SC prides himself on being very upfront. Minutes after asking me if there was mutual attraction between us he said, “I drink often, I smoke cigarettes…” (and a couple of other vices I won’t mention here) and asked me if I was okay with those things. I let him know I was fine with all of it, so long as he wasn’t a sloppy drunk. He’s not. He doesn’t even drink every day and when he does, he generally doesn’t drink to excess.
Since he was so upfront then, I assumed he’d come to me with any issues he had. As a result, I was blindsided when he took issue with me running the blender every morning without closing the bedroom door. It wasn’t mentioned casually, either. It came up during the argument we had here. I suppose it shouldn’t have been a complete surprise. I’d just told him I was having trouble cleaning up after both of us and I needed help.
I’ve always kept a clean house. No that’s not true. I hated cleaning until I began living by myself and realized if I’m not going to clean it or pay for it to be cleaned, no little elves were coming to do it for me. I came to like it. I was always ready for last minute guests and my guests found it easy to clean up after themselves. All they had to do was leave it the way they found it.
Enter SC. His footprint was super small when he unofficially moved in. He’d leave the occasional article of clothing behind or something major, like his glasses or headphones, and eventually a toothbrush. I’d find a dirty drinking glass or a plate here or there, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle myself.
As his footprint got bigger, so did the messes. I didn’t think twice about it until he started coming home right after work. I’d straighten up one room and walk into another to find random items of clothing and dishes everywhere. Okay, it wasn’t a pig sty, but it definitely was not the way I was used to living.
I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. Any time I have a thought or feeling of annoyance, I think about all the things I love about SC and let it go. I was making a conscious effort to ensure that I remembered to appreciate him daily while ignoring my basic desire for a clean space.
One day he asked me to stop cleaning for a bit so we could watch “Preacher.” I told him that it would only take a few more minutes and that I like a clean house. He got up and helped and I thought that meant he finally understood that I wanted him to clean up after himself. Boy was I wrong. The more his presence grew at home, the messier it became, until one day, I had that mountain of laundry to do, all by myself.
Meanwhile, when he first moved in, he got out of bed before me during the work week. I now have a longer commute and get out of bed an hour earlier than he does. For an entire month I continued to operate like I lived alone. I’d talk to my dog and the parrot, run the blender, make lunch, and run in and out of the bedroom, all without a thought about the half naked man who snoozed in between alarms while I got ready. I’d sometimes marvel over the sleeping beauty in my bed, but I did not realize how disruptive my routine might be.
In an effort to preserve domestic bliss, we’d both held on to what irked us until it all came tumbling out during a disagreement. This could have been avoided if we trusted ourselves to deliver our messages in a kind and constructive way while trusting that the messages would be received in much the same way.
Fast forward to now ish. Now that SC knows what I need from him around the house, he has cleaned up after every meal. Every meal. Even when he is the chef, he won’t let me lift a finger. He performs the tasks with an air of dedication that I’ve never seen before. I swoon every time I watch him in the kitchen. If he’s not out of bed while I’m getting ready, I gently close the bedroom door prior to running the blender and feeding the dog.
I guess we got lucky. We were both receptive to the other’s immediate needs. We just have to remember to be upfront about our needs going forward because, unfortunately, neither of us is a mind reader.