(Closed) Need Help Fixing Our Relationship – Feeling Overworked & Underappreciated :(

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

you could always go on strike.  My mom did that a few times while I was growing up.  She had 5 kids, my dad, and a niece and a nephew living at our house.  My Dad worked, brother’s worked, and people going to school, she was Stay-At-Home Mom.  When she would have to ask for the garbage to be taken out was normally her last straw. 


She would just stop everything.  No breakfast, lunch, laundry, cleaning or ironing got done.  Then huge family meeting and everyone was good again for about year or so.  Sometimes you jsut need to do the non-literal “punch in the gut” to get people to change.  

Post # 4
9891 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@sugarpea:  Well, it seems you’ve spoiled him a little and he’s gotten used to it and enjoys it.  🙂  That’s not a bad thing or out of the ordinary on his part, but on your part I can understand how exhausted you are.  It’s really not fair for the entire burden of running the household – all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and managing finances – to be on one person. 

Since you’ve already tried various methods to get him to change that haven’t worked I wouldn’t suggest trying them again.  But what you have to do is talk to him about all this.  In fact, you’ve written everything very clearly and concisely here, you could show him your post and this thread, or rewrite it in a letter.  Sometimes what helps another person to come around is to praise them, a lot, for the small things they DO do without criticizing as much what they don’t do.  I know it’s hard to praise him when you’re feeling unappreciated but perhaps he’s feeling unappreciated in some way as well. 

Post # 5
11419 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@sugarpea:  I’m babysitting a three-year old right now (and we’re making Play-DOH dresses for Disney Princesses :), so I can’t write one of my longer, more well-thought out posts. However, I can relate to some of what you’re describing, not so much that I do all of the work, because my Darling Husband grocery shops, cooks, and takes care of the trash and most outdoor maintenance, while I do kitchen clean up, housecleaning, and all of the laundry.  However, because my husband has a very demanding job, is on call at all times (unless he’s arranged for coverage during a vacation period), has a lot of evening meetings and activities, works every weekend, and has now-teenaged children who live with us 50 percent of the time, I definitely can relate to not being a priority much of the time.

I also can relate to the love language disparity, since my love languges are words of affirmation, quality time, and physical touch, while my DH’s are acts of service and then physical touch. He does appreciate quality time, but he’s spread so thin by giving that time to so many others, he often has very little time of quality — or energy — for me or our relationship.

What made my situation most difficult for me, especially early on in my marriage , is that I had to leave my city/state/career/church/friends and otherwise happy and successful life to relocate to be with him as a result of our marriage. At first, I was quite upset about having given up nearly everything that was important to me only to find myself feeling pretty alone.

Our situation has improved over time, through communication and counseling.  However, the bottom line is that I have had to significantly alter my own expectations for what is feasible and practical in our situation.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that, because of my faith, I cannot advocate on behalf of couples living together without being married. However, there also are many marriages in which one person doesn’t seem to understand the need to help the other around the house in addition to any work that may be done outside the home. I think it’s reasonable for you to take on a larger portion of the housework, given your situation. However, it is NOT reasonable for your SO to think that he doesn’t have to lift a finger to do anything to help take care of his home or his home life. You may want to consider allowing him to iron his own shirts.  That is something that, if you stop doing, he will either have to take on himself, or go to work with wrinkled shirts.  That will be his choice.

Post # 6
5242 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@sugarpea:  My husband can be like this sometimes until I need to bring him back to reality. While I do enjoy doing things for him I’m not his mother or his maid. I do all the laundry and most of the cleaning as well as all the finances and bill payments and I work a fulltime job too! Luckily he does most of the cooking which is a big help but sometimes I need to remind him that we are in this relationship together and we both own and live in our home so he has to do some of the chores as well. I also have a chronic illness and while he is supportive and takes care of me he sometimes forgets that if I get overworked I can end up feeling really crappy. I think you need to sit down and havea serious talk with him and let him know the resons why you have been so cranky lately. You want ot make sure you get these things sorted out before you enter into marriage

Post # 7
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

Oh sweetie, that is so frustrating! Big, big hugs to you – I know where you’re coming from and it’s incredibly frustrating. Especially since you’ve already tried so many things, like confronting him directly, giving him a chore checklist, etc.

Getting adjusted to working 40(+) hours a week in an office is really tough. My first year of working, I was pretty miserable on week nights – I’d be so tired and really wasn’t up to doing anything, and rarely cooked for myself. (At that time I lived with a roommate, hadn’t met Darling Husband yet.) Even now after 4 years of working, I’m still not all that energetic on work nights – some days are better than others, but there are totally days when all I want to do is curl up on a couch, eat a bowl of cereal, and watch some trash TV. (But doesn’t everyone have those days once in awhile?) I can imagine that it’s really hard as a couple to transition from the college lifestyle to the working-professional lifestyle, because the change in schedule and change of pace is so difficult. I *know* deep down that I’m nowhere near as fun as I was in college. I don’t go on as many spontaneous adventures anymore, I’m too tired to stay up late having pillow talk with Darling Husband, etc.

But even so, you can’t just throw in the towel once you start working. I understand he’s tired, but your Fiance needs to make an effort to spend a few nights a week with you giving you proper attention. Can you designate one or two nights of the week to be date nights, and plan on eating out (even if it’s somewhere cheap, just to get out of the house together)? And when the weather’s nice, have a picnic on those days? I honestly think getting away from the house is the first step towards getting your relationship and closeness back.

Can you go out to lunch with him once or twice a week? Darling Husband takes me out to lunch on Mondays and I LOVE it. Not sure if he works close enough to your house to do that, but if you can swing it, do it!

So, about the chores-  do NOT think that you should be fully responsible for all the chores. You have a full plate as it is with schoolwork, and it’s not fair for one person in the relationship to do all of the dirty work. I know a lot of the things you’ve tried haven’t worked, but here’s a couple things I thought of that might help reduce your load:

-Wrinkle-free shirts – we didn’t even own an iron until a few months ago when my mom visited and bought one for herself to use. I buy all DH’s clothes (he HATES shopping) and I pick out iron-free/wrinkle-free dress shirts. They really do work as advertised. Can you start out buying one or two, and see how he likes them? They’re seriously the best.

-Can you afford to hire a housekeeper? Even if it’s someone to just come once a month to do a deep-clean? If there’s any way you could work that into your budget, I think it would relieve a huge amount of your stress. 

-Maybe thinking about establishing Sunday afternoons as meal-prep days. Both of you guys in the kitchen together, either making a couple big meals you can reheat throughout the week, or prepping all the ingredients for you to toss together during the week. We started doing that recently, and it’s really fun. We love grocery shopping together anyways, so Sundays are for grocery shopping (and eating alllll the samples!), cooking, and rewarding ourselves for the cooking by watching a movie or doing something fun right before bed. Sundays work best for us because after a long week, we’re both pretty tired and want to relax and have fun. But by Sunday afternoons, we’ve had our fun and we’re at the point where we can be a little more productive again, you know?

If you can’t get him to help you cook, then have him do the dishes. My parents both worked really long hours when I was growing up, and my mom did all the cooking and some of the cleaning (also had hired housekeeper), with a catch – whoever cooked the food, didn’t have to clean up. Sooo since my dad can barely make a grilled-cheese sandwich, taht meant he had dishes duty most nights. Even if your Fiance is resistant to this, you really should push him to help with the dishes. It makes a huge difference. (Nothing is worse than laboring in the kitchen to cook dinner, sitting to eat for 10 minutes, and having to get up and go right back to wash dishes.) I’ve gotten Darling Husband to do the dishes maybe 80% of the time, which is good enough for right now.


Post # 9
326 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Starting a new full-time job, even if he’s tired, isn’t an excuse to ignore/take advantage of your partner. Maybe I’m mean, but if this was happening to me, and no amount of strikes, talking or explaining was producing action from my Fiance, I would do a different kind of “strike”. It sounds like you went on a full strike and did absolutely no chores and then you had to do extra work at the end! The trick is still do things for you/the house, but everything you do for him, forget it. Its just extra time-consuming work and it isn’t having much of a payoff in the form of an attentive, helpful Fiance.

I would only do housework/chores for myself (but make it clear to him from the get-go that you are feeling underappreciated, and he can fend for himself for however long it takes to develop some fricken empathy). Each meal, I would only cook enough for myself, I wouldn’t do his laundry (only mine), I would only clean common areas when I felt the need to, I wouldnt buy items for him when I’m shopping (his shampoo, deodorant, etc), don’t do his taxes (let him know that he has to do it himself), things like that. Basically, do things for the basic running of the household and yourself, but beyond that, scale waaaaay back.

He’ll soon get tired of not having clean, non-wrinkly clothes to wear, having to eat cereal for every meal, having to use flowery shampoo, etc, while you still have all of your perks. Hopefully, that will be a wakeup call and make him realize how much you do for both you and your relationship/household.

Post # 10
9681 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I personally think if he is the one working and supporting the household, the person who is home all day should do the bulk of domestic chores. Do you show appreciation for his financial contribution? Both are valid. 

I work and manage my household and don’t expect anyone to thank me for it. 

Post # 11
9792 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

The chore part seems fair, though he should cut you a break now and then and be appreciative.

The real issue seems to be that he neglects the relationship and gives you no quality time. 

Post # 12
2180 posts
Buzzing bee

@MrsPanda99:  @MrsBuesleBee:  Do you really think sugarpea doing all the chores is fair, considering she has school and a part-time job? She’s not just sitting around the house all day.

Post # 13
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Regarding your feelings of being underappreciated, I agree that your Fiance needs to make more of an effort to socialize with you.  It’s understandable that he’s tired after working all day and you are probably isolated and ready for conversation and interaction after being at home alone all day.  But there are ways to meet in the middle.  Can he take 30-60 minutes after getting home to unwind on his own?  Can you use that time to prepare dinner (instead of having it ready for when he walks in the door)?  Can you both agree that after dinner you’ll wash dishes together and talk to each other?  Etc etc.

As for feeling overworked, it doesn’t sound totally unreasonable to me that you’d be responsible for most of the housework…not because you are at home all day, but because you work fewer hours than he does, which leaves you with more time to get the housework done.  There are definitely *some* chores he can handle, though.  He’s a big boy; he can iron his own shirts (and even do his own laundry!).  He can also help out with routine maintenance like taking out the garbage or washing dishes.  My suggestion is to put him “in charge” of a few specific tasks (like doing the dishes/sweeping/vacuuming) or make an area of the house *his* to clean (like the kitchen or the bathroom).  

Overall, I think you guys need to have a talk.  It sounds like he’s having some difficulty adjusting to his full-time job and you’re having trouble adjusting to doing all the housework.  I’m sure you guys will be able to work something out!

Post # 15
9681 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@sugarpea:  When there’s a yucky chore I don’t want to do – like picking up dog poop or garbages – I just tell my husband. Your partner sounds very supportive and I’m sure he would help if he knew. Don’t let resentment breed. Men don’t get subtle clues – just literally say, “it helps me a lot when you do x, y, and z. Would you mind taking that on?”

If you’re appreciating him and he isn’t doing it back, then that’s not fair either. Whenever he does something, no matter how small, acknowledge it. He says thanks for dinner? Say, “it makes me feel so good when you appreciate what I do for you!” Men repeat behaviour they are rewarded for…or is that dogs? Either way, it works on them both. 

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