My Husband is a Complete Slob!

Q: I am not exaggerating here, but my husband is a complete SLOB. I asked him out on our 1st date and he answered the door with a mop, so I assumed he knew how to clean. Um, no.

We have a 16 month old, and I have a 9 and 10 year old from a previous marriage. I clean up WAY more than I should be. When I ask my kids to clean their room, they do. They know NOT to shed their toys/books/clothes anywhere but their rooms.

Problem is, my husband comes home and drops his laptop bag, shoes, belt, socks on the FLOOR the moment he comes in the door. Problem is, my husband comes home and drops his laptop bag, shoes, belt, socks on the FLOOR the moment he comes in the door. Then, as he goes straight to the kitchen (while yakking to buddies on his cell phone, passing his daughter and me on the way in), he sheds his tie on the dining room table, then maybe his dress shirt. None of these items are EVER EVER EVER picked up by him. In our bedroom, his side of the bed is a PILE of sweats, underwear, socks, shirts. On top of the ironing board is another pile of his dress clothes. Each morning he tosses the pile onto the bed to iron. Then, at night he tosses them back onto the ironing board to get into bed.

I used to pick up after him DAILY, but I am busy with 95% of the rest of the house stuff. He DOES cook, but only because he hates my cooking (no one but him has ever complained of my cooking, by the way).

We have had SO many discussions over the past 2 years about this. He will promise to get better, then it will last a few days. Then back to square one. I have tried all types of approaches, but nothing ever sticks.

He has told me he simply doesn’t care about the house being a mess. It doesn’t bother him, so he shouldn’t have to help. Since it bothers ME, I should be the one to do it.

Please, if you can help. I am fresh out of ideas.


A: Wow. Whatever happened to that mop? Did it make an appearance past the first date? And what’s the deal with him stripping when he gets home? Does he spend the evening in nothing but his boxers?

Seriously, it sounds like things need to change in your house. You need to be doing less. I am with you 100% on that. Just keep that in mind as you read what I am about to write. I’m on your side!

OK, you didn’t talk about your husband’s work situation. How many hours a week is he working? How stressful is his job? Is he the primary provider? I’m guessing that’s the case if he’s claiming the exclusive right to sleep-in on the weekends. If your only serious complaint about him is that he’s a SLOB, life is pretty good. I’m not saying that that isn’t hugely annoying, but if he’s a caring, kind, funny, loving, reasonably attractive, decent human being kind of slob you’re doing well. Just pause for a second to ask yourself why you married him, why you fell in love with him. How much of that still holds true? I’m asking you this so that you can just get some perspective on the slob situation. Sure, it needs to be dealt with, but in the grand scheme of things how important is it?

OK, now assuming you can muster up some loving feelings go tell him why you think he’s great. Now tell him that you need him to help you fix the slob situation. Just tell him (I know you’ve already done so) what’s annoying you and then ask him for his ideas. Instead of nagging and treating him like you have a 5th child (which none of us like to do) put the ball firmly in his court. This is your life partner. Work on this together. If you have our book, look at the Divide & Conquer strategy – basically, you figure out what needs to get done and divvy it up between the two of you, taking into account who’s earning the paycheck. But, needless to say primary provider status doesn’t exempt a partner from housework, but sure, they should take on the lesser burden.

Also, you’ve gotta get some weekend privileges. At least once a month you get to sleep in. If your husband’s reasonable and you give him advance notice, he should be OK with this. He’s going to benefit anyway from having a well-rested wife. Just tell him that it’s your turn. Don’t take no for an answer.

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