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I very strongly dislike my home.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

For nearly two years, I have lived in the same place. My DP moved in with my about a year ago, but until he did it was just my son and I.

 

It was what I could afford at the time - $475 a month, a 2 bedroom, 1 bath tiny duplex.

 

My DP makes really good money. We could buy a house, or move to a nicer rental. But, he doesn't want to, for a variety of reasons, most of which I can agree make sense financially. But, it doesn't change the fact that I very strongly dislike where we live.

 

I need to figure out a way to make myself like this place, because I know that resentment is going to start building towards him very soon for not wanting to move.

 

He has been humoring me for the past month, going with me to look at other rentals, but I realized today that he has no plans to agree to a move anytime soon.

 

I would love some suggestions on how I could like my home more, and avoid the resentment.

 

Here are the things I don't like about where we live:

 

  • Our yard is terrible. There is no backyard, and the front yard is shallow and we are on a busy street. There is no where for our son to play outside, which means that I am couped up in the house with a spirited 3.5 year old most day. We are temporarily a one car family, so that means we cannot drive to the park. There are also 12 pine trees in my front yard alone, so there is never a patch of sun to sit in, no porch to put a chair on, no grass, no where to plant a small garden.

 

  • The interior of the house is depressing. The walls are cheap brown wood-look-alike paneling. The carpets are old, light brown, dirty and stained. No amount of cleaning has been able to revive these carpets.

 

  • There is no designated dining area. The dining area is in the living room, and there is only room for a tiny table. I cannot put serving bowls on the table, there just isn't room. A bigger table wouldn't fit.

 

  • Our neighbors are terrible. Shady, dark SUVs coming and going at strange hours at one house and strung out looking burly guys pacing in the driveway, at another they have two very annoying dachshunds that come into my yard when I am getting in and out of the car and growl and bark at me and my son. We are too close to the neighbors, and have no privacy.

 

There are good things about this place, like the 5 huge storage closets, not counting the closets in the bedroom. The laundry room is also huge. To spite the shady neighbors, this really is a safe community. Zero crime, we don't have to lock our doors. The shady neighbors make me nervous, but stick to themselves.

 

I have to do something to be able to get through the next year in this house that I hate. My DP doesn't even want to consider moving for another year. This makes me so upset that I just want to cry at the thought. If we only had a decent yard, it would be so different - I wouldn't hate it as much.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can grow to like my home? I can provide pictures if anyone wants to see. I've got to do something, because knowing that we can afford better and not doing it is going to make me even crazier than I already am.

post #2 of 30

Well, I highly doubt you are going to grow to love your home. I agree with you, it sounds miserable. I think you would have a better chance of really talking with your partner. It is unfortunate that he is holding you back. Is it just your name on the lease? I know that I would not just stand by and allow another year in a place I loathed. It can really affect someone mentally and it sounds like you have been affected. Can you afford a different place on your own?

 

Sorry for the fairly random post... I was thinking and typing at the same time. Good luck, I have lived in places that I hated, but only because I HAD to... the second that I had the opportunity to move, I did.

post #3 of 30

I'm sorry!  I lived in one place that I hated, and it was so depressing.  I think my advice for staying would be to cover the walls and carpet somehow.  This could be difficult in a rental, but I think it could be possible with wall hangings (depending on your rules) and area rugs.  But that would be pretty expensive, and if DP's reasons for not moving are partly financial, making you happy in the house could end up costing more than just moving.  That also wouldn't address the problems with the yard and safety.  Whether the rest of the neighborhood is good or not, I would definitely feel anxious all the time with shady neighbors and big dudes waiting around in their driveway.  I would probably have another discussion with DP and explain it from that angle.  It could appeal to his desires to protect his family. 

 

Other than that, when we were living in a camper (after Katrina) I made it through that time (without being able to go outside as it was SO hot, and there was construction on all sides) by putting one thing I really loved in each room.  If you love reading, arrange a reading chair, your bookshelf, and a place to put a drink.  Add a flower arrangement or something that looks nice.  As long as you make the other furniture "fit", don't worry about it "working", because if you really enjoy the one space you might feel motivated to work around the rest of the furniture, whereas now you hate all of it, kwim?  Maybe talk about it with your DS and come up with ideas together, since he has to be inside all day. 

 

I would definitely press the safety aspect of it with DP though, in an attempt to move sooner.  Shady neighbors are no good, and neither are strange men standing in the driveway next door.  It's also unsafe for DS to go outside since it's so close to the street, and the other neighbor's dogs might bite him (even if they never have, it's possible).  Add to that you have no car to get away if something bad were to happen at the neighbor's.  Hugs to you.  I'm sorry I don't have easy answers.

post #4 of 30

Can you paint the paneling?  Our last house had paneling in the downstairs, and we painted it a trendy tan color in flat paint with an accent area in chocolate brown flat paint and it looked really nice--it brought it from 1970's to fairly modern, and the next person who bought the house loved it.

 

Is there any way 1-2 trees can be removed to make room for a green area?  Or do you have a porch or an area to keep a container garden?

 

What about making a privacy fence out of that thin bamboo stuff (there is a type of fencing where you roll it out and it's made of thin bamboo-like twigs).  Put it between your house and the neighbors, and maybe put some plantings along the side.

 

How about taking one area of your house and completely remodeling it to something you absolutely love, so there is at least one area you can go...

post #5 of 30

I'm sorry, I don't have advice, just affirmation. I can think of 6 houses I lived in with my parents (after I moved away from my parents I only lived in 1 apartment then my home). I at least liked all the houses (if not loved them) except the last one. It wasn't snobbery either, the house was bigger and more expensive than some others we'd lived in. But it felt awful, it was dark, I think there must have been mold, just the overall feeling of the house just was depressing. I could not wait to get out of there.

 

I'm very frugal but I would certainly make the effort to move given the reasons you listed and assuming you have the means (which it seems you do). I value financial responsibility very strongly, and I despise entitlement and all that. You're not being entitled. Some things you make do with - I hear you on the dining area, but if that was all, and it was only another year, you'd just make do. But feeling depressed in the house, your child not being able to play, and being in a neighborhood that doesn't feel safe is not something I would put up with if I didn't have to.

 

Bring frugal is great, but what is money for, after all? Your security, your safety, your well-being. You're not asking for hot tub or a master suite. I value feeling good in my home over the money saved.

 

Tell your partner again that you don't feel good in the house, and ask him what his ideas are for addressing that. He'll probably say "well, you can stick it out another year" and you can ask him what OTHER ideas he has. You're not married, so it's a good time to figure out if you guys can work together and if he values your feelings of security. My husband and I don't always agree, but if I told him I felt miserable about something, he would just suck it up and do what it took. I'm not high-maintenance so he knows if I feel really wrong about it, it's worth making me feel safe and happy even if he doesn't feel the same way as I do.

post #6 of 30

Maybe there is a similarly priced place that just isn't so dang depressing?  

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so very much for the replies. I feel better just by getting this out in the world, where I can share my frustrations. It was great to log on this morning and see so many replies. smile.gif

 

To answer some questions, yes, it is just my name on the lease. I called my landlord when DP moved in and gave him a heads up, just as a courtesy, but legally I'm the one responsible. My lease is up, and has been for a long time. I signed a one year lease, and its just month to month at this point. My landlord will never raise my rent or ask me to sign another lease, so it really is practical from that standpoint. And, my landlord is a great guy. He is the type that always has lollipops in his back pocket, or plastic bugs, or something to that effect to give to my son when he comes over to fix something. He takes care of all of the yard works, and he works hard to keep his properties maintained by doing things like having the roofs swept, having the trim painted every year, etc.

 

If we were going to rent another place in our area, with a yard and a little bit more room, we are looking at around $700 a month in rent. If we bought a house, in the low $100,000s, we could easily get a 3/2 on 3 or 4 acres and our mortgage would be so much less than paying rent. That seems to be the most practical solution to me, because even if we were only in the house for a few years we wouldn't lose any money on it, as long as we were careful in having it inspected to make sure no major repairs were looming.

 

If it were just me, and DP were out of the picture, I would probably opt to move to an apartment complex. I really don't like apartment living, but there would be common grassy areas and a playground, and I would happily trade my many closets and large laundry room for a place for my son to play.

 

I'm not working right now; I was working up until a week before our son was still born, and my former employer would not hire me back because they don't think I am "emotionally stable". Since I didn't go through the proper channels to take FMLA I have no recourse on getting that job back. I am actively looking for another job, but its hard with little access to a car.

 

The one car we have working is mine, just for the record, and its paid for. I owned it outright before I ever met DP, and its old but I maintain it and its got at least another 100,000 miles on it before any major repairs. HIS car is the one that died two weeks ago. Its the transmission, and they entire thing has to be replaced, and even though we do have the money in savings to fix it, DP is dragging his feet on it. Sometimes I wonder if he likes me being stuck here with no car. He's a great guy, so please don't get the wrong impression. But, I think he wants me to continue to stay home for a while and not go back to work. He thinks I have a lot more healing to do. I agree, I still have a long way to go in my grieving process, but I think working and having a purpose would help. I've always worked, I'm just not cut out to be a full time sahm, and I really feel like something is missing without working.

 

I guess this could just as easily fit in Parents as Partners as here, huh? Because this is as much of a relationship problem as house problem, I guess. I would really like to be able to like where we live, because it is so cheap, but I just don't think I ever can. It was fine when it was just me and my ds - another adult takes up a lot of room, you know? Now it feels cramped. And, when it was just me and my ds, I was working full time, so not having a yard wasn't such an issue, because he was with my parents while I worked, and got plenty of outside time there. We just went to the park or some other adventure on my days off. My DP claims that we will get married soon, that he has never been happier, that he's in this for the long haul. We talks the talk, but by not wanting to move, I feel like he isn't walking the walk. We have a shared car insurance policy, and he has added me to his health insurance.

 

I have considered making changes to the duplex we are in now, but I have never painted anything in my life, and it sounds overwhelming, especially with a spirited 3 year old underfoot. Plus, paint is so expensive, and I think I would have to take extra steps with primer or something to ensure that the paint stuck to the shiny paneling. Does anyone know any thing about the actual process, or have any resources you could point me towards to learn more? My landlord is fine with me making improvements, and pretty much anything I do would be an improvement.

 

And I agree, Emmysmama, it sometimes seems like taking steps to make this place something I could like would be more expensive than moving. I think it would require paint, rugs, new window treatments and some new side tables and lamps. Seems like that money would be better put to use as a deposit on another place or a down payment on a house.

 

laohaire - I really like the way you put it. You are right; I'm not asking for too much. A safe place for my son to play and a less depressing interior is not really asking too much, is it? And WHY have we been scrimping and saving for the past year if its not to better our circumstances?

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 

Here are some interior pics, to give y'all an idea of what depresses me so much.

 

Front door shot

 

View from the front door

 

A glimpse of the "dining" table

Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

The laundry room - my favorite room in the house

My "happy place" in the laundry room

 

I don't have any pics of the bedrooms, but they are more of the same bad carpet and dark paneling. I don't have any pics of the outside, either, but I may take some today.

 

post #9 of 30

I'd paint the paneling.  We did that in our "family room" and it brightened it up so much.  You do need a primer... an oil based one.  Buy cheap rollers and paint brushes and expect to toss the brushes when you're done because it's a HUGE pain to clean up the primer (and the primer also smells pretty bad, so you'll want to be able to leave the windows open and leave the house while it dries).  Then just paint it with regular indoor paint.  Painting takes a long time (for me, at least) standing there painting, but it's definitely the easiest way to fix up a place.

post #10 of 30

My mom had her paneling painted an off white and it really does look better that the fake wood.See if the landlord would take off the rent for it IF he even allows it to be painted. Also see if you get a rent discount if you have berber carpet installed.Berber is pretty cheap and holds up well.

 

The yard and neighbor issue are not things you can change. I would tell DP that you want to move in June(or whenever).Tell him you are not comfortable staying their and the home no longer fits your needs. We lived in an apratment,then we bought a condo,then we bought a home.Our needs changed and that resulted in having to move. Life is to short to stay in  place you hate.

post #11 of 30

I looked at your pix and it is very brown! I can see why you'd not like it, but I can see why your DP would think it's not that bad, too. It looks clean enough and the carpet doesn't look like it's in that bad of shape. The kitchen looks functional (although those country cabinets would drive me up the wall).

 

Painting is not hard. I think you might be able to get away w/o using an oil based primer. For me, I would try it w/o that because I can't stand the stinky smells. If you go to a paint store you can ask for any mistints they may have if you're really tight on the budget. Paint is relatively cheap for what you get, though. I mean it's a lot cheaper than a new place, but I think you make a great case for a new place. Your landlord may not let you paint the paneling, though. Better run it by him first.

 

You could throw some area rugs over top of the carpet. I have a friend who has done that in her apartment and it looks fine.

 

I'd talk to your DP again. If he really really won't budge, I'd investigate paint, throw rugs and maybe some wallcoverings. You can do things with starch and fabric cutouts that don't damage the paneling/walls.

post #12 of 30

If you do consider a paint job, I just wanted to mention - I HATE PANELING. I really, really do. Strongly hate it.

 

And yet - one wall of my dining room and living room is paneling. And it's fine. Why? Cause it was painted white smile.gif It was done before we moved in, and it hasn't bothered me. Painting it white makes a huge difference for me, even though I hate paneling THAT MUCH.

post #13 of 30

I have a friend who tried to paint her paneling w/out the oilbased primer and within weeks it was peeling off the wall.  I wouldn't take the chance, but that's just me redface.gif

post #14 of 30

if the financial consideration is the primary issue for your DH, i would talk to him about finding a place that is better suited to your needs at the same price.

 

It looks to me that your needs are as follows: close to a park (walking distance); small, fenced yard with sun; dining space (either in the lounge or kitchen or separate dining area); storage; safe neighborhood.

 

see if you can find something to rent that would meet these needs, and at a price that your DH will like. I believe just about anything is possible, so I believe that this is possible. smile.gif

 

post #15 of 30

if you have no experience painting, i wouldn't paint paneling. it tends to look cruddy (jmo) if not done extremely well.

 

it is very dark, i have lived places i hated and it was hard.

post #16 of 30

I think you are going have to spend whether you stay or whether you move.

 

I looked at the pictures and noticed a couple of things: pretty much everything is the same value of brown and your walls are bare.

If you can paint or change the carpet that might make you happier. If you can not do that then getting slipcovers for furniture and pillows that are more colorful or at least a greater contrast to the other browns might help. Putting some art or wall hangings up  might also break up the unrelieved brown and bring in some color.

 

I don't think redecorating will make you happy in your home though since you are unhappy with a lack of place for your ds to play, the safety of the neighborhood and not having transportation/job. Those things won't change with a coat of paint.

 

If you do move you could take care of several of the things making you unhappy. If your dp simply gets his car fixed then you wouldn't be stuck at home so much and that might ease your unhappiness a lot. If your dp wants you to not work while you are healing and grieving then the environment you are in is important.

post #17 of 30

Your landlord sounds like a nice, reasonable and approachable sort. :) I'd ask him, like others suggested, if he would mind the painting of the panels to modernize the space. He may offer to pay for some of the paint if you make the case that updating could add value.

 

I would also talk to him about your security concerns...he may not like shady types hanging around his property.

 

As for DP, I think that you should have a heart-to-heart with him. If being in this space is affecting you emotionally to the point that it is causing misery and depression, you two should start planning to move. Getting a game plan in place could make the transition easier...it sounds like, at least for DP, that's it's just plain easier to stay put and suck up the negatives.

post #18 of 30

IMHO you have already made your home neat and tidy.  Its really at its best.  Unless the landlord is going to paint or let you paint the paneling you have done all yo can do.  If your SO is gone working during the day, you can find something reasonable in cost, you would be in a safer place and have a place for your child to play why does he object to moving??  I'm not sure I understand that thought process.  I think its easier for the one who gets to leave everyday to be more content than the one stuck there.

 

You will be a happier mom and wife and a better homemaker if you are in a home you like.  There is no price tag on that.

post #19 of 30

hi :)

 

I lived for ten+ years in a house that was much, much worse than what I see in the pictures.  2 bedrooms and a nursery for 6 children and 2 adults.  Many of the windows were broken, one so badly it was basically "open" all year round.  The kitchen faucet often fell off in my hands when I tried to do the dishes.  There was insufficient electricity in the kitchen so we ran extension cords.  The kitchen for a period also doubled as my husband's office so it had four X four foot piles of paper everywhere (massive fire hazard!).  And the kitchen ceiling would leak if anyone overfilled the bathtub.  It was a terrible, ugly, dangerous neighborhood, drug dealers and even occasional shootings and drive by shootings.  I would see prostitutes not far from our house.  The neighbors had nasty, mean children who intentionally ran their bikes into my car and dented it in several places.  There was a man across the street who sexually harassed me for years, asking me "over for lunch" and telling me how beautiful he thought I was.  I was afraid to leave my house.  Some neighbor kids smashed one of my windows with a baseball and the parents never paid to have it replaced.  Squirrels and mice invaded our ceilings on a regular basis.  The local schools were full of mean, vulgar kids who bullied my kids (we homeschooled some and had some in school). 

 

But we stuck it out there so we could save money.  We saved and saved for more than 10 years and finally moved into a beautiful home in a beautiful neighborhood. My husband was determined that we not just move somewhere better, but somewhere amazingly better.  So while I was miserable, especially for the last 5 years of it, when we had more than enough money to move, I just learned to endure it.  I would remind myself that there are people in parts of the world who don't even have clean, running water, or electricity.  I would remind myself that there are homeless families who don't know where they'll sleep the next night or never have anywhere to call home.

 

So I guess it all depends on your DP's motivations.  Does he have cold feet about the relationship?  If so, not good.  Does he want to have absolute financial security before you move somewhere much nicer?  if so, I would hang in there for the year.  I would have loved to have lived in a house like yours for those 10 years instead of where we were living!  But believe me I understand your frustration and despair.  Sometimes I wake up here in the new house and can't believe I'm really here.

post #20 of 30

This may sound goofy, but when I have been stuck in a place that felt truly awful to me, the way I got myself through it was to create a sacred space....it can be very small, even just a corner of a desk or countertop.  I did it by reading some websites on Feng Shui and then I made a little spot with a tiny plant, a little mirror, a tiny string of bells, and a miniature angel figure, and a bit of something red. A few times a day I would mentally put myself into my tiny sacred space and feel centered.  It really did help me get through being in the place. 

 

The other things I have picked up as I have read are this - he makes good money, and does not agree with moving.  You did not choose this home as a place with him living in it with you in mind.  You are currently unemployed.  You see limited access to a car as making it difficult for you to find another job; but the one working car actually belongs to you.  He could afford to fix his car, but doesn't seem to want to.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by L J View Post

I'm not working right now; I was working up until a week before our son was still born, and my former employer would not hire me back because they don't think I am "emotionally stable". Since I didn't go through the proper channels to take FMLA I have no recourse on getting that job back. I am actively looking for another job, but its hard with little access to a car.

 

The one car we have working is mine, just for the record, and its paid for. I owned it outright before I ever met DP, and its old but I maintain it and its got at least another 100,000 miles on it before any major repairs. HIS car is the one that died two weeks ago. Its the transmission, and they entire thing has to be replaced, and even though we do have the money in savings to fix it, DP is dragging his feet on it. Sometimes I wonder if he likes me being stuck here with no car. He's a great guy, so please don't get the wrong impression. But, I think he wants me to continue to stay home for a while and not go back to work. He thinks I have a lot more healing to do. I agree, I still have a long way to go in my grieving process, but I think working and having a purpose would help. I've always worked, I'm just not cut out to be a full time sahm, and I really feel like something is missing without working.

 

 

Perhaps he should spend his money to fix his car.  You should have unlimited access to your own car so you do not feel that is standing in the way of you working.  Moving issue aside, if you want to be working, and believe that you would feel better if you were not at home all the time (in a place you hate, with no place for your son to play),  you should have the freedom to do that and access to your own vehicle to accomplish that.   I also think you would be in a better, more empowered position to think about or discuss moving, with or without him, if you were employed.  It is really hard not to feel resentful when you feel dependent on someone, for both money and the use of a car, and literally stuck in a bad living situation you can't see how to get out of, except to convince the person you are dependent on (who seems to be holding the control of everything) to change it.   hug.gif 


Edited by PGTlatte - 11/14/10 at 3:14pm
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