Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating my boyfriend for almost seven years now. We met in college and started dating at ages 19 and 20. I am now 26. I love him a lot, and I know how much he loves me. We talk about marriage and our future all the time, and I know that he is "the one." How long should I wait for him to propose? Should I give him an ultimatum? -- Ready to Wed, Jersey City, N.J.

DEAR READY TO WED: When you talk about marriage, what does he say? Have you ever talked about timing for getting married? If not, why don't you introduce that question into the conversation?

It is also just fine for you to propose. I know it may not seem the traditional route, but many women have proposed to their partners. Give it some thought!

DEAR HARRIETTE: A few months ago, my best friend and roommate moved across the country, so I had to find a new roommate. I met a super sweet girl on Craigslist, and I have been rooming with her for the past five months. We get along great. I feel very comfortable with her in the space, and I get along with her boyfriend as well. There's just one thing. She doesn't clean. I wouldn't say she's a slob, because she's not, but she never cleans the bathroom or Swiffers the kitchen, she leaves breadcrumbs everywhere and I always have to re-wash the dishes she does because they're never clean.

I have mentioned these things to her on two occasions and even spoke of a schedule (which she hasn't followed), and I don't want to sound like a nag. Aside from this, she has been a really great roomie. What should I do? -- Want to be Clean, Syracuse, N.Y.

DEAR WANT TO BE CLEAN: It's time to have a household meeting. Tell your roommate that you want to talk about household duties. Start by telling her how much you enjoy her as a roommate and how at ease you have felt since she arrived. Then, very clearly talk to her about chores and point out that you need her to pay closer attention to cleaning the apartment. You might ask her if anyone ever taught her how to clean. It is possible that she doesn't really know how to be an effective cleaner.

If that is the case, offer to teach her. And show her what you think she has not done so well. For example, show her dishes that still have food residue on them and then teach her how you would clean them. Suggest that you clean together for a while. That way you can show her how you clean the bathroom and the floors. It could be as simple as educating her to get your house clean.