Dividing up chores is a sore subject in households. Quite often, one partner ends up doing the lion’s share of the housework—from cooking and cleaning to taking care of the kids—while the other tends to skate by. Their excuse? They work all day, so they don’t have the energy to help out at home.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the relationship becomes so toxic that the arguments over chores aren’t even about chores at all. They’re about one partner trying to impose control over the other. By any nefarious means necessary. Such a relationship is anything but healthy.
Redditor u/throwawaySarah7, a mom of two, shared how she and her demanding ambulance driver husband got into a huge fight after he was told to reheat a meal by himself. Fair warning before you read: the story is very emotional and may be traumatizing if any of you Pandas have been in a thoroughly toxic relationship before. Scroll down for the full story in the redditor’s own words.
An argument over housework can reveal a lot of nasty things about a relationship
Image credits: Alex Green (not the actual photo)
One woman shared how her husband had a toxic reaction when she asked him to reheat his own meal. The story shocked a lot of internet users
Image credits: throwawaySarah7
The fact that the husband refused to heat up the meal that his wife made for him, and insisted that she do it for him instead, is more than just about chores. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about showing who is the dominant person in the relationship. And it is toxic, unhealthy, and the redditor and her kids deserve better.
Relationship and dating expert Dan Bacon previously explained to Bored Panda that a lack of honest and open conversations about practical things like dividing up chores can lead to a lot of resentment, unnecessary arguments, and even break-ups. He stressed the fact that nobody should force their partner to do all or most of the housework, no matter their gender. At the end of the day, the couple has to set some ground rules for who does what.
“Housework used to be seen as women’s work only, due to a man traditionally being the breadwinner and the woman staying at home all day. Yet, in today’s society, if both the man and woman are working, it’s more fair, loving, and respectful for both of them to contribute to keeping the house clean,” he said.
“On the other hand, if a man is the sole breadwinner and the woman stays home all day, many people would agree that she should do most or even all of the housework. That said, no one actually ‘has to’ do anything in a relationship,” he said that relationships have to be fair and both partners have to see each other as their equal.
“A woman shouldn’t ever force a man to do housework and a man shouldn’t force a woman to do it either. Instead, the couple should honestly agree on what they feel is fair and then go with that. If it feels unfair to one of them, resentment will build up, arguments will happen and they will feel less connected and happy as a couple.”
Meanwhile, certified relationship coach Alex Scot said that dividing up housework is a necessity. “If one partner consistently does the majority of the work, typically it leads to that partner feeling like a nanny,” she explained to Bored Panda some time ago.
“For any chores that both partners don’t want to do, take turns alternating. This will vary from couple to couple but the goal here is to keep communication open, fair, and realistic for each other’s schedules,” she said.