DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My boyfriend spent some time in the Marines, and I don’t know if that’s why he is the way he is when it comes to taking care of his home or not. I have been to his mother’s house, and it is neat and clean, but not obsessively neat and clean. She does not follow you around and grab an empty glass the minute you put it down. Her bathrooms are clean, but she doesn’t deep clean them every two or three days. I feel more comfortable in her house than I do in her son’s, and I mentioned to her about how he is at his apartment, and she laughed and said that sure wasn’t him when he was still living at home.
He has asked me to move in with him, and as much as I care for him, I am not sure I could live comfortably in an environment without a little disorder.
Does this seem like a shallow reason to put off moving in with my boyfriend? --- NOT A CLEAN FREAK
DEAR NOT A CLEAN FREAK: While the Marines may have fostered a devotion to orderliness, I’m not sure his time in the service is the only thing behind your boyfriend’s drive to keep things the way he wants them. I also don’t think that you should downplay your concerns about whether or not his rules are ones you can live by 24/7.
In fairness to you both, it seems the time has come to have an open discussion with him about your concerns. If you care for each other enough to move the relationship forward, you need to establish some common ground and an open understanding of what each of you expects and feels, and what each of you is able to tolerate. If you can’t deal with his housekeeping standards and he gets upset by your daily habits, you might find you have some serious work to do before living together.