How to Divvy up Household Chores and Still Maintain a Happy Relationship With Your S.O.
The decision to move in with your S.O. is an exciting one. You’re taking a new step in your relationship and affirming your future together; you’re consolidating your possessions and making two lives into one. And that’s a wonderful thing — until you consider the fact that making two lives one also means double the stuff and double the chores. No matter how you spin it, nobody likes chores (and if your S.O. does, you should probably marry them). Sara Stanizai, licensed marriage and family therapist based in California, has five tips for divvying up your to-dos with your boo.
1. Have regular conversations about it. With housework, you can’t just set it and forget it. Schedules and commitments are constantly shifting (and resentments don’t take long to build), so it’s best to continually reevaluate the routine. “If you change your mind, it’s okay to change who is in charge of what,” Stanizai says. By having open conversations about the workload on a regular basis, you and your partner will give each other opportunities to set and keep expectations amidst whatever else is going on in your lives — and keep resentments to a minimum.
2. Understand your own approach to chores. “When it comes to chores, do you need reminders? Appreciation? Variety?” Stanizai says. “Be clear so that your partner knows what to expect and you can be held accountable.” No matter the power dynamic in your relationship, you and your partner should feel free to adjust your approach to chores to fit your lifestyles, skills, and time, and in order to do that you have to know what your own methods and needs are as a starting point.
3. Delegate. Whether you’re washing dishes and they’re cleaning the bathroom or vice versa, the bottom line is that you’re sharing work — even if you’re sharing it unevenly. To Stanizai, the important dynamic is that you two are being intelligent about who does what. “Take into consideration what you and your partner enjoy doing, what your strengths are, and what you avoid,” she advises. “Divide chores up according to how much they affect you.”
4. Know how chores fit into the bigger picture. The thing about chores is that they’re not just chores. “Chores can take on meaning just as much as any other aspect of your relationship,” Stanizai points out. Like anything else, they’re a way to know if your partner is there for you when you need them to be. For that reason, it’s important to not be hyper-critical of your S.O. if, for instance, they forget to do the laundry or pick up groceries. Instead, talk with them and use your chores as a catalyst to make you better participants in your relationship.
5. Say thank you. According to Stanizai, saying thank you for doing chores is practically as important as doing the chores themselves. It might feel funny at first, but she recommends voicing your gratefulness. “Say it out loud,” she says. “’Thank you. I know you hate doing that. I appreciate it. You did a great job.’” When it comes to dull housework, a few words go a long way.
How do you and your S.O. divvy up your chores? Let us know @BritandCo!
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