I was reading a magazine article the other day that mentioned how important it was to be in sync with your partner – so that your relationship flourished.
It was an article about how, no matter what your personalities were, you can work together to ensure that your relationhip thrived – and that you both felt that you weren’t being pushed out in terms of your thoughts and feelings.
This made me think about how our organising personalities can also affect our relationships – in fact, it can be a catalyst to the most severe of relationship issues. Underlying resentment, not feeling heard, living in a home that doesn’t echo you as a person – need I go on….
Think about it for a moment – do any of these scenarios sound familiar?:-
- You walk into the bathroom only to find wet towels on the floor crumpled up, and underwear strewn around…. what a welcome…
- Your partner is a cleanaholic – and you never feel like you can relax totally in your own home for fear of getting something dirty or moving it from its place
- You can never find anything – your partner is constantly tidying up but never into places that you know about – keys could be in a drawer one time and in a coat pocket the next…
- The other person constantly makes you late for everything – either by losing things like keys or wallet/handbag, or by not having the directions or invitation to hand so you don’t know where you are going and what time you have to be there (I digress, but this leads me to a very funny story of my own disorganisation a few years ago – we were due at a party for halloween and I was stressed as we were going to be late for the 1pm start. We got there and with no cars outside thought we had actually missed it altogether as it was now 2pm – when we knocked on the door we were greeted by very bemused hosts – the party didn’t start for another 2 hours! – we helped them set up and everything was fine – but I had mixed up in my head the times of two parties over 2 days – NOTE TO SELF – ALWAYS WRITE IT IN YOUR DIARY AND LOOK AT SAID DIARY EACH DAY!)
- It is always left to you to ensure everything is done – that theres food in the house, that people have the correct clothes clean and ready for what they are doing each day, that there is petrol in the car, that noone is doubled booked, …… the list is endless
It can be SO frustrating to be in any one of these situations.
Whether you are an organised person or a disorganised person, if your home and lifestyle doesn’t work for you, then you can feel out of control and unsettled – and thats no way to live.
Nowadays we have usually lived by ourselves for a while before settling down and living with our partners, and in this time we have developed our own habits and way of life. We have worked out what works for us, and have enjoyed the freedom to express our own personalities.
This may well be in line with how we were brought up, but may well be in rebellion to our childhood (people who grow up in messy and unorganised homes either follow suit and replicate this in their own homes, or decide that they want to live in an organised way now, and vice versa for those who lived in a very organised and possibly too controlled environment)
When we start to live with who will be our partner for life – if our way of life and therefore our organising personalities clash too much then fireworks can occur.
Your usual habits, your way of life, and who you fundamentally are can be thought to be in question when how you live is in direct opposition to your other half.
It’s not a nice way to live – for either of you.
So, what can be done about it?
There is no right or wrong way to live your life.
Knowing this is half the battle really, as you can then start to really look at what parts of your lifestyle are most important to you, and which to your partner – and see if you can meet somewhere in the middle.
Just the pure fact that you are reading this means that you are probably somewhat organised, or getting more so – so your partner is more likely to be the one who is more disorganised.
Lucky, lucky you if your partner is also organised like you!
You don’t need to change dramatically to co-exist in peace – its just give and take and understanding thats required.
I suggest living with each other for a few weeks AT LEAST! and getting a feel for each other before you try and tackle any gripes you have. If you start to criticise from the off then you will only get each others backs up and most likely one or both of you will stop listening altogether.
Its about learning to cohabit together so that you both feel heard and respected by the other person – and to allow each others habits to be understood – while trying to change a little each to become more in sync.
Just as with other aspects of a relationship – over time you will naturally change to be more in tune with each other, but by being proactive you may alleviate the constant niggles and frustrations you have, and even possibly the downfall of the whole relationship.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
OK, a scenario for you….
You are the organised, clean one – and your partner is well and truly not pulling their weight around the house. It feels like you are doing everything, and being taken for granted.
Your partner may simply have decided that you love doing all the organising because you are so good at it – and he/she feels that you would re-do anything they did anyway – so leave you to get on with it.
This way of life will soon lead to resentment – and probably arguments along the way – and its one of the most common scenarios I hear people talking about.
Todays world means that naturally most things are done by both women and men – women have a choice whether to work or be stay at home mums, and so do men. A lot of people are also working out that balancing their work with home life is critical to their happiness (much more so than money and status) and as such both partners may do less hours and therefore have equal time at home. Therefore things should be split more equally.
However, if your partner was brought up in a home where the man worked and then came home and relaxed, whereas the woman stayed home and organised the house, it can be a difficult switch in their head to work out that this isn’t the case in this house.
You need to understand where each other is coming from – and ensure that you are being understood too!
Making the switch
I find the absolute easiest way to tackle this is to sit down (glass of wine and relaxing music also help!) and first tackle your week.
Setting yourselves a weekly schedule that will work for both of you will, I assure you, make your home and your relationship run more smoothly.
Have to hand a blank weekly schedule – with days of the week in columns and times of day down the side.
Fill in all the none movables that you each have (use a different colour for each of you) – such as work, social groups, school etc…. (don’t forget travel time as well) – and also write a list of all the households jobs that needs doing.
Then you can easily see how much free time you each have – and whether you can work together to split the jobs that need to be done.
Some ideas for how things can work for both of you are as follows:-
What about each of you having set evenings off each week, while the other one does the childrens bath and bedtimes – this works great as then you can book in evenings out without having to check if the other person is busy, and it gives you a sense of freedom while still being in a schedule that works.
This way of thinking should fit in well with both unorganised and organised people – as it gives both of you a sense of independance and empowerment to make decisions. Creative people will feel free to do more things and Logical people will appreciate the scheduled nature of the plan!
Does one of you do something really well around the house – they should do that then (My hubby actually LIKES ironing – imagine that! so thats down to him mostly – whereas I love to tidy and keep a clean house so I take on that), and the other person should take something that they feel they can do too. Divide things like ironing, washing up, gardening etc… into who prefers to do them and what available time they have. No-one can argue that jobs need doing, and that they do have spare time once they see a week schedule in front of them.
Another great bonus of this way of doing things is that you don’t then have to constantly moan about things on a day to day level. The schedule can be hung in a prominent place – and if you both take ownership for it – then your relationship should thrive.
Lastly – and arguably most importantly – when you have talked about how you can work together around the house – you can then tackle the habits that the other person does that affect you in a negative way. Talking through say, 2 or 3 each, will make it more manageable for the other person to be able to see whats most affecting you – and you may be surprised at how easy those things may be to change. You may have not even realised that something you were doing was affecting your partner in this way – and may really want to change it to make them smile. Other things may take a lot more work as they are more ingrained habits. But at least you now know what they are!
I’m not promising that those wet towels on the floor will be a thing of the past – but at least your partner will be more aware of how you feel about things, and possibly take the time out to make these small habit changes for you (and you for them). They may be much more likely to when they aren’t being told about their negatives each and every day.
I like to sit down with my hubby every few months to see what things are working and to see whats coming up in our lives. Responsibilities may have to change as our work or home life changes, but once we are communicating with each other – its so much easier to do!
If your partner is the total opposite in organising to you, then simply try and meet somewhere in the middle. If you are the organised one, don’t immediately assume that your way is the right way. Oftentimes organised is best as it frees up your time for more interesting things – but not if it takes over your life. Maybe your other half is rebelling against your obsessive organising, and you need to loosen the reigns slightly……. something to think about!
Unless you actually sit down and talk about things – working out what needs to be done and allocating responsibilities for tasks around the house, then things will always cause friction for those you live with.
Whatever your organising style, you can feel more relaxed in your own home if you simply know whats going on.
If you know what habits you have, and which ones affect the other person in a negative way – once you start to feel like you are living in partnership rather than rubbing each other up the wrong way, then you can move on and enjoy life again.
You will WANT to change some of your habits for the other person – and what could be better than that!