Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can We Make His Home Our Home?”

I moved in to my partner’s spacious apartment over a year ago. He is a sentimental collector and keeper of things (— Boxed In

I answered a similar question earlier this year that may be of some help to you, but my hunch is you’ll read my suggestions — suggestions, I should add, that are based on my own personal experience having gone through the same thing when I moved into Drew’s bachelor pad four years ago — and only get frustrated. My suggestions require an extraordinary amount of compromise from both partners — something it seems your boyfriend is unwilling to summon. But some of my suggestions could go a long way in pulling the compromise out of him, especially if he sees that rather than wanting to “control” your home, you’re interested in making the home a reflection of your best selves both as individuals and as a couple.

One of my original suggestions, which may work really well in your case, is to frame your partner’s artwork or create a space where it’s on display in an aesthetically pleasing way, rather than laying about haphazardly. If your boyfriend has a social circle whose opinions he respects, it may also work for you to plan a party together — something that lends a goal and motivation to “get things done around the home.” Plan it far in enough in advance that he has time to cross off at least a few things from the to-do list, but not so far away that he keeps putting things off. The holidays are coming up and a yuletide gathering could be the perfect excuse to entertain…

I’m also wondering what your contributions to the household are. You say your boyfriend bought this home you live in. Do you pay him rent/ help with the mortgage? If he pays the entire mortgage, do you cover some or all of the household bills? If you don’t make any financial contribution, do you do the cooking and cleaning? If there isn’t a division of expenses or labor, your boyfriend may (rightfully) feel like this is his home and you’re merely a guest — a permanent guest, sure, but a guest, nonetheless. Contributing to the household will give you some ownership you may not already have, which will at least give you some leverage when you argue for design compromise.

Finally, for your own emotional and mental sanity, you need to set a date for yourself — say, two months from now (right after the holidays) — by which you’re going to move out if there isn’t significant improvement in your home. You can choose to share the date with him or keep it to yourself. Just be aware that if you share the date with him and you don’t stick with it, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. He’ll think he never has to compromise because you’ve communicated to him that he doesn’t have to. Don’t be an enabler.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

42 comments… add one
  • Budj

    Budj November 10, 2011, 4:07 pm

    My cousins’ father is an artist. He still hasn’t finished the renovations on the house they grew up in and he now owns by himself.

    Also….he might be a hoarder…you may want to investigate that a little.

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    WatersEdge November 10, 2011, 4:19 pm

    This guy sounds like he likes the IDEA of compromise, but he’s not great at it when it comes time to give something up. Did you notice that he asked you to go look at homes with him, paying lip service to the idea that since you both will live there that you should like the place too, but then he chose a place that suits him perfectly? Or that he does not seem to care that you don’t like living in a run-down shack? He wanted the home that had the workshop but needed a lot of work, and you’ve let him know that you’re not ok with living in a place with holes in the walls, and he’s fully capable of doing the work but he chooses not to out of laziness. Yikes.

    I won’t go so far as to say that you need to break up with this guy. Some people just have one or two things that they can’t compromise on. If this is the only thing he’s selfish about, then chalk it up to a weird personality thing and try throwing a party.

    Another trick that may help is to pay someone to fix up the place. Short-circuit the argument altogether and get both of your needs met. He may even be embarrassed to see someone else do labor on his home, which can motivate him to get going.

    Moving out for a while may be another option, if he really refuses to budge. I think you need to set a precedent that he can’t have 100% control over situations that concern each of you equally. Do NOT let him get away with this.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    Elizabeth November 10, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Just tell me that you have a bathroom. With hot water

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    Turtledove November 10, 2011, 4:49 pm

    This is an issue I can see both sides of. I’m an artist and collector of art, junk, and random nonsense. But I can’t imagine forcing my husband to live amongst all of it without making some effort to enforce some semblance of order. I don’t have a lot of advice on how to get your boyfriend to compromise if he’s completely unwilling to, but I do have some good ideas on how to talk to him about it.

    As far a major repairs and renovations, what of those can you do yourself? Volunteer to do any projects that you can do– or take a weekend course at Home Depot to learn to do some of the simpler tasks (like painting). Offer to find him someone who can help him with some of the rest or offer to pay to have some of it done. The point is that if you want to take some ownership of the home, then it can’t just be when it’s convenient for you.

    When it comes to collections of objects, Expedit shelving from Ikea is great. Those square cubbies basically beg for small vignettes of precious objects alternated with pottery or books. When you approach the subject of his collections of stuff, talk about it like you’re curating an exhibit for a museum or gallery… if he’s any kind of an artist, he’d understand that. I’d even go so far as to make some dates to go to museums and galleries with an eye to getting ideas for how to display things in a way that’s not distracting. Look up images of cabinets of curiosities and curio cabinets to share with him and see if any local museums have any on display. The idea is not to get rid of or change his collections, it’s to contain them and give them a sense of order.

    If he’s got a lot of paper artwork he wants to display, putting up magnetic strips is a great idea. Then you can hang and change things out as often as the mood strikes either one of you. I have two areas, the living room is my permanent collection. It’s mostly work that friends and teachers have made for me or given to me. In the dining room and my studio, I put up magnetic strips so I can change things out whenever I want to.

    The idea of you both having a personal space is important– I’d never touch my husband’s office for instance, but the main living areas ought to reflect both of you– that means keeping his stuff but displaying it in a manner you can both live with as well as putting up some of your things. If he’s unwilling to compromise, then I can’t see how his house would ever feel like a home to you.

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  • avatar

    Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich November 10, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I think you are already getting started on the only reasonable option you have: find your own space until the time that your boyfriend realizes that both parties need to compromise. If there are holes in some of the walls, I honestly don’t think that a planning a party will be enough motive for him to get started on the (extensive) repairs that you hint need to get done. I would worry that planning a fete would actually cause MORE worry and tension, mostly for the LW.

    I think in some ways, you (LW) finding your own place may allow you and your boyfriend to take a step back and discuss the parameters each of you need to feel comfortable in a home. This is something my boyfriend and I are starting to discuss now… about a year and a half before we would move in together. I have to say, I love your idea about each of you focusing on a space that you can make your own. I think if both parties are willing to compromise, that is one way some each of you to be able to express yourselves to the nth degree without compromise, in a small, bounded way. But again, he needs to be willing to compromise, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case. From what you describe happened during the home-buying process, it doesn’t read like you even had much input there.

    So, I would advise you to continue to search for a place of your own and then have a sincere talk with your boyfriend about your needs. And definitely stick to your guns, as Wendy pointed out, or your words will lose credibility.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth November 10, 2011, 5:06 pm

      I completely agree with you, cheese. It doesn’t sound like there was much balance when she moved into his apartment (pre fixer upper) either. Does he give you your own space?
      Also, and this may be jumping to conclusions, how about the rest of your life together? Is there compromise about other things? What about money? I would imagine that you’ve had the ‘talk’ or some semblance of “future talk?” Cause then it would become your place too. I’m not sure how much of your own personal money I would invest in this place unless there was more permanency in the relationship. I currently live with my boyfriend in his owned condo. While I have definitely contributed to the furnishings, paint etc, most of it is stuff that I could take with me if we should split. Also, I’m 110% sure there’s a ring coming my way in the next year so if it’s something I can’t carry with me, I’m a little more comfortable with that.

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        Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich November 10, 2011, 5:17 pm

        Yeah, I wondered about the money talk too. Buying a “fixer-upper” when you aren’t flipping a house or taking a sabbatical from your job in order to focus on renovations suggests that you either bought what you could afford, or bought something on impulse. If it’s the latter case, that doesn’t bode well for his financial savvy.

        One thing that my boyfriend and I discussed was looking at our respective incomes at the time, and figuring out how much we will be making relative to each other. Then we can each pay a the same relative percentage of our incomes to household expenses (which is far fairer to me as the lowly grad-student making peanuts and bottle-caps than if I were to pay half).

        I also want to emphasize that if the LW and her boyfriend aren’t able to make this compromise together at this stage, you can still have a great relationship living in your own spaces. Especially as it sounds like you would remain in the same city. Living together has its perks, but it isn’t mandatory. (See: Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton)

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        Christy November 10, 2011, 7:56 pm

        I think whether or not there’s a ring in the future the two of them need to have a talk about what level of ownership they each have in the house. So is she contributing to the mortagage? Paying rent? If she pays for renovations, does she get a share of the house when it’s sold? What happens if they break up, does she lose all the money she put into it? If he sees it at as all his house and she’s just living there, he probably doesn’t have much incentive to make the changes she wants. It sounds like she wants a bigger stake and they need to make that explicit. Go to a lawyer if necessary.

        I have a friend who got burned in a divorce because they’d never talked about what it meant to have a house together (the house and mortgage were in her name only). He had no legal claim and basically got nothing after paying the down payment and the mortgage for years.

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    cporoski November 10, 2011, 5:07 pm

    I think the big if that is here is how much you are contributing to this situation. The way I read it, it sounds like you are just along for the ride. If you are contributing, you should assert yourself and use what you contribute as leverage.

    But if I had someone living in my house that started telling me how to decorate, I would be very upset because I pay the bills. The question you need to ask yourself is if he sees you as a partner or someone he allows to live there.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth November 10, 2011, 5:13 pm

      It’s not just decorating.. it’s a stove too and ‘other appliances and walls”

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        Ani November 10, 2011, 5:26 pm

        I disagree with Wendy on one point: I don’t think chores around the house should ever be used as a replacement for equal contribution to important things like paying bills. If LW isn’t contributing equally to the bills, then I think her partner has a right to not want to compromise on issues such as decorating because if it wasn’t for the partner paying the bills, there would be nothing to decorate. Personally, I would not want to be with someone long term if I was the one paying for everything and they were just along for the ride.

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        Bossy Italian Wife November 10, 2011, 9:36 pm

        I humbly disagree. In my household we follow the motto, “from each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” Sometimes a person loses a job, and needs to contribute in other ways. If you worked, but had no chores to do, some people would say that is a pretty sweet deal.

        Other times, we work but don’t earn a solid living, so we cook and clean, etc. rather than paying directly.

        Just because that doesn’t work for you personally (as it won’t for everyone) you shouldn’t write off the fact that some people contribute to a household by keeping it in order rather than bringing in money. One isn’t necessarily more meaningful than the other. I know from personal experience, as both my husband and I have taken turns being the major breadwinner and the household “runner.” Now we both contribute because we are lucky enough to have two incomes.

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        cporoski November 11, 2011, 7:08 am

        Bossy:

        You are right. There are some things that are temporary or lifestyle choices. However, this is a boyfriend and not a husband. When you are spouses, the building of a home together is a huge part of it. And there is a cultural legitamacy to the relationship.

        When you are dating, there are huge differences in relationships and huge grey areas. Some relationships are building homes and are in it for the long haul. Others are not. He is not treating her like the lady of the house but more like a guest.

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        Ani November 11, 2011, 3:12 pm

        That was my thinking: they are boyfriend and girlfriend; not husband and wife. Also, LW made it sound like her boyfriends finances are tight. To me, it’s very unfair to expect someone who can barely support themselves to try to support another person (especially one who they have made no permanent commitment to; LW doesn’t state if they’ve made any such commitment). I have a friend who is in a similar situation: his girlfriend moved in with him a little over a year ago. Said girlfriend has had little to no income the entire time. He works his butt off at two jobs and can barely pay his bills. To me, to know that someone is under severe financial strain and think that doing the dishes is a replacement for helping pay the bills is immature and unfair to your partner.

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        Jess November 10, 2011, 10:48 pm

        I’m going to have to disagree with you on that point also. I’ve been unemployed since July and was doing retail before that (yay economy, so glad my BA’s going to good use); my boyfriend’s been working and also comes from a wealthier background than I do (no student loans, money invested that he can draw from etc.) I know that when we first moved in together 2 years ago that this would’ve been his attitude also, but he’s definitely been fronting a larger chunk of the bill for a while now. I physically CAN’T do anything more financially than I currently am and he’s okay with it, since it’s not like I’m spending money on things for myself, it’s mainly food and what portion of the bills I can afford each month. But that’s what he chooses to do, since the other option is me moving home to my parent’s house and he’d much rather me be here.

        So in the LW’s situation, I totally see where she’s coming from. Money gets tricky. Like some others have said, it’d be one thing if they were renting, but whatever money she puts in to renovated doesn’t come back to her later. So why put money into a situation that you don’t have ANY control over? Since her bf won’t compromise, it doesn’t feel like her home anyway. Maybe he’ll change his approach to it, though, if he realizes he can’t get everything he wants. Either he can have his house the way he wants it to or she won’t live there. I would feel like the less valued option if he’s totally unconcerned with how their situation is making her feel.

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        cporoski November 11, 2011, 7:02 am

        Jess:

        Your situation is one that alot of people face. But, your situation is different because it is temporary. But, would you feel the right to redecorate now? With so little contribution to the household? Does your boyfriend consider it your home or are you a guest so you don’t have to move home?

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        cporoski November 11, 2011, 7:16 am

        True, but I know when I was in college and younger, I NEVER used the stove because I didn’t cook. Clearly, he wasn’t expecting her to cook every night because then he would have been all over the stove situation.

        This sounds like a forclosure where the previous owners took everything of value out before they left. She didn’t indicate how long they have lived this way but it isn’t long. To rehaul a kitchen after you just put down a large down payment is hard. The LW isn’t running out and buying a stove herself so I think there are boundries here.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        Elizabeth November 11, 2011, 10:35 am

        That could be true about the stove, but the fact that she mentioned it specifically and then ‘other appliances’ made me wonder if she did intend to cook sometimes (at least for herself?). I dunno, my goal in life is to be Martha Stewart, so I would flip if there wasn’t some semblance of a kitchen (even a really old one).

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        cporoski November 11, 2011, 1:30 pm

        I agree. That would be hard for me too. I cook almost every night. But when I am invisioning this place, and i might be wrong, I see a livable house with some patch work needed and a missing stove and dishwasher.

        If you were in the middle of a remodel, you would be living the same way. I just wonder if they have been living this way for 6 days or 6 weeks or 6 months. But I was under the impression that they were this way for weeks. Some details make all the difference.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        Elizabeth November 11, 2011, 2:57 pm

        agreed. 6 months is WAY different than a few days.

        Also, more of an exact state of the house (especially since winter is on the way) would have shed some light on the situation. i already don’t like the “financial burden’ she mentioned. That just sounds like a stupid buy

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  • avatar

    milli November 10, 2011, 5:38 pm

    LW, I think that if you afford to find your own place to move, you could also invest in some items for the house. And doing some of the work yourself is not the end of the world, I am sure. When your boyfriend sees your enthusiasm, I am sure he will come and help.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar November 10, 2011, 5:38 pm

    I like the idea of working on projects together. “This Sunday let’s hit home depot, grab supplies and fix the living room walls – together”. You pass the trowel and tape measure when needed. If it is both your home then certainly you can throw in some labour, if not money for the renovation. Make a fun date out of it. This way you aren’t pushing him – you are going along together.

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    AKchic November 10, 2011, 5:51 pm

    I had issues like that when it came to my vehicles and my second husband (a mechanic at the time).
    My car needed brake work done. Brakes needed to be replaced, a leak in my brake line (which turned out later to not be a “leak”, but a cut meant to slowly disable), etc.
    I wanted to do it myself (since I could), but he kept saying that he’d do it – it was “man’s work”. Well, two weekends passed, and nothing. My brakes were squealing in protest, and it was just too risky to keep driving on them. So, I called a guy friend to come over and start working on my brakes. I told him to expect being interrupted. Sure enough, he hadn’t even gotten the first tire off and my husband had taken over and got the brakes done.

    Sometimes – it takes “outside motivation” to get things done.

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    • avatar

      Bethany November 10, 2011, 7:51 pm

      I’ve found that to be the case with little things around the house too- My husband’s job is to take out the trash- I’ll wait and wait for him to take it out, then finally get sick of it. As I’m gathering the trash from the bedrooms/bathroom, suddenly he’s all “I was just going to do that!” It drives me nuts!!

      So, maybe LW, if you start things on your own, he’ll join in with you!

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      • avatar

        Britannia November 10, 2011, 7:55 pm

        It’s true. Most men feel chastened when they see you taking charge and doing what you asked them to do weeks ago. It’s confusing to me why they put it off and put it off, and then get mad when you take care of it yourself, but it does drive home the point.

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    Carolynasaurus November 10, 2011, 5:55 pm

    My husband and I just purchased our first home so I have gotten pretty good at solving this one. The easiest and most straight-forward solution: have a meeting. As lame as it sounds, you need to sit down and have a formal meeting about the house. You guys are on completely different wavelengths and you need to be able to present to each other what’s important to you.

    What you need to first do is agree on a deadline. For us, we have family coming for Thanksgiving so that’s our deadline. Second, decide what you want to get done before that deadline. Installing a new stove? Painting a room? Break it down into small pieces. Then, from there, break it down further. If you want to install the stove by Thanksgiving, with your current work schedules, when do you have to have it picked out? When does it have to be delivered by? Get all the details out in the open and determine which ones have to be done by each one of you or both of you. If you look at the house, or even a room, as a whole, you’ll never get done. Start with a small project you can both agree on and go from there.

    All that being said, even if you sit down and plan all this out, there’s no real reason that he has to follow through on any of it. If he doesn’t commit when you’ve made things so incredibly easy on him, maybe you should really consider finding a place of your own to make perfect.

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  • avatar

    Rei November 10, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Honestly, I’m going to take the boyfriend’s side on this one. You make him buy a house that sounds like it’s out of his budget (and then get angry because he bought the one he actually wanted), you make him do the work on the house but make no mention of what you’re doing as well (so to me it sounds like you want him to fix everything on his own), and then you’re so “gracious” as to allow him to have a few spaces to decorate while you’ll do all the designing in the places people will actually see.
    I think the first step to any resolution of this problem is to realize that you are being quite controlling.

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    • landygirl

      Landygirl November 10, 2011, 7:16 pm

      Wow, did we read the same letter? You seem to have issues with the LW that have nothing to do with anything she said. Are you the boyfriend?

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        Rei November 10, 2011, 10:00 pm

        Yes, obviously. That’s why, although I don’t comment much on here, I said a few things before. It’s obviously all part of my master plan! Bwahaha!
        Now, onto real matters, she really DOESN’T mention what she’s been doing about this whole house situation. We know that he’s paying for the house. We also know that she expects him to repair it. But she never mentions what she’s doing to repair the place herself. Why doesn’t she fix the holes in the walls? Why isn’t she buying the stove? What is she doing, exactly?

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      mcminnem November 10, 2011, 9:24 pm

      She did not make him buy the house. HE asked her to come along on the house hunt, and then HE found a house that she did not like (she’d rather not live in a fixer-upper) and HE “had to have it”. HE’s the one making all the choices here. If anyone’s being controlling, it’s him.

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie November 10, 2011, 9:28 pm

      I completely with the guy on this. He’s putting in the bucks and she “gives” him the workshop areas and one bathroom. I’d dethrone this princess and put my house in order. Let her primp and plush a studio apartment for herself.

      OK so much for my rant, now if you want a house for the two of you make the entire house a mutual effort. The art room is rightfully his to make a living in and at least for the construction phase he’ll need the garage. Three things will be required from both of you for everything else: compromise, compromise, and compromise.

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        SpaceySteph November 11, 2011, 7:41 am

        I agree with you eddie. When I read the bathroom comment I was like “wtf?” He’s gonna decorate the bathroom and the garage but you’re going to do all the stuff where people will actually see it? At his house?

        I don’t know the LW to know if she’s really controlling, but her letter doesn’t paint her in the best light. The man owns the house, if you really want him on board with this, let him pick the rooms he wants. And then don’t be a brat about how he chooses to decorate his own living room.

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    atraditionalist November 10, 2011, 6:21 pm

    You need to get your own place. Why would you move in somewhere you don’t like? If you’re not contributing to the bills (even then-bills are not the mortgage) it is in no way “your” place until you’re married and you really don’t have a say in how it looks or is built. I am not a fan of living together before marriage or engagement but if you are going to do so at least make it your place as well as his by owning part of it. Otherwise quit whining.

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    vizslalvr November 10, 2011, 9:31 pm

    Entirely aside from the many helpful suggestions people have given above about encouraging a compromise, I really just don’t see the point in taking a huge backwards step in the relationship if the two of you are unable to work this out by moving out. Clearly, if you can’t work out the very important mechanics of sharing a home, the long term future of the relationship isn’t super rosy.

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge November 10, 2011, 10:01 pm

      Y’know, I do agree with this. It’s easy to say “get your own place”, but moving out would be a huge slap in the face. The details of packing up your stuff, moving it out, and then coming back to the house to sleep over on occasion would be heart-wrenching for both of you. That said, if he eventually refuses to compromise and continues to make you feel like a visitor in the home, that would become a deal-breaker over time. It’s indicative of selfishness on his part.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't November 10, 2011, 10:49 pm

    So, you have no stove. And your place is missing walls. Do you have an indoor toilet? Is there running water there? Honestly, it sounds like a shack. The ghetto-ass student housing I lived in sounds nicer and more functional than this place. But the thing is, if your eccentric artist partner is the one paying for it, he has the right to live how he wants. You mention being able to afford your own place so I assume you’re contributing financially to the upkeep- which does sort of change things. It doesn’t bode well for your future together if he’s content to live in a dilapidated shack and you want to live in a ‘real’ home. I think you guys need to have a serious discussion about the seriousness of your relationship, your relative financial contributions to his house/shack and what the future plans for this abode are. Because while he bought it, and can do what he wants with it, the fact that he’s not willing to accommodate you (after requesting your input and ultimately ignoring it!) isn’t a great sign.

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      cporoski November 11, 2011, 1:38 pm

      It is funny that you read that this was a shack. I read it as a functional kitchen sans stove and some patch work around the house. She said that she wants to take walls down and i took that as opening up the space. I read it that the house has potential but he was not feeling taking on projects.

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    MiMi November 11, 2011, 8:21 am

    Here’s the thing: you moved into “his” apartment and lived with his clutter and mess for a year, apparently without pushing for any major changes. A precedent was set for how the two of you would cohabit. Now, he has made a unilateral decision to buy a ramshackle abode and has moved his clutter and mess into it.
    The problem is that you made an assumption that his moving into a different space implied something regarding your living arrangements, your say in the household, i.e., that compromise would now be possible. Why did you make this assumption? It is clearly inaccurate.
    He is happy with things as they are, holes in the wall don’t bother him, and he’s exactly who he was when you moved in with him in the first place. If he wasn’t thoughtful of your comfort then, he won’t be now. If he didn’t compromise for you then, he won’t now.
    It is time for a reality check about your assumptions and expectations versus what your artist-hoarder is offering.

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  • avatar

    anonymous November 11, 2011, 11:51 am

    Wow. Where to begin? Let me suggest that the LW get a good book on home reno and get STARTED! There’s no reason that having a vagina precludes her from being capable of plumbing, wiring, painting, trim installation, demolition. Heck, get a crowbar & paint it pink — tell him that he’s not allowed to use your tools.

    If you’re not contributing financially, you can darn well put some money into the repairs. That will help with “his” financial difficulties with the renovation. If you are, so what? Aren’t you trying for a partnership?

    When my husband & I bought our house, I *hated* it. But he loved it. In this case, we were *both* paying for the mortgage. Over the years, we have made it our own, and we *both* love it. Why don’t you work on making it more into what you want? Caveat: don’t you dare paint a wall a color that he hasn’t approved. The way to get started there? Get paint chips at the store, bring them home, and tape them to the walls. Look at them in different lights (different times of day) to see how they look IN the room. And the dialog goes like this, “Honey? I got all these paint colors to look at! Which ones do you hate, so I can remove them from the list? THis one? What about that one? I was thinking that these might be a good background for this artwork of yours [shown] with a [wood, pewter, brushed aluminum, brass, antique gold, lacquer] frame. What do you think? Would it be okay with you if I tackled this room?”

    Then DO IT. You do not have to wait for him. And — one more piece of advice — he’s your boyfriend, aka your lover. LOVE him. Don’t complain about his perceived defects. You’ll get a lot farther with him this way. Find ways to make HIM happy. If it’s a good relationship, he’ll respond by finding ways to make YOU happy. You won’t need to *make* him do what you want him to do — he’ll just do it. And if this doesn’t happen? Time for a talk, and then (sorry) a breakup. Because if he’s not willing to try for you after you’ve been working to make him happy, he really doesn’t want you.

    Good luck. Now get to work.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger November 11, 2011, 3:14 pm

      I would be incredibly wary of putting actual money into a house I have no equity in. Sweat equity; fine, but money? She will not get any value off of it; it is literally throwing it away for her, unless she eventually gains equity in the house.

      They should work out an agreement upfront about that. If she pays for new fixtures, does that mean she pays less in rent that month? The stove is seriously worrisome. And of the people saying that because she isn’t willing to buy a new stove, why should he? Because he has equity in the house! If she buys the stove, chances are, she legally can’t take it with her as a renter (depends on the state) but he will get some return when the house is resold. She can by furniture and lamps and such, but if she buys anything that GOES INTO the house proper, that gets installed, its part of the house and she doesn’t get compensated for it.I would be very very skeptical about putting real money fixing up a house i have no legal claim to.

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      Francine November 12, 2011, 9:09 am

      I don’t think her vagina is getting in the way. I think it’s the fact that her partner doesn’t want her doing it that is preventing her from making changes to his home. She’s already decided to get her own place. Her question was, how can they enjoy each other with their home in its current state until then.

      I think if the surroundings are affecting her feelings for him then maybe here are deeper issues. Possibly some control issues on either part. Maybe some disagreement on where they each think they are in their relationship. Not sure but she has already solved the decorating dilemma by deciding to move to her own space. The advice she was looking for was regarding enjoying him in the space he currently occupy.

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    Francine November 12, 2011, 8:58 am

    Your boyfriend chose this house on his own (even though you were asked to participate in the selection process, he obviously disregarded your input when making his final decision), he paid for it on his own and he intends to make decorating/renovation decisions on his own. I think it’s extremely obvious that e considers this his space, his home and you’re just occupying it.

    You want your own space and said you’re going about getting it. Sounds like a good idea. I guess I don’t understand your question. You can’t enjoy his company in your current surroundings? Is it just spartan or are you lacking heat and electricity? My husband and I lived with a small dorm refrigerator and a microwave as our only kitchen appliances (not even a coffee maker) while we saved money and found time to renovate a home in an area we loved. We didn’t want to buy new furniture until we were out of the renovating phase and into the decorating phase so the accommodations were downright hideous but I can’t say he was less wonderful because he was surrounded by chaos. It took us about 18 months of living with shop lights and crate tables and a few years before we felt we were (mostly) done.

    I do understand how you must feel not having any control over the situation but it’s obvious that this is his house and he isn’t ready to share that with you beyond having you live there. You’ve realized that the solution is to get your own space. Now go love him to pieces and enjoy his company amid the chaos until moving day.

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