The last few weeks my girlfriend and I have been fighting constantly. It’s usually over dumb stuff, like who washed the dishes last or whose turn it is to do laundry. At first, I thought we were just going through a rough patch, but now I’m thinking we may not be compatible living together. She’s a lot more clean than I am. In fact, she’s obsessive about it. I’m not a slob by any means, but if I forget to make my bed before leaving for class, it won’t ruin my day. What should I do to alleviate the tension? I don’t want to end this relationship because I love her, but I don’t want to keep fanning a dying flame, either.
Dear Type B,
Sometimes, no matter how much you care about a person, you might not be meant to be with them. But, if this is something you’re willing to work on, don’t give up yet.
Maybe there’s an underlying reason for your tension that’s popping up through less important issues like you leaving the toilet seat up. A lost job, ended friendship, death in the family or stress from school – each could lead to lashing out. Try to find the real source before attributing it all to your girlfriend being finicky.
However, if you’re certain that the cause of your fights is conflicting cleanliness styles, let’s tidy up this mess.
Communicate cleanly: instead of calling your girl a “neat freak,” explain that you’re trying your best to keep her happy, but her habits are interfering with your own happiness and the time you two spend together.
Section off space: give your girlfriend space that she can keep organized to a tee, like her nightstand or desk, while allowing yourself your own zone to roam free, too – like your bookcase or man cave.
Empty your emotions: remember that your girlfriend’s fussiness isn’t an attack toward you, and remind her that leaving a spoon on the counter isn’t an insult to her, either.
Remember your relationship: don’t forget why you’re together.
If you need ideas for how to solve conflicts or how to prevent them before they occur, try two ideas.
Every time you bicker, add a dollar to a “fight jar.” Once every few months, get dinner using that money (hopefully in the McDonald’s price range rather than a classy restaurant). Also, next time you disagree, you should each take a long drag from a helium balloon and continue the discussion. Whoever laughs first, loses.
Healthy communication and compromise will form a bridge so that Type A and Type B can live in peace … so long as no one forgets to change the toilet paper roll.