Dealing with a SLOB partner

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
4765 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I don’t think rewarding/punishing with sex is a good idea, but that’s a whole different situation. He needs to at least put in some effort and be sanitary, but beyond that I’d say if you’re a neat freak, then you should clean. You can’t change him into someone who likes things very clean, but he does need to be respectful. Give him some concrete ways to do this: clothes must go in the hamper by the time we go to bed, trash needs to go in the trash can before you leave the room, please clean off the passenger side of your car when I’m going to ride in it, etc. 

Post # 4
5222 posts
Bee Keeper

@freshflowers:  I feel your pain, I really do. Being the “neater” one in the relationship is never easy– but for your own sanity, you’re going to have to lighten up.  The best thing to do is sit down an rationally (not withholding sex or making deals), but really and truly talk about the type of home you want to have and how you both plan to make that happen.

Right now you’re just the “nagging neat freak” in his mind, flip that coin and really get to the bottom of why he does what he does. Does he do it because he knows you’ll pick it up? Does he do it because when he was growing up, that is how his house looked and it never bothered anyone? If that’s the case, come up with a gameplan together on how you’re both going to help out around the house (for him) and ease off of the nagging (for you)

It won’t change overnight. It took a lifetime to develop the habits, so it will take some time to correct them, but I think it needs to start with a sit down, turn off the cell phone and tv conversation where you discuss it as a mutual goal and not a “you’re a filthy animal” session!

Post # 5
2851 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I struggle with this too. I am always cleaning up after him, doing his laundry, making sure he has what he needs. He doesn’t worry about that stuff. It pisses me off but just like he can’t force you to be messier, you can’t force him to be cleaner.

Post # 6
5162 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I have spent years of living with differnt roommates and cleaning habits are typically the #1 cause for conflict if you two don’t have similar styles.  Here are things that seem to work for roommies:

1) Hire a cleaner.  Make it neighter of your problem.  

2) If you think something needs cleaning, you clean it.  The reality is that your gonig to be nagging a LOT since he doesn’t have the same standards as you.  You could just take on the cleaning in the household, and hopefully trade that off against some other chore that he’s responsible for.

I agree with you that it’s important that your DH learns to SEE his mess and at least not leave a trail of disaster in his wake.  Maybe you could institue a 10 minute tidy up each night that you two do together, where you quickly go through the house and pick up items that are out of place and throw them away/put them away.

Post # 7
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Sex shouldn’t be used as punishment, ever – and that’s all I’ll say about that since it isn’t of topic.

I totally understand where you are coming from. My fi is a horrible slob. He’ll take a shower, come in the room, drop the towel on the floor and leave it there. He doesn’t drop wrappers directly on the floor, but he’ll leave them on his desk/counter/wherever and eventually when there’s so many they’ll hit the floor.

I’m not a neat freak, but I like things clean. It’s not to say that I LIKE cleaning, I actually hate it. But when I clean something, it’s freaking sparkling, and I keep it that way.

He calls his habits “nesting”. Where he sits in one place for hours and surrounds himself with whatever he is eating/doing.

There isn’t really anything you can do to make him want to change, he is who he is.

There are 2 things that have worked well for me and fi :

1 is that we take an hour everyday and do a “speed clean”, we put on some music, dance around and clean up/do dishes/vacuum. When the timer is up, we do other things.

2. Once a week we do all the big stuff.. scrubbing floors, doing laundry, wiping down tables/electronics what not.

We always do everything as a team. It does bum me out sometimes that he creates such a mess, and my house was so much cleaner before we got together – but I can honestly say that I’ve never dated an extremely neat man, so this is only slightly worse than I’ve dealth with before.

I hope you find something that works for the both of you!

Post # 8
9037 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Hmmmm.  A better tactic would be to use sex as a reward.  It’s been said that what you pay attention to increases and what you ignore decreases. 

Start praising him and offering sexual favors every single time he does even one tiny thing in the cleanliness direction.     That’s all I got.

FWIW, that would drive me insane, too.  It would have been a dealbreaker from day one for me, probably.

Post # 9
759 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Oh, I am so with you. My DH is a lot of great things but he is a SLOB and would be a hoarder if left to his own devices. It was literally almost a relationship ender because I am a total neat freak, germ a phobe. As in even though I work full time, have two kids and am eight months preggers my house is always clean and tidy because my environment is very important to me.  If things are messy or dirty, it throws off my systems and I start losing things and getting aggravated. What saved us are systems of organization. I think up the system, set it up and demonstrate it to him and he uses it. At first he thought it was totally stupid but as he lost less things and started to get organized he began to like it.  He will even ask me to set up organization systems for other things now. For example, in our mud room when he first walks in the door there is a shoe cabinet just for his shoes and on top of it is a valet with compartments for his keys, work badge, cell phone charger to plug in his cell phone, change bin and a coat rack with hooks (hangers didn’t work so well for him). His closet is bigger than mine but I figured out that he needs the extra room to stay organized so I grouped similar items together in a top down system of getting dressed so everything is visible, intuitive and organized.  Suits together, then jackets, dress shirts, pants on hangers, jeans folded stacked together, etc. He just has to maintain it. And lastly, he has spaces that are “his” that are complete chaos that I just shut the door on them and bite my tongue and resist the strong urge to go in there and organize it. I think it helps that he does have some space to be messy – his man cave for entertaining in the basement, his home office and the tool room.  Just shut the door and don’t go in unless you have to. Compromise is key although very, very hard for me sometimes! I hope that helps. Best wishes!

Post # 10
42166 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

In general, men who don’t cool, clean, do laundry, help with housework etc behave that way because they can.

They know that you are going to come to the rescue. If you want them to man up, stop doing these things for them.

When my first husband and I started married life (we didn’t live together first) I noticed that he started dumping his dirty clothes on the floor at the foot of the bed. I just left them there. When the pile was several feet high, he asked me when I was going to do laundry as he was almost out of shirts, socks and underwear.  I answered that I had been doing laundry all along, but there weren’t any of his clothes in the hamper. He changed his behavior because he knew I was seriuous about not picking up after him.

Living with a slob would be a deal breaker for me. Either he needs to change, you need to lower your standards, or by default you choose to be the maid/housekeeper in the relationship

Post # 11
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@cbgg:  +1 Totally agree – I was going to suggest the exact two same things! Hire a cleaning company to come in if you can afford it (they usually will work with you – weekly, every other week, monthly, etc.). Also, it may not work for everything and I agree that your SO should be cognizant of the fact that he’s making a mess and it bothers you, so he should try to clean up after himself. However, I’ve known many people who have implemented the rule that if it’s driving you crazy, then you should take care of it. That said, I do think your SO should be making an effort to help out and following through, even if they’re baby steps! It definitely isn’t fair to expect that you’ll clean up all of his messes.

Post # 12
1080 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@freshflowers:  Be like Lucy Ricardo. Divide the house in half. He can be as messy as he wants on his side and you can keep yours as clean as you’d like. Once he realizes the bathroom is in your half of the house then maybe he will clean up after himself.

Source: I Love Lucy Show: Episode named “Men are Messy”

Post # 13
2111 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

@freshflowers:  I’m the opposite. FIs very neat and my standards are much lower. There are things that I feel HAVE to be clean, though, Kitchen and bathroom. So I clean those and FI cleans bed and living room. That’s our compromise. Find something that’s his chore and you have yours.

Post # 14
2670 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

Does he have some kind of trash receptacle in his car? Maybe giving him one would help. If he had a small bin to put the trash into, at least you could just move it from the passenger floor/seat easily. Ditto inside the house. Analyze WHERE he’s dropping stuff, buy a couple of additional trash containters, and put them in the drop zones.

Post # 15
1013 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@freshflowers:  I’m not sure what you can do, other than keep gently reminding him of when he leaves a mess behind, like, right when he does it, so he realizes what he is doing.


I think the best suggestions for you are to, as the neat freak,  take care of cleaning (and of course, ask him to pick up his wrappers, whatever, as needed). Set a calender alarm for 2-4x a month and ask him to tidy up his car, or refuse to ride in it.


Trade off the cleaning chores for other ones that you don’t like. For example, mowing, gardening, “going to the dump”, taking out trash, whatever.


I am not a complete slob, but I am a person who “doesn’t see” messiness unless I’m in “cleaning mode”. I can easily ignore a messy house if I’m the only one there. I often will finish off a box of cereal or something, and just leave it and immediately forget about because my mind is already on the next thing I need/want to do. DH will come home later and go, “did you really leave this empty box sit out all day for no reason?” and I will go, “oh yeah, I meant to toss that out! Sorry!”

Post # 16
331 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Excalibur

 At least you can sit on a little trash in DH’s car…I have to drive everywhere bc Fi’s car looks like a hoarder  lives in it.  It’s gross.  He takes care of nothing and doesn’t care. I bought a new construction home and three months later stilk leaks oil in my driveway  even though I tell him everyday he can’t park  there.  There are numerous dents, scratches, etc in New drywall and paint bc he’s never owned anything  and couldn’t care to take care of anything.  

My FI  is so delusional  that he actually thinks he cleans and helps out.  lol.  He will tell me how he is cleaning the dishes and then when I come home… an hour later,  they aren’t done!  Then he thinks I’m the crazy one bc  he worked so hard!  Lol.  Last  week after I told him to stop wearing his dirty, snowy shoes on the dark floor… what does he do the next day? arg! So  he says he’ll clean it tomorrow when he gets home…ok, I  come  home to dirty footprints again!  However,  he tells me he cleaned the floor but it still looks like that. omg,  men are so frustrating! I  can’t help  you because no matter what I do, I  can’t get my fi to pick up after himself! I  clean the whole house every sat or  Sun… when he gets home on  Sun,  he’s already f’d  the house up!  We’ve even gone to therapy and all the bs  he said he would do,  he doesn’t. Im not a maid and I sure never wanted to be anyone’s mother!

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