Hey y’all. My bf (34M) and I (26F) have been together for 2.5 years and moved in together 8 months ago. We’ve had the majority of all our arguments since we’ve lived together, trying to sort out our domestic responsibilities.
I’ve had concerns since the beginning about our different levels of initiative; contribution, and laziness, especially around the house. My bf lived with his brother who did all the house cleaning, and I lived with a roommate who we split cleaning responsibilities 50/50. While I’m not perfect, it is important for me to have a clean home and to tackle any job required to accomplish that. I love getting up on ladders and cleaning toilets! My boyfriend doesn’t see the value in housecleaning seemingly at all.
Possibly important to note that I was raised by a single mom who did it all for us, nothing was too big or too “manly” for her to take care of, and my bf was raised by very traditional gender-rolled married parents.
For context: At first, my bf was super averse to doing any contributing to household chores, besides putting the garbage out once a week and cutting the grass. It took months and months of arguing and my explaining that I didn’t want to live in this imbalance for the rest of my life for him to accept that he would have to take on more responsibilities in the house. While he has been making more of an effort since, and we’re working on him doing it without being asked to, I keep seeing the “helping out around the house” problem creep back up and it causes the same fights over and over.
This past weekend we had friends over for dinner and had devised a plan to get the food prepped and house cleaned. At the end of the evening, it dawned on me that I had ended up cleaning the whole house and making the majority of the food, while my bf took on tasks like playing with and walking the dog, and showering before our guests arrived. I mulled it over and brought it up to him the next day, and it turned into a fight about my overlooking the contributions he did make, and how I’m too critical of him so he’s resistant to help me. This has turned into a multi-day fight, as he’s not in agreement with my feelings and we’re at odds.
I realize I’m getting into more problems than just the cleaning here (we are going to try out therapy and see if we can address these things), I am getting incredibly frustrated with how the same problems about housekeeping keep recurring.
In addition to the lack of initiative to contribute around the house, my bf will completely walk by things that I’ve unpacked from shopping like Kleenex boxes, toilet paper and soap as if they don’t even exist. He won’t top up extra toilet paper in bathrooms, put up Christmas lights, put away dishes that are used infrequently (claims he doesn’t know where they go), change the sheets on our bed, or any other misc. task that requires effort.
Has anyone experienced a similar situation where it was worth the conflict because things improved? The very last thing I want to sign myself up for is having kids and making our lives that much more complicated without having a reliable partner on my side easing the burden…
>love getting up on ladders and cleaning toilets!
For some reason my mind didn’t separate these into different chores and I spent three seconds wondering how tall your toilets are that require ladders for cleaning.
Could things improve? Yea maybe. There certainty is that capacity for change but there needs to be willingness as well. I think the more important questions are as follows: if he does change, how would you feel if he were to slide back into old habits after marriage and 3 kids? Would you be willing to start again with him from the beginning and try to get him to where he needs to be? Does he have other redeeming qualities that you feel makes all of the effort worth it?
It *can* change – but only if he is willing to do so. Based on what you have written, I do not believe that he is interested in change and he will never be willing to do so.
> *My boyfriend doesn’t see the value in housecleaning seemingly at all.*
> *his brother who did all the house cleaning*
> *my bf was raised by very traditional gender-rolled married parents*
To him – this means cleaning is *your* job. Not *our* job. It appears that it has always been *somebody else’s job*. I’m sorry but I don’t think this relationship is going to last.
Hiring a cleaning person is one possible solution, if you want this relationship to last.
> *it turned into a fight about my overlooking the contributions he did make, and how I’m too critical of him so he’s resistant to help me. This has turned into a multi-day fight, as he’s not in agreement with my feelings and we’re at odds.*
One possibility that you seriously need to consider is that you might to have to be his new mother and do all the work around the house. This is extremely corrosive and you will not only deeply resent what is happening, you will come to utterly hate him.
Some of these articles might help:
> *Emotional labor is the unpaid job men still don’t understand.*
In case he might be sabotaging things, the phrase to remember is “weaponized incompetence”.
How to deal with it:
Personally, I have gotten over my fear of “nagging”. I used HATE asking my husband to do anything until I realized that “**nagging”** is just a sexist word for “**asking you to do something you already should have done”**.
When I ask my husband to do something, he immediately gets up and does it (reasonably, he might finish a game or a video) because he know he is equally responsible for house work and doesn’t “see” as much as I do. He thanks me for reminding him and doesn’t sulk or half-ass it.
The problem is when you ask your bf to do something, he throws a temper tantrum, because he doesn’t see it as “his job”. That part isn’t fixable.
Yes I did have this issue, I made him pay for a cleaner. There is no middle ground, cleaning has to be done so he either did half or paid someone else to do it, he took the latter option fine by me.
So first of all, that sounds insufferable. I am sorry for you. I wouldn’t let this go, he needs to be a full adult if you’re going to continue building a life here. Some things to consider though, people do have different definitions of clean so something up to his standard probably isn’t going to be up to yours. You need to figure out where you can get on the same page. Also, is there a way you can assign chores? For instance floors are the bane of my existence. I would literally dedicate myself to any other chore if my partner wanted to take ownership of that. I will wash every dish for the rest of our lives holidays included.
This might be the sort of the thing where you ask him to clean something when needed instead of relying on him to figure it out in his own if you can handle that.
>He won’t top up extra toilet paper in bathrooms, put up Christmas lights, put away dishes that are used infrequently (claims he doesn’t know where they go),
He knows where everything goes. He knows how to clean and do all the chores. He’s trying to wear you down by playing dumb so you’ll just do it.
>a fight about my overlooking the contributions he did make, and how I’m too critical of him so he’s resistant to help me.
This is part of it too. He blames you for him not doing it because you’re being ‘critical’ and plays the victim.
There are two ways to resolve this: Stop doing everything/anything for him.
He has to want to change and so far he’s proving he doesn’t want to change.
I’ve never seen men who do this ever improve. The women they are with just stay miserable.
Sure, it can improve & be worked out, but only if he wants to do the work. And it sounds like he doesn’t. If you’re going to counseling anyway maybe it’ll help with finding a compromise. With that being said – just throwing out there that not every single relationship needs to be fought for. Sometimes things just don’t work & people aren’t compatible. Maybe he doesn’t want to change & a partner that wants traditional gender roles is better suited for him. Maybe someone looking for a more equitable relationship with modern gender roles is better for you. Idk, but definitely pursue counseling before marriage or kids.
– Weaponized incompetence
– The mental load
I’ve know many men who behave like this, and it’s really difficult that they change.
Maybe ask him to pay for someone to do his part of the chores – but he is responsible of dealing with that person and all the planning involved, don’t take that responsibility yourself.
Sorry, but you’re fighting a losing battle. He doesn’t *want* to be a contributing member of the household. He’s lazy and sexist. Is this what you want?
Try having him live on his own for a year
He is too damn old to be acting this clueless. He *knows* what needs to be done. He just looks at certain things as your responsibility. He’s not going to learn how to properly change sheets, cook, or clean because then you’d expect him to continue doing it. He can either pay for a cleaner to come like twice a month, step and act like a grown adult who lives there, or leave. This behavior is way too common and so unattractive! I hear way too many married women “joking” about their husbands who can’t manage to put their dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor right beside it. He just doesn’t respect you.
He doesn’t want to to do his part. It’s a simple as that. And no amount of you begging, nagging, threatening, blackmailing, is going to change that. He’s been showing you he has no intention to pull his weight for nearly 3 years so I’m not sure what you expect from him at this point? He’s not going to change because he doesn’t want to. So you have two options, you leave and find someone who will contribute positively to your life or you stay and have this same argument with him once a month for the next 40 years.
But keep in mind, men like this, the laziness isn’t contained to house work. Be aware that any children you might have, you will be 100% for childcare and the housework. He’s not going to magically change, he will leave you doing all the labour of the house. You’ll never have an equal partner. So that’s the choice you have.
>I was raised by a single mom who did it all for us, nothing was too big or too “manly” for her to take care of, and my bf was raised by very traditional gender-rolled married parents.
>For context: At first, my bf was super averse to doing any contributing to household chores, besides putting the garbage out once a week and cutting the grass. It took months and months of arguing and my explaining that I didn’t want to live in this imbalance for the rest of my life for him to accept that he would have to take on more responsibilities in the house. While he has been making more of an effort since, and we’re working on him doing it without being asked to, I keep seeing the “helping out around the house” problem creep back up and it causes the same fights over and over.
Write chores down, divide them up, hold each other accountable.
yeah, it can change but only if he is willing to change and he doesn’t sound like he is tbh.
And this is kinda off-topic but I’ve always wondered what would men that refuse to do any of the housework do if they lived alone? I get chills just thinking about it.
you clean up after yourself. do your own laundry. do your own dishes. cook for yourself, cook for yourself if you want to. don’t clean up ANY of his stuff. tell him on your next day off together that you want to schedule 3 hours to listen to music and deep clean together. If he does it bend over a clean counter. give and take.
It’s not impossible for things to improve here but you’ll probably have to accept that he’ll never see things you’ve unpacked and left somewhere as a job that he needs to finish. They’re more like scenery to him.
This is a mid thirties man who views chores and cleaning up after himself as helping you out. No he will not change imo. I would stop doing anything for him at this point (only cook for you, only wash your plate, only do your laundry, no or very minimal housecleaning) until he does his fair share or asks you why you stopped doing your job, either way you will see what type of man he is.
Omg just break up with him
Tons of women have had similar experiences and posted in this sub just in the few months I’ve been reading it. “Weaponized incompetence” is the fun catchphrase around here, Whatever the case may be, his status quo is set entirely lower than yours, and I seriously doubt it will get anywhere close to equitable in your lifetime.
Yet another conversation that should be had and settled before moving in together.
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