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Married Ladies! Can a messy man be trained?

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Independent Gal

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So, this man ''M'' has been courting me in a serious way since I decided to break it off with my ex instead of getting engaged. I''m not ready for a new boyfriend, but I THINK I like this guy so he''s agreed to be in a holding position while I enjoy my singledom for a little while. The thing is, M is a total SLOB
and I''m closer to the neat freak side of things. His hair is always messy (which is actually kind of cute), his office and apartment look like post-Tsunami shots. And he doesn''t seem to notice!

When I was growing up, my mom used to just clean up after her husband, and I swore to myself I would NEVER put myself in the position of being someone''s housemaid. And a friend of mine who has a messy husband just ends up fighting iwth him all the time. I''m at a point in life where I don''t want to date someone I KNOW I wouldn''t marry, so, is there any possible future in this without constant frustration and irritation?

Married ladies, in your wisdom, in your experience, I ask you: can a boy be housetrained?


 

poptart

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I think you could probably teach him to help clean up around the house without too much effort. The thing I've noticed is that if someone really cares about you they will agree to do something like this, even though they hate it, just because they know it makes you happy. My husband actually cleans the house and normally I don't... in fact, he's the one always telling ME to clean up. But after he told me which things really irked him, I made more of an effort to keep things clean and tidy around the house, which he greatly appreciated. In turn, he was always really bad at doing dishes, but after I had a talk with him about it, I would ask him if he would please do the dishes since I hate leaving them overnight. And he does do them for me every once in a while when I ask, or if he knows it's his mess. It's just a matter of compromise. My question is, how do you plan to see if he is capable and willing to clean up after himself if you don't live together? Everybody responds differently to coaxing and someone trying to "help" them, you know? My DH is extremely stubborn, sometimes NOT to his benefit, but when it comes to me he has a really hard time saying no, despite his stubborness... so asking him nicely to do something isn't an issue. But I think some men view it as an attack, so I would just say be careful! Sorry this is rambly and long... I need breakfast to get my mind all straight!!

*M*
 

mtrb

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Im a guy and I am pretty messy. I have been taught to help clean up.. however I get yelled at sometimes still when I leave my pants and socks in the livingroom next to the couch where I layed down the previous night. My office is fairly clean.. a heck of a lot cleaner with my wife pushing me to clean it.

You won't make him a neat freak, but you can set expectations... and just keep him to it.

You could also have some sort of reward system...be creative..lol. I won't go into details...but that works for me also.
 

ladykemma

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a professional, thorough housekeeper is the best ulcer and divorce prevention.

we have one who even does our laundry. we pay her twice the going rate. she spends an 8 hour day in our house on mondays.

a housekeeper can''t deal with clutter, though, all they do is dust your piles.

is the problem clutter or dirt? too much stuff?
 

Independent Gal

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Poptart: come to think of it, you''re probably right that he would want to make me happy and would make an effort for that reason (and I LOVE MTRB''s idea for a ''back-up'' incentive plan. LOL! hilarious.)

Do you think it''s just the way some people ask their DH that makes it seem so difficult?

MTRB: are there ways of asking (other than the incentives) that make you more likely to want to comply?

I''d love to hear more experiences and perspectives.
 

Independent Gal

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LadyKemma: in this boy''s case? Both. Stacks of books and paper EVERYWHERE, dirty dishes, you name it. The clutter would kill me, though the housekeeper idea is great for the dirt. When I still lived with roomies back in grad school, we hired someone and this definitely prevented ulcers and roommate divorce. And our place was so small and the lady so fast at it that it only cost us $30 each per month. Best $30 I ever spent.
 

Independent Gal

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Oops. Don''t worry, the housekeeper came every other week and we picked up the slack... we weren''t just cleaning once a month! YUCK!
 

hlmr

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Date: 12/3/2006 11:09:31 AM
Author:Independent Gal

Married ladies, in your wisdom, in your experience, I ask you: can a boy be housetrained?


No.
 

cnspotts

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This is going to be an interesting topic. I''ll give you my point of view but it comes down to you personally and your ability to decide what''s really important to you.

I believe that men can be "groomed" to improve their personal appearance but underneath is the person that he really is.

All of us seem to want to please the person that we''re interested in so we''ll become neater, or whatever it is. For the messy person it that comes down to how important it is to them. Being able to deal with that situation or the lack of concern on their part becomes your problem ultimately. Do you want to take care of it on your own and clean up around the man? Would you want to beat him down until he does things your way? That should start major home wars eventually.

He is who he is but that doesn''t mean that he wouldn''t change to please you, but will it be lasting? Maybe, maybe not. Again are you willing to deal with that down the road?

My husband is the kind of man that lets stuff lie where it lays. He was a mess when I met him, his hair was too long and and curly in his pictures, he wore the same pair of glasses for several years (major birth control item) and really didn''t care about his eating habits. He cut his hair short the day he was coming to meet me and a few months later he got LASIK, he starting eating better and now the man is a hot babe. He actually cleans up his messes after a few days and helps out sometimes too with regular household stuff and he''s an amazing chef at times. If he cooks I''ll clean up.

He''s suprised me by the 180 degree changes he''s made, we''ve been married nearly 4 years now and he''s consistent. We''re both happy and pretty easy going but 10-15 years ago I wouldn''t have been around long enough to see him make those changes. I''d like to believe that he considers the things that matter to me, and I give him the space he needs to be himself too knowing it''s not long lasting inconviences he''s asking for. He likes to toss his clothes on the floor but he keeps it limited to his side of the bed and in his bathroom. Sometimes it gets in the laundry basket, sometimes it doesn''t. He does EVERYthing around the house that needs to be done when it comes to maintenace and the cars too.

I think we do a good job of taking care of each other and our need to be ourselves. We compliment each other nicely and at the end of the day we have the same values and enjoy being together. We don''t fight about little things and rarely about big things. We try to remember what''s really important and let the other stuff go, eventually it''ll all works out.

I grew up with a perfectionist and most of my younger years I was a neat freak too but pets, horses and kids change the way you keep a household. You have to learn to relax or get a prescription to maintain your sanity when "life" shows up. Things that used to bother me don''t anymore. I''ve learned that my ideals about the way things should be aren''t necessarily his views too, and that it''s okay to do things differently.

I''ve also learned that I''d rather live with a man like him than a man like myself.


My husband says our place is immaculate compared to many places he sees, I think there is too much clutter still...
 

simplysplendid

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Hi, how he is now will reflect how is is likely to be when he is married. You can try changing him but there is a chance that you will not succeed. You may have to try training him and if it doesn''t work and you love him still, then accept him and find alternative solutions. At the end of the day, the man you love will come in one package with all the pluses and minuses.
 

Jelly

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Was this thread written by my husband!?


Tables are turned in my case and I am the total slob and he is the neat freak. Yes, us slobs can be changed, but don''t expect miracles right away. Even though I tend to leave things out, not wash dishes, etc...I have to make that effort to keep things clean and tidy.

We have an unspoken agreement on our chores of the house. He does the majority (dishes, garbage, living room, kitchen, his closet, his bathroom, his laundry) and I do my "areas" which are my bathroom, my closet, the master bedroom, my laundry.

I agree on the housekeeper thing! If you can afford it, go for it!
 

justjulia

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I think so. But start small. If it''s about the dishes, and you both are working a lot, it may be worthwhile to go with paper cups and plates. 23 yrs later and I still don''t have mine trained for laundry--I find it easier to scoop it all up myself than argue-and I don''t mind. He and I both cook, and he is pretty good about cleaning up. Years ago, I consolidated all of our socks into one basket, and underwear into another basket, that sit on our dresser--yep, on the dresser-things go from the dryer into those baskets and it works like a charm-you go fish for yourself, lol. I made a rule yrs ago too, that if you leave a shirt or undershirt, etc inside out, it gets washed inside out and folded inside out!! (I.e., I will be glad to wash it and put it up, but somehow the turning inside out thing just sucks my energy, lol).

We developed our chores over the years, too. I don''t particularly care for mowing the grass, and he does that. He will vacuum, because I hate our vacuum and it is a bear to push around. He''ll carry the trash to the street. He does the fixing of electronics and appliances and cars. I make meals, the kids load the dishwasher.
Now, as far as grooming goes, I don''t hesitate to bug him when he needs a haircut. I have a container in our bathroom for his things where he can see them easily, right on the counter- it has toiletry items in it and it is just a matter of use and throw it back in. If it isn''t easy to do, they won''t do it.

When you are dating them, I can see how it would be hard to drop those hints! I mean, how do you say, "honey, if you would brush your hair you''d be really sexy"? How would he react to small hints? Would he get mad? My husband reacts to my hints with humor, which he knows disarms me, darn him. All I have to do is stare at him a little longer than comfortable and he gets the point--then he will usually go quietly and *fix* whatever it was I didn''t like. He knows that if he doesn''t, well, the incentives will definitely go away!
 

Mara

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lol jelly, you and i are in the same situation!!

greg is a total neat freak (but actually he can be messy too so it''s like this weird double standard!) about stuff and is always on my case about leaving things out, not cleaning my dishes, not wiping my area of the sink or whatever. stuff that to me is sooo incredibly small in the scheme of life that i just flat out don''t think about it. my mind moves super quick so i am never thinking about what i am actually doing...i am always thinking about what i am going to do next etc. hence a lot of stuff gets forgotten about or left behind in terms of cleaning up after myself or tidying up after doing something.

how what we have made it work is that i TRY to be better about stuff and he TRIES to not be so particular about stuff. i have gotten better about some things and he notices that, but i will say it always seems like something i do isn''t up to par with standards sometimes. so it''s like once i ''fix'' something then he finds something else to complain about me being messy about! it''s not a huge deal to us...we kind of joke around about it...but obviously we fell in love with each other the way we are and so i like to remind him that he shouldn''t be trying to change me, lol. of course since it benefits ME. he just rolls his eyes. i have gotten better about things but also my car is always pretty messy. if i really pay attn i can keep things pretty clean, like right now my closet has been cleaner and more organized than his for about 6 months. i was pretty proud of that. hahah.

heeh though sometimes i wonder if he would have CHOSEN to fall in love with me if he knew he''d spend the rest of his life with a forgetful, messy gal! hehe who knows maybe he would have. okay so actually i just asked him if he would have and told him to be honest, and he laughed and said he would have gone out with me but he would have pushed for more changes up front aka trying to work on me sooner, lol! because he says younger girls are more pliable...and i was 25 at the time whereas when we got married i was 29 so i was even more set in my ways.


anyway, my point is if you really like this guy, then go out with him!! i honestly think that stuff like this is not a deal-breaker IF you can find it in your own mind to make concessions and he seems like he will be too. if two people work on it then it will become easier. but if one person is oblivious to what is driving the other person insane, then no it will not work. i think it''s personally very hard today for people to find someone that they might be able to spend the rest of their lives with personality wise, and if you do find that person, the other stuff like if they pick up their glass or how often they wash their socks or whatever should not be a deal-breaker. and i know for some people it would be a deal breaker, so for them i say..don''t be so particular about stuff! and i tell greg this all the time. effort has to come from both sides, one side is not wrong and the other right or vice versa. people just ARE who they ARE.
 

phoenixgirl

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It's interesting that no one has chimed in and said that both partners in the marriage are neat-freaks or slobs. I think that to have one neater and messier person makes sense, whether you want to call it yin and yang, opposites attract, etc. According to the Myers Briggs test I'm an INTJ, and I've always been attracted to ENFP's, who are spontaneous and always moving from thing to thing . . . obviously not the type to enjoy taking care of little details or planning ahead.

So couples tend to have one organized, structured person and one go with the flow, live in the moment person.

But as others have said, spouses will learn to accomodate each other. I bought our condo and moved in first . . . so I was already doing all the cooking (well ok, I don't really cook much) and cleaning and bill paying. When DH moved in, I just kept doing what I was doing until I began to feel it wasn't fair and get resentful. So we had some talks and some spats and have shifted a good number of responsibilities onto my husband's shoulders.

Our condo is 681 sq. feet, so it's going to be cluttered no matter what. I had to get on DH several times about his tendency to just pile things here or there instead of putting them away. But now he's pretty good about it. My next goal is to get him to help clean the house even when I'm not stressed out. He'll do it, but only if I freak out a little first. We've already gotten to the point where he'll start cleaning if he thinks I'm going to freak out, so I guess that's an improvement. Last Sunday he came home from golfing and I sheepishly announced that I hadn't graded an essays yet. I was just confessing to my laziness, but he thought I was saying, "Aaaah! I have too much to do and you've been playing golf all day and left me here to do everything myself!" so he started running around like Speedy Gonzalez putting things away.

When it's the summer and I'm off from teaching I'll do more of the work around the house, and if I stop working when we have children I'll do the same (or hire some help), but when we're both working full time I think we both need to pitch in.

The thing that was the hardest was to teach DH the difference between "cleaning" and "straightening." He just couldn't get it. He thought straightening up WAS cleaning. So now he "cleans" (puts things away) and then I "clean" (scrub and wipe).

What's weird is that while I am not a neat freak (I can barely be bothered to clean once a week, and often just use a swiffer pad or lysol wipe as a quick fix), my parents and two siblings think I am. None of them have the neat gene. We had a weekly cleaning person when I was growing up, but now that my mom is doing it all on her own, my parents' house can get a little gross (things are put away but the sinks and refrigerator and toilets can get overlooked). I told my mom about when I removed everything from the refrigerator for a thorough cleaning, and she seemed surprised that anyone would do this (and they bought the refrigerator in 1992 . . . ew).
 

ladykemma

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Date: 12/3/2006 1:35:15 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
It's interesting that no one has chimed in and said that both partners in the marriage are neat-freaks or slobs. I think that to have one neater and messier person makes sense, whether you want to call it yin and yang, opposites attract, etc. According to the Myers Briggs test I'm an INTJ, and I've always been attracted to ENFP's, who are spontaneous and always moving from thing to thing . . . obviously not the type to enjoy taking care of little details or planning ahead.

So couples tend to have one organized, structured person and one go with the flow, live in the moment person.
this is how we are, and we seem to take turns being the messy or the cleanie

part of the problem is we both have hobbies that involve a lot of "stuff". members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, historical reeanctors, we have tents and poles, and pots and cajun cookers, lathes and table saws, fabric and sewing machines, etc.

out of total desperation I put all the tentage, poles, camping equipment, cooking equipment, and stuff that gets used once or twice a year into a storage unit.

right now all the cooking stuff is out becuase i am cooking Yule Revel feast for 175 people. Doesn't everyone have 4 roaster ovens and 6 crock pots?


this morning i was cooking 50 lbs of beef for stroganoff and beef blood leaked out of the sams packaging and all in the nooks and crannies of the fridge. ya mean people don't clean thier fridge? gross! my clean freak hubby heard me cussing and took the fridge apart and cleaned it while i made the stroganoff. I would have left it for the housekeeper tomorrow. that is how we are different.
 

goldenstar

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Date: 12/3/2006 11:30:10 AM
Author: ladykemma
a professional, thorough housekeeper is the best ulcer and divorce prevention.


we have one who even does our laundry. we pay her twice the going rate. she spends an 8 hour day in our house on mondays.


a housekeeper can''t deal with clutter, though, all they do is dust your piles.


is the problem clutter or dirt? too much stuff?
I AGREE!!! My uncle once told me "the secret to a happy marriage is a good housekeeper". I think thats funny but so true. I''ll definitely have a monthly or bimonthly cleaner when I''m married.
 

KimberlyH

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My husband and I are both cluttery (he moreso than I) but we both are big on cleanliness. He owns his own business and I am a full time student so we each have a home office that can be as we so choose (his is MUCH more chaotic than mine, piles everywhere) but the general living areas of the house are kept clean by both of us. He''s vacuuming right now as a matter of fact. He cleans on a schedule, every Sunday, I do housework throughout the week such as wiping down counters etc. He loves his newspapers (he reads two every morning) and they make me nuts that they are strewn across countertops, the couch and the coffee tabe, I leave water bottles everywhere,he wants to pull his hair out; but in the big scheme of things it really doesn''t matter so we just let it go. I can''t recall anything I''ve attempted to "mold" him to do or be, we just compromise and determined at the beginning of our cohabitation that in the big scheme certain things are just not worth an argument or frustration (newspapers for me, water bottles for him).
 

Wink

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Date: 12/3/2006 11:44:04 AM
Author: hlmr

Date: 12/3/2006 11:09:31 AM
Author:Independent Gal

Married ladies, in your wisdom, in your experience, I ask you: can a boy be housetrained?


No.
I second that, especially if you try to start the renovation AFTER you are married.

Either love him as he is, or find a new one. We HATE being fixed.

I have been happily married for more than thrity years, but it took a few serious conversations BEFORE we were married to agree to agree that I am NOT a neatnik and never was nor never will be.

I have changed many things over the years to make the marriage better and stronger, as has my lovely wife, but changing the core of who we were/are is not something I recommend for any relationship that you want to last.

Wink
 

Allisonfaye

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My dad once told me when you are married, take something you dislike about your partner and multiply it times 10 and that is what it is like to be married. I have been married four years now and I think it is kinda true. So the key is, to find someone who doesn''t have anything that bugs you sooo much now that when you are married, it will be 10 times worse.

Personally, I think as we age, we get MORE like our innate personalities (in his case, slob) not less. Since you aren''t even in a relationship yet, it seems kind of silly to try to change him (to me). I have also found that guys can be really sweet about accommodating you when you are dating, but once you are married, they kind of relax a bit.
 

strmrdr

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Date: 12/3/2006 5:58:16 PM
Author: Wink


Date: 12/3/2006 11:44:04 AM
Author: hlmr



Date: 12/3/2006 11:09:31 AM
Author:Independent Gal

Married ladies, in your wisdom, in your experience, I ask you: can a boy be housetrained?


No.
I second that, especially if you try to start the renovation AFTER you are married.

Either love him as he is, or find a new one. We HATE being fixed.

I have been happily married for more than thrity years, but it took a few serious conversations BEFORE we were married to agree to agree that I am NOT a neatnik and never was nor never will be.

I have changed many things over the years to make the marriage better and stronger, as has my lovely wife, but changing the core of who we were/are is not something I recommend for any relationship that you want to last.

Wink
an Amen from another not a neatnik.
I hate doing dishes, wifey2b and I cut a deal Ill cook often and she will do the dishes.
 

wifey2b

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Date: 12/3/2006 8:30:34 PM
Author: strmrdr

Date: 12/3/2006 5:58:16 PM
Author: Wink



Date: 12/3/2006 11:44:04 AM
Author: hlmr




Date: 12/3/2006 11:09:31 AM
Author:Independent Gal

Married ladies, in your wisdom, in your experience, I ask you: can a boy be housetrained?


No.
I second that, especially if you try to start the renovation AFTER you are married.

Either love him as he is, or find a new one. We HATE being fixed.

I have been happily married for more than thrity years, but it took a few serious conversations BEFORE we were married to agree to agree that I am NOT a neatnik and never was nor never will be.

I have changed many things over the years to make the marriage better and stronger, as has my lovely wife, but changing the core of who we were/are is not something I recommend for any relationship that you want to last.

Wink
an Amen from another not a neatnik.
I hate doing dishes, wifey2b and I cut a deal Ill cook often and she will do the dishes.
Yes Dear
I wifey2b, do take u Strm, to love have and to hold and to pick up after, in sickness and in health, without cranking, as long as we both shall live
And now I run before any of the other brides2b try to kill me for that - giggle
 

mtrb

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I think you just really need to have a heart to heart, and just stay on top of him. Perhaps you can develop a schedule or something each week. If the problem is dishes.. start by having him agree to put them in the sink or washer. Actually washing them can come later....baby steps.. all good things can come in time.
 

strmrdr

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*tosses smithy and some speed loaders to wifey2b* just in case ya need it to hold off the pack :}
Love you 2 babe :}
 

wifey2b

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Date: 12/3/2006 8:48:31 PM
Author: strmrdr
*tosses smithy and some speed loaders to wifey2b* just in case ya need it to hold off the pack :}
Love you 2 babe :}
maybe u should warn them if I have this
They deserve a fair warning giggle
I love you too sweetheart :}
 

Kaleigh

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I''m still trying to train him and have been married 20 years now. Guess it''s time for me to give up huh??? LOL!!!!
 

Dee*Jay

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My happy hubby and I divide the chores in a way that makes our life manageable. He does all the grocery shopping, cooking and kitchen type cleaning (dishes, etc.). I do laundry. Hmmm, now that I type it all out, it doesn''t seem so fair. Don''t let him see this thread...

Oh wait, I also make all the travel arrangements, buy, wrap and ship all the Christmas gifts and get the cards sent out, and I do have two full time jobs. Does that make it even?!?

But back to the original thread. You probably *can* train a messy man--to some degree. But make sure it''s worth it. For instance, my own HH can get his clothes on the floor BESIDE the hamper but not actually in the hamper. You know what--who cares? So once a day I bend down one extra time and put his clothes in the basket. Such is life.

My point here is make sure you focus on the important things. If there is something that is JUST GOING TO KILL YOU, well then work on it with him, but if there are things that just make you a little bit crazy, well, maybe just accept them and move on.

BTW, have you ever asked him if there''s anything you do that makes him nutso? It might be an enlightening conversation to have. (I personally am afraid to ask my own happy hubby, so I live in blissful ignorance!
)
 

Christa

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Date: 12/3/2006 5:58:16 PM
Author: Wink

Either love him as he is, or find a new one. We HATE being fixed.

Wink
This would be my advice, too. I also second Alison''s observation about things multiplying after marriage--things that seem "cute" when you''re dating can be seriously crazy-making after a few years. You have to decide--realistically--if this guy''s quirks are something you can live with. After all, that''s what dating is for.
 

Beacon

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IG, this is treacherous territory.

This guy is trying hard to impress you at this stage of your dating life. If he is a mess now, things are not looking good for an improvement down the road. He doesn''t seem to mind or notice the mess around him. Hmmm. This may extend to other areas of life, like personal hygiene, getting the taxes done, managing physical condition, etc. I think it pays to be realistic.

I am not big into the "retraining" idea. It reminds me of the old joke: When a woman marrys a man, she hopes he''ll change. When a man marrys a woman he hopes she''ll never change. In the end, she does and he doesn''t!


I would say date him some, show him your really neat home, don''t say anything about it. See if he "notices" anything different between your place and his. If he doesn''t pick up on it, have a frank discussion about your feelings. He probably will be shocked that you think he is messy. But if he doesn''t want to improve it on his own, I say, live with it or let him go.

I think people can and do influence each other. But I don''t like the idea of the slavedriver wife, who has to push the guy 24/7 over stuff. That can really go bad after a while.

If he is a young guy, all that messy stuff can be kind of cute, but give it time and, oh boy, not a pretty site!
 

Independent Gal

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Thank you all for sharing your experiences, insight, and advice. This forum is truly special, so many kind helpful people!

I would never want to be a nag or to make my partner feel that I didn''t love him for who he is, but I know I would make sacrifices adn adjust my habits to make him happy, and I think within reason one can ask the same of one''s partner.
I think if I do indeed decide to ''go steady'' with this man:

- I''ll suggest we have a talk at some point about how we''d manage this.
- I think having our own offices where we could be as messy as we like would be a step,
- and then making my expectations REASONABLE and CLEAR for common areas, focussing on the things that really kill me.
- Plus some of MTRB''s "incentives" for good behaviour,

- and my committing to work on things that might drive HIM crazy.
- plus hiring someone to clean

And who knows? But I''d have to think carefully about it, and maybe live with him before marriage.

It occured to me that part of the reason i''m so tidy is that my ex went beyond neatfreak - his place was always spotless... he would even straighten the tassles on his rugs... I mean daily, not just when he was vacuuming. It took some concentration, but it wasn''t so hard for me to adjust my ways when we first started dating to keep him happy, and it made ME happy to do so. Mind you, he never ASKED me to, I just did it. And i think he loved me more for it! So let that be a lesson to me? If only!



 

JCJD

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
1,977
The psychology major in me is coming out here: Yes, he can be changed, but only if he wants to change.



OT but cute joke a psych prof told us once -

Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.
 
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