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Is it Too Late to Change Him?

Dear Sugar--


My boyfriend supported me while I was in college and I did all the housework. Now I support him and expect him to do the housework. He doesn't! - instead he plays video games, watches TV, or uses precious gas to visit people. We have a hard time making ends meet and we fight over him not cleaning all the time.

We have roaches, and the dishes and trash just pile up. We've talked about it several times, and he says he'll change and start supporting me by cleaning, but he doesn't. I love him so much, but it's so frustrating because he only goes to school for 4 hours a day, and doesn't do his homework at home and the place is always a wreck.

When I was in school, he always asked what I did or how I was contributing, or why I didn't work, and I kept the apartment nice and paid all the bills and took care of groceries, everything. Now I feel ripped off, because I work, and still have to do all of the same stuff. We've even talked several times about how I need him to support me by cleaning and taking care of bills, and he says he'll change and he's sorry for being selfish.

We've been together five years, am I asking too much or is he never going to change?

--Annoyed Anna

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Dear Annoyed Anna--

No, you are not asking too much and if I were you, I'd be fed up too! It's no fun dealing with all the housework on your own, and you shouldn't have to. It sounds like he's gotten used to you doing everything (even though he didn't seem to notice it) and his laziness is getting the best of him. For some people, having a clean house just isn't that important, and they don't mind living in filth. If you want to remain in this relationship, you are going to have to come to some sort of compromise.

Instead of telling him he needs to do the dishes, do the laundry, take out the trash, and vacuum the floors (which is probably overwhelming for a messy person), start off slowly. Give him one chore - ask him if he could please do the dishes. When you get home and if he's done what you asked, thank him for it (don't focus on what else needs to be done). Gradually you can start adding more chores to his day without bombarding him all at once.

Even though he's not working as much as you are, I don't think it's fair for you to expect him to do everything - relationships are all about compromise. Make a schedule together, mapping out the chores over the week for both of you to do, so one person doesn't feel like they're Cinderella.

Hope this helps! Good luck Anna.

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