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Division of labor – how chores can impact a relationship

Everyone has a different perspective on household chores when they enter a relationship. Some may prioritize tidiness while others let some things slide. Others may believe household chores should be shared equally while their spouse believes or behaves differently. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that frustration over who does what in the household is one of the main reasons cited for marital dissatisfaction.

As with many issues in relationships, including parenting time and financial matters, different perspectives will lead to acrimony if they are not appropriately discussed and communicated. Here are some common problems:

Perception of who completes most of the housework versus reality

Many people believe that they are doing more housework than they actually are doing. This can lead to frustration on both sides. When you don’t discuss what will be done, when it will be done and who will complete the task, the unknown keeps people guessing and often leads to frustration.

Difference in perspective of what housework actually needs to be done

Many couples come together because they complement each other. Usually by complementing each other, each person brings a unique set of characteristics that can balance the other person out. This also can lead to frustration if both individuals have a different perspective on what household tasks need to be completed and how often and whether some things can slide. If you cannot find a middle ground and communicate about this difference in perspective, then you may find that tension results.

A relationship requires some division of labor

Being in a relationship and running a home together, whether you rent or buy, will require some effort to address those necessities that come along with sharing a home. This may include financial arrangements, maintenance, cleaning, child-rearing, cooking, yard work or any other type of chore that benefits the home. Communicating about this division and about each person’s expectation is an important part of any relationship.

Since tension over household chores is listed as a top reason for marital dissatisfaction, it naturally is also a top reason for people to cite when separating or divorcing. Maybe you have already reached a breaking point in the relationship, but if the division of labor is dividing you, it may be worth it to communicate about this issue before you reach the point of no return.

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