Several years ago my fiance and I started hanging out with a guy named Devon*. At the time we started hanging out with Devon he was having a lot of personal problems. He was living in a hotel that he could barely pay for, slept all day and stayed up all night, and seems to have had a minor drug problem. Fiance and I, seeing that he was in a difficult situation, invited him to come live with us for a few months.
It’s been two years.
I like Devon, a lot, and I enjoy hanging out with him. He’s a sweet guy and being around him is simple and fun. I don’t necessarily want him to move out, which I guess is good for me because it doesn’t look like he’s going to any time soon.
Devon is now has a job, doesn’t do drugs, and kinda sorta pays rent *sometimes*.
My real problem, though, is housework.
I think it’s only fair that Devon take some responsibility for the house work. I’ve tried to talk to him about this so many times I’ve lost count. He always brushes me off, says he’ll do it ‘later’, he’s tired from work, or that the dishes in the sink aren’t ‘his’.
These excuses are childish the point of hilarity. I don’t argue about whose shit stain is whose on the toilet when I clean it, why does it matter whose dishes they are??. I brought it up again last night and he said “well I keep my room clean”. Well yeah, that’s all fine and dandy, I don’t expect him to clean my bedroom. I DO expect him to help with the kitchen and bathroom, which everyone uses every bloody day.
I’ve tried multiple tactics:
I’ve tried telling him what is expected of his as a member of our household
I’ve tried gentle encouragement
I’ve tried reasoning with him
I’ve tried yelling at him
I’ve tried explaining that it’s not fair for all the housework to fall on my shoulders since I’m not a damn maid
I have even tried boycotting all chores in the hopes that the revolting state of the house would encourage Devon to pitch it. The only outcome of that is, after a few weeks, the house (especially the bathroom) became so disgusting I couldn’t stand it anymore and I cleaned it myself.
What am I supposed to do about the cleaning short of kicking him out? I feel like I have tried everything. It’s driving me completely batty. In the past few months I don’t even bother doing more then a perfunctory clean because everything is always messed up 5 minutes later anyway. Sort of like in that episode of The Simpsons, “Bart Gets an Elephant” where the kitchen door opens on a clean kitchen, swings closed, and opens messy (sorry couldn’t find the gif) [Ed note: FOUND IT]!
I can hear him cooking in the kitchen now and just dread the stupid mess of discarded vegetable parts that will be everywhere in about 20 minutes.
I have been very explicit about my expectations but he just doesn’t hear it. I’ve even asked my fiance to speak to him about it in the hopes that maybe he would be more inclined to listen to an older man. Nothing. Same brush off.
A++ for descriptive email subject line/post title and A+++++++ for .gif selection and Simpsons references.
Unfortunately that’s the only good thing I have to tell you. You can like people a lot and still be totally incompatible as housemates.
“What am I supposed to do about the cleaning short of kicking him out?”
I am pessimistic that Devon will change his behavior around cleaning when the status quo works so well for him. Asking, begging, threatening, boycotting, etc. on your part will not do a thing to change it because the dude doesn’t give a fuck. He’s not really all that easygoing and fun when you realize that your chill (simple, relaxed, etc.) interactions with him come totally at the cost of you doing all the housework and you swallowing your rage about that.
Your fiancé is also basically fine with the status quo. What’s that all about? What would happen, I wonder, if you said “Please get Devon to do his chores, and if you can’t, please do his chores or hire someone to do them I don’t care which kthnxbye“?
There is one way that Devon might start giving a fuck, and that is if you raise his rent, enforce regular collection of said rent, and make cleaning duties (or paying someone to carry out his cleaning duties) specifically part of a written agreement that spells out the conditions of him living with you. “Devon, now that you’re more on your feet, it’s time for you to sign a lease if you want to keep living here. The rent is $x, collected monthly on the first of the month, and includes $y to cover the cost of a regular housecleaner who will carry out a, b, c, and d chores that are your responsibility from now on.”
If he won’t sign the lease or otherwise cooperate, “Sorry to hear it. Good luck finding a new place, man, we’d like you and your stuff out by [date].” If you do want him to leave, you’ll need to consult a lawyer and/or otherwise get really familiar with the housing rules where you live because there is a process under which tenants/roommates can be evicted. If you let everything slide and go back to the status quo after getting it to this point chances are he will become even more insufferable as a roommate because he’ll know that you won’t actually follow through on enforcing boundaries and house rules.
You’re not alone, as this epic thread on housework shows. What year is it again?