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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:23 pm 
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ScooterDiva wrote:
Thanks mt & everyone else.

I emailed him & told him I wanted to stay friends but needed space right now to heal because everything is so raw. So he texts me & tells me he'll call tonight. I'm not going to be a bisque & not answer, but why doesn't he get it?!

if you think he deserves the courtesy, reply reiterating that you're not up for talking right now. explaining that's the kind of space you need gives him a framework of right/wrong. by being explicit, you (and he!) can hold him to whether he's respecting that. and at that point, you can totally ignore a call without any guilt, because he very clearly knows that's not okay.

I say that, because "need space" is mildly ambiguous these days - like "we can be fb friends and you can send me funny jokes via SMS, but I don't want to hang out" to me has been a valid way of "needing space". weird grey areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:55 pm 
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Do you guys have any suggestions or advice on addressing division of labor issues in a relationship? I usually am the one who cooks dinner but recently our lifestyle has changed and my husband gets home before me, plus I'm in the last few months of my thesis work so I'm working super long hours. Whenever I ask my husband to make dinner he acts completely helpless and puts up all these roadblocks about why he can't do it (vegan cooking is hard, he must *always* have a recipe, takes too long, doesn't want to go to store for ingredients, tired/stressed). He also says that he'd be fine with just eating cereal so it's basically not his problem to have a hot meal on the table (even though he will gladly forgo cereal and eat my dinners with gusto).

Here are things we've tried but have failed:
-recipes posted on the fridge: he always finds reasons he can't make those things (no ingredients, none of them "sound good", etc etc etc)
-making dinners for the week on Sunday: says he's too tired to help cook. This weekend we came home from the grocery store and he immediately laid on the couch and slept the rest of the day.
-having basic ingredients for pasta in the cupboard: doesn't "sound good" for dinner

He's also super defensive whenever I bring up any issues and last night when I addressed it (with a definite edge in my voice, unfortunately) he just got sooooo angry, shout-y, and kept shutting me down. So I guess I'm asking for partner-proof dinner ideas, workarounds for his roadblocks to the things I posted above, and also strategies to have these types of conversations without them becoming a total caramel cluster. I tend to bring up problems when they're happening because it seems like to save them for later is a little like ambushing, but I don't know if that is smart either. Both of our families are super dysfunctional so we never learned healthy conflict resolution strategies. We mostly just let issues slide, which works because we're both pretty go with the flow but this is one thing I can't let go. We also have the same issue with who cleans the house (used to be me, I stopped so now we live in dirty place. my solution is to hire someone to clean once we have the income to do so. Obviously I can't afford to hire a personal chef and my weight balloons when we do a lot of takeout!). I don't have time to go to counseling, but I would really appreciate some personal anecdotes or recommendations for print resources RE effective communication in marriages, division of labor, etc. Thanks so much!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:35 pm 
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I know it would be more work for you, but maybe sort of preassemble so he really only needs to chop a few things and pop into oven? Like, a casserole that was mostly preassebled the day before and put into the fridge to be put into oven when he gets home? I mean, he's not doing much besides starting it, but maybe it would get the ball rolling, and it can get more complicated as time goes on. Maybe he doesn't really feel super confident in the kitchen and those are just excuses.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:05 pm 
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tell him to stop being a baby and make his wife dinner?

I don't know you guys, but it sort of seems like he just straight up doesn't want to make dinner, so no matter how foolproof you make meals he's still going to try to get out of it with excuses?

I have no idea of solutions, i'm sorry.
(I've mostly been with people who share cooking responsibilities when i'm busy or crazy, so no personal experience.)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:16 pm 
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I'm with Boober on this. It seems more like he needs to want to help you.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Yeah...if the solution to him not helping clean was just no one cleaning, what makes you think that anything will be different with the cooking? If he's fine living in a dirty home and eating cereal for dinner...that's all good for him, but what about what you want? Why are there no compromises being made? I actually came in and read this a few minutes ago and had to gather my thoughts for a bit, because it honestly made me kind of mad. I remember the cleaning thing happening with a guy I was dating and living with. I would work a 9-5 job and come home and he would still be in his underwear on the couch, and there would be dishes in the sink and the litter box would be dirty, and the same old grime would be in the bathroom. I mean, how exhausted can he be? Is he ill? Depressed? Lazy? Also, the last guy I dated would never start dinner for me. He was fine eating takeout or sandwiches for dinner, but if I texted and asked him to chop an onion or something, it was like the end of the world. He needs to want to help you, I think. Can you ask him why he doesn't want to help you? How it would mean a lot to you if he would just...help? Because you get exhausted too sometimes?

Sorry, equal division of labor in relationships is obviously a sore subject with me.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:37 pm 
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It sounds like your partner isn't being really clear about what he is willing to do. I'd sit down and have a conversation, asking what he was willing to do (start the rice, reheat a premade meal, make a simple pasta, open a can of soup). And if he said "Nothing, I'd rather just have cereal" then I would ask if it was worth a fight, given that I have no way of enforcing it, and then I'd probably just let it go, and let him eat cereal and fend for myself.

Its not very nice of him, but at the end of the day, you just have to ask yourself if this is something you can change or if it would be a waste of energy and effort to get upset every evening, when you are at your tiredest.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:58 pm 
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I'm kind of with AP. Like her, I've been in a similar situation, with a partner who didn't contribute equally, and who would respond to my requests with either 1) "I don't care about that stuff like you do, so why should I have to do it?" or 2) "I do just as much as you." It drove me crazy, and over time, made me resentful, because it ended up with me just doing more work since that was easier than the struggle that came with asking for it to be done.

That said, with that partner, I never felt able to really talk about these things at other times instead of right when they were really pissing me off (which was generally a bad time and unproductive). With my current partner, he also doesn't always respond well when I bring things up the moment they bother me (and to be fair, I don't always do the best job of communicating well/fairly when I'm annoyed or upset). I've had a lot more success talking with him about stuff like this when we're not both in the middle of the situation that makes one or both of us upset or annoyed or whatever. It's really hard for me (and probably for you too) to just let things go when they're bothering me the most, but I really have had much better results putting them aside and then talking about them later. Do you think that you could bring this issue up with your husband when neither of you is feeling tired or stressed or whatever? It doesn't have to be a big "thing," just maybe say something like, "I've noticed [this thing] is happening, and I'd like to try and figure out a way to make it work better for both of us. What do you think?" Like others have said, he has to have a desire to want to make things better, but just because he doesn't respond well in the heat of the moment doesn't mean he doesn't want things to be fair and good for both of you.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:10 pm 
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booberthefraggle wrote:
tell him to stop being a baby and make his wife dinner?

I would super love to say this! But it doesn't seem like it would lead anywhere good.



allularpunk wrote:
Yeah...if the solution to him not helping clean was just no one cleaning, what makes you think that anything will be different with the cooking? If he's fine living in a dirty home and eating cereal for dinner...that's all good for him, but what about what you want? Why are there no compromises being made? I actually came in and read this a few minutes ago and had to gather my thoughts for a bit, because it honestly made me kind of mad. I remember the cleaning thing happening with a guy I was dating and living with. I would work a 9-5 job and come home and he would still be in his underwear on the couch, and there would be dishes in the sink and the litter box would be dirty, and the same old grime would be in the bathroom. I mean, how exhausted can he be? Is he ill? Depressed? Lazy? Also, the last guy I dated would never start dinner for me. He was fine eating takeout or sandwiches for dinner, but if I texted and asked him to chop an onion or something, it was like the end of the world. He needs to want to help you, I think. Can you ask him why he doesn't want to help you? How it would mean a lot to you if he would just...help? Because you get exhausted too sometimes?

Yeah, that's a really good point. You can't make someone want to help, even if they enjoy the end result of the work. If someone plain doesn't care, is it fair to ask them to? It's not like, "you do X, couroupita", it's more like "hey it's really cool when you do this thing and I enjoy it but it's not my deal and I've got other things I'd rather think about". Then again, he's totally cool about making dinner together as a couple on weekends because I think it's more like enjoying spending time together rather than doing a chore. I can think of reasons to be tired--the whole time we've been together we've been in grad school, sleep deprived, and now he's just graduated and started his first job--but I'm doing the PhD thing, working long days on my feet, and not getting sleep either. It's exhausting, but I seem to bounce back? I look 5 years down the road when we've said to ourselves "things will be better, no school, less busy", and I feel like they'll be the same but with different stressors because it's not *what* the stressor is, it's how much you decide to let it run your life at the expense of everything else. Last night I did ask why and he said that I need to tell him what to do in the kitchen because he doesn't know how to do anything, and I'm just like....really? After 7 years of cooking together? How hard is it to throw stuff in a pot. It just seems like another excuse; total cluelessness in the kitchen just makes no sense to me. Shift the blame back to me because I didn't help you figure out how to make stroganoff or whatever. Plus that means I still have to do all the work of meal planning and finding recipes for him to follow.



jordanpattern wrote:
I'm kind of with AP. Like her, I've been in a similar situation, with a partner who didn't contribute equally, and who would respond to my requests with either 1) "I don't care about that stuff like you do, so why should I have to do it?" or 2) "I do just as much as you."

Yup, that was a common refrain last night. But then I'm like, you benefit from and like what results from this work. In fact, you eat most of the food I make so that there are never leftovers for me to enjoy. That's being a freeloader!



Quote:
it would mean a lot to you if he would just...help? Because you get exhausted too sometimes?
t sounds like your partner isn't being really clear about what he is willing to do. I'd sit down and have a conversation, asking what he was willing to do (start the rice, reheat a premade meal, make a simple pasta, open a can of soup).
"I've noticed [this thing] is happening, and I'd like to try and figure out a way to make it work better for both of us. What do you think?"

These are really helpful ways to get the conversation going, thank you so so much! In the heat of the moment I can never think of good stuff to say, I'm more like, what is wrong with you?! Why are you being a dumb jerk? Why aren't you being awesome today, because I know it's in you! And then I start crying. Blech. Is it manipulative to say stuff like, it would mean a lot to me if you did xyz? I mean, it would, but more than that I just want some damn dinner (not cereal!) when I get home late.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:19 pm 
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I dunno. I feel like sometimes it doesn't matter whether he feels like doing it or not, because it would make you happy. It's not like you're asking him to go to the moon and pick up a carton of soymilk and then zoom down to Chile to get some fresh produce and then come back home and whip up some gourmet meal. It's making forking spaghetti because he should give a shiitake that you're hungry when you get home. I really don't feel like that's too much to ask. My boyfriend buys me vegan snacks for his house that he would never eat, all because he cares that I get to eat when I'm there. And yes, it means reading labels and going a little out of his way, but he cares about my needs, so he does it. There must be a way that you can put this into perspective for him, in a nicer way than I just did, haha.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Also at some point I feel like you might want to follow through with the 'he would just make himself cereal' thing. Maybe on your way home from work just eat something out before you get home, or make something that can freeze in single servings and when you get home just make one for yourself. I know that sounds harsh or bisque-y, but that's such a lame forking excuse for him. And like others, I have also experienced this. Yeah sure, he would just make himself cereal if he was single and living alone... BUT HE'S NOT THOSE THINGS. And I bet you anything he didn't live off of cereal alone every day when he was single. I'm sure he made himself a damn meal or two. I don't think you should be finding him recipes or prepping stuff, either. He's a grown-ass man and can either a) figure it out, or b) not figure it out and eat cereal. I sort of think if he chooses option b so many times, he's going to learn to come around to and maybe even enjoy option a.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:58 pm 
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In my house we have realized that no one wants to cook an elaborate dinner 7x per week... it just takes a lot of time (not to mention my husband is a chef so he doesn't really want to cook when he gets home). During the week when things are busy we have either really really simple easy to throw together meals - pasta, tacos, etc or we fend for ourselves (frozen pizza for him and leftovers or whatever I feel like throwing together for me). On weekends or days off if one of us feels motivated we will cook actual more elaborate meals from recipes. I guess we have decided that it's not that big a priority. Also, even if we are eating different things or only one of us is eating we will still often sit down together and talk.

We have had division of labor issues - like he never ever notices the dog furballs that are in the corners. I notice them and they bug me, so I vacuum them. I like being in control of the laundry so I do it. I am a fair redhead and hate mowing the lawn in the hot summer sun so he does it. He is more motivated about the garden so he starts seedlings, plants plants, deals with most of the watering. I am not a morning person so he lets the dogs out in the AM. I am obsessed with not having dirty dishes in the sink so I do them. I have had to use a lot of "acceptance" skills to get to this place. I have had to adjust my expectations quite a bit. If it doesn't bother him and it bothers me then I take care of it. It does seem as though it balances out for the most part. So in my house if my husband didn't want to cook and I did, then I would cook. I wouldn't try to make him want to cook? We can't control what others want to do, or find valuable or important. And I have to try not to take it personally if he doesn't want to help me by vacuuming furballs. It's probably not about me, it's just that he doesn't notice or care about the furballs.

I dont know if that's helpful or not - just another perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:13 pm 
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Mars wrote:
He's a grown-ass man and can either a) figure it out, or b) not figure it out and eat cereal.

heh heh. Sang it.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:52 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
So in my house if my husband didn't want to cook and I did, then I would cook. I wouldn't try to make him want to cook? We can't control what others want to do, or find valuable or important. And I have to try not to take it personally if he doesn't want to help me by vacuuming furballs. It's probably not about me, it's just that he doesn't notice or care about the furballs.

I dont know if that's helpful or not - just another perspective.


But being bothered by dishes or furballs is a little different than looking out for your partners needs, i.e. hunger. Hunger is a need that needs taking care of. Furballs and dishes can wait, even if they bother you. I agree with Mars, make some single portion frozen stuff and be prepared and let him eat cereal if he genuinely can't be bothered. (But will he then just eat all your frozen stuff?)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Can he make sandwiches?

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Fee wrote:
Can he make sandwiches?

That is what I'd suggest. I are sandwiches mostly through college. If you must, just buy sandwich fixings and cereal. Even just until crunch time for you is over.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:10 pm 
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My dude has the same roadblocks - if nothing looks good, or he doesn't know how to make it, or whatever, he just can't deal. Normally this is fine because I am home enough to cook for us, but when we went through a time where I wasn't able to do that I totally just left him to fend for himself. I froze some stuff that I knew he didn't like so that I'd have meals for myself, and that was pretty much it. Sometimes I would get home and he'd have cooked something and there'd be leftovers for me. Sometimes he'd just eat half a loaf of bread for dinner. I worried about it for a bit but then, like Mars said, remembered that he's a grown-ass man who should be able to keep himself from starving to death. He also started coming grocery shopping with me so he could pick out stuff he wanted.

Of course, if the real problem is that you're feeling unsupported and need this from him to make your life bearable through epic school crunch time, then this approach doesn't really help. At that point it becomes a "husband, I need you to help support me right now and it would really mean a lot to me for you to make dinner so I can eat when I get home at night, what can we do to make this happen?" conversation. Ask him for help and then get him to suggest what he CAN do to help you in this way. Right now it kind of sounds like he does not at all want to cook dinner, and anything you do to try and "make" him do it probably won't work. It also might lead to you getting frustrated when you bend over backwards to make it easy for him and he still won't do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:34 pm 
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allularpunk wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
So in my house if my husband didn't want to cook and I did, then I would cook. I wouldn't try to make him want to cook? We can't control what others want to do, or find valuable or important. And I have to try not to take it personally if he doesn't want to help me by vacuuming furballs. It's probably not about me, it's just that he doesn't notice or care about the furballs.

I dont know if that's helpful or not - just another perspective.


But being bothered by dishes or furballs is a little different than looking out for your partners needs, i.e. hunger. Hunger is a need that needs taking care of. Furballs and dishes can wait, even if they bother you. I agree with Mars, make some single portion frozen stuff and be prepared and let him eat cereal if he genuinely can't be bothered. (But will he then just eat all your frozen stuff?)


I'm not sure it's a healthy perspective to be responsible for your partner's needs such as hunger. A child's, yes. Your partner's, no. It is absolutely not my partner's responsibility to anticipate our meet my needs for hunger. Being responsible to anticipate the needs of another gets a bit too close to codependency for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:51 pm 
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Well, sure. But it would just be nice if someone could make you dinner once in awhile, if you asked them to and made it as easy as possible for them to do it. I didn't mean to imply that a partner should be taking care of another's hunger needs all the time, but it seems like it would be a supportive thing to do if your partner was super busy and exhausted in a hectic time of their life. Also, I did mean to imply that hunger was more important that dirty dishes and dust bunnies, but maybe that's just me.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:26 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Mars wrote:
He's a grown-ass man and can either a) figure it out, or b) not figure it out and eat cereal.

heh heh. Sang it.


Yes yes yes! Do you remember the article "The Politics of Housework"? It was published in 1970 - and here we are in 2013 with the same ole excuses!

http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CW ... ework.html

It is a sore spot for me as well when a grown asparagus man acts like he can't sweep a floor or boil some goddamned spaghetti. He made it through grad school, yet he "can't" cook dinner. Get out of here with that bullshiitake!! No one is asking for cordon bleu creations here - boil some damn water, salad in a bag, slice some bread! Ughhhh!

Ok rant over and I suggest for yourself - crockpot meals so you can have something nourishing waiting for you. Crockpot meals with the things you like or the frozen single servings of things you like. If he likes cereal for dinner then cereal it is for him . He is a big boy and can cook big boy food when he gets sick of cereal.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:44 pm 
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I have a similar issue with my partner in regard to cooking and cleaning. I don't do more than what I consider my fair share of cleaning and we basically live in a shithole because I refuse to let it go, so I'm not much help there. Believe me I have tried everything. I have modeled how to clean, created lists, suggested strategies (for example don't leave dishes in the sink or clean up before you leave, etc.) and he still just doesn't do it. It makes me furious! I do pay someone to clean once every two weeks which makes it bearable. I also set an alarm on his phone to remind him to tidy up 15 minutes before I get home from work which has helped a little. I'm still mostly disappointed in him and it causes us a lot of stress.

With cooking, I gave up a long time ago! I went through stages of grief on this. First I tried to teach him to cook. Fail. He really had no idea what to do. About anything! Next I let him pursue his own recipes. Fail. I hated everything he made and it was causing me to gain weight. Then we went through a stage where I did everything food related. Now, I work full time, do grad school at night, and we have a child. He is the stay at home parent. We divide the labor in a way that is logical for us. I make a meal plan once a week along with a shopping list. He buys the groceries and does prep work like soaking and pressure cooking beans, marinating tofu, and slow cooker stuff (I have to direct him on all of this). I finish up with the bulk of the cooking. He does all the kitchen cleanup. Again, he sucks at clean up but I ignore it to keep the peace (mostly). I wish he could figure out healthy meal planning and cooking, but I realize that this is my priority and he doesn't share it. I am not willing to compromise my priorities with food like I do with cleaning because it is really important to me.

So if you are not ready to give up on the cooking like I did, I suggest trying slow cooker recipes. They are easier than regular cooking and my guy is more successful with this type of cooking.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:40 am 
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I do most of the cooking in this house, and at this point I have accepted that I probably always will. I have also accepted that on evenings when I ask Wally to take care of dinner, we're going to eat a burger patty with frozen oven fries and boiled broccoli. I used to try and fight it, and get him to make healthier, more varied meals, but it turns out that I'm happier if I let go and don't fight that battle.

On the other hand, I never ever touch a dirty dish and I do less that 1/3 of the dog walking duties. So in terms of chores that must get done every day, it feels balanced - even if it can feel frustrating to have to come up with meal plans and make dinner day after day after day. It also helps that Wally is really appreciative of my cooking - makes lots of compliments, notices when I try new stuff or get creative with a recipe, sometimes sets the table with flowers or candles while I'm cooking, etc.

Maybe I would approach the issue from that angle - tell him that you feel under-appreciated for your daily efforts to keep you both fed delicious and healthy meals. If he has some mental block on cooking, cooking probably won't happen, but he needs to find some way to make it up to you. Ideally he can pick up some other chore that you find unpleasant. I would say the only real issue would be if deep down he thought that his relaxing time was really more valuable than yours.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:48 am 
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Can you sit down at a time when you're not actively hungry and/or angry to discuss this? Maybe together you could draw up a list of the household responsibilities and divide them up in a way that feels fair. My parents did this when they were first living together, I think. Each of them got to choose one chore that they would never have to do, so that would always be the other person's chore (fortunately they didn't choose the same one! I think one of them chose cleaning toilets and the other chose folding laundry or something like that?) But the basic idea is, you've got a list, you divide it up fairly based on whatever feels fair to both of you, and then you've done the work dividing up the list together so neither of you is feeling like the other person is making you do something you didn't agree to do. You might also want to come up with a plan for what happens if one of you doesn't do an agreed-up task, so that you have that in place before you're in a situation where the task isn't done and people are angry.

But yeah...while I recognize the wisdom of trying to deal with issues like this when they come up rather than holding them over till later, I do not think it's a good idea to try to deal with household chore issues when you're in the heat of being upset about them, especially when they're food-related and you're also hungry.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:08 am 
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choirqueer wrote:
Can you sit down at a time when you're not actively hungry and/or angry to discuss this? Maybe together you could draw up a list of the household responsibilities and divide them up in a way that feels fair. My parents did this when they were first living together, I think. Each of them got to choose one chore that they would never have to do, so that would always be the other person's chore (fortunately they didn't choose the same one! I think one of them chose cleaning toilets and the other chose folding laundry or something like that?) But the basic idea is, you've got a list, you divide it up fairly based on whatever feels fair to both of you, and then you've done the work dividing up the list together so neither of you is feeling like the other person is making you do something you didn't agree to do. You might also want to come up with a plan for what happens if one of you doesn't do an agreed-up task, so that you have that in place before you're in a situation where the task isn't done and people are angry.


I think this is a great idea!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:23 am 
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We had a situation a bit like this a while ago. It wasn't as frustrating because I do love cooking and will do batch cooking for hours at the weekend if I know I'm going to be busy. But on occasion I would ask Matthew to cook and I got a lot of the same responses as you have been getting, so I did what Mars suggested and called him out. I made a few stews and chillis packed with corn which he hates and froze them. Then when I got in tired and late I'd open them up and when he looked at me I said I'd assumed he would have the toast he said he was happy to have. Once I ate at work before I left so I just said I wasn't hungry but he could obviously go ahead and have toast. It didn't last very long, I can tell you. He still needed a lot of help at first with recipe suggestions and help shopping, but now he has a core of 5 or so meals that he's confident picking up ingredients for and cooking, and even sometimes tries something new. I say persevere.

For other division of labour stuff, I notice more and do more, but we have a system that really works now. I will say "I need you to do the laundry before bedtime tomorrow", or some such realistic deadline. He is fine with that because it's within his control and he doesn't feel nagged. He usually leaves it until 5 minutes before the deadline, but that's fine. If I snap inside and do it before then, that's all on me.

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