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How to get rid of his 'bad habits' and live together in bliss.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
 
I love your blogs. They’ve helped me so much. My question is: my boyfriend moved in with me about two months ago. Both of us have been living on our own for more than 10 years, and for me, I get upset when I see his bad-living-together habits creeping into my space. How do I keep it at a minimum without making living with me miserable for him? Thank you Lauren for your advice!! Xxoo.
 
- Natasha
 
Hi Natasha!
 
Great question. I remember when I moved in with my partner, it was a really big adjustment. Going from living on your own in your own space to living together is a big transition and most couples go through some drama figuring it out.
 
So now that you know this is totally normal, let’s dive in to a solution!
 

Flip the Script from STOP to START
 
You say you want to keep his “bad living-together habits” at a minimum without having him be miserable with you.
 
The answer lies in flipping the script. What kind of opportunities, strategies and options reveal themselves when we change the question from a negative to a positive?
 
For ex: Instead of “How do I keep his bad habits at a minimum without having HIM be miserable with ME?”
 
How about, “How do I nurture good habits so that we both really enjoy living together? What can we START doing to make this relationship great?”
 
Try saying that question out loud and seeing how it feels. It’s a subtle but extremely powerful shift in the way you approach both your relationship and your problem solving.
 
If it’s in the negative, how can I get him to STOP __________________. Then the only solutions that reveal themselves have to do with limiting his freedom in some way, controlling him, criticizing him, or making him wrong.
 
You’re not a task master; you’re a creative and nurturing being. Go with your talents.
 

Go with your talents
 
You know in your heart that the task master approach will never be effective; it doesn’t feel loving, if feels…icky.  Which is why you feel helpless in the face of his “bad habits.” Feeling helpless is the breeding ground for neediness and resentment. This is the dark side of the force and no one’s happy: not you, not him, nobody.
 
But when you flip the script from STOP to START, you’re tapping into your feminine magic: the part of you that is infinitely creative and naturally nurturing.
 


Feminine Magic:
 
Creative: You feel irritated/resentful/annoyed when he does X. What would the solution look like? What would make you feel happy/appreciative/loving? Imagine what that would look like.
 
That’s your creativity at work. It’s going beyond STOP and “I don’t like this” and imagining what you’d like it to be instead.
 
This thing that would make you feel happy/appreciative/loving? That fetus idea grows up into a request.
 

Nurturing: Requests have the potential to sound harsh, demanding, and needy so it’s time to engage your nurturing instincts. How can you form this request so that he feels nurtured, loved, and cared for?
 
There is 200 page book inside me all about the art, science, and nuance of this but for now, I’ll say: Follow your talents. You are a loving and nurturing being…do that!
 
 
Taskmaster vs. Feminine Magic in action
 
I learn best with examples so that’s what I’m going to give you today. Take these examples and apply the language and approach to the specific issues in your home and relationship.
 
Example Issue 
#1: He leaves wet towels on the floor.
 
Taskmaster: "I need you to STOP leaving your wet towel on the bathroom floor. I don’t want to live in a pig sty."
 
Feminine Magic: "I notice that when we have wet towels on the bathroom floor, it smells a little moldy and sometimes I trip on it. Would you hang up your towel when you’re done using it? I love how pretty and clean the bathroom looks when everything is in it’s place."
 

Example 
Issue #2: He lets his dirty dishes pile up in the sink.
 
Taskmaster: "Dude, this isn’t a frat house. STOP leaving your dirty dishes in the sink. I can’t even wash my teacup; there’s no room."
 
Feminine Magic: "I notice the dishes are piling up in the sink, would you wash them for me today so that I can make dinner and really spread out. I love cooking in a clean kitchen, I feel like I’m on the food network."
 

Example 
Issue #3: He puts empty cereal boxes back in the pantry.
 
Taskmaster: "Why would you put back an empty cereal box? I went to eat cereal and there’s nothing there. If you had put it on the list, I could’ve gotten some when I was at the store yesterday. Now I have to go back and I’m hungry. What were you thinking?"
 
Feminine Magic: "Honey, I’m craving cereal but all I see in the pantry is an empty box. Would you run to the store and get me some? Thanks. And for future, it’s really helpful for me if you leave the box out so I know it’s empty or put it on the grocery list so I can get some more. I’d really appreciate that."
 
 
Depending on how you’ve spoken to him in the past or his past experiences with his mother or ex girlfriends, he may get a little defensive or look a little beaten up. In this case, you can lighten the mood by flashing him a smile, kissing him on the cheek, and/or saying:
 
“I know living with girl is a little more effort but I hear the perks are worth it. ;-) I love living with you.”
 
And leave it at that.
 
Men really respond well to this particular feminine magic. The winning combination of creativity and nurturing sets him up for success. There is a way to genuinely enjoy living together and this is the path forward.
 
Flip the script from Stop to Start, go with your talents and if you’re still having trouble, hop on a Skype call with me and I’ll coach you through some new and tailor-made strategies just for you and your sweetie. 
 
With love, 

 

read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Lauren Gray
     5/22/2016 2:18:55 PM
    Mamercer - TOTALLY! Brilliant for all kinds of problem solving and relationships. And I'm so happy you took a chance and shared this with your friends - who knows who you helped today by doing that! And a personal thank you as well because your share allows me to connect with and help even more folks. Have fun with your feminine magic!!
  • Lauren Gray
     5/22/2016 2:15:59 PM
    Vera85, You're not a guest in his house anymore. If you've made the decision that you're going to live together than it's your house now too. Divvying up the chores in an organized way is a GREAT strategy! It's okay that he's resistant - don't give up so quickly. Try again in a neutral tone of voice and hold your ground that it's really important to you. Remember, this has to work for BOTH of you if it's going to work at all. And he wants it to work for you too - underneath his resistance he wants that too....
  • Mamercer
     5/22/2016 10:56:17 AM
    One of the best tips I've ever heard! Thanx Lauren. Applicable to all kinds of relationships, not just once I find Mr. Wonderful again. I liked it so much I exposed my neck and shared it on my facebook timeline. THAT's huge for me!
  • vera85
     5/22/2016 9:39:02 AM
    Thanks for that! Unfortunately I have the opposite problem. I moved in into HIS house and despite of the fact that I am relatively clean and tidy, he still complains and criticises me for not doing enough around the house! He loves his house to be immaculately clean (no single! hair in a bathroom or a single! crumble in the kitchen is allowed). We both have full time jobs and every time when he is coming back home he does something around the house and expects me to do the same! If I just sit and read a book, I feel guilty that I'm not cleaning and then he complains that he's doing everything and I do nothing (yep, I'm basically the one who hovers every second day, cooks and washes up, wash clothes etc.). I tried to talk to him about sharing the chores but he says that he's not going to talk about sharing chores in his house. If something needs cleaning, it needs to be cleaned. HELP! What can I do??...


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