Los Angeles Times

Roommates’ habits stink

- Send questions to Amy Dickinson by email to ask amy@amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: I recently moved into a new house with new roommates in a new city. I moved in after only a short Zoom tour of the place.

Oops, I won’t make that mistake again. When I was talking with the roommates, one of the things they mentioned was how they liked not having a chore chart, preferring to live a more gowith-the-flow method of doing chores.

I didn’t realize that meant not doing chores at all. I’m in my 20s, so this isn’t too surprising. I have resigned myself to look for a new place, do some cleaning where I can, and to spend most of my time in my room.

However, there is one thing I just can’t adjust to:

The cat’s litter box is in the bathroom. It emits 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 just keeps coming back.

I don’t want to lecture this woman on how often you need to scrub out a litter box, but it’s gotten so bad that I’m avoiding showering.

I know I should just man up and talk to her about it, but I used to have a roommate who would scream at me endlessly if I even brought up problems concerning her cat.

I’m desperatel­y hoping I don’t smell like the litter box now.

How do I get past my issues with my old roommate and address the pungent lifestyle of my current ones? How do I delicately tell the people I live with that they literally stink? Please help!

Stinky Situation

Dear Stinky: A litter box should be cleaned and scooped out every day. It takes literally moments to do this and it’s better for the cat and the people who live with the cat.

Yes, you should address this issue: “Carly, could you please clean your cat’s litter box? The smell is really intense.” You should assume a neutral attitude and keep your request brief and specific. No, you don’t want to be screamed at, but you’ll have to be brave, calm and assertive.

You could also ask your current roommates to have a “house meeting” in order to try to establish some basic guidelines. Given that you have had repeated negative experience­s with a cat owner, when looking for future housing, you should make sure to live in a pet-free household.

Dear Amy: I’m a divorced 52-year-old woman. I’ve always been told I don’t look a day over 30. I’m physically fit and have had a career in nursing for 20 years.

For the past two years, I have been dating a gentleman who is 35 years old. He now wants to take our relationsh­ip a step further and move in together.

He is mature and stable. His career is in law enforcemen­t, and he has recently been promoted to sergeant. Do you have any advice for me?


Dear Wondering: My advice to you would be the same I’d offer to anyone else: Discuss your values, habits and personal finances before moving in together. Disclose your debts.

Put in writing any financial agreements or arrangemen­ts you two make. Both should contribute to a joint account for household expenses, but otherwise keep your own savings and investment­s separate.

Love each other as well as you can for as long as you can. If you have any hesitation, you should not cohabit.

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