Portland Relationship Counselor: Divvying up the Domestic Duties

December 11, 2013 by

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been living with your partner for one year or 40, or whether you’re in a same sex or opposite sex relationship – one thing that any couple can do to strengthen their relationship is to split up those chores.

It may seem like a minor thing for a Portland therapist to bring up, but chores can become a huge point of contention when they’re unfairly distributed. If one person is out mowing the lawn or making dinner while the other person is sitting on the couch watching TV, this perceived lack of effort to help with the household duties can cause stress and resentment to grow up over time.

Anyone can get bent out of shape about their partner not doing their fair share, but this stress and discontent tends to be the most pronounced for women in opposite sex relationships. Although we’ve come a long way, studies have found that women typically still take on more household duties than their male partners even when both partners work full-time. In cases like this, it’s not just an issue of the woman in the partnership having more on her plate – it’s a perceived lack of appreciation and equality that can harm the relationship over time.

How to Get Better about Sharing the Housework

Even if you and your partner haven’t gotten into an argument about the chores, it may be worth sitting down and making sure you’re happy with the household duty distribution. While you’re talking, keep these tips in mind.

No chore is gender-specific. There’s no need to divide chores down a stereotypical gender line. Instead, figure out both of your domestic duty strengths. For example, maybe a woman finds mowing the lawn relaxing and wants to take that chore, while her partner doesn’t mind doing the laundry.

Trade off on certain chores. If there are certain daily tasks that you’re both pretty good at, like making dinner, trade off every night or every week so that one person doesn’t get stuck with the same task all the time.

Support your partner in taking on new chores. Some partners may end up taking a disproportionate amount of work just because they feel that they’re the one who knows how to do it “the right way.” However, instead of making your partner feel like they’re incapable of helping, let them take on one of your chores when you’re too busy. You can offer helpful suggestions, but refrain from criticizing, and be sure to thank them for helping.

Make sure you both feel equally important. You don’t necessarily need to split all chores exactly down the middle – that would actually be pretty tough. Instead, divide tasks so that you both feel you have an equally important role in maintaining your household, and if you notice a time when your partner seems to have a lot on their plate while you’re not busy, offer to help out.

If you want more advice on handling domestic duties or any other relationship problems, come in and talk to the Portland relationship counselor.