Is there such a thing as a moderately clean middle ground?Do it yourself One tack Hamburg takes when the neat-versus-messy motif comes up in therapy is to suggest that the neat freak take responsibility for the cleaning.
"He wanted me to vacuum the living room once a week even though we never use it, plus dust all of his antiques.And he wanted me to scoop the litter boxes every day -- and there are three of them, one for each of his cats," she says. I'm trying to make this relationship work,' but after a while I got resentful.It wasn't meticulous." Welcome to the dirty-dish divide.While some couples' biggest challenges have to do with money, sex or child-rearing, others get into huge, sweeping battles over the broom: Person A feels Person B isn't wielding it nearly enough; Person B feels Person A is unhealthily obsessed with cleanliness. Hamburg, a clinical psychologist and marital therapist in Chicago, says discussing housekeeping before moving in together can help couples avoid this kind of nitty-gritty grief."I thought he was going to break up with me," says the 23-year-old Milwaukee real estate agent.
"I honestly thought it was going to be something horrible." It was: Susie's housekeeping.
"Whenever I'm tempted to bring a trash can into the house and start throwing things out, I just go downstairs and file." For those who just can't make it work, Hamburg has one final solution: Call in reinforcements.
"Often, the one real effective solution for people with a little bit of means," he says, "is to just hire a cleaning lady." Life Wire provides original and syndicated lifestyle content to Web publishers.
I refer to her as Princess Periodical because of her magazines and newspapers.
But I have an office downstairs where I can focus all of my manic energy.
"I'm a minimalist and my girlfriend is a collector," he says.