Attention Women: Stop Settling for a Man who Can't Take Care of Himself
I have come to the conclusion that men do not want a loving committed partnership in which both parties equally contribute to the relationship. They want a girlfriend who will take care of them. They want a replacement mommy.
I have been in a few live-in relationships. The common theme of why it didn't work was always that my boyfriend didn't feel that he needed to contribute to the household. Sometimes I think that they didn't even know that there was a need to contribute to the household, which to me is just mind boggling.
My first live in boyfriend didn't understand the concept of a hamper. Whenever he took a shower, he would spread his dirty clothes and towel all over the floor. I tried to work around it. I placed a hamper right outside of the bathroom door (where the majority of the clothes ended up) and I explained it to him nicely ("hey honey, I put a hamper outside the bathroom door so you can just put your dirty clothes there" "Ok, cool, thanks!") Guess what happened. That's right, I found dirty clothes and towels on the floor surrounding the hamper. Every day.
My second live in boyfriend was even worse. He didn't work, he went to online school. I had a full time job, and I had to work overtime just to make ends meet. He didn't understand that the bathroom needed to be cleaned on a weekly basis. He would make a frozen pizza, then brag about how he "cooked dinner" for the next three days, and refuse to cook again. He didn't understand that laundry needed to be washed, or that the dishes needed to be done. He also didn't understand that you shouldn't leave clean laundry sitting in a basket on the floor for 4 days; especially when you have a cat! So when I got home from work, I would have to do all the chores, all while listening to him complain about how hard his online classes were, and how he was so incredibly busy with his school work.
My problem (and I'm pretty sure most women's problem) is that I allowed this all to happen. Yes, we had petty fights about it, but in the long run, I didn't do much about it. I fell into the old trap of getting into an argument, having him promise to do better, but nothing ever really changing. Repeat every 2 months or so. He knew the game too. I was an enabler.
Is the root problem with men? Why don't men understand that dishes need to be washed? Why don't men understand that clothes need to be washed? Why don't men understand that bathrooms need to be cleaned, dinner needs to be cooked, and laundry needs to be put away? Do they think that these things just magically happen?
Or are women to blame because we allow it? We don't follow through on our threats to end the relationship. We don't just wash our own clothes. We don't just cook for ourselves. We clean the bathroom because we are disgusted if it gets dirty (we would surely lose that battle of wills).
Both genders are to blame. Men need to step up and learn how to take care of themselves. We aren't your mothers. Women need to stop mothering their boyfriends. We need to stop settling for a man who won't clean up after himself.
If all women stopped playing mommy to their boyfriends, I bet men would start understanding what a hamper is pretty quickly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Lunar on September 16, 2018:
I actually agree! I don't mind the cooking and cleaning, but I hate when I do it and my boyfriend thinks that I'm going to clean up after him after I just cleaned and me being firm with him has helped. He's an only child and wasn't taught any manners or hygiene. I come from a family of the motto cleanliness is godliness lol! I've been to his parents a few times omg disgusting! His mother is a stay home who does not clean or cook. She has built of dust and her floors look like dessert with all the dirt on her floors! She doesn't clean her bathrooms either and there's built up gunk everywhere, ugh! She does laundry and all her clothes stay hanging off the stair case rail or the rail that over looks the living downstairs. The kitchen and living room?! My God....every counter space in her kitchen is cluttered with boxes of snacks etc. And her fridge is empty except for sad dried frozen meals they had left over. She doesn't cook at all and eats large amount of frozen or fast food. Their bookshelves decor tables are full of junk their fire place is completely cluttered with crap. Their couches smell like dog. So!!! I see where he gets it from...his own mother. I don't clean up after him or do his laundry because I already have 2 kids from a previous relationship I care for and will be getting a job soon so there's no way in damn hell I'm going to tend to him, my job, and my kids.
Pancho on May 08, 2014:
For Your Information, No, I Am Not Looking For A Girlfriend To Be Like My Mom Because She Could Never Be Her! All I Look For In A Girl/Women Is That She Does What She's Supposed To Do. We All Have Jobs To Do. It's Just That Men's Jobs Are OUTSIDE The House While Women's Jobs Are INSIDE The House! Growing Up, Me & My Sisters Had Chores To Do When We All Got Home From School. The ONLY Is That All My Chores Were Outside Our House & All My Sisters Chores With The Exception Of Washing Were Inside. They Didn't Like It Much But They Did It Anyway! I Liked It. When My Father Got Home From Work, He Would See What I Did, Say If It Was Done Right Or Not, & Move On. If It Wasn't Done Right, I Would Fix It Then Go Help My Dad With Whatever He Needed, Be It Replacing A Part On His Truck, Taking Of A Plant, Or Taking Care Of Our Pets. We Had Two Cages, One With A Bunny (My Sisters), The Other With Roosters (Regular & Fighting Ones), & A Dog. After All This, Me & My Dad Washed Up & Sat Down For Dinner Which My Mother & Sisters Prepared & Ate As A Family. So, Men's Role In A Relationship Is To Be The Provider, The Handyman, The Groudsman, The IT Guy, Etc. The Only Reasons Me & My Dad Ever Went Into Into The Kitchen & Or Laundry Room Was To Fix Something & Occasionally Eat. That's The Way I Am & Live & That's NOT About To CHANGE Anytime Soon! If You Don't Like It, You Can Move On. That's What I'd Do. Like You There Are 1000's Outthere!!
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on August 31, 2013:
ha ha James that was a hilarious comment!! Are you saying that men shouldn't be expected to take care of themselves?
I asked one of my close male friends once that I just want a guy who is nice to me, can take care of himself (clean up after himself, and take care of himself financially), and isn't an a-hole. He said "you may as well ask for a unicorn."
James Ready on August 26, 2013:
Enjoy your life alone
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on January 28, 2013:
Thanks timetraveler, I appreciate it!!!
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on January 28, 2013:
husband in training - I find it funny that you make a remark about hostile comments, commend me for my calm replies, then proceed to rip into me.
I do appreciate the comment though, everyone has different experiences with this whole living together thing and I doubt we will ever agree. Everyone is different. I think the best idea is to find someone who you are compatible with. Obviously, I was not compatible with the examples that I listed above.
I disagree with your last statement about allowing it to happen, and me not having control. I do have control. I can chose to be with someone who is a mess and can't take care of himself, or I can chose to not be with him. Nobody forced me to stay. That was my dumb choice. I know better now. I won't be with someone who can't take care of himself.
One thing I do agree with though is your unfair expectations. I shouldn't expect someone to change, and I won't. I shouldn't expect someone to meet my every demand, and I don't. I understand compromise. I want to be with someone who is an equal partner. We both give a little. If that means I have to do more housework because he works more, so be it. If it is vice versa, so be it. I don't expect anyone to take care of me, I can take care of myself. I do expect that in a relationship, we would take care of each other in any way possible, not because we have to though, but because we care about each other so we want to.
I don't claim to have it all figured out. I have no idea to be honest. I just know that I don't want to take care of someone who doesn't want to take care of himself.
Thanks for the comment, I would appreciate any more input that you have on this subject.
Sondra Rochelle from USA on January 26, 2013:
It's all in how their mother's train them! Too many baby their boys and they then expect their girlfriends and wives to take over where mom left off. Not good! Great job on this one! Thanks.
husbandintraining on January 18, 2013:
I think there is a little bit of aggression in some of the posts and I commend you, Elani, for your calm replies. It is not easy to do.
However, I do agree with the principle of what Calidoug has said. The old joke of "I want the toilet seat down" is just that: a joke. You want it down? So what! I want it up. Stop putting the toilet seat down...
Attention: your boyfriend is not your dad, nor your slave nor is he responsible for changing his entire personality because you would rather he [insert self-indulgent princess request here].
I am not a clean freak, by any stretch, but I do try my best to be aware. It certainly doesn't always work. But I can build you nearly anything you ask and can keep your car going and can predict economic changes all while doing a crossword and playing Trivial Pursuit and advancing my organisation's marketing strategy. :) Not necessarily in that order. Some conditions apply.
But I am also expected to get up at night and check out noises. Or wait in the basement while she gets her clothes because she's afraid of the dark (and basements). I also am expected to do any heavy lifting, get objects that are too high off the ground, answer the door because she doesn't like to. I have to also call because calling people and meeting strangers gives her anxiety. I am also supposed to do the renovations on the house, cook (at least a couple days of the week, which is reasonable).
Oh yeah, and after that, I must then contribute 50/50 to ALL household chores. After all the other stuff though; that stuff doesn't count or if it does, it is QUICKLY forgotten. But if I forget the dishes, I hear about it for months. And of course, I am also supposed to somehow "want" to do all of this and not because you ask me. Because you're worth it, right? That's what the TV tells you! And, then I also have to take the time to make sure she feels special and loved and desired and beautiful because apparently those are things she can't do on her own either.
You know you're right, us men are so childish as compared to you extremely mature and self-aware women. *cough, cough*
I am betting more than a few guys can relate to this and that's the sad part. Stop thinking you are special because you have an "inny" and we have an "outy". We are different, with different needs that are not always complimentary. That's the real challenge. When only one person is making compromises, it's not called compromising. It's called "taking".
Stop expecting us men to be both men AND copies of you, simultaneously. It is exhausting and completely unfair and impossible. Period. It borders on total narcicism and selfishness as well, by the way.
If you want to live with another woman, marry one. If you want to be with a man, then deal with what reasonably comes with it.
Ask yourself this: when all is said and done, if you remove all the cleaning and the chores and the work and plop yourself on a desert island, would you rather be with the guy that loves you and would protect you no matter what, or the dude you married because he was "really clean" and always put you first for everything, all the time, like every princess deserves...
Now, you women also have the right to totally b*tch and ditch dirt bags, jerks, jack-offs, anyone from the cast of Jersey Shore, etc. Those guys be sleaze and you shouldn't have to put up with it. But seriously, stop taking yourselves so, well, seriously.
P.S. I apologize that this is harsh and nasty but I have just heard this garbage FAR too often and it smells to high heavens of immaturity and pseudo-wisdom mascarading as someone who has "figured it all out". Saying "I got it: all men just want X" and displacing blame is not you figuring it out. It's actually you completely missing the point.
You women in agreement all really need to do some soul searching and accept responsibility, not for "allowing it to happen" but to even be thinking that it is something you are even allowed to have control over in the first place!
Skye DeMaria from Midwest on September 18, 2012:
That was an awesome lecture. I think you are exactly correct in nearly everything you said. However, I do not think it is too much to expect that he would see her lifestyle choices and determine whether he could transition with her to meet both their needs halfway. Otherwise it is just plain selfish and he is not showing the love and respect you referred to either. Some of your points are valid platforms to further discuss and examine.
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on September 17, 2012:
Thanks for the comment. If they were dirty when we first started dating, I would have seen it coming. But people put their best foot forward when a relationship starts. Then slowly, so slowly that you hardly realize that it is happening (like the experiment where they dim the lights so slowly that nobody notices until they are sitting in the dark) things change. Then one day you wake up and realize that the clean, organized man you were happy to be dating is now a useless slob who doesn't know what a hamper is.
I do think that it is partly my fault though. I wash a pair of jeans, then a few shirts, then the next thing I know I'm washing all of his clothes. I've learned my lesson though, it won't happen again.
Thanks for the comment though, I really appreciate it.
calidoug on August 11, 2012:
wow - is this what women really break up over? so disgustingly trivial.
i think you're all missing the point here. marriage is not the answer. that was the 50's. men are not looking for a mommy. news flash: this is how these guys lived before you, with you, and after you - it has nothing to do with *you*, women, or wanting a mommy.
these guys are just *living*, just like they did before they met you, with their priorities elsewhere, focused on other things. in their world, the clothes eventually do get washed (or not, and it doesn't matter), and the dishes eventually do get washed (or not, and it doesn't matter) - just not on your schedule.
were these guys all really wearing dirty, smelly clothes when you met them? what about the first 10 dates? what did you see when you slept over the first time, and the 50 after that? did you really not see this coming?
you're spending all your time with them projecting *your* idea of what needs to be done, and when, onto them, and judging their behavior according to *your* standards! no wonder you're disappointed and bitter.
there is so much more to life than dirty laundry, and who does what around the house. wake up, get out of the house, and live a wonderful existence with your man. pay $25/wk for a damn maid and get on with life. did you even love these guys?
disclaimer: i am an a complete neat freak, an excellent (trained) chef, and extremely freakin' sarcastic - but that is how *I* live, and I don't go around expecting my life to stay exactly how I want it when I go into relationships... relationships are about acceptance, and compromise and change. not about getting a hold of someone you can mold, change and manipulate to your own exacting standards.
EXPECTATION IS THE ROOT OF ALL DISAPPOINTMENT
SanXuary on February 06, 2012:
I think its all about sharing and being intrigued with new ideas. Life is to boring to live a life only one way. The World would be so much better if it was not so selfish.Its not about giving anything but sharing all moments.
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on February 04, 2012:
SanXuary, thanks a lot, I was really hoping for a guys perspective on this. I agree both genders are to blame, and I have heard that a lot of women do complain about how a guy does things. I think I would just appreciate any effort, but who knows. Thanks again.
SanXuary on January 30, 2012:
If I met any woman like my mom I would run like hell. I do know what you mean, a man who can not take care of himself is pathetic. Of course I know lots of women who need a good wife like me and no I am guy. Still every woman wants to tell me how to cook or how to do my laundry. A single parent for over ten years, trust me I got it and I am open minded but there is nothing wrong with what I am doing. Even better my kids do their own laundry and cook when I am working and can not be there. They are pretty good at it to.
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on January 26, 2012:
I would never enter a live-in relationship without marriage, but I will testify that training husbands isn't much easier because many them old enough to be married to me had mothers who did everything for them. Being creatures of habit, they see no reason to change this unless they must.
When we first got married almost 48 years ago, I was only working parttime and my husband was going to school parttime and working parttime. Then I was laid off then the department closed, so I stayed home. I didn't mind doing everything back then. It mattered more when I started working full time.
I'd just as soon he didn't cook, since it's more work for me when he tries than when I cook, and it drives me nuts when he wants to do things for himself in our small kitchen (like clean an apple to eat while I'm trying to go around him or insist on taking dishes to the sink when it puts him in my path. Don't mind at all unless I'm trying to work there, but he always seems to just choose those times when I'm working to do his things.
He does put his clothes in the hamper and spot treat his clothes now, and at least tries to help with things he knows how to do. He used to do some of the laundry before I inherited my mom's house and started using her indoor laundry room instead of my outdoor machines. Then my neighbor's machine went down and Hubby gave the old dryer to her, so we hardly ever do any wash here that can't go on the line.
I guess the point here is that he's trying to do more for himself now than ever before, so old dogs can learn new tricks. I just need to learn to adjust better and praise him for the stuff he's doing right to encourage him to keep it up.
When I had a son, I taught him to cook and do his own laundry right along with our daughter, and they both had other chores around the house. Sometimes we can't do a lot to change habits ingrained over a lifetime, but we can raise the next generation not to expect the same kind of service.
Elani-Lee (author) from Los Angeles on January 19, 2012:
Thank you all for your comments. Alicia, I am glad you liked it and you can relate! This is something that my friends and I all have experienced.
Frogtalk and inspired, I also appreciate your input. Maybe the problem is a lack of real commitment. However, I do have many married friends who have the exact same problems. In fact, I can't think of any of my married friends who don't have this problem. For the most part they have just given up.
I hope marriage is not the answer. I am not a religious person, and I do not want to have children. Although I would like to find a man who I can share my life with, I don't think I really need the marriage certificate.
Skye DeMaria from Midwest on January 19, 2012:
frogtalk - I agree with you. I believe the only live in relationship is best as a marriage. When I was younger I tried the out of wedlock cohabitation and found the lack of commitment described above. Although, in marriage it wasn't much better unless the arrangements were discussed prior to joining. It is my belief that the separation of household responsibilities MUST be discussed prior to marriage or moving in together.
Thanks for the article. It was good information!!!
frogtalk on January 19, 2012:
I believe that part of the problem is a commitment to the relationship. Marriage should be the only live in situation between a man and a woman (of course, unless they're siblings). When you're in a marriage you take things more seriously and you have a commitment to keep the relationship going.
Yes, I do agree though that before you get married women need to make sure that they aren't babying their boyfriends, if their boyfriends are allowing this, they probably aren't worth it.
First of all though, we need to make sure we are not in the wrong before pointing fingers at men. Like the Bible says, we need to make sure to remove the plank from our own eyes before removing the speck from our friend's eye.
Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on January 19, 2012:
First of all, on behalf of women everywhere thank you. I haven't had any of these experiences but I have witnessed this firsthand. Some women just don't have the backbone to say no to their other half and while it does nothing for their confidence, men don't learn that they are just as responsible for their actions around the house. You've laid out your point excellently so I will definitely share this! Awesome job and good luck on HubPages!