May 2012 Weddings
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Because I trust you ladies...

My FI and I bought a house in November, and have never lived together before. I am very much a type A personality ( like things in order, like having control, the queen of lists/agendas.....etc) and hes a lot more laid back, which usually works well for us, he keeps me grounded. However, we have recently started having petty fights about what clean means. His previous experience of cleaning was being a bachlor with a roommate who thought things were clean if there wasnt hockey gear in the kitchen, and growing up he never did chores (except make his bed) because they had a cleaning lady come in. He does try and clean, but it frusterates me to no end when he says hes going to clean something, and I come home later and yeah..theres no clothes on the floor, but theres sticky stuff on the counters or the blanket is thrown at one end of the couch and get annoyed because I still have to clean. Anyone else have any experience I can benefit from? I have thought of making lists about what I consider clean so at least he knows whats expected, but I am worried that this is belittling and treating him like a child...anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Because I trust you ladies...

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    I've lived with my FI for about two years now. It gets better but takes time. Once I accused him of doing a bad job cleaning so I wouldn't let him do it anymore. I'm a little OCD and had to realize that if I want the floor swept, dry swiffered and moped, he's not going to do that, but he was willing to learn to either sweep or dry swiffer before he mops so I don't come home to muddy floors. He also hates that I leave the blow-dry on the dresser all of the time but tries to understand that I leave it there because I'm busy getting ready for work and I try to put it away before he gets home at night.

    Talk about the things that bother both of you (not in a mean way) and come up with things that both of you will try to do to make living together better for the other. Maybe decide that once a week, maybe Sunday night, you'll each say one thing you that makes you happy to live together and one thing that bothers you. Then tell the other how you're going to try to improve that one thing this week and do it. It will make you feel good about living together and prevent any discussion of your pet peeves from becoming a full blown fight.

    Good luck!
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    Sounds like something similar that came up in our premarital counseling - our pastor had a good point in that everyone thinks that the way they do things the "right" way (which way to fold a towel, etc), and then when 2 people move in together doing things the way they each consider "right" (but really are different), it can cause problems.  The suggestion was to not let these small things go, because over time the small nagging things "sow seeds of discord" into something more.  The suggestion was also to try and tell the other person how you want it done - because if you don't say anything, they will have no idea it bothers you and no incentive to change, and are going to be totally thrown off guard one day when you get pushed over the edge and all of a sudden are really upset about something they've been doing "wrong" all this time, but had no idea.  Also, how is he going to learn how to do it right if you don't show him?  It might seem "childish", but sometimes you have to go back to the basics because not everyone learns everything they should as a child.

    Our pastor is more laid back, and married to someone who is very Type A, so it sounds like they had similar problems.  For example, one thing she always got flustered about is getting home from work and having dishes in the sink/counter needing to be put in the dishwasher - it didn't bother him that they were there, but for her it was like coming home from work to more work.  He says when he gets home before her he tries to always get all the dishes put away before she gets home, and instead of looking at it like a chore, he looks at it like it is a "gift" to her - meaning he doesn't really care either way, but he does it anyways because he knows it makes her feel better.

    That being said, I might go slow with your FI.  I wouldn't go about it in the way that you are telling him how he is doing it is "wrong", but rather that it really bothers you when the counters aren't clean, etc. and maybe show him how you clean them.  Start with little things, and build upon them.  My FI was pretty messy when I first met him, but after 3.5 years of "training" so to speak, he's really changed.  And the change in your FI probably won't happen overnight either, so I'd be patient with him.  Maybe at this point he just doesn't notice those small things (sticky counters, etc.) but if he gets in the habit of cleaning them he'll realize how nice it is getting into a routine of living in a clean house =]
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    We've lived together for almost three years now and we still have trouble with this. We've gotten exponentially better, but we still have our little arguments here and there.

    What works for us is having "jobs" that each of us do and then things we both do. For example, I hate doing dishes with the fire of 1000 suns. He feels the same way about cleaning the bathroom. So, one of his jobs is keeping the sink clean, doing dishes, and (un)loading the dishwasher. In return, one of my jobs is the bathroom. He also does trash duty on Thursday evenings. I clean our hardwoods, he vacuums the carpets. We both do laundry. Pretty much everything else one of us does when it needs done.

    It is definitely a learning process and one that takes time. Don't expect his definition of clean or even tidy to change in the next day or the next month. Oh, and another thing? We try really, really hard to not get upset when the other person does something "wrong". If it's a big deal, like the time FI put my really nice water bottle on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, we try to calmly explain why we think it's "wrong". If it's something small, like he folded a towel the the "wrong" way, I let it go. However, if it's something that really bothers you, like Aurora said, say something and don't let it fester.
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    A lot of good advice in PP. You may have to try different things to figure out what works for you guys. I wouldn't make a list of what is expected because that means what YOU expect. What if he made you a list of what he expected from a wife? Maybe you could sit down together and make a list that involves both of your expectations, including what kind of house you both want you and your children to live in. That is what worked for us. My FI grew up in a very clean house where everyone pitched in, so that wasn't really the issue, but I think most (though not all) guys have a different idea of what is acceptable to them vs you. 

    And then beyond that, some of it is learning to let the little things go. For example, we both take turns folding all of the laundry and the way he folds kind of drives me crazy, so at first I kept trying to "fix" him.. until I realized it just doesn't matter. The laundry is getting folded either way, so who cares? 
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    Thanks ladies,  
      You have given me hope. I appriciate that he is trying, and thats why I didnt want to really bring it up too much, but it just seems like lately its become a bigger source of frusteration and your advice and support is priceless to me even just knowing others have delt with this and are still together!!! I think part of it is just me being stressed so when I feel like I have to do more at home that was supposed to have been cleaned after I've already poured all my energy into school/wedding, caring for my nephew...But you have given some good bits of advice that I will definatly keep in mind and practice.

    I really like this idea, it seems like common sence when you read it, but I honestly hadn't thought about doing something like that

    "Maybe decide that once a week, maybe Sunday night, you'll each say one thing you that makes you happy to live together and one thing that bothers you. Then tell the other how you're going to try to improve that one thing this week and do it"

    Thanks Leeann and all you other wonderful ladies!

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    FI and I are the same situation. Finally we figured out there are certain things he can clean and then certain things I clean. He's allowed to unload the dishwasher and fold the clothes. Little stuff like that. As he sees how I do things eventually it rubs off on him and he will start doing it my way. It just takes time to work with them.
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    S0095042S0095042 member
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    edited February 2012
    Ha! This is us!!! I'm a list person...he's a "leave it where ever" person...we've now been living together for 4 years. It'll get better. The longer you live together the more you will learn that balance. For instance, we have "his" and "her" and "our" chores. His chores are like taking out the trash & dishes...things that he can't really goof on. Mine are cooking, sweeping the kitchen floor, etc. Then "we" vacuum, dust, etc...typically together anyhow -- but this too works itself out. Your standards will loosen a bit and he will start revising his idea of "clean".

    Our biggest struggle is the FI leaving empty water bottles and his socks around the house...this dives me nuts! lol. I've started chucking the empty bottles at him when I find one...it's all in good fun as I'm not mad and they are empty...but he gets my point! lol. I've given up on his socks...I just put those in the hamper. lol.

    REMEMBER, YOU HAVE TO PICK YOUR BATTLES...you don't want to become a nagging wife b/c then he'll start tuning you out completly. :) although I must admit, I have nagged a bit before! :)
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    When FI and I moved in 2.5 years ago we fought a lot. It's a huge adjustment when you begin living with your S/O because you both come from completely different backgrounds and have different ideas of what clean means. I am OCD about cleaning and have a system that I did and when FI cleaned, it wasn't "amanda clean." It would drive me crazy when he would miss spots cleaning or fold things the wrong way. We had a conversation about what clean is (I have lots of allergies to dust, etc. so I need it clean clean) because he would miss spots and wouldn't realize. In the beginning I was pissed that he didn't clean and fold clothes like me, but overtime I began to appreciate the fact that he does clean and fold the clothes and that I need to be less of a control freak. 

    I would suggest having a system of who does what and when it needs to be done by. That way you both agree to do what needs to be done and it's clear whose "job" it is.
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