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Is Housework Hurting Your Relationship?

Is Housework Hurting Your Relationship?

Are you a woman? Are you a woman currently making a to-do list in your head while answering a work email, getting dinner started, and texting your husband the grocery list? Then a recent Swedish study recently reported something you probably already knew—ladies are feeling kind of stressed. Something you may not have known? At age 21, men and women report about the same amount of psychological distress. But by age 42, men were sitting pretty while women’s stress levels were up.

And it seems that the unfair division of stress may be due to unfair division of labor—we’re talking household chores. I knew vacuuming was no good for me!

But there’s a twist, so don’t set fire to your cleaning supplies just yet—it turns out out that as long as the woman in the relationship felt like an equal to her partner, the risk of extra distress disappeared, even if she was doing more than her fair share of scrubbing and mopping. But if she felt like there was some gender inequality within the relationship, her level of distress was higher—think restlessness, concentration problems, and anxiety. A big bowl of no fun, basically.

Psychologist Jill Weber, PhD, told WebMD.com that “It is not the work per se. It’s the feeling that the woman is not getting support from her partner. Inequality often translates as a lack of emotional support.”
Alright, so how do you make for a more equal and supportive environment within your relationship? Here are our tips:

Start by talking. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or taken for granted when it comes to division of labor at home, speak up.

Timing is everything. Find a calm, quiet time to bring up the topic—it won’t go over as well when you’re wielding the Swiffer like a weapon.

Tune in. Maybe it’s not you but your partner that’s feeling overwhelmed. Try to pick up on subtle comments like “I cleaned the toilet. Again.” or less subtle signs like if your partner throws your belongings on the front lawn.

Make a plan. Maybe you’re in charge of dishes and sweeping and they’re in charge of mopping and vacuuming. Or they take the bathroom and kitchen and you take the living room and bedroom. When in doubt, plan it out…that way, both of you feel like you’ve had a hand in divvying things up fairly.

Or just eliminate the problem all together. No, don’t off your significant other. If you’re in the financial position to do so, why not hire a housekeeper to come in and tidy up every couple of weeks or take some things off your plate? Having a little help tidying up—and keeping the chores balanced—may be just the thing to keep the peace in your relationship.

Consider a neutral third party. If there’s resentment brewing over real or perceived inequality within the relationship, chances are that it’s affecting way more than your Saturday morning clean. Don’t be afraid to take your issues to a marriage counselor before they get out of hand.

Related:
Women Are Happier When Men Feel Their Pain
7 Dos & Don’ts of Arguing
Why Being Alone Is Good for Your Relationship

Read more: Dating, Love, Relationships

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

24 comments

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12:32PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

thanks for sharing

7:30PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Life is so lonely. I am a older and single woman at present .I need a man who can love me back .I also uploaded my hot photos on 【WwW.AgedMatch.CoM】 under the name of Sara.. It’s the largest and best club for seeking Older seniors, successful people, users over 50, establish relationship and talk about their interests, or to help each other. I hope you will check my photos out there. Maybe you are the one who I'm looking for.

7:29PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Life is so lonely. I am a older and single woman at present .I need a man who can love me back .I also uploaded my hot photos on 【WwW.AgedMatch.CoM】 under the name of Sara.. It’s the largest and best club for seeking Older seniors, successful people, users over 50, establish relationship and talk about their interests, or to help each other. I hope you will check my photos out there. Maybe you are the one who I'm looking for.

7:06PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

Thanks.

3:56PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

I completely agree with Jennifer B. She said it all.

9:16AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Housework is the bane of many couples' relationship. Each should do according to their wishes, time, talents and abilities, with fairness as the goal. And children should be taught early that they too need to contribute. Each family needs to work out what makes sense for them.

3:20PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

No,,and my cleaner will vouch for me ...!!

10:47PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

It is very difficult to find a man who wants to get involved in housekeeping. Its more difficult to find one who wont feel overwhelmed about washing dishes or doing laundry. Lol, the problem here ladies is that a man who gets used to do his own housekeeping wont be eager to move together with any woman. Sorry to say this but it is the truth. Maybe when women marry or simple move together they dont set the rules, well they dont set rules because guys dont admit them...So gals do ur housekeeping and feel happy to say to ur friends that u got a man!!!

9:04PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Thanks Diana. Very insightful. To Jane B. your hateful bashing and putting all men your "wiener" category in several of your comments is mean and I hope one day you will find a "wiener" that makes you happy. Post something intelligent once in awhile and contribute to the discussion.

9:16AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

it should be 50 50 . Each should do their fair share and appreciate what their partner has done.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good to know,thanks for sharing

interesting, will try to exercise more to get my heart pumping

Poor thing at least he is now in capable hands and being treated.

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