See more of the story

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 go-with-the-flow method of doing chores. I didn't realize that meant not doing chores at all.

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 (I suspect I'm the only person who has ever cleaned it), 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 talk to her about it, but I used to have a roommate who would scream at me if I even brought up problems concerning her cat.

How do I get past my issues with my old roommate and address the pungent lifestyle of my current ones? Please help.

Amy says: A litter box should be cleaned and scooped out every day. It takes only moments to do this, and it's better for the cat and the people who live with the cat. A dirty litter box can cause serious health problems for a cat and is a big stressor for both cats and people.

No, you don't want to be screamed at, but you'll have to be brave, calm and assertive. You should address this issue: "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.

You also could ask your current roommates to have a "house meeting" in order to try to establish some basic guidelines. They've already marked you as tidier and more hygienic than they are, and they might anticipate some of your concerns and dismiss them. But you also might make some headway.

As for your search for a new place to live, this time be sure to interview future roommates and encourage them to interview you. hosts a helpful website that includes a list of questions to ask perspective roommates.

Move-in advice

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. He now wants us to 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?

Amy says: Assuming you're not misleading your beau about your age, my advice to you would be the same I'd offer to anyone else: Discuss your values, habits and personal finances — including your debts — before moving in together.

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 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.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson at