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Man pays 90% of bills; GF wants him to do 50% of chores; he says no. UPDATED

Man pays 90% of bills; GF wants him to do 50% of chores; he says no. UPDATED


"My (32M) girlfriend (29F) is upset with me because I don't do 50% of the house work. How do we find a reasonable compromise?"

When we first met she made it fairly clear that she expected me, as a man, to be a provider and as we continued dating for a while, her expectations were in line with me assuming a very traditional gender role. I was fine with this. I've built a fairly successful career and pay roughly 90% of our combined communal bills on a 320k salary while she makes 40k.

I do all the maintenance for our cars, the boat, and all the yard work. It's been about 2 years of living together and up until now I felt things were going well.

She has recently started complaining that i'm not carrying my weight around the house. I don't do any of the cooking, do very little of the cleaning, and don't do the laundry. I felt our division of labor was fairly well established - I do all the traditional male work and pay the bills and she maintains the homestead.

But if I still have to do half of the house work while almost entirely carrying the financial burden and the yard work, then her contribution would be far less than mine.

I've also recently mentioned that when we have kids, I would prefer to have them homeschooled since she's going to be a stay at home mom anyway. She wasn't very receptive to the idea, since she wants to have daytime hobbies while she's still a stay at home mom.

This didn't make any sense to me 'stay at home' doesn't imply using the free time to pursue hobbies, it's meant to tend to the house and the kids.

Here's what people had to say to OP after the original post:

DueBike582 wrote:

I’m really hoping that you’re actually asking here, and not just looking for validation, so I’m going to offer a real answer.

You work full time. She works part time. It’s fair to expect her to put in effort similar to yours, while yours is mostly outside of the home, and hers is in it. BUT, the remainder of the time, when you are both “off the clock,” you are both equally responsible for the household.

The household work that is her job while you aren’t there doesn’t somehow become her sole responsibility 24/7. You WILL create resentment in her if you believe that, which seems to be what’s happening.

You’re basically asking her to put in a much longer workweek than you otherwise, and once you add kids to the mix, that’s an exhausting struggle that will burn the life out of anyone going it alone while their partner is home and relaxing. BTW - homeschooling is a perfectly fine preference for you to have, but it is a discussion, not a demand.

Salary is immaterial here, because you could have begun and maintained such an arrangement at any income level. Salary really goes towards standard of living, and not the elimination of any household chores, unless you use some of that salary to hire household help as your contribution to the running of the home, which you could offer to do here.

What I think is getting lost in a lot of these replies is the relationship. You did not use your salary to “hire” your wife. You entered into a partnership with her, where your goal should be for both of you to be treated with equal respect and value.

That means if she is unhappy right now, you don’t just dismiss those feelings as unwarranted. You communicate to find out why she’s feeling them and work together to create a mutual solution or reasonable compromise.

Think about what needs to be done around the house while you’re off work, and take on some of those tasks. Offer to be responsible for dinner one night a week. Make sure you don’t expect her to learn how to parent all by herself when the time comes - while you’re there, get in the trenches with her.

Take time to relax and do the things that make you happy, and make sure she gets to as well. Remember that you’re not taking things off HER plate, you’re doing the things that need to be done for your shared home, because you live there too. And please, please, please, work this out before you have kids.

After reading the comments OP added this:

Edit: This keeps being asked so i'll answer; I work almost 70 hours a week and she works around 25. I've literally started having panic attacks between the demands at work and getting home to being antagonized. I've had to pull over on the side of the road several times in the last month.

Update from OP 2 days later:

The last 48 hours have been really eventful and while i'm still processing all that's happened, I figured posting would help me gain some mental clarity.

The night after posting here, I decided to just have a frank discussion with her and figure out how we can divide our responsibilities fairly. I first laid out the math; I work roughly 70 hour weeks and have an hour commute 6 days a week - another hour spent on getting ready for work and another hour is spent at the gym or jogging.

I typically then spend 3-4 hours on average per weekend working on outdoor projects or indoor repairs - some weekends are more eventful than others but I felt this was a fair estimate.

I explained that this leaves me with an average of less than 3 hours a day to just live. As she already knows, most days I wake up, get ready for work, leave, and within an hour of getting back, I head to bed. I'm not a messy person and generally pick up after myself. Since i'm barely home, if I start doing 50% of the house work, i'd practically be cleaning up after her and her two dogs.

She was resolute about having me contribute 50% to the housework and kept mentioning that the idea of me doing less housework made her uncomfortable. Eventually we settled at just having a maid come in twice a week.

We had been drinking while having this discussion and continued after we decided on the maid. We were quite a bit more drunk when she mentioned for the first time ever that she had around 15k in credit card debt from before we met that she wanted me clear up before we got married.

It just kind of hit me like lightning at that point - this relationship makes life easier for her, but makes life harder for me. Before we met I was content in my apartment 5-10 minutes walking distance from work with my 2015 Corolla and basic furniture.

Since then I've bought a house she wanted, near the water which i'm not a fan of, a boat she wanted, with a pool i didn't want, thousands spent on furniture she wanted, and a BMW I didn't want. I even got her a job at my company so she could earn as much as she did before but only work 25 hour weeks.

When we woke up yesterday I called off work and I just told her that this relationship wasn't going to work; I just explained to her that my life wasn't getting easier or happier, just the opposite. She was really keen on arguing and eventually even said she no longer wanted the maid, but I didn't really budge.

She left around noon with her dogs and I assume she went to her parents' house since I started getting calls from them. I didn't really have the energy to respond so I just ignored them. I'm not exactly sure when she'll do so, but I hope she'll be able to collect her things in the next few weeks. She can keep working at my company for a couple more months until she finds something more suitable.

Here's what people said after the update:

Roadgoddess said:

YTA- so she works full-time as well plus is required to take care of all the cooking, laundry and cleaning in the house which happens every day. Taking care of your cars and mowing the lawn is something you may be do once a week and certainly for the cars, It’s a lot less than that. So hire a cleaning lady to help her out if you don’t want to do more stuff around the house.

Actual_Aardvark4348 writes:

Be very careful in the work situation. If you hired her because you were dating her, the job started with a conflict of interest. If you let her go because you broke up, that would be seen as retaliation for a relationship gone sour and she'll have a lawsuit against you. Her employment shouldn't be based off your relationship status.

Successful_Leek96 OP responded:

Thanks for the heads up. I occasionally work with a contract lawyer, i'll reach out to him and figure out the best path forward.

Sources: Reddit
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