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2 Bumps

Husband is a Hoarder in Denial

My husband is a hoarder in denial. I was very naive when we got married. His logical explanations for why he needed his things were convincing (I was in love and blind).

Now I understand he is in denial. We're in counseling and I have brought up the topic many times. Some baby steps have been taken, but it is not resolved yet. I'm afraid he got rid of a few things just to please me and not because he intends to change because he knows he has a problem.

I just read "The Secret Lives of Hoarders" and now I am scared. It talks about the stages of hoarding and how 65-80% of hoarders relapse after a cleanup. His hoarding is at an early stage so I am hoping if I put my foot down now, maybe I will be able to stay for the duration.

I know I will not be able to tolerate it long term. He either has to change (sincerely, not temporarily) or we will not be together. I have already been dealing with the negative feelings I have about the clutter for 16 years. I cannot live like this forever.

Is anyone experienced with this? Is there any hope? Can he change? What does it take for him to get out of denial?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 3:45 AM on May. 22, 2011 in Relationships

Answers (8)
  • I too have a relative that I think has this problem. PM me maybe we could talk.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 3:49 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • hi, my dad is just the same, my mum divorced him over this, he palled up with a young girl who with no disrespect to her was pretty much homeless and only 17 who moved in with him and to be honest she does seem to care for him which sort of makes me happy because i got the feeling that she was just using him for a roof over her head, i am happy for him to find a new partner in life thinking that she would try and make him a bit more tidy around the house and to stop him collecting rubbish thinking it will come in handy one day, but she is pretty much the same as my dad which i find annoying because he has a nice house which could be made to look more pleasant than it is, i find her rather lax in other ways aswell, i stop over sometimes and sleep in the room next to them, i realise that they have sex but she makes no attempt to keep her loudish pleasure noises down and yeah shes just as laid back and thoughtless as my dad!!.

    Answer by koolbecky at 4:12 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • I cant even watch the show hoarders it makes me feel the need to clean the entire house!!!! I can't stand messes!!! and stuff piled everywhere. I have a friend who does this her husband threatened to leave her because it's way out of hand!!!! I've gone over there I don't know how many times and clean her house from top to bottom and within a month things are just like it was before I started!!!! so I just stopped I had to because It wasn't fair to me to clean the house and it all went back to the way it was before I did this free of charge and just ended up feeling used and time wasted.


    Answer by traren at 7:09 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • Good luck to both you and your husband. It's very sad because many of them choose their stuff over their family, its heartbreaking really.

    Answer by meooma at 9:27 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • Where is his denial coming from? What is he denying? It will take some serious counseling and work but he has to be the one to decide to face up to his denial and make the lifelong changes. You have to decide if you are willing to go through it or leave for your own life.

    Answer by Momforhealth at 10:22 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • Thanks, all. So far the answers aren't very encouraging. Please bump this.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:24 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • I don't know what is making him be in denial. I am willing to stay in counseling as long as it takes to get answers. The counselor has already told me some ways I might be able to force change, like tell him he has to move out of the bedroom. I will insist on it when the time comes. We've been so busy talking about other issues in counseling for the last 7 years, we have not discussed this topic enough. It is the last major hurdle in our marriage. I told him I would feel confident our communication issues are resolved if we could clean out the basement together (as a team).

    He spilled his stuff over into one of the rooms in our house and promised to clean up the mess 9 years ago. The mess has looked different over the years, but it has always been a mess. He's only gotten rid of recycling. Everything else gets rearranged. In contrast, I cleaned out the junk room in one day, items donated/trashed the next day.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:35 AM on May. 22, 2011

  • Yesterday, I told him I figured the kids and I buy him 10 shirts a year. My daughter is 11, so not counting the 4 years before she was born, we must have bought him over 100 shirts. He has never donated any old clothes (he has shirts with white collars from the 80s in his closet).

    I mentioned my calculation to him and he said he wears the old ones to work outside and to work on the car and then when they get holes in them he throws them out. I have not seen him work outside or on the car in a shirt given to him within the last 11 years; they are piling up. I told him no more gifts... (he doesn't really care about gifts anyway).

    I have a major issue with his lack of limits. His piles can be taller than me. It is not okay...

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:41 AM on May. 22, 2011

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