Q. My partner and I (both 22) have been dating for nine months. When our university kicked us off campus in March, we decided — after discussing with our families — we would live and quarantine with her parents. I had never even met her parents before, and now I have been living in their house for months! Thankfully, we all get along.
I have been helping with shared household chores as much as I can. However, our laundry is a chore specific to just my partner and me. I have been doing the majority of this work, for two main reasons:
1) My partner has a higher tolerance for mess. For instance, she is OK with leaving clean laundry in the basket for a few days.
2) My partner and I share the same primary love language: acts of service. I want to express my love by doing as many of these acts as I can, but I feel resentful about the uneven work split.
I want to express my love for my partner. I don’t want to be any further burden in her parents' house; I want the work to be split more evenly.
How do I navigate this?
– Acts of Service
A. First, I just want to say this sounds like a really lovely setup. COVID-19 has made housing difficult for many, and it’s very sweet that your girlfriend’s parents have welcomed you into their home. Of course, I can imagine it puts new stresses on all of you. You’ve gone from dating a woman to living with her, and now you have an audience. If laundry is the worst of this experience, the two of you have a lot to celebrate.
It might help to talk about how to make things equal without having to divide jobs down the middle. I lived with a roommate for many years (she’s now my BFF), and she started laughing one day because she heard me groan as I put the dishes away. We were so lucky to have a dishwasher, and yet . . . there’s something about putting dishes back in cabinets that makes me miserable. I’d rather clean every toilet than put dishes away. My friend started doing that job for us. In return, I did more in other rooms (or at least I hope I did). I guess my point is that maybe you can talk to her about doing more of the actual laundry (bringing it to the machines, etc.), and your job will be putting things away immediately.
I understand you feel lucky to be in the house and probably don’t want to complain at all. But tiny issues breed resentment. Get the problem out of your system before it starts to seem bigger than it is.
Step 1: Buy a second laundry hamper.
Step 2: Put your laundry in one hamper and your partner’s laundry in the other.
Step 3: Stop doing your partner’s laundry. PMCD101
Don’t have kids until you have a different outlook on laundry. They make an insane amount of laundry, and it’s all tiny stuff so folding one load takes at least three times as long as an adult’s load. PRINCEHANS
I guess your “love language” is really score keeping. THEARTFULMOOSEDODGER-
Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.