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How to gently tell your boyfriend-turned-roomie that his little habits drive you nuts

Candid advice from relationship columnist, Jen Kirsch. This week she gives tips on what to do when your boy/girlfriend-turned-roomie’s habits are driving you up the wall.

Dear Jen Kirsch,

My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, and a few of his habits are driving me CRAZY!!! He never puts the lid on the toothpaste, he makes the butter all messy with his toast crumbs, and he leaves his dirty socks in our bed. I am delicately trying to let him know that these things bother me, but I don’t want to seem like a total nag. How do I handle this? JEN…HELP!!!

Signed,
Xxxxxx

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Dear Xxxxxx,

Getting used to living with another—whether you’re romantically involved with that person or not—is always a challenge. But these little annoying habits don’t change the love he has for you or what he brings to the table as a partner. I think it’s always better not to sweat the small stuff and to instead realize that’s just a part of who the other person is, flaws and all. If, however, you want to approach it, do it in a positive way.

  1. Reinforce positive behaviour: If he one-off throws his socks into the laundry basket instead of leaving them in your bed, metaphorically high-five him by giving him a simple, “Thanks babe, I appreciate that you put your socks in the laundry bin.” It’s better to tell people what they’re doing right than to focus on what they’re doing wrong.
  2. Be self-deprecating: No one wants to live with a nag, so don’t be one. Instead, place the blame on yourself in a very laissez-fair conversation while you guys are enjoying a glass of vino or some downtime at home. How? Say something like, “Okay, I know I’m crazy for even caring, but…” and divulge one of the things he does that bothers you. He doesn’t need a list, because he will get defensive, so doing it this way takes the blame off him and gives him to get a peek into your mind.

Signed,
Jen Kirsch

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