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guide to living with your boyfriend

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I live with a neat freak. He’s my little neat freak and I love him, but my, oh, my, is he particular about tidiness. I had to slowly train myself to be tidier for almost a year before we moved in together. I knew that if I didn’t, there was no way the relationship would survive. Living together can be hard on a couple and we didn’t need one more obstacle. And I’ll admit that I used to be quite messy. There was a lot of room for improvement. But I don’t think that anybody could possibly live up to my boyfriend’s standards for cleanliness. I’d swear, if I didn’t know somebody lived in his apartment when I first started dating him, I wouldn’t think anybody lived there. There was no sign of life. It looked like a model apartment—ready for showing to prospective renters, at any given moment.


I have to hand it to him for being so clean, but I do wish he’d realize that he is the one who goes against the norm, and not me. Look, I don’t let dishes sit for more than a few hours, but my rule of thumb is to do them right after eating. I do a quick pass around the apartment to put things away before bed. I make my bed nicely most mornings, and decently other mornings. I’m no slob. I don’t live with a pile of clothes permanently on a chair or floor. Most people would say that I’m a pretty tidy person! But, not my boyfriend. He’s on a whole other level.


You can’t really reason with a neat freak. They’re used to having things a certain way, and anything less, for them, feels like falling from Grace. I simply can’t be as tidy as he is—it’s not going to happen—and he simply can’t accept that, so we squabble. Here are fights you’ll have if you live with a neat freak.


Tables are for things

“There are things all over the coffee table” or “There are things on the desk!” my boyfriend will say. Yes. There is a remote control and a book and some mail on the coffee table. Tables are for things. Tables are surfaces we use to put things on. I understand he doesn’t want a mess but it’s also not unreasonable to have a thing or two out on a table at any given time.

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