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Advice | Ask Amy: I love moving in with my boyfriend — except he’s so messy


dear amy: I’m moving in with my boyfriend in a few months. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner, and I’m excited to move into the tiny one-bedroom apartment he owns. I’ve spent most nights there since we started dating a year ago.

I have only one concern… he’s incredibly messy. We’re talking piles of laundry everywhere, garbage overflowing, and months of shelf-stable food in the fridge. I am the exact opposite. I like everything neat and tidy. I know I will need the space much, much cleaner to live comfortably.

What is the correct way to handle this? And when is the right time to do that? I am especially aware of the fact that I am moving in with him. Right now, when I spend the nights, I’m still technically his guest.

I’m already cleaning, but feel like I can’t be too critical of the piles of laundry and food scraps right now. I tried to lift it gently. I don’t want him to be put on the defensive, especially in his own home, but something definitely needs to change.

Clean, please!: The best time to handle these living conditions would have been when the two of you were eager to trot and you were on your way to staying the night in his bachelor pad for the first time.

HE: Opens the door to his apartment.

YOU: “No. No no no.”

HE: “What’s up?”

YOU: “I’m not comfortable here.”

Given that this didn’t happen, some blunt honesty on your part would have been well expressed until the fifth time you decided to stay at his apartment. Instead, you’ve chosen to spend your nights there without ever honestly expressing how unacceptable this is (to you), so he has every reason to believe that you’re basically cool with his lifestyle.

And now – you said yes to withdrawing. Further confirmation for him that you are probably on the same wavelength. Do not start living together until you are clear: whose house is it? If you live together, don’t continue to believe that you are a “guest”. And if you are a guest all this time, take a good look around: this is how he welcomes guests into his home.

If things ‘definitely have to change’, you should establish this thoroughly before committing to moving in. This should not be given as an ultimatum, but as a simple truth that you proclaim: ‘I am not willing to live as you live. It’s waaaaay too messy and dirty for me.

He (not you) could make suggestions on how to deal with this (get his affairs in order, hire a cleaner, or maybe even compensate you for cleaning), but until you stop dancing around and address this issue directly – the consequences that ensue from your unwillingness to be honest will be upon you.

dear amy: My husband and I were invited to a friend’s house for a takeout dinner. I asked what to bring and she asked for a bottle of wine and dessert. When we arrived with dessert and two bottles of wine she informed me that she wanted us to pay for our share of the takeaway. We’ve had them for take away before and never expected them to pay.

In the past, when we ate at one of our homes, the person who made the invitation would provide the main course, so I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. We paid them for the food but I am really disgusted that they treated us like this.

When she invited us to dinner she should have told me she wanted us to pay and we could have declined the invitation. I don’t know how to handle this.

Ate: It seems like your friends owe you their share of the wine and dessert you gave them.

You could say this to your friend, but you should mainly use this as a warning the next time they host. I don’t see this as “disgusting” behavior, although it is revealing.

dear amy: Kudos from this reader for your exemplary response to “J in New York‘, the uncle who seemed way too focused on his nephew’s ‘refusal’ to hug him.

Children should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to submit to any form of physical contact.

Satisfying: A large majority of readers supported me. Thank you.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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