Post # 1
My bf and I had a fight the other day because he feels I’m not taking on equal responsibilities. We have been dating 2 years and moved in together 6 months ago so have been very stressed with setting up house. He is very do-it-yourself (he has no experience in gardens but built the backyard from ground up) and always making sure the house is spotless but I just can’t keep up, though I believe I do my equal share of housework. I cook better then most of my friends and have done cleaning at around the house once a week. He’s a very 50/50 kind of guy and its starting to grate on my nerves as I never know where the 50% boundary lies. Isn’t equality subjective? I’ve suggest a roster as I feel this is the best way as then he can’t complain if something isn’t done. However he finds this demeaning and that we’re adult enough to just get stuff done around the house.
On the day we fought about housework, he made mention that if pets or kids are involved, he doesn’t believe I can handle it. THEN he said he now has hesitations of proposing in the next year and wants to see how things go. I’m quite heartbroken as he had been hinting of proposal during our next trip end of this year. Other then this issue, we are so compatible and he treats me perfect, its just hard to work with this equality thing when I’m always the type to expect less and be happily surprised when I get more.
I’ve only started “waiting” when we realized we love each other’s company so much that it feels natural to move in together, but now I feel like its more a test if I’m worthy to be his wife. Any advice or similar experiences?
Post # 3
My ex of 4 years was also this type. He was obsessed with 50/50 and it drove me mad. He put more focus on who was doing what, rather than if it was getting done or not. Eventually, I just had to assign tasks. Who cares if it’s demeaning, as long as it’s getting done and we had less things to fight about. You can even revisit the “chore list” every couple of months to make sure everyone is happy. What is wrong with that? It would certainly reduce the amount of fighting that goes on, so it’s worth it.
So my ex was clean, and I liked that in a way. I am also the clean type too. However, my boyfriend of 18 months is a SLOB. However, he is an amazing cook and completely 100% caters to my vegan diet. He even eats vegan when I come over! And I feel if we ever moved in together, he would probably be vegan at home, and eat his meat when away from home. This characteristic is a HUGE plus in our relationship, so I can handle his slob tendencies. I personally hate cooking. I will eat PB and J for dinner to get out of it. I could clean up after my boyfriend for 50 years to “gain” his cooking expertise.
My point is, for me, I love my boyfriend so much I don’t care that he is a slob. I just pick up the slack. He is not good at cleaning. You and your Boyfriend or Best Friend should pick out chores you don’t “mind” doing, and split up the remaining chores that no one wants to do. For example, I don’t mind cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry, but I hate vacuuming/mopping floors. My ex and I had to figure out this system or we would have killed each other.
I’m having a rough time with my boyfriend right now (on a separate note) because my boyfriend is also making me “audition” for the role of wife. I have to pass his “test” of holding a job for a while. I am a 6 weeks out of school and while in school I had 4 different jobs. Boyfriend or Best Friend is not thrilled about my job hopping, and refuses to acknowledge that people job hop while in school. I used to have a career (I am 31) but did the job hopping while I was a student for 9 months.
I don’t think it’s any of his BUSINESS how many jobs I had, as long as I put food on the table for me and my son. But my boyfriend is so “professional” and developed in his career that having a career wife is important to him. A whole different post… I guess I am just venting myself, but I wanted you to know I can relate to the frustration of feeling like you are only worthy of his wife IF you meet certain conditions. I think it’s a bunch of crap. Just like I accept my sloppy boyfriend (and I am a neat freak), your Boyfriend or Best Friend should accept you the way you are. It’s not like you are an alcoholic/abuser. You are just not as tidy as he likes. So what?
Post # 4
I’m sorry he is giving you such a hard time. I had an ex like that. He always expected me to perform certain tasks and in a way that was just not me. I finally got tired of him trying to change me.
Post # 5
@blinx81: This is such a tough one :/ I’m sorry you’re having to go through this.. But from a logical perspective, understand that this is how he is proably going to be forever and ever and is that something you can handle in the future? His tendency to point this out to you will probably especially rear its ugly head when/if you have children, b/c there are so many responsibilites with that.
It’s great you realize you are compatible and great for each other on so many other levels, b/c that is certainly very important and if you two can get past the 50/50 thing it seems like things will be great in all other respects.
Instead of doing a roster or chore list, do you think you could have a talk w/ him and verbally agree on responsbilites?
Maybe just take a step back and think about what more you could do that you think would “please” him if that is what you are aiming to do. Say, if you washed the bedsheets every Sunday or made sure to scrub the bathroom clean every Thursday, maybe he would take a notice to these “regular” chores you are doing.
I’m sorry I can’t offer too much advice! I end up doing almost all the housework around here, he doesn’t like to do much at all and it’s usually easier to just do it versus nag at him. It’s not easy sometimes, but I just suck it up and do it.
Good luck! I hope everything works out 🙂
Post # 6
what is wrong with a roster!? he’s the one wanting to make sure things get done 50/50, right? I personally think he’s the unreasonable one.
I understand your hurt and frustration on how you feel you are being tested by him, that would sadden me too I’m sure, but, since he’s trying to logic you with equality and stuff, why not logic him and tell him he’s being unreasonable about not wanting a roster and how he wants to get things done.
Post # 7
Forgive me if I’m overstepping my boundaries.. but I think the fact that he wants everything 50/50 proves that HE isn’t ready for marriage. Love and marriage aren’t about everything being 50/50, its aboutworking together and trying your best to make things work the best they can. Maybe you aren’t up to “super mom cleaning speed” yet, but you’ve only moved in together 6 months ago, you have time to improve.. if you don’t improve, try making a spare 50$ every week or every other week to put towards a cleaning lady. Unless you’re sitting around watching TV and eating popcorn while he’s vaccuuming, I don’t understand his issue.
Post # 8
I really agree with kingytobe. I’m having a hard time really believing that if he loves you so much and thinks you’re the one that something like a 40/60 or 30/70 chore split is enough to keep him from wanting to marry you. I think there might be something more going on in his head since you say everything else is compatible.
Sidenote & probably not an issue: if he ever starts to make your lower (normal, in my opinion) standards of cleaning an attack on your character (“you always are so messy, I can’t stand you” “you just don’t give a sh** about our house,” etc.) then that’s a major sign that something’s going on. I don’t know if you’ve ever read any of Gottman’s stuff on marriage, but it’s about the 4 things that predict divorce 96% of the time. I’m not saying this will happen, I’m just saying if this gets to be a bigger issue it could happen. And I know you’re not married, but Gottman wrote most of his stuff before people were living together so often before marriage. It’s still very applicable today, he’s talked about a lot in my marriage & fam therapy courses.
Post # 9
He obviously feels like you aren’t carrying your weight in regard to a household. There have been a LOT of discussions around here about “i do everything, my SO, the man, does nothing” and the conversation always ends up being that you should talk to him about it and try to divide tasks up better, even come up with a chore chart. And here, it’s considered ridiculous when it’s the other way around? I find that odd. Personally, I would have trouble wanting to marry someone who didn’t carry their fair weight around the house. We are 50/50…we both work and we both live here. There may be a week he does more or I do more, but it isn’t a week after week thing or it becomes selfish. You cook and you clean once a week–what is he doing that makes it “so much more” than what you do, you know? Dividing up tasks isn’t a bad idea AT ALL. My husband has certain chores that I don’t do (take out the trash and clean toilets) and I have tasks that I do. You could always hire someone to clean your house twice a month, too. It’s like, $120/visit or something for deep cleaning. At least around here.
Post # 10
I agree with some of the other bees who have said that you need to find out what 50/50 is. You don’t have to have a “chore chart” with gold stars, but maybe just grab a sheet of notebook paper and hash it out. Just keep it in a drawer for reference, but you don’t have to check it off or anything so you guys don’t feel like you’re five again :).
Post # 11
Some folks are just not as ‘clean freaks’ as others. I don’t think it is very possible to get a 50/50 split when it comes to housework. So he did the garden from the ground up, well, maybe that’s his interest, figuring stuff out. Is it that your house looks like a tornado blew through it and you are sitting watching Jersey Shore not giving a crap? Doesn’t sound like it. You’ve been giving excellent advice below. Why don’t you do the chore chart and revisit every couple of months or so? I understand the whole ‘testing’ thing. I used to rail at my then Boyfriend or Best Friend about it. It was so annoying, like, I’m not good enough till I passed some stupid test? Nah, he just wasn’t ready and he admitted it!
Post # 12
@kingytobe: Being on the other side of this issue, I’ll take a stab at explaining. It’s not that anyone is (likely) sitting with pen and pencil trying to calculate a precise 50/50 split. However, when things are very badly skewed in terms of taking caare of the joint home, it can be very upseting and that grates on the relationship. To my eye, the bf is just seeking a rough over time approximation of 50/50 rather than 30/70, not a precise week to week 50/50.
I love my boyfriend, and it’s not that our division of chores would make me not want to marry him. But it does cause a lot of stress on our relationship because 1) I get resentful that he can watch me clean stuff and not lift a finger to help, 2) I have to nag him to do “his” chores (he had a cat before me, the cat litter needs to be cleaned out regularly and I *hate* coming home to a house that smells like cat pee nor do I feel I can have friends over) and no one likes to hear or be a nag, 3) I don’t feel like we have a partnership when he doesn’t chip in much and it greatly bothers me – I am not a 1950s housewife with time to do everything, I am a 2010’s girlfriend with my own job, volunteer activities (which he doesn’t have) and social activities and 4) I worry about what will happen when we have kids. Clearly this is a mini-vent of my own.
He tells me I don’t “count” things he does do for the relationship, such as most of the driving. So, now that I’ve finally learned to drive stick, we’re going to split the driving more. Once the kitchen renovation is finished, we’re going to create a chore chart. Making this up will also force us to agree on basic standards, as I generally want it more clean than he does. (I’m not a neat freak. Pre-me, he used a basket and pile “system” of laundry to avoid putting away clothes, and ate takeout every night to avoid shopping/clean up. And from what I could tell, had never done things like scrub the tub since he had moved in 5 year prior.) And, we’re looking into getting a house cleaner. (I’m worried about the last one because it won’t solve the problem of everyday things like taking dishes to the kitchen after eating because it’d only be every other week. So we need to not think of this as a one time solution)
6 months is plenty of time to have set habits and for the bf to be worried. So my advice is: Set expectations of what ought to be done that you both agree on. Then follow through, using devises such as a chore chart if needed.
Post # 13
My Darling Husband made it clear from the start. He doesn’t do ANYTHING around the house. He works 16-18 hours/day and doesn’t want to spend his free time doing chores. BUT, he has always said that if there is anything I don’t want to do, he agrees to split the cost to hire someone else to do it.
This eliminates all arguments about cleaning, cutting the lawn, snow removal, cooking…etc. It’s now up to me to decide what is more important, my time or my money.
I don’t expect him to do anything, so I don’t get pissed when he doesn’t.
OP – maybe suggest the same to your Boyfriend or Best Friend. If he wants to clean, he can clean. If he wants you to clean, you can both hire someone to do it. It puts the responsibility and decision making back in his court.
Post # 14
@ejs4y8: Exactly. If someone feels that they someone in the household isn’t pulling their weight, well, it’s probably the reality. I know that there are times when I get resentful of SO when he’s slacking off a bit….and lots of the women around here have made posts to elaborate that point as well. There’s nothing wrong, in my opinion that he wants things 50/50 as many women expect the same. Maybe it’s time for a talk with him to a) point out what it is that you contribute to the household, and b) what else he may expect you to do a little more of. I see nothing wrong with making a chore chart after that discussion. If you feel that there are ways that you definitively contribute to the household that he’s not taking into account, you need to point that out.
Sometimes you do really need to point out what you contribute to the household to your SO. I was resentful a bit of my SO because I “thought” I did everything, until he pointed out that I never have to lift a finger with trash, clean up after I cook, clean off my car when it snows (which is like EVERY DAY in Massachusetts this winter!), load up the dishwasher, or directly clean up after him because he takes care of it all. WOW, I definitely changed my tune a bit after that. Resentment? Gone. Appreciation? Yes.
My point about contribution, I think, includes monetary/ work hours as well. Say one of the parties in the relationship works more than the other…that’s part of their contribution. For example, my SO’s dream is for me to become a district manager of the company I work for so he can be a stay at home dad. He best believe that if he stays at home, he will be doing the majority of the chores around the house. 🙂
Post # 15
I agree that a roster of some sort, or a verbal agree emnt of who is responsible for what is the best solution. Each person, based on how she or he was raised and the kind of house their parents kept, has a different priority of what needs to be done in the house. Some people think dishes and the kitchen are #1 on the list of things that need to be addressed. Other feel the living room should always be spotless and the laundry can wait until the living room is done. Some people need every nook and cranny clean and ready for viewing, others are okay as long as guest don’t look in the closets. Part of getting ready to be married is fidning out what each of you finds a priority, not only in the realm of kids and career, but how do each of you feel about what to do with wet towels? Dirty dishes? Weeding gardens? If your family was clean, but relaxed about it and his was more strict that could explain the difference in attitude here. Just tell him that you like a clean house as much as him, but A is more important to you than B, or that while he’s gung ho about taking care of C, D is what you grew up regarding as important.
I can see how he moght want to expect the house to be spotless with a child, but seriously, pets and kids do one thing well – they make a mess. You have to realx a bit by that point and just deal with the fact that the dog WILL poop at some point in the house, and destroy at least one object. A child will find news ways to amke a mess each week of their life, and for the first few years, they won’t be old enough to train to clean for themselves. If he wants kids, he needs to relax and realize that there are other prioroties byy then, other than an immaculate house, and since you’d be a team, if you as the female were spending more time on childcare, he as the partner with more free time would ahve to pick up some slack and keep the house to his specifications.
Also, not that I really suspect this of your SO but think it’s worth mentioning, I’ve found a LOT of my friends’ parents (and my own) have borderline and even serious hoarding issues. If your SO has ever had a relative with ANYTHING like that, it can look scary and something to be avoided at all costs. I have a friend who is a total Anti-Hoarder, becuse she’s faced the problems of a family member with a serious probelm – its kinda like the kid of an alcoholic being completely adverse to any drinking at all. She tosses things regularly to avoid allowing that behavior to take hold of her.
I personally do the majority of cleaning in my reltionship, but he does most of the cooking, it’s his house and while I pay at least 1/2 the bills, he buys the groceries most of the time. Also, I figure that most of the chores I find to be needed and he feels he can ignore (and he does – I’ve tried letting things go and I coulnd’t stand it) are things I’d do living together or alone, so “most” days it doesn’t bug me.
Post # 16
Relationships are about give and take and things are not always black and what about what is “even” or not. Yesterday I cleaned a bit and made dinner, while Boyfriend or Best Friend went out and shoveled the walk way and cleaned snow off my car. We could both very well argue that it wasn’t “50/50”, but we each did something for each other and were appreciative for it. I don’t get told that I’m not putting in my share of the work if I make a dinner that’s a flop; as long as I am trying my best and putting in an effort. You do NOT have to break your back to appease him.
The way he is putting you down over this, and making you feel “unworthy” sounds very controlling can be a sign of verbal/emotional abuse. Just watch out for yourself.