Get Your Boyfriend to Clean Up After Himself
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Eng, Maria Quinney
A recent survey by betterbathrooms.com revealed that the average couple argues 312 times a year and that the causes for the majority of these arguments are petty things, such as leaving the cap off the toothpaste or dirty socks on the floor. Also, the most likely time for an argument to develop was Thursday evening, with women being more frustrated with their partner's habits than the other way around. So, if you're upset with your boyfriend because he always leaves his dirty clothes on the floor, never lowers the toilet seat after he's done, or leaves his candy wrappers everywhere, you are not alone. We've put together some tips to help you get your boyfriend to clean up after himself.
- 1Give him a choice between two chores while making it clear that you can't do both at the same time. For instance, you could say "Honey, could you run the vacuum in the living room while I sweep the kitchen, or would you rather take care of the kitchen while I do the vacuuming? Giving him two options allows him to maintain a sense of autonomy while narrowing them down to only those choices that get you to your goal of having him help around the house.Advertisement
- 2Remind him gently to clean up his mess. It's tough to get this one right because the line between reminding and nagging is very thin. Ultimately, you know him best; you know how many times you can remind him to do something before he becomes annoyed with you. Try this: walk up to him and give him a hug and say "Sweetie, that empty bag of chips is still on the coffee table. Would you mind throwing it away for me?" Do this just once a day.Advertisement
- 3Sit down with him and divide up household chores between you and him. It's important to involve him in the decision-making process: no one likes to be told what to do, men least of all. Use a dry erase board that you can stick on the refrigerator or somewhere else where he is likely to see it every day.
- Draw a chart with nine columns.
- List out every household chore along one side of the chart.
- Put" Name" across the top of the second column and each day of the week across the other seven.
- Let him put his name next to the chores that he would like to be responsible for, while you put your name next to the rest. Make sure the number of chores is evenly divided, or close to it.
- Ask him to put a check mark in the column for each day after he completes his tasks. This gives you both an easy method to keep each other accountable.
- 5Make to-do lists for each of you. Make a list of honey-dos for him and one for you. In general, men like to focus on one task at a time. Not only do lists give him a concrete reminder of what he has to get done, but he can cross each item off his list as he goes, which might give him a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
- 6Put a system in place to deal with common clutter/messes. For instance, if your boyfriend always takes his coat off in the living room, investing in a standing coat rack to put in the corner of the living room for him to use can save you a lot of grief. Here's another solution for the common issue of dresser clutter: if he empties his pockets in the bedroom, make sure he has a dish or tray to dump his loose coins and keys into. The point is to analyze his (and your) routines and develop a way to work around how both of you function in your home. It makes no sense to make a fuss about an ingrained habit that is not likely to change, or that will not work for the way you both interact with the space in your home.
- 7Accept that you will have to clean up after him. Some people are just messier than others, and if it's the case that your boyfriend is the messier partner, then, if you want to stay in the relationship you will have to adjust your expectations. The most important thing to recognize is that the reason he does not pick up after himself or make sure that each room is spotless is not that he doesn't love or respect you, it's that his tolerance for clutter or messes as much higher than yours. Those socks on the floor aren't a problem for him; he doesn't even see them. However, if their presence on the carpeted floor of your bedroom drives you nuts, then you will need to pick them up without getting upset about it. It takes five seconds to do it and be done with it, which is much better than spending the rest of day fuming about how inconsiderate he is.
- 8Use gadgets to make cleaning easier. It's true that robot vacuum cleaners are still quite expensive. However, if you are constantly bickering at your boyfriend about keeping your floors clean, and neither of you has the time or energy to spend on it, then buying a Roomba is an investment that will pay you back in dividends of maintaining a harmonious relationship with your boyfriend.
- 9Hire a cleaning service. House cleaning services are surprisingly affordable, especially if you hire them monthly. Having a cleaning service come in every month to take care of the major chores, such as scrubbing the bathtub, mopping the floors, and vacuuming the carpets will go a long way to keeping your house clean and taking the pressure off your relationship.
- 10Set up a cleaning day. Sit down with your boyfriend and discuss with him what day works out best for him. Then, divide the house into sections and have him pick which sections he wants to tackle for that day. There are some ways that you can arrange this; you can have it so that you never change which sections you work on between you or you can switch it up on every cleaning day. The cleaning day can always be on the same day every week, or it can change when your scheduled need adjusting.
- 11Praise him for the things he does do around the house, or whenever he does what you ask him to do. While you may not think that simply doing what he ought to do in the first place merits praise, everyone, men included, like feeling appreciated for what they do. Another reason for praising him when he does something you've asked of him is operant conditioning, one of the mainstays of behavior modification. When you praise him for say, putting the toilet seat back down after he does his business, he will learn to associate that act with a positive benefit: a happy girlfriend who is pleased with him.
- 12Make a deal with him. Think of one important household chore that you would like him to take responsibility for. Tell him that, for every week that he does this task without you having to remind him, he earns something he really enjoys: it could be anything from a backrub to a night of interruption-free video gaming. But don't stop there: for every week that he doesn't do his task or he does it only after you remind him, he has to do something you enjoy, and without complaint, such as sitting through the latest chick flick with you or rubbing your feet.
- 13Make a game out of cleaning. Cleaning doesn't have to be tedious; in fact, if you clean the house together, you can turn it into a competition of some sort. For instance, you can each pick half of the room to clean and time it to see who can get it done well the fastest, and the loser has to cook dinner that night.
- 14Move his messes to his computer desk, or around his easy chair, or whatever part of the room he claims as "his". Take his messes, whatever they consist of from dirty socks to banana peels and move them to his area. When he asks you why you put them there, tell him that you found them lying around and didn't know what to do with them, so you just put them where you knew he would find them. Warning: this may not work with every guy; he might see what you are trying to do and just move everything to your area of the room.
- 15Have people over once a week so that he'll want to make the house presentable. This really works for us, because when we know someone is coming over, it gets us motivated to clean the house from top to bottom. Your mileage may vary.
- 16Leave his messes from him to pick up. One reason why he isn't picking up after himself is that you've trained him to expect you to do it for him. Why should he change if he knows you'll just come around and clean up after him? If you're a clean-freak, this is going to be very hard for you, but trust me, it's necessary. For example, when he leaves his dirty clothes on the floor instead of tossing them into the hamper, don't touch them. Just do your wash as normal, but only wash the clothes that were in the hamper. When he complains that he has no clean socks, tell him that you don't know where his socks are; if they're not in the dirty clothes hamper, how can you be expected to know where they are?
- 17Talk to him about how it makes you feel and ask him to help. Men can be oblivious sometimes, and if he is the messier partner between the two of you, he won't even realize how his messiness affects you. It won't even cross his mind. It's up to you to tell him, but you have to do it in a friendly and not condescending way. The other part of this is that you need to ask him for his help; he is not a mind reader, and he won't know what you need from him unless you ask.
- 18Don't nag. Everyone's idea of what constitutes nagging versus a gentle reminder varies: you know your boyfriend better than anyone else so you pretty much know where his line is. In general, reminding him once is all that you ever need to do; if he hasn't gotten the message from your first request, reminding him three or four more times isn't going to get you better results. In fact, it may have the opposite effect, aside from annoying him.
- 19Pick your battles wisely. Focus on the messes he makes that annoy you the most when discussing chores with him. If the fact that he leaves his banana peels on the counter drives you the craziest, then make getting him to throw them out the target of your discussion. You can say something like "Honey, it really makes me feel gross when I see your banana peels lying on the counter. Could you please remember to throw them out right away?" Then give him a kiss to let him know you love him anyway.
- 20Consider breaking up with him if you can't accept him as he is when he is unlikely to change. Some people just aren't compatible, and sometimes, you only find out that you're incompatible after you move in together. If neither of you can find an acceptable compromise on the cleanliness level of your home, and you, aren't willing to accept your partner for who he is and just clean up after him without complaint, then sticking around will only cause more arguments and bad feelings. Breaking up over a substantial incompatibility is okay, and even preferable than staying in a relationship where neither of you is happy or satisfied.
Categories : Relationships
Recent edits by: Eng, Kathy McGraw