Dear Amy: I am moving in with my boyfriend in a few months. He is everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner, and I’m excited to move into the small one-bedroom condo, which he owns.
I’ve been spending most nights there since we started dating a year ago.
I only have one concern … he is incredibly messy.
We’re talking piles of laundry all over the place, trash overflowing, and months-long expired food in the refrigerator.
I’m quite the opposite. I like everything neat and tidy. I know that I’m going to need the space much, much cleaner to comfortably live there.
What’s the right way to address this? And what is the right time to do so?
I’m particularly conscious of the fact that I’m moving into his place. Right now, when I spend the nights, I’m technically still his guest.
I do some cleaning already, but feel like I can’t be too critical at this point about the piles of laundry and leftover food.
I’ve tried to raise it gently. I don’t want him to be put on the defensive, especially in his own home, but things definitely need to change.
— Clean, Please!
Dear Clean, Please!: The best time to address these living conditions would have been when you two were hot to trot and on your way to having sex in his bachelor pad for the first time.
Here’s the screenplay:
HE: Opens the door to his condo.
YOU: “Nope. Nope, nope, nope.”
HE: “What’s wrong?”
YOU: “I don’t feel comfortable here.”
Given that this didn’t happen, some blunt honesty on your part would have been well-expressed up until the fifth time you decided to have sex in his apartment.
Instead, you’ve chosen to continue 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’ve said yes to moving in. Further confirmation for him that you’re probably on the same page.
You should not move in together until you achieve clarity: Whose home will it be? If cohabiting, you should not continue believing that you are a “guest.” And if you have been a guest all this time, take a good look around: This is how he welcomes guests into his home.
If things “definitely need to change,” then you must establish this thoroughly before you commit to moving in.
This should not be delivered as an ultimatum, but as you stating a simple truth: “I’m not willing to live the way you live. It’s waaaaay too messy and dirty for me.”
He (not you) could offer suggestions for how to address this (get his act together, hire a cleaner, or perhaps even compensate you for cleaning), but until you stop dancing around and directly address this issue — the consequences flowing from your reluctance to be honest will be on 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 a dessert.
When we arrived with the dessert and two bottles of wine, she informed me that she wanted us to pay for our part of the takeout.
We have had them over for takeout before and never expected them to pay.
In the past when we had dinner at one of our houses, the person doing the inviting provides 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 for dinner, she should have told me that she wanted us to pay and we could have declined the invitation.
I don’t know how to handle this.
— Dined and Dashed
Dear Dined: It seems as if your friends owe you for their portion of the wine and dessert you provided.
You could mention this to your friend, but mainly you should use this as a heads-up for 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 NY,” the uncle who seemed way too focused on his toddler nephew’s “refusal” to hug him.
Children should be able to decide on their own whether they want to submit to any kind of physical contact.
Dear Grateful: A large majority of readers backed me up. Thank you.
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