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