Ask Amanda: How to Handle House Chores with Your Partner
posted on March 6, 2015 | by Amanda Holstein
This advice column features questions submitted by actual readers (real live people!).
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I have been with my boyfriend for over 2 years and we live in an apartment together. Recently, we have been bickering over who is going to do what chores or take care of things. Is there a certain way to handle all of this and how do you keep a balance between team-work, taking turns, and independence?
1. Sit down and have a conversation about this when you’re not in the middle of bickering about it. When you’re both in a good mood and in a stable state of mind, that is when you should discuss this issue and see if you can work together to solve it. Say something like “we keep bickering over these little house chores and it’s silly, let’s figure out how we can make this easier on both of us, etc.”
2. There are a few ways you could go about this. You could decide who is (almost) always in charge of what – say he always takes out the garbage and you always do the laundry. I say “almost always” because there could be a day where this just doesn’t quite work with your schedules for whatever reason, and you’ll both need to be flexible. If you both are more Type A people, you could also set up a specific schedule. So one week he does laundry and you do dishes, and the next you switch, etc. The point is, find a system that works for both of you. If the issue isn’t really the house work, it’s more about the relationship, then read this…
The real issue, I’m guessing, is that you’re both sort of keeping a tally in your head of what each of you has helped with. If you feel like you’ve done a lot that day, you want him to balance that out and do something to make up for it. However, life doesn’t exactly work that way. Think of this as a bigger picture. Maybe you are generally doing a little more of the house work, but he does more of the finances and budgeting. Maybe he is good at something you hate doing and vice versa. That way you aren’t tallying every single little task, but instead both contributing to managing the home in different ways. I would highly suggest trying to eliminate that “tallying” mindset from your day to day. It only causes problems and in reality, there is never any true way to calculate if you’ve both done the exact same amount of work, so don’t bother. It’s more important that you feel you are both contributing and helping in different ways.
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