Dear Amy: I recently moved to a new house with new roommates in a new town. I moved in after just a quick zoom tour of the place.
Oops, I won’t make that mistake again.
When I spoke to the roommates, among other things, they mentioned that they prefer not to have a to-do list and prefer to live a more fluid way of getting things done.
I didn’t realize that this meant not doing housework. I’m in my 20s so this isn’t all that surprising at the end of the day. I’ve resigned myself to finding a new place, cleaning where I can, and spending most of my time in my room.
However, there is one thing I cannot prepare for: the litter box is in the bathroom. It gives off an ungodly smell. I’ve cleaned the bathroom three times now (I suspect I’m the only person who has ever cleaned the bathroom) and the smell keeps coming back.
I don’t want to teach this woman how often to scrub a litter box, but it’s gotten so bad that I avoid showering.
I know I should just go and talk to her about it, but I used to have a roommate who yelled at me endlessly if I ever brought up problems with her cat at all.
I desperately hope I don’t smell like the litter box now.
How do I overcome my problems with my old roommate and address the sharp lifestyle of my current one? How do I carefully tell the people I live with that they literally stink? Please help!
– Smelly situation
Dear Stinky: A litter box should be cleaned and used every day. It literally takes a moment to do and it is better for the cat and the people who live with the cat. A dirty litter box can cause serious health problems for a cat and is a major stress factor for both cats and humans.
Yes, you should address this issue: “Carly, could you clean your cat’s litter box, please? The smell is really intense. ”You should be neutral and keep your request short and specific.
No, you don’t want to be yelled at, but you need to be brave, calm, and assertive.
You could also ask your current roommates to hold a “house meeting” to try and establish some basic guidelines. They have already marked you as tidier and more hygienic than they are, and they might anticipate and dismiss some of your concerns – but you could also make progress.
Brickunderground.com hosts a helpful website and podcast for city dwellers, including a list of questions to ask potential roommates.
Interview future roommates and encourage them to interview you!
Since you have repeatedly had negative experiences with a cat owner, you should make sure when looking for an apartment that you only live in an animal-free household.
Dear Amy: I am a divorced 52 year old woman.
I’ve always been told that I don’t look a day older than 30. I am physically fit and have been nursing for 20 years.
I’ve been with a 35-year-old gentleman for two years. He now wants to take our relationship one step further and wants us to move in together.
He is mature and stable. His career has been in law enforcement, and he was recently promoted to sergeant.
Do you have any advice for me
Dear questioners: My advice to you would be the same as I would give any other: Before moving in together, discuss your values, habits, and personal finances. Disclose your debt.
Write down any financial arrangements or agreements you both make.
Both should pay into a common account for household expenses, but otherwise keep their own savings and investments separate.
Arrange a formalized “family reunion”, either regularly on a weekly basis or whenever one of the partners needs to discuss something important.
Love each other for as long as possible.
If you hesitate – no matter how obscure – you shouldn’t live together.
Dear Amy: The question from “On the Fence” made me so sad because it reminded me of my own situation.
In my case, my own mother was so terrible to my wife that I urged her to keep her distance. She, in turn, supported my need to be in touch with my mother, and I appreciated that – but it was quite painful.
Love Recovery: You are fortunate enough to live in a supportive marriage.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.