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Ask Amy: How do I tell him I can’t live in his squalor?


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 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.

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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.

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