How to Deal With a Messy, Disorganized Partner
No nagging required.
When we asked our Facebook audience to send us their most vexing cohabitation issues, one comment stood out. A reader told us that her husband had a "total inability" to see the chores that need to be done. She wrote: "It's like he's blind to an overflowing trash can or sink full of dishes, and blissfully ignorant of due dates and appointments." After reading about her issue, RealSimple.com editor Lori Leibovich, host of "The Labor of Love," brought in two experts to help any couple dealing with a similar frustration in their relationship. Leibovich called on Guy Winch, licensed psychologist, TED speaker, and author of Emotional First Aid ($11, amazon.com), and Lisa Zaslow, organizational expert and founder of Gotham Organizers, to see how an annoyed partner can approach this issue without nagging or complaining.
According to Winch, the first step is making sure you don't bring up the problem "on the fly"—for example, avoid having this discussion when getting ready for work, or the second your partner walks in the door. Set aside a time to sit down and focus on finding long-term solutions. Nagging, as many people have realized, doesn't do the trick—in fact, according to Winch, it can "erode" a relationship. From an organizational standpoint, Zaslow has several solutions to make household chores more manageable and more fun. For one thing, she says that some people need "a body double" when they're completing tasks—even having their partner in the room reading a book while they pay the bills or fold the laundry motivates them to get the job done. For more valuable suggestions from Zaslow, and relationship insight from Winch, listen to the full episode below, and don't forget to subscribe on iTunes!