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Wits End

My boyfriend of 6 years is a hoarder. The last 3 years has become a problem. I can't even go into our bedroom as it makes me have anxiety. My driveway looks like a car lot and the basement, I can't even talk about. The other rooms I MAKE sure they stay tidy. But I am in a no win situation. I can't figure out why he would need 20 different kinds of flashlights? I can't walk around the bed, it is flowing up to and over the bed, the floor maybe has a square foot of carpet I can see. I should note his parents house is sort of the same. Can't get in the garage, or back porch and bedroom is a disaster. Like me I think his mom, keeps the other rooms in order. I have read that it is sometimes inherited. Unfortunately my 13 year old son is showing some signs and I do not know what to do. My BF sometimes tells me it's my fault because I didn't let him buy a bookshelf, ( he has 3 in the Bedroom ) that you can't even see. I can't see why I wash & fold his clothes to have them thrown on the dirty floor. He is personally clean. Not a problem there. I am sad that he doesn't care enough to want to sleep in a bed with me at night. ( I sleep on the couch) We have 7 cars that don't run, but he always says I'm gonna fix them. and heres the kicker, He is a SUPER handy guy. He can fix the cars. I just don't know what to do anymore and feel as if I am mad all the time.
frustrated1968 frustrated1968 41-45, F 7 Responses Oct 10, 2012

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I can totally empathize with that feeling of being angry all the time.

I can relate to the flashlights. We must have 150 of them. Some are pretty cool! He is my roommate and his son is a cop. He gave him a flashlight that is so incredible. It has a strobe that can slow down or even stop someone from advancing on him because it's an eye piercing strobe.

All the coolness aside, I know he loves flashlights, but why so many? If one makes you feel cool, ten dozen is going to make you ten dozen times cooler. I guess.

I'm sorry you are so frustrated with it all. I understand. It's a life challenge. I feel smothered by all the stuff too. I'm moving soon, and I am going to keep my place as neat and uncluttered as humanly possible!

So why am I trying for divorce now... We did briefly go together to a hoarders support group. And it helped bring home to me some truths about my wife's condition and our relationship. So in the light of that, it has to be divorce because - I'm worried that:

1) My son is missing out too much - nowhere to sit for homework, no chance of bringing friends home etc.

2) My wife's occasional and illogical tantrums, often related to clutter, could get worse.

3) My son is learning a bad lesson about how a relationship should work, because we aren't able to discuss the important things in our lives sensibly or to make sensible decisions about them.

4) Our living environment could take a turn for the worse - mice we could not get rid of, or a breakdown in the heating we could not repair because the pipes are under clutter all through the house.

5) my son is at an age where he can change quite quickly and he could up sticks and leave, which I certainly wouldn't want. And clearly this had happened for some other hoarders at the support group.

6) I would like to feel psychological "ownership" of my own home. It doesn't have to be an exclusive thing, but at the same time, I don't want to feel excluded.

7) I would like proper chairs to sit on, a table to eat from or put down my laptop, and a place I could bring friends back to.

8) I'd like to have a proper relationship too.

9) Because I've lost all faith that there's any chance of my wife's condition improving.

10) Because I don't want to sleep with her - even if the "marital bed" were not completely inaccessible - we can't even open the door to that room.

Your son can be taken by CPS if it's that bad-leave

My situation is pretty similar... The cars, compressors and table saws that are suffered by you girls are replaced in my case by kitchen units, cushions, wine racks and bed linen, but the end result is the same.

I do agree that the problem appears to run in families - my wife's brother clearly has similar issues, but I'm hoping my son (12) is OK.

I'm inching towards divorce and i think the conclusion of many experiences on here is that getting out is the only long term solution. Nobody holds out any realistic prospect of formal diagnosis or treatment, let alone cure.

I am unsure of the familial tendencies; I know his dad has tried to talk to him.

I have never seen any pragmatic approaches to handeling the situation; as you say - discussing it brings on a torrent of anger or hurt - often both. My fear is that, once our kids leave the nest, I will have no desire to continue living like this and will find too many excuses to leave. I want to help him, he is a great guy. This is more than I can help with though, I am not that powerful. At the root of this problem is his feeling that I am blowing things out of proportion; that this isn't any big deal and I am just too eager to look at things in a negative light. The garage sale was unsuccessful (as you theorized) because he bought the $10 item years ago and thinks it is still worth $10 or sometimes, has even appreciated in value. I know this is bigger than me and I can't do battle with him about any of it.

I feel for you. I have a husband who can not part with stuff even after it is falling apart. It's as if he still sees his things as the way they looked 20 and 30 years ago. We have things that are in their original plastic bag and the plastic is brittle and I don't want to touch any of it. When we moved some of his junk into our new place I thought I would say that's it - I can't do this anymore, but I haven't been able to yet because I think he needs help and wont admit it. We have moved a non-working jetski that he acquired over 20 years ago because he says he will fix it up. But its an antique and nobody would ever even want to ride on it. We designed our Land Surveying office with an over sized garage and bays you can drive into from one driveway and exit onto another. (Our office is between two roads) The garage itself is 1000 square feet and we have never been able to use it for that purpose - right now we have a small walkway from one garage door to the inside door. My problem is he picks up stuff from garage sales, free-cycle and we have no need or room for it. My kids are almost adults and when they leave, I am not sure I'll be able to live like this anymore. We have an air compressor and my borhter's table saw right next to his side of the bed - he says he is going to buy my brother's saw, but he's said that for 2 years now. I don't know how much more I can live with this. We had a garage sale and I thought this would be my last attempt to be rid of some of this stuff but in the end, we ended up taking stuff out to the driveway and bringing it back in because he wanted just $1 more or $5 more - the truth is he can't let go of any of it. I'm at my wits end. It's becoming unsanitary.

I never tried for a car boot sale - our equivalent of your garage sale - because I was rather afraid of the result you got. Do you find your husband has a firm idea of what was paid for each item in his head, and that contributes to him not wanting to sell it for less - even after years of deterioration and changing fashions.

yep i can relate... the parking lot front yard........... the damn truck is over 30 years old and the camper trailer is just about the same ... we have to park our two running cars out on the street,
the garage has a broken down truck with parts missing, along side that, is a old speed boat, and broken motor bike, old refridgerator, 2 old bikes from the 70s .

he doesnt go out and buy new stuff , he just keeps things he bought over the years/decades... so when i moved in (little did i know he was a hoarder, we lived in diff cities)

O-M-F-G he has hung onto all most every reciete he has ever had, boxes left over from stuff he bought even decades ago... his daughters room has girl power posters still up and her clothes she wore as a small child in the closet she is 30 years old for god sakes..... old couch from the 70s stained beyound repair and nasty... cant even sit on it or u will fall to the floor.... but will he get rid of it ? noooooooooooooooo
every raido and computer he has had for the last 20 years he had stacked up against the living room wall ...

when i moved in i got rid of a lot of stuff, took me about 4 months to convince him to throw some of the stuff out..... but behind his back i threw away a lot more crap that was laying around gathering dust, (for god sakes i saw it all as a health hazard)

a year later im stll throwing stuff out . out dated ckothes his kids left behind, out dated eletronics, paper items that is no longer needed....... even his yard is un kept, i have made that my pet project to keep trimed...

im looking forward to leaving him and his world of junk!

Why don't you leave? It sounds terrible


My Guy is also.... hmm..