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Boyfriend is a "Almost" Hoarder

I am almost afraid to post this (Please don't yell at me) and I was raised to be neat/clean and put things away, scrub the floor once a week, like most other people are.  I started dating my guy this past April after meeting on a Faith-based site. He is kind, caring, fun to be with, we share a lot of things in common, he accepted me that I was a bit chubby and laid off. I was cautious and we dated for almost a month and half/2 months before he picked me up at my home for a date, then I went to his place and saw the clutter/mess. I already had feelings for him then after only dating a short time and little by little he showed me his home and the ONLY areas that are NOT cluttered is the kitchen and both bathrooms, rest of his home is totally cluttered, basement looks like it has not been touched in 15-20 years and smells like mold and I am scared there is Black mold under the mess.  He was in the Army for 20 years, Vietnam and Kuwait and tells me "Everything is fine" with regards when I ask him if he is down/depressed and maybe go to the VA hospital or talk to me about anything, as we communicate very well. I did tell him when we first started dating "I could not live in your home as it is now" and told him I am uncomfortable in his home with the clutter, and it is not relaxing. I know Hoarding is usually from a Traumatic event, both his parents have passed (2000) and wife died in 2006 and my guy was still in the Army when everyone died, he just came home from Army about a year ago and his grown son whom is 24 doesn't really say anything about his dad's mess...son is another story, he has no job, "Mooches" off his dad who gives him money and stays out till 4-5 AM, and sleeps till 4-5 PM, doesn't grocery shop, clean or mow lawn or do anything else around the home  I think his dad "Enables" him by giving him money but I don't want to get into something that isn't my business, but that ticks me off.

Am I being to picky about the house thing? He is a decent guy and I am lucky he is in my life but I was just raised to be clean, neat, etc.

Re: Boyfriend is a "Almost" Hoarder

  • edited January 2015
    You need to define your version of clutter and mess for me. Parts of your description of neat/clean are not in my description. Scrub the floors once a week? Ha, right! Clutter can mean a pile of paper on a desk or it can mean an entire basement area filled with VHS tapes and 50 years of National Geographics. A mess can mean garbage every wear or a couple days worth of clothes on the floor. A huge difference in the meanings, see?
  • Basement is filled from floor to ceiling with crap/junk, old broken stuff with a small path to walk thru it, same with garage, so stuffed with crap/junk old broken stuff he can't close the door or park his car in it.  Rest of home is the same, bedrooms that are not used are filled with crap/junk that dust so thick from not using the 15-20 year old junk, rooms smell, etc. He added onto the home upstairs about 7 yrs ago while he was gone overseas and that area that should be nice and clean is getting junky, too with lots of junk piling up in a corner, old broken chairs, 20 year old magazines, old broken stuff, dead plants, etc. Outside yard looks like he is starting a junk yard with 6 old/rusty metal things, sink, etc. Hope that is better description. Yup, I do scrub my floors every week.  :)
  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I am almost afraid to post this (Please don't yell at me) and I was raised to be neat/clean and put things away, scrub the floor once a week, like most other people are.  I started dating my guy this past April after meeting on a Faith-based site. He is kind, caring, fun to be with, we share a lot of things in common, he accepted me that I was a bit chubby and laid off. I was cautious and we dated for almost a month and half/2 months before he picked me up at my home for a date, then I went to his place and saw the clutter/mess. I already had feelings for him then after only dating a short time and little by little he showed me his home and the ONLY areas that are NOT cluttered is the kitchen and both bathrooms, rest of his home is totally cluttered, basement looks like it has not been touched in 15-20 years and smells like mold and I am scared there is Black mold under the mess.  He was in the Army for 20 years, Vietnam and Kuwait and tells me "Everything is fine" with regards when I ask him if he is down/depressed and maybe go to the VA hospital or talk to me about anything, as we communicate very well. I did tell him when we first started dating "I could not live in your home as it is now" and told him I am uncomfortable in his home with the clutter, and it is not relaxing. I know Hoarding is usually from a Traumatic event, both his parents have passed (2000) and wife died in 2006 and my guy was still in the Army when everyone died, he just came home from Army about a year ago and his grown son whom is 24 doesn't really say anything about his dad's mess...son is another story, he has no job, "Mooches" off his dad who gives him money and stays out till 4-5 AM, and sleeps till 4-5 PM, doesn't grocery shop, clean or mow lawn or do anything else around the home  I think his dad "Enables" him by giving him money but I don't want to get into something that isn't my business, but that ticks me off.

    Am I being to picky about the house thing? He is a decent guy and I am lucky he is in my life but I was just raised to be clean, neat, etc.

    I don't think you're being picky. While hoarding can be a sign of deeper mental issues, you also need to consider yourself and your own health - both mental and physical. A home like you're describing doesn't sound healthy at all. I know this relationship is still new to you, but it sounds like your SO needs to be involved with a therapist and/or professional organizer if he truly has a problem with hoarding.




  • Basement is filled from floor to ceiling with crap/junk, old broken stuff with a small path to walk thru it, same with garage, so stuffed with crap/junk old broken stuff he can't close the door or park his car in it.  Rest of home is the same, bedrooms that are not used are filled with crap/junk that dust so thick from not using the 15-20 year old junk, rooms smell, etc. He added onto the home upstairs about 7 yrs ago while he was gone overseas and that area that should be nice and clean is getting junky, too with lots of junk piling up in a corner, old broken chairs, 20 year old magazines, old broken stuff, dead plants, etc. Outside yard looks like he is starting a junk yard with 6 old/rusty metal things, sink, etc. Hope that is better description. Yup, I do scrub my floors every week.  :)
    I'm not very neat. I leave my clothes on the floor, and makeup items, etc. all over my dresser. I'm okay with clutter. I am okay with a basement filled with crap (FI's parents have SO MUCH STUFF down there. toys, etc. since his mom sells them and gets TONS of samples.) I have not organized my art stuff... it's all over the place.

     With all that said: What you described above would freak me out. I wouldn't be okay with it. It sounds like my aunt and uncle's house. I have not been there in ... oh a decade because of it. My parents recently visited after that decade hiatus. Still the same. Smells like animals, definitely hoarders. It is sad, and unhealthy.

    Besides the mess, its possible you are right and "your guy" has many other issues that he hasn't fully dealt with (PTSD, grief, etc.) So, basically... how much do you like this person? Because if you plan to be with him long term, you're going to have to take on these issues with him. If you're not prepared for that, end it now. And you need to remember-- there is the possibility that you will try to work on these issues, and you will get major pushback. Sounds like he doesn't want to talk about any of this with you. Maybe he's in denial, maybe he doesn't feel close enough to you yet. And even if you get through the pushback and start to deal with these issues-- they may not ever go away. Things to think about.

    I am NOT saying that mental illness= RUN AWAY! I have dealt with mental illness. It is CERTAINLY possible to live a fairly healthy, thriving life, and to have a happy, productive relationship despite any of those challenges. But... again... things to consider. 
  • Hoarding is often indicative of greater mental health issues, and you may want to consider whether or not you are able to support him while he addresses these issues. Hoarding doesn't just stop overnight, and even with treatment, it is very difficult to change a behavior when its established over time. As @lilacck28 stated above, caring and being there for someone with mental illness is not always the easiest thing to do, at the same time, its not a "deal breaker" for everyone. You should analyze if this aspect of your relationship is a deal breaker, and if you can handle it. This is not a tit for tat situation, just because he accepted you when you were chubby and unemployed does not mean that you are obligated to stand by him while he works out his issues. 
    runsonveggies
  • I wanted to thank everyone who gave me advice. This has been very hard to deal with and just not sure what the future will bring.  I realize that most Hoarders even with Therapy do not change and I know if you love someone you are not supposed to try and change them, but the Health/Safety aspect comes into the picture for me. He is a good man, kind, caring, fun to be with, etc., I think since he/I have dated since last April and this April will be one year, I will give him until then to make some changes. If he is still "In Denial" and refuses to do anything, then it will be time to move on.  Sigh...pass the chocolate, please! :(
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