

Even though he's not working as much as you are, I don't think it's fair for you to expect him to do everything - relationships are all about compromise. Make a schedule together, mapping out the chores over the week for both of you to do, so one person doesn't feel like they're Cinderella.

Hope this helps! Good luck Anna.


Join The Conversation
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
She says that she's begged him to help and then he helps for a little while and then goes back to his old ways. If it weren't for that statement, I might be more optimistic. In this case, I don't see him changing.
sabrinad2122 sabrinad2122 10 years
Doesn't anyone think this guy will want to change? I mean, how much could he love her and not change? It seems like you guys are very pessimistic.
kittycat kittycat 10 years
if that is his schedule and he doesnt do anything to help u out, then no, he wont change. he's inconsiderate and selfish of ur values too. frankly he's a pig with no self-respect.
calibabi calibabi 10 years
the truth is that we don't have control over other people...only over ourselves. he won't change unless he wants to change himself.
fab4 fab4 10 years
ummmmm...why doesn't he have a job again? If its because he's in school, that's a lousy excuse. Everybody I know in college works to support themselves. He sounds lazy. If you expect something different, you'll be dissapointed
GQ_send GQ_send 10 years
It's not about changing him from the start. What is it with women always thinking that they could change a guy. You can;t change a guy but u can influence him. If a guy is a slouch, u shouldn't have been with him. I see it all the time where i live, I never understand women who go out with men who are slouch and bad hygiene. Again, it's not about changing him or not, it's about if you want to be with him or not. But in this situation, leave him.Or give him an ultimatum, if he can't get his act together, leave him. Sorry, i'm just honest.
demeter demeter 10 years
If he was meant to be your lover, you wouldn't have to change him. Just a lyric from a No Doubt song. It is true in a way. What he's doing isn't really right, but he probably wont change. People rarely change. And if they do it's probably for a short while.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
The answer to "will he change?" is almost always no. Sorry to be pessimistic, but he has promised to do better over and over and never does. I think that if you stay with him, you need to expect and assume that he will continue to behave this way. Dear has good advice about getting him to do one thing at a time. If you are willing to put the effort in, then try that and maybe it will work. But really, he doesn't seem inclined to help so it's going to be a lot of work on your end to get him to do so. I would deliver an ultimatum to him, and be prepared to make good on it. I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life nagging someone to help out - and he's basically giving you no choice. No matter how much you love someone, you have to be able to live with them or the relationship is going to deteriorate.
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