Post # 31
It sounds like you’re starting to resent him for his messiness, and that’s just not going to cut it. Make a strict chore list and stick to it. You’re not ok with his messiness, but at the same time he doesn’t mind, and it’s not the end of the world (unless there’s a bug problem or mold or something). Therefore, you need to compromise.
I agree that he has a lot of room for improvement. At the same time, it was not fair for you to call him in to wipe up some butter. From now on, if one of you is cleaning a shared space, you need to clean all of it. He can turn off your light, you can clean his dishes. If one of you cooks, the other cleans.
Since he doesn’t mind trash on his side table, I think you are going to have to just accept it. Don’t get mad about it, don’t resent him for it. And when you are both calm, describe how messes affect you. How it’s stressful, how you need help cleaning up for your sanity, etc. Maybe the two of you can make a rule about spending 30 minutes every Saturday morning just tidying up. You both do it together. And maybe you can hire a maid to come every couple weeks.
Post # 32
It may be hard not to resort to pettyness, but it’s still petty. I would be furious with DH if he was cleaning the kitchen after I’d cooked (not that we do that, we take it in turns to do both since he cleans while he cooks while I’m a messy cook), and asked me to get up and come into the room to do a 2 second wipe. Another example, one of DH’s jobs is to clean the bathroom which he does weekly. I do my makeup in the bathroom so by the end of the week there may be a smudge of makeup on the basin somewhere, or one of my hairs lying around etc. If he called me in to clean that bit up, I’d probably act the same way OP’s husband has.
There are clearly bigger issues here that OP needs to address however this particular example is a poor example.
Post # 33
But in your example your husband cleans up after you at times and you clean up after him. As she mentioned in the OP–he never is the one doing any cleaning up for the both of them, ever. He tried to list it off and couldn’t do it. Which leads me to believe he never cleans the kitchen, or the bathroom, or any common area for that matter.
But yeah, totally agree in general this relationship is highly dysfunctional. If he could follow a chore list that would help them a lot, since then it’d be just like your example with your husband–she can happily clean up his stuff cus she know he’ll put in effort elsewhere or at another time. Just from the sounds of it.. he has no interest in putting in the effort to actually help. I’m having a hard time believing he’d stick to a chore list. He does seem to have plenty of effort to be spiteful towards her though, which is awesomesauce.
Post # 34
I took it that he does clean (or at least do chores) – as he said [if she was going to be like that] he will only wash his dishes and clean his clothes,
and it seems he was the one cooking dinner for them? My understanding for him not being able to list off a time he cleans up after OP, it was times that she had made a mess as oppose to unavoidable cleaning. (ie. putting clothes back in the washing basket rather than vacuuming, dusting, washing clothes etc)
That is true about whether he would actually stick to a chore list. It depends on his mindset. My DH preferred the chorelist because I didn’t want to ask him to do stuff like a parent, but I wanted him to contribute to cleaning, and he just wouldn’t identify a spot to clean before I did. We used to fight heaps about chores, but the chorelist fixed that because fundamentally he did want to help and just works better on having a to do list. He checks it all off and then goes back to whatever he wanted to do.
If OP’s DH has a mentaility that chores are womens work or that OP should be doing more than her fair share, then that’s a bigger problem that can’t be fixed with a list. I’d say counselling would be necessary, or he can pay for a cleaner.
Post # 35
He is being a dramatic baby and you were absolutely being passive aggressive by “jokingly” pointing out the messes he made that you refused to clean up. I, like you, knew I was marrying a slob. I went into it with my eyes wide open. I could go on for DAYS about the messes he leaves. Four words. Maggots in his truck. Need I say more? This is when we were dating before I had more control over the situation. Lol
He has diagnosed adult ADHD and is taking medication, but I swear to God he does not see the messes he makes. Like it doesn’t even cross his mind if he’s strewn cheese all over the counter or dripped food on the stovetop while making his plate. Literally does not see it. So I clean it up…or honestly…make his plate for him. It’s what I knew I’d have to do. And if I wanna gripe about it, I tell him he’s messy and he sucks for whatever reason, and move on. I don’t “playfully” point it out and pretend to be funny. That seriously would piss him off. Passive aggressive BS doesn’t fly around here. I do ALL the cleaning. He grills on occasion, but I cook 99% of the meals, clean up even when he does cook, take the trash out, do laundry and dishes, scrub toilets etc. It works for us, but obviously doesn’t for others.
If it’s that big of a deal, delegate some chores. Work out a routine that works for you guys and hopefully it resolves the messiness dilemma. The communication between y’all is a whole other issue altogether IMO.
Post # 36
If he stomped and pouted and said “FINE! I’ll ONLY clean up after myself from now on!!! Wah wah! Boo hoo!” I’d say “GOOD START WITH THIS CHEESE AND BUTTER!!!”
Post # 37
We’ve gotten to this equilibrium too. It drives me crazy that he doesn’t see the crumbs on the counter after he makes toast (you have to wipe it every time, husband!) but he tells me that he thought he had cleaned up, and is always so earnest about it.
We fought about cleaning a lot when we first moved in together and have both compromised, although I’d say he’s come closer to me than i have to him, crumbs notwithstanding. We also hired a cleaner to come in once per month for a deep clean and that was an absolute relationship saver. Good luck bee!
Post # 38
Honestly I would just hire a house cleaner. Marital happiness is more valuable to me than constantly bickering about who wipes down a countertop or cleans toothpaste off the bathroom mirror. Your husband is also a grown man and very unlikely to change so you will be fighting an uphill battle.
Post # 39
Petty on both parts, I would’ve just cleaned up the cheese and butter seeing as though I was cleaning anyway…but in the overall situation I’d be annoyed at his messiness and at his pettiness now. Stay calm and then have a conversation with him about it later.
Post # 40
If you ever ask your Mother-In-Law, please come back and share! I’d be curious to know (and gather new tips).
Something I’ve shared on the boards before is that my son cleans WITH me so he thinks of it as part of our mommy/son bonding time (we do plenty of other things together as well so cleaning is just an aspect of how we connect). I talk to him about caring for our home because it does such a good job of caring for us. Ever since he was an itty bitty guy, he has been responsible for picking up his toys every day (or at night before bed). He knows that if he treats them like trash (breaking them, leaving them all over like they’re unwanted) then they will leave the house permanently. We also go through his stuff together and clear things out once or twice a year. I think a lot of the masses that kids make come from having too much stuff so we regularly go through and get rid of things that are broken or that he doesn’t play with anymore and either trash them or pass them on to his younger cousins or Goodwill.
I’ve noticed that all of those things have started to lay the foundation for good habits AND make it pretty easy to add in new chores as he matures. He’s only 8 so we’ll see how things progress but he actually requested more responsibility a few months ago so if his good habits survive puberty, I’ll consider it a success!
OP- you have a long road ahead of you and your husband may or may not ever actually get on board with maintaining a clean home. A calendar of cleaning rotations may be necessary as well as the two of you having time where you actually clean together so he can learn how to do things he should have learned in his home growing up. (I do think sending him back to the person who broke him in the first place should always be an option).
I think you should also find as many articles and other resources as possible to share with him (like some of the ones about emotional labor). Otherwise, if you are planning to have children and he is still behaving like this, you are either going to end up miserable or divorced.