One example is housework. (If he reads this, I am sure he will roll his eyes right here) He does next to no housework. Usually I break down every week or so and tell him how much I need him to help me around the house. Which results in me crying, and him telling me that he doesn't think I am doing enough around the house, either. At least I do SOMETHING. And I don't walk around acting like I am entitled or something.
I am certainly not the best housekeeper on he whole world. I don't do the dishes every day, and I don't vacuum every week. But I do regularly wipe down, and the dishes stay mostly done, and the floors DO get swept, mopped, and vacuumed. Laundry gets sorted, washed, and folded, and the bathroom gets wiped down, and dinner gets made. I know I stay home, and am expected to do the majority of the housework... but all of it? That doesn't seem fair. I read once that there what we need out of romantic relationships is able to be broken down into 5 categories. The one that really speaks to me is Acts of Service. Here is the definition of Acts of Service:
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
Honestly, that's exactly how I feel. Like no matter how much I tell that it means a lot to me that he do the dishes voluntarily, or clean up the living room, or sweep and mop the kitchen and/or bathroom... he doesn't care. I mean, he has promised that he would work harder, do better next time, once he even hopped up and worked and did a great job... but it stopped as soon as he didn't think I was working hard enough. But geeeeeeeez! Working hard enough?! I may not work at 110% every single day, but I definitely put over 40 hours a week in on a regular basis.
When I talk to other women, they say that it's just the way it is. Why should I accept that? That men just don't do housework. That seems wild, and primitive... My response (in my head) to him when he tells me he doesn't feel like I do enough is : "Well HELL!! I wish I was doing NOTHING all day but watching Netflix and drinking hot tea! That would be wonderful." But no, I just say ok, and I do as well as I can from then on until I feel like I'm the only one taking care of the house... approx. 1 1/2 weeks later when the whole cycle starts over.
It is exhausting. So my new plan started last week. I noticed that while I was out one day, he put his own clothes away, right out of the laundry basket. Without me getting them out and setting them on his side of the bed. He showed real initiative. So 2 days ago I told him it was time for the ole "household talk." He immediately started to shut down. All I said was that I had noticed that he had taken it upon himself to put his laundry away, and that I really appreciated it. The next day he made breakfast (which happens often enough, not completely out of the blue) but what really blew my mind was that he washed the pan he made the eggs in!!!!!!! (he didn't wash the rest of the dishes we ate off of or with, but hey... a win is a win!)
Fast forward to today, and we are back to not getting along. Ugh, I really thought this positive reinforcement thing would work. Gaaaaah! What do I do?? I am trying to navigate this whole thing, but it sucks. Seriously, sucks. I keep thinking, it isn't a deal breaker, but I really don't think I can live my life with him without any domestic help whatsoever.
So all of you marital veterans, help me out! Even if you aren't married to some wonderful person, and you have some experience with living with your significant other, or a past significant other. Please help a sista out.