Far too many women struggle with getting their partners to participate equally in household labor. After countless talks and nagging went nowhere, one woman attempted the Fair Play Method but was met with derision.
Her boyfriend thinks the “just do it” method, where if you notice a chore, you immediately do it, would work out better, but it erupted into a fight when she didn’t notice something.
She came to the internet to see if the situation was even salvageable.
He Won’t Help
The Original Poster (OP), who is 36, said she moved in with her boyfriend (43) two years ago, and since then, it’s been an endless struggle to get him to contribute to the chores.
She said she feels like she’s the only one who does any housework, but he gets defensive whenever she brings it up.
She also reported that his idea of “helping” is doing what he wants at his convenience. He often starts a job but doesn’t finish it, and she has to pick up the slack.
OP brought the problem to her therapist, who suggested the book and cards “Fair Play,” which countless women have used to get their partners to understand the total burden of keeping a house.
Unfortunately, OP’s partner scoffed at the idea.
“He actively berated this system,” she said, reporting that he said things like, “So you’re just going to treat me like a toddler with a chore chart then?” and “This sounds like a way to prevent men from playing video games.”
The boyfriend had a brilliant alternative he called the “just do it” method.
According to OP, he said it would work like this: “If you see a chore that needs to be done, just do it. We don’t need to complicate things with cards and charts. See a dish? Just do it. See laundry? Just do it. Easy.”
He’s Been Acting Like a Jerk
OP said they now have a new problem. He’s acted like a giant jerk since she brought up the cards. He’s also expecting her to “notice” all the chores while he does nothing.
In the most recent incident, OP woke up early to do the laundry, wash the dishes, feed the dogs, and clean the kitchen. Her boyfriend woke up at 11, just as she settled down to relax.
But apparently, she didn’t do enough while he slept in.
The day before was garbage day, and OP didn’t bring in the trash bins.
Upon discovering her lapse, he said, “Why not? You saw it, and didn’t do it? What happened to the Just Do It method,” adding “The Just Do It system falls apart when we start noticing things and not doing them” when she asked him to bring them in.
OP retorted that she was too busy cleaning and didn’t notice the trash bins, so he should bring them in since he noticed. He angrily stomped out and grabbed them, but when he came in, he put his headphones in, turned on a video game, and refused to talk to OP.
She came to the internet for advice on getting the information under control.
If He Wanted To, He Would
Users told OP the situation isn’t salvageable because a 40-year-old man should know how to do chores. He does know how to do them. He simply doesn’t want to.
He doesn’t want to help because he’s happy to place the burden on you. He gets angry to manipulate OP into doing everything, so he gets to spend his free time leisurely enjoying video games rather than contributing.
OP, you can’t get the situation under control because he does not want to step up.
Just Do It Means OP Should Just Do It
Everyone also pointed out that his “Just Do It” method had a silent “you” in the front. The boyfriend was never going to notice anything.
He was going to offload all his labor to OP under the guise of “I didn’t notice” and use the fact that she did notice as a tool to manipulate her into doing it without nagging him.
He Will Not Change
OP said she’s scared things won’t improve and that the relationship is a bust. She’s right. It won’t get better. He won’t change.
OP only needs to decide whether she wants to stay in a relationship where she’s responsible for all the housework, and her boyfriend stomps around like a toddler whenever he’s expected to contribute.