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Having trouble collecting my thoughts, advice appreciated please.

(53 Posts)
RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 14:36:59

I posted a couple of weeks ago, here. The row isn't really relevant to the argument we've just had but it does provide background on our relationship if anyone wants it.

I know DP thinks I'm lazy (have every so often called him on his particular hmm face and asked outright) and thinks I spend way too much time on MN. I am a postgrad student and it's too expensive for me to commute every day so I mostly work from home. He works full-time and brings work home with him every day, often working until 9pm then watching a film or TV.

From the beginning I have insisted (insist is the wrong word really... just asked him how he would like to divide household chores & split 50:50, always with his preference in mind, in deference to the fact that I was the one pushing for it, e.g. 'We need to clean the bathrooms & hoover once per week, which would you prefer to do this week?') on splitting household stuff equally. In general I clean the bathrooms, he does the floors, I do all the laundry, including the ironing and he does 99% of the washing up. Cooking is usually split, although as I work from home I usually do dinner during the week. I had thought that the last person to leave the bed (Mon-Fri, me) would make it although sometimes make it on the weekends as well.

Given most stories I have heard/read/spoken to people about I thought this was reasonably unusual in that DP does his fair share and so do I.

This week I wanted to hoover. I have to do it tomorrow as I have an assignment (which I need to do now!) due tomorrow. I overslept and, having exercised (trying to lose weight), it was lunchtime. He cooked. I have a headache (he knows) so was sat on the sofa for 45mins digesting and trying to stoke up the energy to do the report. Cue tutting, sighing, a few muttered swear words and then he storms off and starts cleaning the kitchen, which is my job.

We then, after a bit of shouting, wound up with the following:

- I'm lazy and should do more during the day
- My 75% average (distinction) is no proof that I work when he's not here
- Admittedly, I don't work the long hours he does
- Why can't I do all the housework since I do "fuck all else"
- He, if at home, could do all the housework with "one arm tied behind my back" plus his usual working day

Today I have had to reclean the washing machine as he (despite me saying I would do it) took it upon himself to do it and didn't do it properly. So we have wasted two 90-degree washes trying to rinse the machine clean because he hadn't got the scum out. He has not made the bed. I have done a load of laundry.

I can't articulate to him why I don't want to do 100% housework even though I don't work the same hours. I'm not sure I know why myself other than my inner feminist thinks it's a Bad Idea.

We're currently not talking as (this is totally my fault) as he said the 'hand tied behind back' comment I sneered and told him to fuck off. I shouldn't have done it.

The more he tells me I'm lazy, the more I'm stubbornly trying not to do what he wants me to do, including my own coursework, which is hacking me off. I will do it. Just feel like he'll see me doing it and feel superior/make a comment and think he's 'won'. I know this is childish.

I just don't know what to do or what to say. He doesn't listen to anything.

tethersend Sun 10-Jul-11 14:39:40

I'm probably missing the point, but clean the washing machine?

You have to clean them?

shock

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 14:39:50

Why would he do household chores when he is out of the house all day? Surely the 50/50 split is wrong if you spend the majority of your time at home? Sorry but it takes 20 mins to tidy up, another 20 to hoover, dust and mop a floor. Surely they would be your jobs if he works such long hours and you don't and spend all your time at home.

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 14:40:21

Sorry this is so long, I thought I'd hit preview for editing - shows how bad my head is that I've been starring at it for five minutes without realising!

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 14:40:47

this is nothing to do withhousework
it sounds like neither of you actually likes the other

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 14:42:04

The washing machine was making the clothes smell so I was going to clean it. He thought it was a waste of time but made a show of doing it when I'd said I would do it.

Fabby, it takes longer to hoover than 20mins in our flat - we have six rooms (incl. hall) with carpet and the kitchen floor gets scrubbed.

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 14:42:08

Oh and I have never cleaned my washing machine and I have had it 6 years. It is self cleaning because you wash in it.

I agree the soap tray needs rinsing once a week, but cleaning a washing machine is OCD.

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 14:45:44

Dora, at the moment (i.e. right this second) no, we don't like each other but normally we get on very well.

I just don't know what to do about the assumption that I'm lazy. Maybe I am being lazy, but I thought (having watched my parents for twenty odd years) that a forty year old could split the housework. I certainly spend much longer on my jobs that he does, especially because we have a dishwasher so the washing up is literally two things every night and of course I load/empty the dishwasher and clean up after my food things during the day.

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 14:46:43

it doesnt take much effort to dort out a smelly washing maching

imo neither of you likes the other, neither is cherishing or caring for hte other by selfless acts, so it becomes a poitn scorinc control based excercise

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 14:46:54

Fabby, the washing machine has never been cleaned and I didn't know where exactly it was smelling so I have scrubbed the tray, the seal and wiped the drum. He did two cycles, one with vinegar (as rec'd by MN) and one with liquid to take the vinegar smell away.

Atwaroverscrabble Sun 10-Jul-11 14:50:08

I think the thing with washing machines is you do need to run a very hot wash with bio powder once a month, if you use non bio all the time or liquid then germs and gunk builds up... I had the same problem re smelly clothes and found the answer on the housekeeping board here!

Re being at home more = doing more housework, that only works if you arent working from home! I'm a funded phd and often work from home and I need that time to work! Fair enough if I only did part time
but i have to do a minimum of 35 hours a week anyway....

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 14:50:20

The person who is at home more does more the person who is out at work all day does less.

I have also six rooms and a hallway that needs mopping, a kitchen that needs mopping, and a bathroom floor that needs cleaning. It takes 20 mins to hoover.

Your washing machine has stale water in the outlet pipe that is what makes it smell.

Your water is not draining away properly, so the old water sits in the pipe and when it has been there a long time it smells like nothing you have ever smelt before!

DoraJarr Sun 10-Jul-11 14:50:26

do you ever go out together?

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 14:57:24

Try emptying the filter that might help.

DollyTwat Sun 10-Jul-11 15:02:08

Get a cleaner

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 15:08:46

Thanks Fabby. The load has just finished so I will check for smells and poke around the pipes smile

Dora, yes we go out maybe twice a fortnight, either for drinks or to see something. We also go on walks at least twice a week, even if it's just to wander around the neighbourhood.

Other than doing absolutely everything housework wise I don't know how to convince him I'm not lazy. Until the Internet bust-up I have also sorted all the bills out (still sort everything apart from BT). He accuses me of sleeping all day (I do not!) and of taking naps (I have taken four since Feb, all after all-nighters on coursework/exams). I also do most of the grocery shopping and, at his insistence, plan all the meals.

If I was to take on all the cleaning (which I hate and he enjoys) then he would do two items of washing up every night. Would most of you consider this a fair split? In my student houses we split everything equally... I suppose this is where I'm coming from. When I was an undergrad I had four p/t jobs, incl being a local councillor (unpaid) and did not resent doing the same as one of my friends who stayed in bed all day. I think that's where I get my attitude from towards our housework now... maybe I need to put this to him so he can understand why I'm saying this stuff?

CybilLiberty Sun 10-Jul-11 15:12:09

Trying to spilt things perfectly 50 50 is only going to end in tears from one of you or the other- jobs cannot be split like this

I think if my H had said he 'wanted to hoover' and then I found him sitting on the sofa I might roll my eyes a bit too and huff off if everything was measured to within an inch of itself

It sounds like you set the division rules but dont seem to want to play by them

But also he shoudl not think its all your role , just because you are at home

Smum99 Sun 10-Jul-11 15:14:25

How do the finances work out? Do you both contribute fairly? It feels as there is resentment about something which you need to address. Do you both have sufficient down time? It might just be that you are both stressed and worn out. My DH & I become snappy with each other when we are both tired, suddenly the small stuff becomes important but if you both have similar values you should be able to work through it. Would you both be comfortable to leave the housework if you are both busy or would that cause anxiety to one of you?

ggirl Sun 10-Jul-11 15:14:40

sod the housework
go and have a shag

Fairenuff Sun 10-Jul-11 15:16:47

Would you rather be right or happy?

This is not about housework. It's about appreciating each other. You both feel taken for granted by each other. And neither one of you is communicating what you really feel without blaming the other.

In our house we have a major clean on Saturday mornings and we all (including the children), grab a job and get on with. We have the music loud and jolly and everything gets done. Sometimes we all stop for a tea break then get back to it.

Then we all have the rest of the day and evening to do what we like, often spending family time together or going out, having fun.

I would apologise for arguing like children and hopefully he will too then you can have some lovely time together instead of sulking all day and making yourselves miserable.

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 15:54:54

Cyril, you are right and I think that is how he feels. I want to apologise for swearing but am fed up with always apologising. I cannot recall a single instance when he has apologised for a fight (we haven't had that many - five in twenty months) and he rarely apologises if he accidentally physically hurts me. This may be cultural but it does bother me. In this instance I really don't have time to hoover now - am halfway through my assignment atm so have popped back on MN for five mins.

Smum - we contribute 49:51 (me/him) to the house. He pays £50 more rent a month and we split bills. If I paid any more rent I would have to take out a commercial loan, which we both think is ridiculous - he has around £150k in the bank (never bought a house) and legally owns his family home.

ggirl - would love to, he's apparently not interested grin

Fairenuff - that's how it worked at my parents' house, my student house and mostly here too. The cleaning, apart from three or four times, has always been done at the same time. Those three or four times (apart from now) it's always been done within two days of each other. Obviously I will do the floors tomorrow, making it a 100% thing.

I think I have clarified some of my thoughts. If I were to write everything it would be long (and more boring than I've been to date, which takes some doing!) so I won't post it. Thank you everyone as you have helped me think reasonably clearly - finding it hard as I have a massive headache today smile

eslteacher Sun 10-Jul-11 16:17:28

Are you a person to whom having a tidy and clean house is very important? Like, do you think you have higher standards than your DP? If so maybe you need to accept more responsibility for the housework in order to get the house as you like it. Or do you really think your DP is just trying to wangle his way into a routine whereby you do all the housework and he does none and can sit back and be a 1950's husband? I'm not entirely sure from your post which one seems more likely...

RE: the lazy thing...I'd say you and your DP need to discuss the different choices you've made in your life right now, ie you to be a PG student and work from home, him to have a (presumably) more financially rewarding job that requires more hours of him, and accept that while they are different, it is unfair of him to call you "lazy". He has chosen a job with long hours, presumably he is being paid accordingly, that's fine. That does not mean that people who do not choose the same thing are lazy. If you are more to the "life" side of the work/life balance, then provided you are paying your way (which it seems like you are) your DP should accept its a perfectly valid choice. I read something once that says that very few people on their deathbed ever regrets not spending more time working, and I think this is an important thing for your DP to bear in mind.

With my DP, he works more hours than I do and contributes more financially, so I don't mind doing slightly more of the housework. But like you, I balk at doing it all - luckily though he doesn't expect me to. Recently when my hours increased a little we came up with a more fixed plan for splitting the housework: I am responsible for keeping the downstairs clean and tidy, he is responsible for the upstairs. He does more of the washing, I do more of the cooking (though this is flexible). So far the plan is working, as we don't inflict a timetable on the other, its up to the other person when they do the hoovering/floor mopping etc, they just have to do it at some point. Yes it can be a little annoying if you think "he should have hoovered by now" but I think its worth just biting your lip, let him get round to doing it in his own time, and put up with a little bit less of a perfectly clean house in order to preserve harmony in your relationship.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sun 10-Jul-11 16:41:30

"he rarely apologises if he accidentally physically hurts me"
OP, how does he "accidentally physically hurt" you? How often does that happen?

RoseC Sun 10-Jul-11 16:50:36

Thank you riverboat... you've articulated exactly what I was trying to explain to DP. I don't mind a messy house as long as when it is cleaned it is done properly (which is why I was annoyed at having to redo the washing machine after he decided to pre-empt me doing it). OTOH he values tidiness to a very minimalistic standard so wants me to keep the house spotless.

I would rather work a p/t job and do all the things I find rewarding (visiting cheap/free places of interest, doing handicrafts, reading) and eat baked beans on toast, than work all the hours and buy expensive gadgets. He doesn't read anything non-professional and finds my reading pointless. Since we contribute equally to the household (although he will buy extras, for example if he wants us to go out for a meal, I will suggest a place where I can afford to split the bill but he will insist on somewhere where he pays for it all - I couldn't even pay my own share) I feel we should approach housework more or less equally. I cook in the week evenings because he has spent more time working that day and I do consider that fair. We split weekend meals.

Lesser, don't worry, it's not DV. I was trying hard to phrase it correctly - I didn't want hurt to mean 'emotional hurt'. I mean if he thinks he's being playful but overestimates and bruises me - I have very delicate skin and don't like rough playfulness anyway, but he still doesn't get that. We are the same height and build-ish (i.e. can wear each other's clothes, although obvs I have curves and a slimmer waist where he doesn't) and he doesn't understand that he is a lot stronger because he's a guy.

ScarlettIsWalking Sun 10-Jul-11 17:59:49

Sorry but I really don't like the sound of what you described. People know when they have physically hurt another person and if it isn't intentional they apologise profusely.

What kind of guy is he OP?

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