Friday, October 16, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Living with Your Guy and Keeping the Peace

Relationship Versus Roommate Problems
Photo: Getty Images
The unmade bed. The kitchen counter never wiped. Yogurt, cilantro, light bulbs, tampons and soap all forgotton at the grocery store. Stubble in the sink. Toilet seat up. Living up close and personal with a boy can be difficult and, at times, even disgusting. The list of your fiancé's housekeeping transgressions may be long (and growing), but how you interpret his missteps can have a big impact on your relationship.

Don't read into the socks left on the floor for a week. His dirty socks do not mean he doesn't love you, or that he's punishing you, or is trying to make you mad. His socks are not an aggressive act; but instead may very well be how he lived as a bachelor, in his pad, without you. He probably doesn't even notice they're there.

Do have an awareness that he lived many years on his own, without you. In his own style, his own way. Granted, it's not your way, but have respect anyway for the way he does things.

Don't get bitter. Don't do all the cleaning yourself — furiously, or sighing, hoping he'll get the message and pick up the broom — and then hold it resentfully over his head.

Do strategize together which are "his" departments and which are "yours." Who's better at and prefers cleaning the bathroom? The kitchen? Vacuuming? Folding laundry? Determine which household tasks are easy for you and for him, then divvy them up that way.

Don't assassinate his character. He's not a slob. He's not a mess. He's just different from you. That doesn't make him a lesser person. He may just be the Oscar to your Felix.

Do focus on small behavior changes, for both of you. "I'll agree to stop nagging about your socks when you pick them up off the floor at the end of the night."

Don't elevate roommate problems into relationship problems. These problems are not about how you love each other or care for each other, but how you live together, in the same space, day to day. You'd have roommate problems with anybody you live in close quarters with.

Do accommodate your differences. Even if they are different definitions of what "clean" is.


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