Wedding Woes

Depression or 4 men in the world?

Dear Prudence, 
My partner and I have been together for about two years now. In many ways, he’s everything I’ve ever wanted. He’s respectful, kind, artistic, and has a great sense of humor. About six months ago, we moved in together, and I’ve realized he’s lazy and irresponsible when it comes to household management. For the first few months, I did 90 percent of the housework. He had recently experienced an unexpected family loss, so I chalked it up to grief. However, things didn’t improve. I ended up making a chore chart to divvy up responsibilities, but I still find myself reminding him three or four times to do a task. And this isn’t minor stuff either. He sleeps in until 4 p.m. on the weekends (not due to staying up late), and often is late to work from oversleeping or misses work entirely. I worry that his forgiving employer will one day fire him on the spot, so I’m constantly urging him to get up and go to work. He is irresponsible with finances, purchasing parts and equipment for projects he never starts.

I’m tired of being his mother. In terms of chores, I either have to nag him incessantly or give in and do things myself. I don’t want to nag and intervene, but I feel compelled to since I care about him and want him to do well in life. I’ve tried talking with him about these things, and he genuinely seems to want to do better but says that disorganization and prioritization have always been issues for him. He says that his “brain doesn’t work” like mine does. If this is the case, I want to be sympathetic, but I still think he should seek help. His employer offers free therapy, and I’ve encouraged him to take advantage of that, since his problems are affecting his ability to achieve his own goals and not just my desire for a clean house. I really want things to work between us, since he’s so wonderful in other ways, but I’m tired of my efforts being unreciprocated. I don’t want to break up with the man I’m in love with over dirty dishes and an upswept floor.

My mom says that I should just deal with the chores myself, since I am the one with higher living standards. My friends say that I shouldn’t worry about his life being in disarray, since it’s his life to live and his mistakes to make. Are my concerns valid? Is this enough of a reason to break up with someone? I feel guilty since I advocated for the move, and I think our relationship would still be just fine if we hadn’t started living together. Furthermore, a breakup at this point would leave one of us without housing. Should I wait until the lease is almost up? Although I’ve brought up my frustrations numerous times, I don’t think he realizes how deeply this matters to me, and I think a breakup would catch him seriously off guard. I don’t want us to end up that way, but I’m running out of strategies and patience.
—Don’t Want to Be a Nag

Re: Depression or 4 men in the world?

  • Set up couples counseling ASAP.  Make sure he knows how serious this is.  Don't stay in a relationship because of a lease.  Ugh.

    charlotte989875short+sassyOliveOilsMomeileenrob
  • Counseling. 100%

    Friends of ours is like this, and I keep saying counseling for them. Figure out personal issues then work as a couple.
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  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country
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    The partner in this letter sounds similar to my husband. He would tell me for years that his brain doesn't work like mine, he'd miss work, he was lazy, etc. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder earlier this year, along with anxiety and it explained a lot of his behavior. It could be that the partner is truly suffering from depression or other mental illness and needs therapy/medication. I agree with PPs that counseling is 100% in order both individually and together. I still struggle with H sometimes because he doesn't seem to care, but I take a step back and realize that some days truly are a struggle for him to simply manage his illness, let alone see that the house is a mess and I could use some help. That being said, these two aren't married and if this is something that doesn't get better with counseling or she simply can't live with it, then she has every right to do what's best for her and leave.
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    charlotte989875short+sassyOliveOilsMom
  • I don't think the LW is being unreasonable.  The LW is being taken advantage of with the household chores and that's b.s.  It's also concerning that this guy is so lackadaisical with his job.

    The letter does beg the question, though.  What was his apartment like before they moved in together?  If it was better than her current concerns, I'd probably be extra pissed, lol.  But if it wasn't.  Well...then...yeah.  What did the LW expect?  She made her bed, so now she has to lie in it (I had to throw in a chore pun, lol).

    Hopefully it can be sorted out with individual/couples counseling.  But, if he won't even go, that should be her first ultimatum.  Or, @cupcait927 made an excellent point, maybe there is a physical/psychological condition that is at play.

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    charlotte989875OliveOilsMom
  • VarunaTT said:
    The point of moving in together is usually to see if compatibility extends into every-day life.  They're 2 years in and the answer is no; it's okay to move on and find someone else that doesn't require work already.  I wouldn't even bother with couples counseling.  
    LW needs to run like the freaking wind!

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  • VarunaTT said:
    The point of moving in together is usually to see if compatibility extends into every-day life.  They're 2 years in and the answer is no; it's okay to move on and find someone else that doesn't require work already.  I wouldn't even bother with couples counseling.  
    YES to the bolded. If they had a lot invested into this relationship (married, kids, combined finances, many years, etc. etc.) then, yea sure. Try counseling. But this is a two-year boyfriend/girlfriend situation in which they just moved in together. Counseling? Really? Nah.

    "I don’t want to break up with the man I’m in love with over dirty dishes and an upswept floor." Honey, you're not. You're breaking up with the man child you love because he is a man child, doesn't pull his weight, won't be able to hold a job long-term, lives like a slob, makes excuses, doesn't work on things that mean a lot to you (even after you address it with him).....this ain't about dishes in the sink. At all.
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