Dear Mary Pat,
I have a new potential romantic interest. He’s great – fun, thoughtful and smart – but there’s something that makes me want to put on the brakes. His apartment is disgusting. There’s gunk on the kitchen counter, crumbs everywhere, empty packages of food on top of the fridge. There isn’t even soap in the bathroom.
What should I do? I’d like to continue seeing him and going over there, but I don’t know if I can handle the mess and I don’t want to nag him about cleaning up.
Soapless in Sturgeon Bay
Dear Soapless in Sturgeon Bay,
NO SOAP? Yikes. I don’t like the sound of that at all. Being a slob is one thing, but lacking basic hygiene is another. How old is he?
If he is as thoughtful as you say, as well as intelligent, he has potential. If he sees that this is important to you, he might want to change his habits. Unfortunately, he’ll have to make that decision on his own. Ask him where the soap is. If he looks at you like soap in a bathroom is a revolutionary idea, maybe show your surprise at it not being there. Maybe he was raised in an environment where basic cleanliness was not a priority. Maybe his parents did everything for him. Maybe he was raised by a pack of wild dogs. You’ll hopefully get the answers to these questions after a little more time.
I agree that you should not nag him, that never seems to solve anything. Maybe gently suggest that you feel more comfortable at your place since it’s cleaner, and he will hopefully get the hint. Look for little signs of improvement since good habits take about six weeks to kick in. If he is making an effort and things are improving, then it is worth waiting it out. If this guy prefers to live in a pigsty and doesn’t feel compelled to change, he will have to do it without you.