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Neat-freak boyfriend’s rules ruining relationship

By | 2018-01-16T04:46:08-05:00 September 14th, 2006|Opinions|

Q: I am having a problem with the person I have moved in with and am in love with, at least I think I still am in love with him. He has turned into such a BITCH. It’s not what you think, I didn’t move in with him before I knew him. In fact, we had been together for three years before we moved in together. When we lived in separate homes, we never fought and he was delightful. Sometimes we stayed at my house, at other times we stayed at his, and then there were times that it worked better for each of us to be at our own place.
Well after spending all this time together, we had a commitment ceremony. I sold my house and moved in to his. We did this because his house was larger and was closer to both of our jobs.
But as soon as I moved in, it was like I was dealing with a person I didn’t know. All of a sudden there was all these rules I didn’t know about (and don’t agree with), like where I could have food in the house, taking my shoes off at the door, rooms that were his and off limits to me. The kitchen cupboards must be arranged just the way he wants them; he knows exactly where all items are in the refrigerator and they must be put back in exactly the right place; the wash has to be separated a certain way and folded to his specification. He says all he does is work to try to keep things up like they should be, since I moved in.
It have gotten so I don’t even want to come home because it doesn’t seem like my home. When I tell him this he says it is the only way he can live, otherwise he will go crazy. He also says he always lived this way; he just fixed things up after I left because I didn’t live there, so he didn’t think he had the right to tell me how he wanted things done. Well, I feel deceived and not sure I want to continue on with this relationship. I hate what he has become and am started to dislike him as well.
What do I do the get back the guy I loved and have my home back?
– Home Sick
A: Wow, this must have been quite a shock for you. It is hard to believe someone could change that much. In responding to you, I will assume that you are both wanting to keep you relationship in tack, and that your love for each other is strong enough that you both want to work this out.
I think you need to ask yourself if you, too, changed when you moved in together. Like, did you become more of a slob? It is always easy to be on you best behavior when you are not with someone 24-7.
One of the first things I would suggest is that you consider selling his house and buying a house that is new to both of you. That way, there won’t be predetermined rules and of the way things need to be. Before that, however, you need to talk with him about what he needs in a home and what kind of atmosphere he wants to produce. Then share the same things with him.
Discuss questions like: why do you need to take off your shoes when you come in (assuming you don’t want to)? For instance, maybe he is afraid the carpet might get dirty, so could he deal with hardwood floors, or are you willing to have house shoes at the door so you don’t bring the outside dirt in. Do you have money in your budget for a house keeper so things stay neater and cleaner? Are there ways he could get his needs met without all these rules?
This is hard work for both of you but necessary if you want to make this relationship work. It is important, so I’ll say it again, that you look at all these issues and get to some resolve before buying a house together.
P.S.: If you can’t come to a place where you both are comfortable, you could think about going back to living apart.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.