I recently got back in touch with an old flame from 12 years ago. We never dated in the past because he was an alcoholic and not in a good place. A month ago, he added me on Snapchat, and we picked up right where we left off. He has been sober for three years, has a steady job, a house and a good support system. We spend hours on the phone and have a lot in common. I was excited to see if our friendship would evolve into something more, and he also wanted to see if we could be more than friends.
I went over to his house and it is filthy. It’s not cluttered, just dirty — like it needs a very good deep cleaning. He has a large dog in the house, so the place smells very bad. I wouldn’t sit down on any of the furniture, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. What do I do? Do I tell him how I feel about his house and see if he’s willing to change, or must I end the relationship we are starting to build? I don’t want to settle, but I don’t want to miss out on what could turn into a wonderful relationship.
From, Raleigh, North Carolina
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I see no reason why you should be subjected to such horrible living conditions. But since you obviously have some strong feelings for him, I’ll assist you in dealing with that disgusting slob. Here are some ideas that can send him some subtle messages. Try to get him to start drinking again, and when he gets falling down drunk, literally hose his place down. After he sobers up, convince him he did it while he was loaded. Or, tell him you want to spend a romantic evening with him over his place, and then show up wearing some sexy heals and a hazmat suit. Bet him there’s a dead skunk in his home somewhere. And when he searches his place and can’t find one, pay up, admit you were wrong, and tell him the smell was so similar, that you thought the bet was a sure thing. And lastly, try to make a point by saying something that sounds like a compliment and maybe he’ll pick up the hint. Something like you, “Honey, the way you keep your place, including the way it smells, will definitely keeps rats and roaches far away. You have apparently figured out what lines rodents and vermin won’t cross. Brilliant!” I hope this helps.