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Am I in the wrong?

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I'm unemployed but my partner isn't. I get no help around the house because that's my job, being unemployed makes me a fucking housewife. 

We're moving in two days, he has refused to help me pack because he has a job and I don't. 

Am I being unreasonable wanting some help? When confronted, because we have had numerous conversations about him helping around the house as well as moving out, its him against me, I have no job so the house is my job. Therefor so is packing it up, end of. I've used the "when I have a job will you pull your weight" argument but then he says we'll get a cleaner in. Yeah, because we could afford that. 

Is it too much to ask or am I really being ridiculous and selfish? Not just with the moving house but with house help I general. Now I will pull extra weight because I am unemployed, I understand that I should do more than him round the house, but is it too much to ask for help..?


I just feel so overwhelmed. I didn't get much help last year either, and I had a friend living with us. I was in my final year at uni and I had a lot to do, I know it wasn't a job but still... I feel so crap because I know people my age that don't have these things to deal with. I want to be the uni student who has fun and stuff. Not the one that gets distressed over a house. Stupid life.

Edited by Paperskyscraper
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It is not by any means ridiculous for you to want help around the house.  He lives there too, yeah? 

Though, i agree that someone who is unemployed should do the brunt of the housework.  You are not his slave or his house maid.  You are his *partner*- which makes him your *partner*.

By definition, being partners is taking part in an undertaking with another or others.  He needs to help you and he needs to understand why he needs to help you. 

If he makes a mess, his dead ass can pick it up! You're not his mommy!

Hes a grown adult- he needs to start acting like it.

The end

(best of luck here- I'm married to a man who still finds it hard to help around the house.  If you don't have this conversation NOW it will not get better)

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What did you actually agree in the beginning, before all this got out of hand?


If you never had a conversation when you were moving in about who would look after the house and what happens if only one person is in work, maybe you can start afresh and have that conversation now? Because fighting back and forth about what has already happened is only going to make you both miserable.


Couples tend to work out who does what based on things like:


  • Who has time to do what?
  • Who likes doing some chores and who hates doing the other chores?
  • Who can keep up the habit of doing an assigned chore and who wants to do with things together as and when they come up?
  • What kind of home are you living in and how much needs to be done?


So, ideally, two people wouldn't ask each other to do a chore they wouldn't themselves do without massive complaint. I tend to do the dishes when I am at my boyfriends, because I care more about them being done. He likes to run a sink of water, put bleach and leave plates overnight.So I then have to pick the scummy pans out, drain it, clean the sink and wash up. It make my life a million times harder and my partner insists that is 'how it is done'. I cannot STAND putting my hands in stinky bleach washing up water, I'd rather do them then and there. If for whatever good reason, I cannot wash up, he washes up his way. He tries not to leave stinky dishes in water if I am going to have to deal with them, I try not to pick up on him leaving them. Either way, dishes get done. He doesn't do them how I like him to, but he does do them.


It is reasonable to expect that if you live with your partner and he is working full time, you will use that time to keep the home running in the basic ways. So the usual; bedding made and changed, bins emptied, dishes washed, the bare minimum so you don't get sick from germs. I have worked full time and supported someone who had mental health issues, and after a hard day, you don't want to have to spend hours cleaning AND listen to the mental health crisis of that day. I've also been so ill I could barely get out of bed without crying and my partner has worked full time and supported me. However both partners usually need to pitch in. It's no good him just absolving himself of all housework because you're home 24/7 unless you both freely agreed to that.


If your partner has some bad habits and goes on the defensive, my advice is stop trying to nag or prove he is wrong. When I observed my partner, I realized he tended to dump things around because there wasn't a bin or basket nearby to do it. Laundry was a big one, he would leave stuff for ages. Once I sorted it through, got rid of the three or four laundry baskets he had amassed (and filled) he began to see how hanging up his dry clots wold benefit him. Sometimes people get messy because the way they do things is too complicated or long winded. Maybe you could both tweak things so you both get into the habit together or doing that final bit of throwing away wrappers after cooking etc. My partner agreed to try running a sink and hot water to wash the pans he cooked with as he used them, it made a big difference to that. Once he saw that the little tweaks worked and saved time, he genuinely started doing them when I wasn't around. Maybe your partner is bad at figuring out when to do the dishes or how to clean up after cooking? I admit, if I cook and then sit and watch TV and hang out with my boyfriend, I can forget to get back up and clean the kitchen. It's not disrespect to him, just human nature.


Sites like Flylady and Unfuck your habitat are great for learning how to do things smarter and get it over with quicker. At the end of the day, you're a team. Things don't have to be a fifty fifty split but your way of keeping house together has to make sense and work for you. And at the moment, if it has turned into a game of 'who does more' then you've gone astray.


As for moving, my partner is clearing his flat at the moment so I can move in. I don't know why, but he is the same. If he can't get everything he needs together right then, he won't do it.  Imagine Batman with his utility belt, no utility belt, no packing. I have quietly used a free moment to gather a few boxes, some packing stuff and a marker pen and leave it in a good place where it's not cluttering anything up. And then I'll say 'hey, if we packed up XYZ, we'd have got closer to moving, and it wouldn't be such a nightmare. God, I hate packing. You wanna do a box and I'll do a box? Then hey presto, he magically has everything he needs and he will not feel like he has to argue about why and when.


Most guys I know have a very logical approach to packing and moving. They don't skip from room to room or do bits here and there. They start in one room and they take an eon to pick through DVD's and t shirts etc to decide what goes and what doesn't. And I decided that rather than fight it, I'd go with it. I have picked little jobs I can do when I feel restless and I ask my partner (without any attitude) what he might need and how he is getting on. That is enough for him to go 'oh, yeah I need to sort those DVD's, I'll do that tomorrow/the next day.' Now he feels like I am a partner in crime when it comes to packing, rather than his mom standing over him and faulting him, he is more open to doing it.


As for the gaming, often it's a way to decompress and get some quiet time where there are no demands. If it is going till 3am, that is an issue. Maybe it's worth asking if working full time, moving and everything is getting to him. Is he feeling stressed, does he want to vent? If when he logs off or walks in the door, there is a big list of things to do and complaints about him, he may just retreat and not want to engage anymore.


Al of the above is assuming that your guy is a nice guy, who tends o be mature and act like an equal but for whatever reason is being a butthead right now. If he is an immature game who has never pulled his weight, well, how long can you cope with that? I don't think this is about wrong or right, it's more about two people communicating and deciding together what gets done and how.

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And the golden rule for when you feel like you are doing too much and he is being a butthead is:


quietly do what suits you and don't get into it with him.


He is a grown man, if you stop picking stuff up and packing his stuff, doing all the little things he is neglecting to do, he has to ask himself why he isn't set up to get on with his life. And if when he realizes they haven't been done, he expects you to come in with a lot of anger and complaining, you're too busy dealing with your own life, he will have to remember that what you do for him is a courtesy, not an obligation. If and when he comes to you and asks why you didn't pack his three boxes for him, you can say 'the boxes are there but I wasn't sure how to pack it how you want it and I had a lot of my own stuff to get on with' with NO attitude. And he'll have to think to himself that actually, it is obvious he is not pulling his weight. You don't have to go on strike or live in filth, but you can pull back so you don't feel so resentful and just do what works for you. Pack your stuff. Sort through your possessions. Clear up the cooking you do.


He will then have to deal with his own messiness about not putting things away. And if he asks you to do it for him, you can calmly say 'I am not going to pick that up, we have an agreement that we will both pick up after each other' and leave it at that.

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I don't work and SO does. 


I am to take care of the house, yeah. That was an agreement that we had. He works 50-60 hours a week and he doesn't want to come home and wash a sink full of dishes, I get that.


Though, mine too is a grown man who leaves little bits of trash places and dirty socks and whatever and I DO NOT pick up that shit. Eventually he does. I may be taking care of the house, but that doesn't give a grown man the right to leave a damn trash trail everywhere. That is NOT my job. I am not his maid. We are all old enough to clean up after ourselves. 


So yeah, I leave the cans laying around BECAUSE it doesn't get ridiculous, I guess. If there were 2 or more on the floor by the time he leaves for work the next day, I would get them because I can't take looking at them anymore.


I'm a "housewife" type and I'm not a maid, there is a difference.


There are some things he does around here, but they are fast things. Something he can do in a few minutes. Once a week, I guess. No big deal.


What you are describing should not be put up with. Try and have a rational discussion about it. He's not entitled to MAKE your housework more difficult because he can. You don't go to his work and fuck his shit up. He'd be mad if you did.


That's my take.

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of course he should at a MINIMUM pack his own stuff

what is he thinking?


I think there are two issues - right now this is basically a crisis because you are moving

and he is not packed and not helping pack


the second issue is the distribution of chores and that is more of a long term relationship problem

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  • 3 weeks later...

I hope the move went well... 


He should have at least packed his own things, I'd have left his stuff and a couple of empty boxes and watched him scramble about on moving day.


When you're in your new place you do need to sit down and talk through a cleaning plan, even if it just means him doing something on his days off rather than the days he is at work, he needs to understand you're not his maid. Plus it's just common decency. 


I hope it all goes well.

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Suggest Couples therapy.    I think I've learned a couple things that might be of value.


It sounds like your feeling contempt.   Thats (I think) the kiss of death to a relationship.   If this is both of your attitudes its going to be difficult.  Ok, so you think "Its not contempt its just that he bugs me when he does this or that"    I think quite a few couples get feeling that.   It might be a minor thing.   He doesn't put the toilet paper on the hanger he just leaves the roll on top of the stand.    You think "Why is it always my job to do this?"   So you say something and find the roll is never 100% used.   You know.   There are 4 squares of paper left?  You stop talking about it because its starting to piss you off.   Then you add in the dish he leaves every morning.  And the closet door that never get properly shut.  All the shoes that you trip over every day.


If you go to a TDoc about this you might be able to talk to each other and find that you are both doing more and more things that drive the other mad.  In our case I sat down and had a think.   Washing all the dishes everytime I see them is not too much to do if I want to stay with this person.   I could wash the dishes or I could point out that she leaves her dirty cloths on the chair.   Turn it into a step forward or try to point out faults to see who is the worst.   Maybe I wash the dishes and the SO thinks its a trick.  Maybe the SO goes over the top with joy.   Maybe the SO puts the toilet paper on the roll.   What they say about doing a thing 12 times makes it habit are right.   Start small.   Get a 3rd person (Therapy) if its already at the contempt stage.  


Oh crap I forgot the most important thing.  Learn how to communicate.   Maybe you leave a "time out" signal to do the conversation with the TDoc when it gets loud.   Maybe you limit the time you "discuss" each others failures.  Maybe you make it a rule that one of you talks at a time.   No interruptions for some period of time so you can say what you need to say.   Take baby steps and try to do lots of skin to skin contact.  Its to do with the limbic part of the brain.   A tdoc is better at explaining all this.

Edited by HAL9000
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