Is it normal to want to break up because she's too messy?

I have been with my current girlfriend for around 2.5 years now, and we've lived together for the past year. We in love and care for eachother quite a lot, and are generally happy together, except for this problem.

She's always been very messy and untidy, to the point of just being a bit dirty and lazy. I'm no clean freak by any means, but I always have to tell her to clean up the mess she's made, and either it takes literally days or weeks of this before she does it, or I get so annoyed I do it myself.

In the past, I've done things like offer to help her clean out her car, and then give her small goals like simply keeping it clean inside, but it doesn't seem to work. It's at the point where I won't get in her car because it's full of garbage.

Our room is constantly piled up with clothes, shoes, and other random crap on the floor, which sits there for weeks at a time, etc. It's even caused a mice problem now.

When she does the washing, it sits in the machine for days, then in the basket for days, before being put on the clothes line to dry, then it sits in the basket for weeks before being folded and put away, etc.

I clean up a mess when I make it, and try to keep things fairly tidy, which means I don't have to put off doing a huge cleanup all the time.

In my opinion, I've given her the opportunity and gentle encouragement to change this behavior, but it doesn't seem to be working.

I don't think time is an issue, I work 40 hours per week, she only works 15-20, and doesn't study, so I don't think I'm being unfair.

We're in our early-mid 20s, and I don't think I could spend the rest of my life living like this.

I feel like simply telling her that if she doesn't change, I'm going to break up with her and ask her to move out, what do you guys think?

Is It Normal?
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Comments ( 24 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • I can't believe you've stayed with her this long. There's no excuse for being a lazy dirt bag. That would turn me off physically as well. And a mouse problem as well? Come on now.

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  • She needs to learn how to tidy... firstly, do the little things the instant they happen. So she spills some coffee - wipe it up immediately, takes the milk out of the fridge - put it back in at once, etc and puts things back where they belong once finished and not on the floor.

    Otherwise bring in a cleaner for an hour or two twice a week. She might be ashamed at her filthy ways - or like my lazy sister, she may not care.

    Don't put up with it though, people always drag us down - you will never drag her up.

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  • Personally, I don't think this is a reason to break up. If you really care about her and love her you would overlook her flaws and stay by her side through this. There might even be an underlying reason why she is like this. Is she depressed? Pregnant? Attention Deficit Disorder? These are just to name a few. Though she may just have motivation problems, don't rule out other problems that may be causing this. She may be struggling with something seriously wrong in her life that you don't know about. Or when she does clean, you might still get on to her about the one thing she didn't clean so she may have just given up because she feels she can't please you no matter what. I'm sure that you have flaws in yourself that she doesn't like and she overlooks. If it's true love then you should hold her hand and help her through this and find a solution. If you don't really love her anyway, then tell her you don't love her and you don't want to be with her but don't go on about all of her faults it will only make it worse. Instead of focusing on the negative, what are the positive things about her? What made you fall in love with her? What made you want her to move in with you?

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    • I do love and care for her, and we're quite good with communication in our relationship. We've been together for 2.5 years now, so I'm quite sure there are no underlying reasons like the ones you mentioned.

      And I make sure that I do thank her when she does clean up, to make her feel good about doing it, but it doesn't seem to help.

      I'm not denying I have flaws, everybody does. But mine obviously aren't bad enough to cause us to live in filth.

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  • I dont know if theres any point posting here as there are no dates on the comments. But yes i am having exactly the same issues. I am not a clean freak either however past GF's have picked up after themselves. This one is terrible. She leaves dirty plates and cups everywhere and I am the only one who cleans and empties the bins & does the recycling. She does mop and vacuum occasionally but I dont think she can see how dirty the place is. We're planning on buying a house together and I have told her once that happens - you are busy all the time - cleaning - fixing - restoring etc. I just cant see her doing any of those things. She is focussed, but only on one thing - her job - whereas I dont give a toss about my career. She does a lot of the cooking however so I guess that helps. She just comes home and watches her computer - incl all weekends - whereas I am busy all the time with tramping and bands. The short answer is that I would consider this an issue - and your love may not be as great as you think - if this is bothering you. If it is, then love isnt everything - you need to function together in all respects - if she wants the fluffy stuff then she can damn well give you the reality stuff. Im getting fussier about this stuff as I get older i think....

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  • No..it's not normal. But ask yourself if normal is really what you want. This woman has loved you, and you're obviously still into it 2.5 years later presumably because you love her up to now anyway. If you get all Felix on her, she won't be comfortable.. even if your place will be clean. She will feel it's not her place. You have to compromise to grow. If you hurt her sense of who she is, you may lose her. Don't let something so mundane as housekeeping ruin it for both of you. Ask her to respect that you've been sliding on neatness to make her comfortable but in some ways, that makes you feel out of sorts with your instincts. Let her know you appreciate it when she does help, and spoil her back somehow. Work it out. If she gives you her heart.. and you give her yours, you're both rich. Imagine how hard it is to find love.. if neat is all that's missing, do you really want to compromise what you have and give up everything else because of it?

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  • My girlfriend is the same way my apartment looked like a 5 star hotel when i lived by myself then we moved into a place together and just went downhill from there she so messy her kids are too most the time I feel like a maid they don't do anything she says she doesn't have time but she can sit there and spend 4 hours on Facebook i tell her all the time this place is a shit hole and sometimes i don't even feel like coming home
    but nothing changes

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  • I am going though the same situation. I feel like I am always cleaning/organizing and when I am done, the apartment still looks upside down with his stuff. I am tired and have lost all sexual attraction because of this. It is like I have lost respect and admiration and do not know if this is a normal process as a couple. is it?

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  • Haha it is like I wrote this myself, I am in exactly the same situation. The situations don't matter either, she doesn't clean if she's pregnant, depressed, normal and happy, etc. People are who they are it's really annoying and I can't live liked this forever is why I decoded not too propose marriage to her. We did have a baby app I am trying but I know I can't forever is becoming too much for me. Good luck tho man.

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  • I'm a girl and have always been messy! I once forgot a chicken carcass in the oven until maggots were crawling out of it!!!! Yeah gross .... I know! I'm that bad! I used to think it was cute and ditsy when I was young and dum and cute myself! People used to gently tease me about it back then! But now well now it's a horrendously bad habit to get out of! And I do think partly my natural tendancey to be messy increases when I'm down! Anyway the bottom line is if she really really really really loved you show ould make an effort. Even though she knows she's a slob she also knows that's not a good thing but doesn't seem to be doing anything about it! Are your chores split 50/50? If not that might be another reason she can't be f**ked to do anything?

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    • Thanks for the reply. I'd say we go close to 50/50 when it comes to chores. And with me working 40+ hours and her working around 15, maybe 20 some weeks, I think that's more than fair.

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  • Honestly, she sounds depressed. People who have lack of motivation to clean up or do certain things that should be normal to doing so on your own, are depressed.

    You should break up with her, she doesn't deserve to be treated like that by you. Giving her an ultimatum because she's severely depressed and you cant take the time to notice she needs you. She deserves better. Talk to her.

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    • It is amazing how brain washed people are these days. Everything IS NOT DEPRESSION! EVERYTHING DOESN'T REQUIRE A PRESCRIPTION FOR PILLS OR THERAPY!!! Shes just a dirty gross girl. Stop making excuses!! If she had any respect for your relationship, she wouldn't be so selfish. She'd be concerned about you being comfortable. The people making excuses for her behavior probably having disgusting cars and living spaces also!

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    • I really don't think this can be blamed on depression. I have had experience with depression, with a close friend in the past. This is nothing like that. I don't know where you got the idea that she's "severely depressed" but that's definitely not the case. Our communication is very good.

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  • Ohhhh! I just had a second thought! If you love her and don't want to put up with her mess, just move out. You can still be together, just not live together. It's an idea :P

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    • Thanks for the response. I don't really see the point of having a relationship with someone I can't live with, as it'll never go anywhere.

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      • I understand that. I also agree, if you can't live with her you might as well end it. People like that rarely change. My sisters almost 23 now and my dad refuses to stay over at her house when he visits her cause it's so disgusting. Good luck! I'm sure you're a great guy and you can do better. I would warn her that your at your witts end though :P She MIGHT straighten up

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  • That sounds so much like my older sister. Being her younger sister, I wouldn't date her. Not on my life lol She was always like, ever since she was really young, and despite the whole family prompting her to be less of a slob, she's stilla slob. I moved in with her and no matter how much I cleaned her mess it was a mess again teh next day. Needless to say, I moved out. I would threaten her with a break up lol That sounds so petty and rude, but if she cares enough, maybe she'll straighten up?

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  • I can't belive you put up with her for this long! I would brake up with her if I were you or tell her to move out

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  • I had a friend like that. One time she offered me to stay in her unit while she went to her parents place to house-sit for a month. There was literally crap everywhere. Dirty underwear hidden under the couch, soiled plates and mugs growing mould in them. Etc etc...I ended up calling my mum and sister and we spent from about 6 at night till 1am cleaning the place because I just was not going to live in filth like that. She turned Mormon after that.....

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  • well if you tried talking to her about it then all you can do is tell her to move out or its not going to work out. I think it would be a sad reason to end a relationship, but i agree i couldnt live like that for any longer. If she moves out it doesnt mean yall cant be together, maybe that should be an option.

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  • When I read this, the first thing I wonder is whether she was that sloppy before you began living together. When there are multiple people living in the same home, some people's reaction is to simply assume that the other person/people will take care of things. This is common among people who have been spoiled or pampered, whether intentionally or not. The "baby" of the family is usually prone to this. That being said, I wonder if she was the youngest of HER siblings. I am the baby of the family and everything was, more-or-less, done for me growing up; my siblings were given many responsibilities and chores that I was never expected to do. As I got older, and was eventually expected to help out with the house work, I found ways to pass the buck, or simply neglected my duties. It took me a long time to learn to take responsibility and to learn to motivate myself. Finally, I wonder if there isn't some underlying issue preventing her from taking initiative, such as depression or ADD/ADHD. I can tell you first-hand how difficult life can be for somebody with ADD; for many ADD sufferers, it's difficult to muster the initiative to do things that they don't enjoy or get some reward out of. There are many techniques for coping with this, but it is still a long, arduous process of breaking bad habits and forming--and reenforcing/rewarding--good ones. In addition, many ADD sufferers can be diagnosed with some form of depression, which may or may not be caused by the ADD, or which may or may not be causing/exacerbating the ADD. Most ADD sufferers have latent self esteem issues. Combined with depression and attention problems, this creates a truly defeating trifecta of problems.
    I'm not saying that she is not responsible for her actions or lack thereof, however, I encourage you to take some time to find out more before you make your decision. Whatever the case, if she refuses or is incapable of change, you may be better off breaking up with her. Sometimes people with these preconditioned behaviors and/or mental/emotional disorders only learn by experiencing the consequences of their decisions.

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    • Having talked to people who lived with her, she has always been messy, it's not only since we've been living together.

      She's actually the oldest of her siblings.

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      • None of us know her or the full situation quite like yourself. We're just trying to give different suggestions/ insight. If you really believe that it could be a behavioral problem instead of an underlying health reason, then by all means do what you feel you need to do. Just please weigh your options carefully and don't let her become "the one that got away".

        The reason I suggested pregnancy among other things is because I've always been really good about keeping everything clean ( I'm 23) but as soon as I got pregnant I started feeling really bad and I fell behind on housework just from being sick and pure exhaustion. I only have 12 weeks left and I'm hoping to get back to normal after I have my baby girl.

        You know what you can and can't live with so if you've exhausted all other solutions then you can't avoid the inevitable. Best of luck to you both.

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