Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

What a Mess

Allow me to start today’s post with an embarrassing admission – as a person who’s been living alone for years, without a dishwasher, I sometimes leave dirty dishes in my sink overnight. Sometimes for more than one night. OK, frequently for more than a night. I know, gross.

I scrape off the food and rinse them off, as I’m placing them in the sink. But I frequently don’t bother washing them right away. And then I forget about them.

In other words, I’m kinda a slob.

But I live alone and my repulsive behavior doesn’t affect anyone but me. And I’d like to think I’d clean up my act if I was living with a significant other.

Which is where today’s post really starts. Recently I overheard someone talking about the end of a relationship, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the fact that her partner was a slob. Well, he was a slob and despite the fact that she’d asked him repeatedly (for years) to clean up after himself, he didn’t. He continued to do things like leave half-full take-out containers in the living room (for her to trip over and clean up) and dirty pots and pans on the stove (I’m an admitted slob, but I would never do either of those things – ick).

It seems to me that the problem there is not the mess itself, but what the mess symbolizes: selfishness and an unwillingness to listen to a partner’s complaints.

I’d imagine we all do things that are completely selfish and, at first, drive our partners completely batty. live and die by our willingness to listen and compromise. To clean up our acts – literally and figuratively.

Of course, some of us are willing to live with our partners shit. I mean their worse habits. Without ever saying a word. It’s not that we don’t get pissed off. But instead of communicating our concerns we push those feelings down inside of us and let these simmer. Or maybe that’s just my issue?



7 to “What a Mess”

  1. Kelli says:

    When my ex recently visited the house where he used to spend a LOT of his time, aka MY house… his first comment was “Wow, this place is sure a lot cleaner than when I was here.”
    I’m not pristine about cleanliness… and do tend to leave a dish or two in the sink from time to time, but I also have the habit of putting things back where they belong when I pick them up. His version of that was to just pick something up and put it down elsewhere… it wasn’t what broke us up but it was a straw habit… for sure. :)
    Thanks for the post and morning smile.
    Kelli recently posted..Momentum- Keep It Moving!My Profile

  2. Definitely not just your issue. I could write a chapter on my husband’s ability to stack things in the sink when the dishwasher is two feet away. My favorite though is when he “cleans” the sink with a brand new sponge and fails to use soap or rinse/squeeze the sponge and put it in its handy dandy little holder where it won’t mold and become foul. It skeeves me out. When I tidy the kitchen first thing I do is toss the sponge! (I’m probably going to be run out of Seattle for that… shhhhh)

    That said, I’m not picnic to live with either. I like piles. Piles of books, piles of papers, piles of notebooks. But there is method in my madness. Ask me where that receipt is and I’ll point you to the correct pile and tell you approximately where it is located in the pile and how to recognize it (blue envelope with a bird stamp)!

    Ten years into living with one another it is still a work in progress. :) Happy Friday!
    Evolving Wife recently posted..Todays post is brought to you by NietzscheMy Profile

  3. Chiara says:

    When I was single and living on my own.. I was beyond what you would call a slob. Forget leaving the dishes in the sink overnight, I would actually have to tie a kitchen towel around my face the one time a week I felt bold enough to tackle the task.

    But when I started dating my boyfriend, things HAD to change. I just couldn’t bare the thought of him seeing my true colors. Now we live together and believe it or not, I do most the cleaning. (My mother and I never thought we’d see the day!)

    When he starts getting messy after I spent a day cleaning the house, he hears about it. If a man chooses to ignore your hard efforts, I agree that it may be time to reevaluate the situation. It’s not so much about whether or not its gross (which it always is).. it’s about listening to your partner and respecting them!
    Chiara recently posted..Is it Time To Let Go Saying GoodbyeMy Profile

  4. Lennie Ross says:

    Simone, I hear you.. I can be the same way at times. But, for me it’s a matter of time… I’m so rushed going here and there and everywhere that I simply do not have time to do all the little domestic duties. When I was a kid, my brother called my room “the filing cabinet” because I was so neat. Well, all this texting, emailing and such keeps our hands busy… back in the good old days when people used the PHONE as a phone, one could cradle it between ear and shoulder and multi-task, doing dishes, laundry etc… while communicating with others. Hell, my mother’s phone had a big long curly cord attached to it, and she still managed to get all the chores done. Further, my hands are now suffering from tendonitis and “text message” thumb from all the darn digit-izing. If we’d all just pick up the phone more, we’d have clearer communication and get more accomplished… then we wouldn’t have to worry about the person we’re dating seeing what a slob we are… because we wouldn’t be.

  5. Rachel says:

    It’s all a matter of what you can live with. I still get mad at my husband when he doesn’t come down to dinner on time, but I just move the bowls he puts in the dishwasher on top of other bowls where they’ll never get clean. Then again, like you said, the first one seems inconsiderate to me, the second is just cluelessness that I can’t seem to correct.

  6. NikkiB says:

    How much do people put up with, not as compromise, but because they’re afraid the other person will leave?

    And, once we make that choice (to put aside our needs *and* avoid discussion and honesty), what then deteriorates as a result? *That* is the more important question, and one fewer people tend to ask…
    NikkiB recently posted..…plotting the return… just FYIMy Profile