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My boyfriend is very upset with me right now and I need some advice.

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Some Background:

He and I have been living together for about two years now. We’ve been together for about 2.5 yrs. The thing is, he barely helps out around the house. We both work full time, and although I sit at a desk all day and he is on the move more than me, I feel that we should both have more quail chores.

So I have been bothered for while now (about 4 months), mostly I have been able to let it go and move on, but it isn’t something I really want to continue feeling or struggling with…

Thing is he has Rubidium (sp? Rubatoid?) Arthritis. He takes shots once a week to help manage. So I totally know that sometimes he is so sore he doesn’t want to do anything. I sympathies although I don’t “know” what he’s feeling. I try to be understanding, and I think that’s part of why the chore thing has been building up inside me for a while.

We made a deal about a year ago that he does the dishes and I do the laundry. Lately he has only been doing half the dishes and leaving the rest there. It never goes down. We make new dishes the next day, and he only does the half from the day before.

I do the laundry, bring it up to his dresser and it sits there for 2-4 weeks straight before he puts it away (he has a lot of clothes).

I have no idea when the last time he vacuumed was, he’s never sweep the kitchen or bathroom- let alone mopped either and I don’t think he’s ever dusted more than the tv off maybe 3 times in two years.

He scoops the liter box 1-2 times a week -same as me. He does shovel the snow out front a lot more than me. Once in a blue moon he will “Clean the Bathroom” (the toilet and the sink only but I’ll take it at this point).

:Sorry this is so long. I know your only getting my side, but please bare with me for the time.:

We started talking about buying a house and I said I wanted a nice size yard. He said if I would take care of it myself than he would be more up for having a nice sized yard- and I agreed. Since we were on the subject, I said “If we are both working full-time jobs than we are going to have to start sharing the house chores more evenly”.

He made a comment that he was going to buy stuff to make his chore easier, so I asked him what that was? “He said a dish washer. I asked him if he thought his only chore should be doing the dishes? Than he brought up his condition.

I told him not to use that as a crutch. He got really upset and told me he “lost respect for me”. I asked him what he meant, but he never answered. So I dropped it for the time being.

I could tell he was still upset this morning so I asked him what was wrong. He told me he was just tired.

Now he’s mad at me through text’s telling me he’s having a bad day because of X, Y and I wouldn’t understand the other factor- Being that I told him not to use his disease as a crutch.

I usually am made to feel bad about what I have said to hurt someone, but in this case I don’t feel like I am in the wrong at all. I wasn’t trying to hurt him, I was trying to get through the situation and I only said what I feel needed to be said.

Any perspective is greatly appreciated. Please give me advise!

I know him and I will be talking this out tonight, but I just want to hear some opinions.

21 Replies (last)

Since you are both working full time you should hire someone to clean the house and do the laundry.

One suggestion I have is to google "rheumatoid arthritis" so you have a fuller perspective on how his condition affects his ability to function.  My understanding of rheumatoid arthritis is that it's quite painful and can be debilitating.

I don't think that you are an uncaring person, and I do agree that people should share household chores to the best of their ability; I do think, however, that you may have overstepped a bit by bringing up his health and implying that he uses it as an excuse.

I also think you should try to express to him that when he doesn't complete chores you have agreed are his, that you become frustrated.  Something like, "When you only do half of the dishes in the sink, I feel [insert emotion here], because I felt that we had agreed that the dishes were your responsibility."

Good luck.  With communication and understanding, I think you guys can work this out.

I think you're in the right.

You both work full time. You both, I assume, come home from work tired. I don't, as a guy, think it's unfair to expect him to help around the house. If he has a problem doing dishes or whatever due to his arthritis, I think the two of you can discuss it and find a solution (such as some of the ones suggested above.)

There are part of a relationship that work smoothly, but there's always.. an issue or two where the two of you need to have an agreement and do your best to stick with it.

For my wife and I, it's jobs as well. We have what we agreed was a relatively fair split, but she's not always good at managing her time and so sometimes needs to be reminded what she has to do. It's part of our arrangement. It works.. sometimes easier than other times, if you catch my drift. (Yes, we argue. Yes, it's often about jobs.)

I think it's fair and right that you should sit down, discuss the issue fairly, hear each other out (that means he needs to hear you out as well and understand your needs) and come to an arrangement. And you both need to do your best to stick with that arrangement.

Cardinal Rule of Relationships: Never do ANYTHING in the first year of a relationship that you are not willing to do for the remainder of the relationship.  Once you do a job/chore, that will end up being yours FOREVER.

This guy is a chauvinist.  (The tough love portion: Tell him it's time to split the duties or hit the road.)

Good luck, and don't be a doormat (Webster: one that submits without protest to abuse or indignities) any longer!

Rheumatoid Arthritis or not, he should be able to put away his own clothes!! Some sweeping, putting things away, and to my Mom, doing dishes with cold water (as long as things aren't heavy or require grasping) actually feels good to her joints/hands.

Perhaps try meeting him halfway... say you don't mind carrying the laundry baskets and doing the majority of the folding (if he can't do it) as long as he puts everything away. Suggest he can vaccuum or sweep and you can do the actual scrubbing chores. I am sorry, but it may "hurt" at times, but one thing my Mom is told is she can't just "stop moving". Her joints can feel worse and feel stiff.

Tell him you guys can try it out for 6 months and see how it goes. If by the end of (or before) 6 mos. he is sincerily expressing pain in certain chores, then switch them up. Maybe he can cook? If he doesn't know how, perfect time and reason to learn (to help out his mate like a real man). BUT, if he just dodges the work, avoids, procrastinates, whines, leaves you to do it etc. then I would agree with the post above that he is a chauvinistic male and needs to be dumped for your sanity!!!

p.s. if he can shovel snow with R.A., then he can do most chores on his 'good days'!!

Good luck!!

He is right, if doing the chorse around the house is something that you will always be arguing about (because he will never start doing them if he isn't doing them already) then you should get some one to come and clean the house. Even if it isn't once a week. Investing a little money into your clean house and no fighting is worth it. But then if you find your self wanting to argue about something else, find a couselor. Some times relationships need a little fine tuning. I hope every thing works out ok, best of luck.

I think it might be helpful if you ask him what chores he thinks he can do with his RA, that way the it's up to him.  If he says 'nothing' then he's being a jerk.  there has to be a fair trade-off.

Original Post by 2fat4ever:

Cardinal Rule of Relationships: Never do ANYTHING in the first year of a relationship that you are not willing to do for the remainder of the relationship.  Once you do a job/chore, that will end up being yours FOREVER.

If only someone had told me this rule before I met my ex, it would have saved me ALOT of trouble lol...instead I had to learn it the hard way 

Thank you. This is great advise.

I am currently looking up Rheumatoid Arthritis to get a better understanding in general and I told my boyfriend (when he kept texting me) if I was being insensitive to his condition he should try to educate me better on it.

I also told him I wanted to talk in full scale at home, in person, so nothing I texted him would get taken the wrong way.


Original Post by bonny08:

I also told him I wanted to talk in full scale at home, in person, so nothing I texted him would get taken the wrong way. 

 Good call!  It's WAY too easy to misinterpret text communications.

Original Post by bonny08:

I also told him I wanted to talk in full scale at home, in person, so nothing I texted him would get taken the wrong way.


I think that's a very good idea. I can't imagine trying to have a helpful discussion over txt. Good luck.

It sounds like your solution is simple - stop fighting about it and hire a housekeeper. I can understand that he might be using all his energy at work and not have any left for the household chores. A disabilty takes a lot out of you even if it's not something highly visible. DH has pain and mobility issues and while he goes to work and does his job there, he doesn't have any energy left at the end of the day for chores so he doesn't do them... but I don't work outside the home so that's 'my' job. Sometimes it drives me nuts (especially when he starts suggesting that I should get a job too!), but it's the agreement we came to when we were married. If I was working full-time as well we'd definitely have to have hired help.

I'd stop playing house and doing his chores. There is no reason for this to be made into something dramatic or bad. Everyone has a different set of circumstances. You both have jobs and this is a problem change it. This obviously isn't working out for you both.

Keyword: both

It's as simple as you each doing your own chores. Own dishes. Own laundry. ECT. Clean up after yourselves there are only two of you. Two adults that both work who need to take repsonsiblity for their own filth/chores. That way neither of you're depending upon the other. Just return to the basics of life when you as an adult each took care of your own. Devide the duties such as paying bills into ' his and hers. ' He'll take care of his own and you'll take care of yours. He's capable of taking care of his own. In my opinion regardless of his condition he is a grown man.  He can hire someone to take care of his chores if he needs a caregiver.

This is as simple as getting back to the basics in my view.

Solution A) He should act like a grown man that can clean up after himself. You should act like a grown woman that can clean up after herself. 


Solution B) Hire someone to do the chores/dirty work and split the bill.

 That way neither of you have any resentment about it. It's ridiculous to fight about this in my view. Take it down a notch. Apologize... then compromise! Don't compromise your stance on the matter. Peoples needs have to be mutually met otherwise they aren't happy. Lots of couples are together for years, but they aren't genuinely happy. Make a compromise that you both can agree is an overall solution.

 Whenever you do get to talk about it, couch it in "I" terms, not "you" terms.

 As in "I feel that you're.." opens up communication about your feelings, whereas "you always do..." is an accusation and creates defensiveness and no communication.

 Make it about what you're feeling, not about what he's doing and he'll have a greater chance of understanding where you're coming from without it coming off as a personal attack and an invitation to argue.

Rrheumatoid arthritis is a very painful condition and I'd warn against dismissing it as a reason he's not up for helping more. Especially if he works at an active job all day.

My best answer would be to hire someone to clean - I have for years. Having someone come every week or every other week is well worth the time and sanity you gain back from these little things.

Don't throw ultimatums out at this point, just open the discussion.  What you think is fair, what he thinks is fair.  What you'd be doing if you lived by yourself, what he'd be doing if he lived by himself.  The areas where you guys do help each other out.  What did he do before you lived with him if his RA acted up and he just didn't want to or couldn't do his chores.  What did you do before when you lived alone and didn't feel like doing your chores.  Also, what level of cleanliness does he think is necessary and what is your requirement.

You can split it 50/50, but that can tend to lead to resentment if you're constantly seeing dirty dishes or laundry and the sight of it bugs you.

For instance, I've told my bf that if my messiness bugs him enough than he is welcome to hire a maid, but at my place I don't expect that he'll clean anything, but things just aren't in a great deal of order most of the time, particularly since I'd far rather go do stuff with him than vacuum.  He says it doesn't bug him and I've given him an option if it does.  At his place, I don't clean up except sometimes to do dishes if we've cooked or baked since it takes me next to no time and it's a major production for him.

I have rheumatoid arthritis and I do a lot more of the cleaning than my boyfriend. He works full time and would clean when he got home but I'm studying from home, and I can't study when the house is a mess! That said, he does all the cooking.

Dare I say you might be being taken for granted... it's easy to expect that the woman will do the bulk of the cleaning because hey, most women do and they don't complain half as much as men when they're doing it.

Rheumatoid arthritis is not often bad all the time. For myself, and most people with the condition that I have talked to, there are times when you're in pain and times when you're fine. If your boyfriend is the same there's nothing to stop him cleaning when his arthritis isn't acting up. I noticed you said his job is mroe active than yours. It seems bizarre to me that he can hold on to a job where he is moving around all day, and then be incapable of doing some simple chores when he gets home!

My two cents: Refer him to this website. And then buy and read this book yourself.

Good luck.

I'm in the same situation-- I've been living with my boyfriend for 2.5 years, both have full time jobs (we work together) and we've had tons of arguments about cleaning, and this is what I've learned:

He always truly believes he's helping out more than you feel that he is. ...and maybe he really does help more than you notice. You have to remember that housecleaning, from your perspective, is probably emotional. From his perspective, it's not. I know from experience that you can feel hurt when he doesn't help clean the house (at least I do.) I feel like he doesn't care about helping, he doesn't care about what I do for him, and he's not showing his love for me by contributing to a clean house. IF that's how you feel, he doesn't know that and he probably won't be able to understand that, because that's not how he thinks. 

He won't be emotional about it until you make him emotional about it. From his perpective cleaning is practical, but as soon as you bring emotions into it, he'll get defensive and emotional and impossible to work with. So, keep discussions about cleaning about cleaning, unemotional, and practical.

Next, you can make agreements about doing 50/50, but a) men have a short memory when it comes to this sort of agreement and b) if he feels like he can get away with doing less and less, then he'll do it. Don't do housework that you expect him to do, or he'll let you do it. You'll want him to feel bad about it-- he won't. The job got done and he didn't have to do it. Why should he feel bad?

Finally, don't hint at what you want him to do. Either he won't get it or he'll feel like you're being underhanded and indirect. Honestly, I've found it's easiest to just tell him what to do. (That sounds so horrible, but it's true.) Don't ask him to do it, don't bargain with him, don't tell him that you did it the last three times, just say-- "Hey, vacuum the living room." It sounds cold and strange, but you'll be amazed at how well it works. 

I have a degree in Conflict Resolution, and I can honestly say that 4 years of college did nothing to prepare me for the arguments that I've had with my boyfriend about cleaning. Good luck!

sorry. double posted.

21 Replies (last)