Sometimes ago I asked a friend who specializes in family therapy of psychology to counsel me about my seemingly “mismatched” nature experienced between me and my girlfriend. By mismatched nature, I mean a situation where one in the relationship is clean and very organized while the other is the very opposite, very messy. While our discussion lasted, the following advice are presented in his words
- Once you are already living together and the disappointment of her messy nature sets in, it is important you engage her in a conversation as either aggressive behavior or yelling will only compound the situation, they are not productive and will definitely damage your relationship. It is necessary that you are calm, show her some respect, be sincere and be blunt in order to get the desired result
- Set ground rules when it seems as if frustration is setting in. However, you might want to consider the following productive rules;
- Say no to Nagging: Showing your partner disrespect is not a good option. It does not matter whether what you said the first time was honored or not. The implication of nagging in words is “I understand that you are more of an idiot and it is my right to always let you know that you are one”. Believe me, no one no matter how guilty will respond well to that kind of message.
- Say no to Backpacking: Ensure you put a limit to how long whatever happens could be discussed, like 1week after which whatever frustration you have about what has happened but was not brought up within the time frame must be let off. You can’t afford to continue stewing on a frustration and if you have taken time to discuss an issue before, you can’t afford to bring it up again. The major reason it is referred to as backpacking is because it sounds more like people conveying their partners’ wrong doings in a backpack, while bring up or pulling our each wrong out of the bag every time there appears to be a disagreement. It is not fair, don’t do it.
- Table What the Real Problem is: If your annoyance is always about the fact that your girlfriend leaves dirty dishes strewn everywhere in the living room, then your frustration has more to do with the fact that she doesn’t care much about the tidiness level in your living space and less about dirty dishes
- On many occasions your girlfriend is prone to not care whether your living space is orderly or disorderly. In such a situation, be ready to take total responsibility for making things tidy by cleaning up after her. Do the work happily because you are the one that is majorly concerned and derives sense of joy and fulfillment from a space that is organized. If you easily get annoyed by a straying pair of shoes in the midst of your living room just do the needful by moving the shoes to a location that makes you to be less annoyed. Trust me you will need more than five minutes to get annoyed but less to move the shoes
- Also, the challenge might be unavailability of systems that are necessary to be put in place to curtail the mess. For example, storing of wallets in a valet, storing of purse in a cube and all in a designated location. With that, the simple routine should be picking wallet and purse in the morning and returning them to their locations at night, this will guarantee all things being in their rightful location. Therefore, take a look and think about your living style and find a remedying solution that will meet your direct and desired needs
- If your girlfriend doesn’t pay more attention to what she and thereby looking untidy, don’t just start nagging, try to first understand why she dresses she way she likes dressing, surprise her sometimes with clothing that you like, offer her words that will encourage her, sometimes invite her to occasions or social gatherings that will make her to want to dress up and then slowly get rid of her many clothes that you do not like.
- If ultimately, all the previous methods tried by you did not work, I think that might be a sign for you to seek outside help. Seeing either a professional organizer or couple’s counselor might be what you just need. Also, get a professional to handle your cleaning work might not be out of place in saving your relationship. Get someone to take care of the cleaning.
*This article does not meant offend but to impart some knowledge to those less experienced. We are not professionals, we just give you answers from personal experiences and from the stories we hear and see.