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You Asked: My Boyfriend is a Neat Freak!!!

Dear Sugar--

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and we just moved in together. We get along perfectly, except I am messy and he is super neat. It's driving me crazy because I always feel like he is nagging me to clean up, and we keep getting into fights about it. He says that we are adults and a messy house is unacceptable. He also said that being messy is a character flaw!

When we both get home from work he tells me to do the dishes, vacuum the carpet and mop the kitchen floor. I know I tend to be messier, but it shouldn't be my job to clean up the entire house. I told him "the 1950's called and they want their idea back!"

I've tried talking to him calmly about this, but every time I do, he says that since I make most of the mess, I should be the one to clean the house. Sure I leave my clothes and other things around, but he's acting like I run around making messes all over the house. I'm not the only one who uses the dishes and tracks mud on the kitchen floor! I'm just shocked that he's being like this. Any suggestions?

-- Messy Melissa

To hear DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Messy Melissa--

Well I am just shocked too! Even though you are messy and he is neat, there's no way he should be ordering you around to clean up the house that you both use!

There's got to be some kind of a compromise you can reach here. Maybe you guys can spend one weekend working together to make your place neat and clean so you have a fresh slate to work with. Unfortunately it won't stay that way forever, so perhaps you can make a schedule of house chores so you don't feel like you are doing everything. It might be a good idea too to have a designated area in your home that is just for you and your stuff, so you can be messy there and he can't tell you to clean it up. Have you also thought about hiring a housekeeper? That could be an easy way to stop the fighting.

Aside from this neatness issue, I'm a bit concerned at the way he is speaking to you. Relationships are all about respecting each other, and if he continues to talk to you like he's in charge, then he's not seeing you as an equal and that is not okay! If he keeps up his "orders" to you, I'd say it's time to find someone who will respect you for you, and embrace all you have to offer, messiness included! Good luck Melissa!


Join The Conversation
rubialala rubialala 10 years
Um, you are not responsible for all of the household chores just because he thinks you are messy. You need to sit down and agree on who is going to do which chores and then keep up your end of that agreement. Also, if he can't live with your level of messiness, maybe you two are not meant to be.
summer-roberts summer-roberts 10 years
I agree with the other who said to list the chores and split them. If he want to treat you like a roommate then give him one. Set a rotating schedule. He should be cleaning too. When my husband and I moved in together I discovered he had a gag reflex when it came to soggy food in the sink, so I agreed to always do the dishes. He has a thing for cleaning the toilet, so I clean the toilet. In exchange for these things he is in charge of the laundry. I had to learn that the towels may not be folded my way, but they were folded and stacked on the closet where they belong. You both need to compromise, that is what a relationship is all about.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I found this little new area when I moved in with my boyfriend. I am not quite a neat freak, but I do like things to be somewhat in their place and in order. My boyfriend could care less. Finally before I lost it, I sat him down and told him how I felt about having things clean. Finally he is starting become aware that it is his house too. Mind you, I still get the gruff when I ask him to take out the trash because it is overflowing on the floor. I just give him a gentle reminder that if he wants to clean the bathroom, I will take out the trash. Rather than fight, sit down and make a list of the chores around the house. Divide it between the two of you. Then make a little list of when these things are expected to be done. Say you will clean the bathroom and he will clean kitchen once a week on Sunday mornings for example. He can do the dishes if you take out the trash everyday, etc. This way you both will share the responsibilities and set a timeline when things will be done. This should prevent him from nagging at you everyday to clean the house. Try to make cleaning fun. If you do it together, throw on your favorite CD and sing to each other while you work. Then when you are done and the house looks fab, clean up and treat yourself to lunch!
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 10 years
i think we don't know the whole story. First she said "we get along perfectly" then "but I am messy and he is super neat". Well we annul perfectly then. But she treat you like a 50´s women... so.. I got a friend that said almost the same, how he commands her, and says that she's supposed to clean the house. but I know she is messy and slow so... I do tell her that. So, if he treats you like a clean lady, you don't get along and he doesn't deserves you, he wants a Bree.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
write down a list of house chores, spilt it down the middle and do your share.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 10 years
My husband is the neat one, and I'm the messy one. This is what I told him: "When I get tired of looking at the mess, I'll clean it up. If you don't like it, then YOU clean it." And that solved that. Besides, I can't vacuum the apartment anyway...that stupid vacuum weighs a ton and I can't move it without both hands. :P
cubadog cubadog 10 years
First let me say this I do not agree with you doing all the cleaning he should defnitely help and it should have been discussed before you moved in together. You both need to sit down and have a conversation of who is going to be responsible for what.I vacuum a couple of times a week myself when you have a dog you have to but I also have light colored carpet right now so it looks really bad if I don't. When it comes to any areas that are shared in the house than call me a neat freak all your crap needs to be put away. You admit that you leave things laying around he was probably brought up like I was if it is yours than put it in your room or put it away. I do agree with your boyfriend that you are adults and to have a giant mess is unacceptable (I wouldn't necessarily call it a character flaw) but if you know it bothers him and he is going to bitch at you why do you keep doing it?
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Two words: House. Keeper.
Trixie6 Trixie6 10 years
I have to admit that I vacuum almost everyday, but that's only because I live in a zoo of three cats & three dogs. That's MY CHOICE, though. I certainly don't expect anyone else in the house to vacuum that often. I agree with Dear in that the thing that bothers me is the way he's talking to you. You're not his child or his maid. He has no reason to order you around. He needs to lighten up.
boxem180 boxem180 10 years
it's the opposite with my boyfriend and i: i'm the neat freak and he's the slob...or less neat person. before we moved in, we discussed how we were going to divide up the chores: i clean up the kitchen, he cleans the bathrooms; i fill the dishwasher, he empties it; he dusts, i vaccum. for every chore i do, he does one that's complimentary that way i don't feel taken advantage of and he's more involved with cleaning. it's working out really well so far - we keep each other honest. :)
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 10 years
He expects YOU to do all the work?????? First of all remind him you're not his mommy....THEN work out a chores schedule. The two of you should sit down when you are both calm and develop a rotating schedule for chores. List all the chores you can think of and do the schedule a month at a time. As long as you both stick to the schedule you should have a perpetually clean house, and neither of you should feel like you are carrying the burden of cleaning up a big mess.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
I lived in a shared house (with four other people) and we had.. x a washing up rota x a bathroom cleaning rota x a vacumming rota and..! The first plate/dish to be left next to the sink WITHOUT it being washed up meant that the person who left it there had to do ALL the dishes which piled up after it! Why don't you just make a conscious effort to pick up after yourself when you discard clothing? I am neat and my boyfriend is messy but occasionally he'll get pissy about the mess and make himself clean up. It is frustrating when you see somebody has discarded a shirt they got out of the drawer without putting it back! Is it really that hard to do?
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
are you serious? do the dishes, vacuum AND mop the floor? those last two are things that get done maybe twice a month when the whole family pitches in to clean the entire house. i'd say hit him upside the head with that vacuum and see if a little brain damage gets him to change his tune. if not, the vacuum would make a lovely "good-bye" gift for him.
Advah Advah 10 years
I'm neat and my flatmates are incredibly dirty/messy so I can't tell you the number of times we had chats about how we would organise things in the flat. My solution (and it'd sound like something you could use too) is just keeping separate what you guys use. I know it sounds ridiculous to do that within a couple, but since he expects you to wash his stuff as well it might be a good idea. What I do is take care of my own dishes, and my flatmates keep theirs in a separate washing bowl; that way I don't have to wash their stuff but they also don't have to wash mine. As I said it's definitely not the best way to communicate within a couple, but it'll make him realise that he's using stuff as well. Maybe once this is done you guys can sit and rethink the whole situation. Also it can be really annoying to live among another person's mess, so what about trying to keep your clothes at the same spot for instance? However in any case you should be the only person in charge of cleaning the house!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
My boyfriend is messy and I'm neat and we sat down before we moved in and discussed our expectations for who would do what chores and how clean we would keep things. We both made compromises and we've both been pretty good about keeping our side of the bargain. If he'd continued to be a slob after we had that discussion I'd be really upset, because to me it would mean he wasn't willing to put any effort towards making our cohabitation work. Obviously no one should be expected to mop and vacuum every day, but you should definitely be doing your part to keeping the place clean, as should he. You don't live alone any more, which means you have to share space with someone else. Did you really expect to make no compromises when you movied in together? This is why living together can be so illumunating. You realize one person is bossy and another is selfish and that maybe the relationship isn't meant to be after all.
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