Dear Amy: My husband and I – now empty nests – live alone in a large four bedroom house.
My husband doesn’t qualify as a hoarder, but maybe only because I’m constantly trying to organize everything.
He throws nothing away and forbids me to get rid of his things, even if they are broken or will obviously never be used again.
He buys anything he considers a bargain, while I resent the overconsumption.
Because it is impossible to find anything in this mess, he buys a new item when we already have this item – somewhere! As a result, we have multiples of everything and our house is full of things.
We’re breaking our homeowners association rules because our trash cans won’t fit in our garage. The exterior of the house is surrounded by trash – buckets of old golf balls, several grills, an old basketball hoop, etc.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying to organize, inventory, pack things, etc. If I didn’t spend that time, the house would be a dump, and I don’t like having to spend my time that way. Looking around me, inside and outside the house, I feel rage.
Although I have three rooms that I keep “sacrosanct” – no clutter allowed – overall I feel like the walls are closing in.
We’ve been married for many years, and I guess it’s a small thing, but it’s bothering me more and more. At this point, I almost feel like he’s a deal breaker.
What should I do?
– Desperate Housewife
Dear Desperate: I disagree with your assessment of your husband’s behavior. In my opinion, he shows signs of a hoarding disorder. It is a persistent, compulsive and distressing condition where people experience extreme anxiety when faced with the prospect of getting rid of anything, even when the object is broken, useless or part of their life. a huge collection. When combined with the compulsion to acquire more goods, the stack grows and – yes – the walls begin to close.
Your husband needs professional help and mental health treatment. You need specific and realistic advice about the impact of this on you and your own physical and mental health.
Your husband may very well be refusing to seek treatment, and so you should seek to understand your role in the household and what you could do differently to communicate your needs in a neutral and helpful way, compared to what you currently do, which heroically works overtime to stem the rising tide.
The International OCD Foundation offers very helpful information for family members and others concerned about the hoarding of a loved one. See hoarding.iocdf.org for strategies and support.
Dear Amy: I live on the second floor of a duplex.
My downstairs neighbor is a nice lady probably in her sixties; like me, she lives alone with pets.
Over the past few weeks, some changes in my habits and schedule have put me in the room above her bedroom some late nights, and I’ve discovered that she snores. Strong enough.
I’m not really concerned about noise as I can’t hear snoring from my own bedroom, but I do know that snoring can be an indicator of certain health issues – and living alone there’s a good chance it will. she doesn’t know she snores.
Should I mount it? And if yes, how ?
I don’t want her to take it as a noise complaint. (We usually text each other about minor home-related issues, so that’s the default support here.)
— Upstairs neighbor
Dear neighbour : Loud and persistent snoring can be an indicator of a health problem. Even loud snorers whose snoring wakes them up might not be aware of their snoring.
I wouldn’t tell a neighbor about this, but if you decide to tell them, here’s how you could do it: “I was in my home office last night and heard you snore. This is NOT a noise complaint and I don’t mind at all, but I have read that it could indicate a health issue. As we both live alone, I hope you will also let me know if you notice anything similar.
Dear Amy: I answer this crazy question from “Silence is Golden”, who insisted that all her wedding guests wear yellow and that she wanted to have a “silent reception”.
Frankly, I found this question a bit creepy. Thanks for putting that Bridezilla in her place!
Dear grateful: Readers awarded me a rare Grand Slam for my answer.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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