Got questions for Little Bobby? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Little Bobby,
When I started dating my boyfriend two years ago, he lived with some of his bandmates and the house they rented was very messy. I was led to believe that this was mostly because of them and not because of him.
I own a house and earlier this year he moved in with me. Now I am at a loss with how to handle his sloppiness (he never does the dishes, laundry or tidies up at all). He says he doesn’t have time to clean, but he has time for his music. We fight about it a lot. I’m tired of nagging but if I don’t, the house gets even messier. Help.
—Queen of clean
Dear Queen of clean,
Fighting about it a lot or even a little can be very stressful. In my opinion, for your relationship to be successful, the fighting has to end. I know that we have all seen relationships that continue despite years of fighting. But how much fighting are any of us prepared to put up with while still considering our relationship “successful”?
Whatever the issue is between two people, the answer is honest, open communication—completely listening to the other person AND fully expressing yourself. This can be difficult to achieve, especially in just two years of being together. For some people, two years can seem like a long time, but obviously you and your boyfriend still had things to learn about each other when he moved in. You say you were “led to believe” that others were the messy ones. I do not know if that is a polite way of saying that you were lied to or not.
Regardless of what you thought about the situation before he moved in, he now lives with you. I suggest immediately having a discussion about expectations. What would you like him to do? How often would you like him to do these things? Does he think that you are being unreasonable? If you have explained to him why this is important to you, and he still does not want to help out the way you think he should help, then you both have a big problem.
It can be solved by you telling him to move out, or by him changing to meet your expectations, or by you changing your expectations. We all know how hard it is for people to change. Will he suddenly become what you consider a “clean person”? Will you suddenly become “okay with a dirty boyfriend”? These outcomes seem unlikely unless great effort is exerted into molding your thoughts, i.e., changing your mind.
If this is the person you want to be with, then you will adapt. If not, then there will quite possibly be more problems as a result. Start with communication—and never stop communicating—then add effort. Do your part. What does he offer in return? Do you feel loved? Does he show effort in other areas of the relationship? Does he care about how you feel? Or is he taking advantage of you? Does he just trash your house in between guitar solos?
When you answer those questions, you will know what you need to do. If our expectations control us, the results are frequently disastrous. Keep in mind that often our expectations are premeditated resentments.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“I wish you all the best, and I’m sorry about the mess” —Mark Mallman, “Dirty Dishes,” 2012
Dear Little Bobby,
My roommate wants to begin growing pot. He recently received a medical marijuana card and is getting a license to grow. He has been wanting to do this for a while but I’m worried about when my very conservative, ideological parents come to visit, because of the smell and bright lights coming from behind a locked door.
I don’t know if I should bring the subject up to them or try to keep them away from the house altogether. I don’t want to move out because of this garden or compromise my relationships.
—To grow or to go?
Dear To grow,
You could try to explain the situation to your parents, but this can be hit or miss with people who have strict ideologies. They are prone to ignore logic and pass unfounded judgements because they will only accept what fits into their predetermined beliefs. Will this exchange damage your relationship with your parents?
On the other hand, if you are an adult, act like one. If you are worried about them smelling it, if the garden is large and obvious, then act BEFORE your parents come to visit. Maybe call them on the phone or talk over lunch. Tell them that your roommate is growing weed legally and let them know that you are telling them because you respect them and do not want them to be uncomfortable or caught off guard.
Do you like your current living situation? The factors I keep in mind when considering where to live are: Do I like the roommate, the house, location, price, etc?
As for your parents, you obviously care what they think. Hopefully this is because you love and respect them, despite them being very conservative. But your roommate has a right to be free in his own home, free to produce and consume this medicinal plant. If it is a small enough garden, your roommate could perhaps conceal it visually and cover the smell. However, a patient should never be REQUIRED to do this. You and your roommate need to be on the same page about this, so that it does not affect your relationship. Again… do you like living there or not?
I sure as hell would not want to give up a good living situation because of someone else’s medicine. But I also understand that confrontation, especially with family, can sometimes go very wrong. Sometimes it feels necessary, but often it is detrimental. If you do not want to make excuses why your parents cannot come over to the house, then it is best to be open and honest about it BEFORE they come over.
Or you could just tell them that behind that door is a room full of sex toys and if they enter that room they will be embarrassing you, your roommate and themselves. If you take that course of action… don’t forget to burn lots of incense!
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Doctors smoke it, nurses smoke it, judges smoke it, even the lawyer too” —Peter Tosh, “Legalize It,” 1976