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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

"You'll scare him off"

39 replies

tippytap · 31/10/2010 18:30


I rarely post, but lurk a lot and am really interested in the feminist section.

I was at work recently and having a chat with some colleagues, a couple of women and a man. I'm a single Mum and the subject turned to me "meeting someone else".

My relationship with my DD's father was - not nice. Along with all of the other issues in our relationship, I ended up doing ALL the childcare, housework, cooking, shopping etc.

I told my colleagues that I was in no way ready to start a new relationship yet, but if I did and reached the point of moving in together, I'd want to discuss and agree, with my partner who was going to be responsible for which household chores.

My colleagues reactions surprised me - my male colleague blurted out "You can't do that - You'll scare him off!". And both of the women agreed.

I asked if, when they moved in with their partners/spouses, they discussed money and how the bills were to be paid and they all said "Of course", so I asked why house work is different. All they could articulate was that "it is" different and that, if I wanted a bloke, I shouldn't be thinking of bringing up "housework" until I had him cosily living with me.

I think it's rubbish. I have no intention of following this advice - I've been burned once, but I was wondering - Who here discussed this with their DP's/DH's before moving in? If you did, how did it go? and, if you didn't, was this a conscious decision made not to "frighten" the man off?

Sorry if this has turned into a ramble!

OP posts:
ChasingSquirrels · 31/10/2010 18:33

I didn't - mainly because we met at uni, lived in a shared house and when we got together just started using both rooms. We didn't really talk too much about how money would be shared either, we had a joint account for food and when we then rented together we agreed to use it for everything.

Good question though, as now I we are separated I have no idea how this would go with someone new.

huddspur · 31/10/2010 18:35

I wouldn't as it seems very minor and petty which can be decided when you move in compared to matters such as finance which I agree do need some discussion beforehand.

HelenRosie · 31/10/2010 18:40

I would make sure you are both thinking along the same lines re division of chores but not actually decide who does what. It might seem minor and petty but I'd rather that than get stuck living with someone who doesn't pull his weight.

Rosettaroo · 31/10/2010 18:48

I think lots of things need to be discussed before moving in with someone and finding out about their attitude to kids, career plan,money,housework etc. Each will have different weight depending on how important those issues are to individuals .Your hardly suggesting you hand them a pair of marigolds on the first date to see their reaction.

I'm lucky in that DH was my housemate in a shared house before we dated so I knew his plus and minus points.

ISNT · 31/10/2010 18:51

I think that before moving in together it is a good idea to have an idea of what both people's expectations are regarding lots of things - money/bank accounts, who pays what and how, who looks after what things, yes why not housework.

Other option is to start as you mean to go on.

I would have thought though that if you've been with someone a while you should have a good idea of whether they will pull their weight or not? And that if it's going to be a situaiton where people start off with good intentions and then get lazy as the shine wears off then that will happen whether there's been a conversation or not IYSWIM.

Ridiculous to say that a conversation about washing up would "put someone off", I mean if you're that serious and about to move in together... it's silly!

dittany · 31/10/2010 18:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ISNT · 31/10/2010 18:56

TBH if a man who you are in a serious loving relationship decides to pack it in because you talk about sharing housework, you're better off without him.

foreverastudent · 31/10/2010 19:00

I told DP that I wouldn't have my workload increased by his moving in. If he didn't agree to that I didn't want him to move in.

I think because he never got the chance to pick up 'bad' habits it has worked well. He does more housework (spontaneously) than 90% of men. (but he still isn't as good as having a wife would be Grin)

tippytap · 31/10/2010 19:03

It's easy to say though, isn't it?

Most men I know think that housework etc should be shared, but if you actually question them on what they DO, the answer is very short!

OP posts:
Rannaldini · 31/10/2010 19:05

it's better to discuss it upfront

if you or he is a tidy freak and the other a slob it will cause problems and compromise or systems need to be made and agreed

i hate being crippled by the small print on a contract and this is something to discuss if it is import ant to you as it obv is

motherinferior · 31/10/2010 19:09

Any bloke scared off by you pointing out you are not prepared to be his domestic slave is Not A Bloke Worth Having, IMO. So actually this is a good litmus test.

Rannaldini · 31/10/2010 19:10

my dh does a set number of jobs
without request
he fills in other ad hoc stuff

he stepped back from his career to allow me to pursue mine (what a crock of shit that turned out to be)
part of that deal was that he undertook the majority of house stuff whilst still working full time it was just his ft was 37 hrs and mine was 60.

i'm on mat now and i've stepped up the housey stuff and he's stepped up his hours

be clear and you will get what you want I find
or saying "well men do that don't they" is not an option if you want to be happy

motherinferior · 31/10/2010 19:10

And housework is not minor! It is massive. And tedious. And wearing.

dittany · 31/10/2010 19:11

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

motherinferior · 31/10/2010 19:15

When I took up with my current partner, he couldn't cook. I was more than slightly amazed at this as he was the first bloke I'd known who couldn't; and I don't think I was as tough as I should have been about him taking on his share of the cooking. (Admittedly, our 'moving in together' was both precipitate and kind of accidental - he was working between Brussels and London and ended up staying with me in the London bits, and then I got pregnant Blush.) But he fairly soon got the message. And I am very glad I did make it clear to him - I really cannot imagine doing all the cooking, I genuinely can't....

StewieGriffinsMom · 31/10/2010 19:20

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleRedPumpkin · 31/10/2010 19:22

I think if you need to have 'The conversation' about finances/housework, something is already wrong, tba.

I have never sat down with DH and discussed who would do what in the house or with the money. It was just obvious that in both cases, the answer was we'd split 50/50 and take joint responsibility. I'd never have stayed with him if there were a suggestion early on that he didn't see this as obvious.

Am I living in cloud cuckoo land?

huddspur · 31/10/2010 19:23

In my house we don't have set jobs. Some nights I will do the cooking other nights he will. We don't have set rules on who does what.

zombishambles · 31/10/2010 19:23

If I didnt already have a good idea of what the person was like wrt housework then I would discuss it yes as I think it would invade every part of your relationship with them. Though I couldnt see myself being with someone who expected someone else to do more than 50% as we wouldnt be on the same wavelength anyway iyswim.

I really couldnt be with someone who wasnt bought in to feminism. I couldnt cope with the conflict and I definately wouldnt have dc with them.

Note - I am not judging people who do/have.

shandydrinker · 31/10/2010 19:31

DH lived on his own when I met so he was doing everything anyway. I just watched what he was like and took it from there. We share the domestic stuff and the childcare equally.

If I were you Id talk to him about it just within a conversation. Also look, what is like when he is at your place? Does he wash the cups and glasses after using them? Does he leave a mess in the bathroom. You probably have a pretty good idea of what he is like domestically anyway without a big heavy duty discussion.

tippytap · 31/10/2010 19:37


I agree that it's a good idea to see what a man is like in his own place. Looking back, well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

I think the thing is, that I don't want to be worried about housework. At the moment, I am just responsible for my DD and myself - when I split up from her father, my life became immeasurably easier and less stressful. I don't want to stress over housework/chores or have to keep reminding someone else to do things around the home.

OP posts:
fluffles · 31/10/2010 19:45

my husband wanted me to move in with him months before i agreed - he'd have agreed to anything i said to encourage me Grin

BUT.. i did eventually agree to move into his flat and so for the first few weeks i let him continue to run the house as he had been and then i started to chip in more and if there was something i felt he didn't do enough of (bed changing) i brought it up and we discussed (i now do all bed changing).

i was never going to move in and start being his monther.. he'd survived without me for 35yrs! and i was not scared of scaring him off as i knew he was serious about me.

if i manage to conceive again and get to maternity leave stage then i will discuss with him what extra i will do while at home (obviously nothing in the first few weeks!).


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scottishmummy · 31/10/2010 19:46

in any partnership you need boundaries,dialogue,and givens.a line in the sand so to speak

what you have as your givens,is reasonable and tbh i wouldnt expect anything less from a responsible caring partner.the thing is everyone has differnt interpretations of reasonable.and of course there is give and take.

as you say you had useless ex-p so of course no way you want to replicate that

lol scare a man off- tbh any knobjockey intimated by doing his fair share you are well shot of.

always good to meet mans mum and sis(if any) have wee shuftie and how he is to them

fortunately i dont know any men or women like this. hopefully they are a dying breed.this notion of compromise and keep yer yap shut to bag a good un is awful

the only jip i have ever had (from friend), was about have seperate accounts,no sharing of money.we split nursery,mortgage,utilities all from a joint account we both pay into my money is mine, i like financial autonomy.

Janos · 31/10/2010 20:00


I don't agree that it's petty to discuss this issue. It may seem like a little thing, but it's the little things which add to up to make a life together, isn't it?

I can't imagine why any man worth his salt would be scared off by you discussing this - seems a very sensible way to go about things.

shandydrinker · 31/10/2010 20:16


I think you are right to be thinking this through because of past experience.

Maybe explain that it was one of the reasons your past relationship ended and see what they say. A decent man would be reassuring not argumentative about it.

I think your colleagues are wrong. You sound like a strong woman, and you are not trying to "trap" a man, you are independent and the only reason for someone to move in with you is if it will improve life for you and your daughter. Housework would be one of the many things you would need to discuss and agree on before that happened.

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