My husband and I have a recurring argument, every six to eight months.
We’ve divided the main ongoing cleaning tasks like dusting, vacuuming, etc.
Our problem lies in day–to-day tidying up after oneself. I feel that each of us should clean up after any mess we make.
He feels that this is an unreasonable expectation.
Example: putting dirty dishes directly in the dishwasher instead of piling them up; lining his shoes up against the wall instead of leaving them right in the middle of the doormat.
I feel these are very basic courtesies as a part of sharing a living space. He feels I’m trying to control him.
He argues that, "it's not an efficient use of my time to load the dishwasher as I go, because then I have to open the door and close it multiple times, instead of just once.”
Our kitchen’s small, with one counter top. I prepare most of the meals yet must first clean dishes he’s left on the counter and in the sink.
We were both raised in homes where everything was tidied right away. But his mother did almost everything while my family was all expected to help.
He says that he wins, because he doesn't care if our house is messy.
We don't have kids and both work full-time, so I just don't feel it's fair for me to have to clean up after a grown man.
Every few months, my frustration builds up to explosive.
Am I being nitpicky? Are my expectations unrealistic? Given his many other good qualities, should I just pick my battles and let this one go? I know there are MUCH worse problems in the world.
Sometimes it’s the niggling, everyday divides in behaviour and attitude that tears people apart.
So ask yourself, is cleaning up a few dishes too much to bear to keep this marriage running smoothly?
Frankly, his responses are childish, but so are your explosions.
If he’s the man you love and a good partner in other ways, either make some room on the counter or don’t cook if there’s too much clutter.
(Scramble eggs, order in, pop a pizza in the oven, etc.)
Either kick his shoes out of your way or buy a small shoe rack.
If you can’t live with this difference, you have a bigger problem because neither of you knows how, or is willing, to compromise.
Counselling is worth a try, so long as you don’t both go in trying to prove how “right” you are.
You’re both wrong to let this be a huge issue.
I hadn't seen my long-distance boyfriend of one year in almost three months.
He finally returned home, and on the first day he went to see his friends and planned to see me the next day in the evening.
Should I be worried?
You should be talking, not worrying, nor assuming.
Gently discuss whether this long distance relationship is working for both of you.
Say that, for you, finally getting together felt like a big deal. Then ask, What about him?
Better to find out early how he feels or if he had a solid reason for the delay, rather than get all insecure.
Not everyone can handle long-distance. Much depends on whether this has been a mutually agreed long-term commitment.
But if he’s much more casual about it than you are, start dating others again and tell him so.
FEEDBACK Regarding the writer who asked when to tell “dates” about serious illness (December 7):
Reader – “I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 25.
“I, too, didn't know how I’d tell people about my illness.
“I devised a two-date rule - if the first date went well, I’d tell on the second. Most times, it worked out, though I had a few rejections.
“With others, we just didn't have the same priorities.
“Being vulnerable with new people is difficult. Getting social support’s important.
“Support groups are a great way to discuss common problems.
“To the writer: You have lots to offer others. Don't let medical conditions define you.
“Be upfront, take any rejection in stride, and move on.
“I'm 31 now, my wife and I have a two-year-old daughter, and I’m still battling cancer.
“I was upfront about it almost right away when we first started dating four years ago.”
Tip of the day:
If the small problems create a huge divide, there’s a bigger one causing it all.