Portland Relationship Counseling: Equality – Except in Chores

May 24, 2013 by

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that a lot of my Portland relationship counseling clients come to see me because they’re mad about who’s doing the chores in the relationship, but an unequal distribution of work can cause serious marriage issues over time.

Can you guess who tends to do most of the work around the house in a heterosexual relationship? It should surprise no one that the answer is the woman. This has been the case forever, and it’s rooted in age-old gender roles.

What might be surprising, however, is that this reality of the woman as the one who tends to the house holds up even in relationships where the two partners actively try to change this imbalance – including those where the women actually earn more in their paying jobs than their male partners!

Portland Relationship Counseling: Why We Can’t Get Past “Women’s Work”

It would be tempting to blame men entirely for this continuing relationship imbalance, but women at least have to share some of the responsibility. Here are just a few of the reasons women still find themselves in charge of the house.

  • Men see it as a challenge to their masculinity. Many men see cooking and cleaning as something that is “unmanly.” Even if they truly feel bad about their partners doing all the work, they may unconsciously put it off because it hurts their ego.
  • Women feel an obligation. For reasons that aren’t completely explained, studies have shown that women see housework as a way to contribute to the relationship; men, however, do not. Obviously, this is a problem that has to be addressed on both sides.
  • Women need to oversee the work. Even when men do contribute, many women feel a need to oversee their work to make sure that it goes well. This puts further responsibility on their shoulders and makes men less likely to want to do it.

Learn How to Find “Chore Equality” in Portland Relationship Counseling

The secret to “chore equality” isn’t really much of a secret at all. Much like solving marriage issues in general, it’s something that you both need to want and that you’ll have to continue to work at throughout your relationship. The more you can put systems in place to divide the household work and plan ahead, the better off you will be, but there also has to be some sort of accountability system in place as well.

If, after trying this for a few months, you find that one of you is still doing more of the household work, you may need the help of Portland relationship counseling.