Ask Amy: My husband’s hoarding is becoming a dealbreaker – Lifotravel

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Dear Amy: My husband and I — now empty nesters — live alone in a large four-bedroom house. My husband doesn’t qualify as a hoarder, but maybe only because I am constantly trying to organize everything.

He won’t throw anything away and forbids me from disposing of his possessions, even if they are broken or obviously will never be used again. He buys anything that he considers a bargain, whereas I have become offended by overconsumption.

Because it is impossible to find anything in this mess, he buys a new item when we already have that item — somewhere! As a result, we have multiples of everything and our house is full of stuff.

We violate our homeowners’ association rules because our garbage bins won’t fit in our garage. The outside of the house is surrounded by junk — buckets of old golf balls, multiple grills, an old basketball hoop, etc.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying to organize, inventory, box things, etc. If I didn’t spend that time, the house would be a junkyard, and I resent having to spend my time this way. As I look around, inside and outside the house, I feel rage.

Although I have three rooms I keep “sacrosanct” — no clutter allowed — on the whole, I feel like the walls are closing in. We’ve been married for many years, and I guess this is a petty thing, but it bothers me more and more. At this point I almost feel like it’s a dealbreaker.

Desperate: I disagree with your assessment of your husband’s behavior. In my view, he does exhibit signs of having a hoarding disorder. This 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 item is broken, useless or part of a huge collection. When combined with the compulsion to acquire more possessions, the pile grows and — yes — the walls start closing in.

Your husband needs professional help and mental health treatment. You need accurate and realistic advice about the impact of this on you and on your own physical and mental health.

Your husband may well refuse to seek treatment, and so you should seek to understand your role in the household and what things you might do differently to communicate your needs in a neutral and helpful way, versus what you are currently doing, which is heroically working overtime to hold back the rising tide.

The International OCD Foundation offers very helpful information for family members and others concerned about a loved one’s hoarding. Check hoarding.iocdf.org for strategies and support.

Dear Amy: I live on the second floor of a duplex. My downstairs neighbor is a friendly lady probably in her 60s; like me, she lives alone with pets. In recent weeks, some changes in my habits and schedule have put me in the room above her bedroom some late evenings, and I have discovered that she snores. Quite loudly.

I’m not really concerned about the noise, because I can’t hear her snoring from my own bedroom, but I know that snoring can be an indicator of some health issues — and living alone, there’s a good chance she doesn’t know that she snores.

Should I bring it up? And if so, how?

I don’t want her to interpret it as a noise complaint. (We usually send one another texts about minor house-related issues, so that is the default medium here.)

Neighbor: 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 would not notify a neighbor about this, but if you do decide to notify her, here’s how you might do it: “I was in my home office last night and heard you snoring. This is NOT a noise complaint and it doesn’t bother me at all, but I’ve read that this might indicate a health problem. Because we both live alone, I hope you’d also let me know if you noticed anything similar.”

Dear Amy: I’m responding to that crazy question from “Silence is Golden,” who was insisting that all of her wedding guests must wear yellow, and that she wanted to have a “silent reception.”

Frankly, I found this question sort of creepy. Thank you for putting this bridezilla in her place!

Grateful: Readers have awarded me a rare grand slam for my response.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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