Fairness in relationships?

  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Sep 20, 2008 3:53 PM GMT
    Hey guys. Got another relationship question.

    Is Fairness important to you in relationships?
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Sep 20, 2008 3:53 PM GMT
    Here's my for instance: I work from home, so I'm the one that notices the smell from the cat litter, and erego, I end up cleaning it more often than he does. Same goes for dishes (even though many of them are mine). Because I'm home, I also tend to do laundry a lot, tidy up the place when people are coming over. I have more friends living close by, so I tend to be the one to get the cats taken care of when we're going out of town. And I tend to feed the cats more often than he does.

    To be honest, he does other stuff that I don't like to do. Like organizing and planning out our trips. He pretty much books everything and I don't have to worry about it. He puts up with last minute changes from my family about get togethers all the time. He's patient with me being late all the time. He gives me shoulder rubs when we're sitting around.

    Is it important to be fair? Do you guys keep score with your bf/partner/s.o? Does it matter if you do more of one thing, or does it all balance out in the end?
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    Sep 20, 2008 8:22 PM GMT
    That's sounds like a mature, workable relationship.

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    Sep 20, 2008 8:59 PM GMT
    I think as long as each partner takes responsibility, then it's all good. Keeping score sounds too nitpicky to me. I wouldn't want to be in a relationship where someone said "I did this, now you owe me...." That's not the attitude I'd want to have either. I don't think it's healthy.
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    Sep 20, 2008 9:17 PM GMT
    Runninchlt saidI think as long as each partner takes responsibility, then it's all good. Keeping score sounds too nitpicky to me. I wouldn't want to be in a relationship where someone said "I did this, now you owe me...." That's not the attitude I'd want to have either. I don't think it's healthy.


    Yeah, I gotta basically agree with Runninchit. You can't keep a balance sheet. If things get way out of whack, where one partner is totally supporting the other in every way for an extended period, and the other one is taking advantage, then yeah, that's not good. But that doesn't sound like your case.

    People used to ask whether the ideal relationship is "birds of a feather flock together" or "opposites attract." I believe it's a bit of both.

    I think you gotta be basically compatible to live together (birds of a feather), but not clones (opposites). Opposites that ideally compliment. You do the laundry, and he does the cooking, or something else. He takes care of the car and fix-it stuff, and you take care of the cat. Together you make a team that covers all the bases of modern living.

    If you think your contribution is disproportionately larger than his, have a little chat. Maybe he can start doing something more. But don't approach it as a perfect 50-50 arrangement; that rarely happens. And nitpicking him will poison the relationship.

    Your domestic talents may be naturally greater than his. Don't divorce over that. How much does he contribute to your combined income? Maybe that's where he outshines you. Is he working so hard for you both that he comes home exhausted, and so neglects the litter box?

    You just can't turn these things into a balance sheet. Life is dynamic and always changing. Beware the day when HE does more around the house than YOU can.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 21, 2008 1:33 AM GMT
    Fairness is something like a simultaneous orgasm
    it's great when it happens but I wouldn't bet my life on it happening all the time

    ... you boys just have to set the rules that's all
    anyway you want them
    just don't expect him to read your mind
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    Sep 21, 2008 1:44 AM GMT

    My relationship advice: serve your man!
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Sep 21, 2008 3:36 PM GMT
    Hey guys

    Thanks for the replies. I know there's no way it's ever gonna be entirely fair. Or it will be rare when it is. There are some things that I probably think about too much.

    At the end of the day, I just feel lately like it's been a bit one-sided, but I don't really know how to gauge whether that is how it is, or I just feel that way. I'm also worried about poisoning the relationship by talking about it. So do I hold onto feeling this way, which may make me more upset, or do I talk about it and risk hurting him unfairly? I guess the other option is to change how I'm looking at things, or just ask him to do more without getting into the specifics. I don't want to be a nag though, and often feel upset about having to ask (because then I feel like a nag).
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    Sep 21, 2008 3:43 PM GMT

    Hi UncleverName,


    "I just feel lately like it's been a bit one-sided"

    ...that'll come and go in small ways over the years.

    "I'm also worried about poisoning the relationship by talking about it."

    That depends on how you talk about it.

    "or do I talk about it and risk hurting him unfairly?"

    I'd say the same as the last; again, how you approach it.

    "to change how I'm looking at things,"

    which is one way of adjusting, and good, but not always easily done.


    "and often feel upset about having to ask (because then I feel like a nag)."

    We both go through small nagging bouts. Each of us carefully points out to the other how lousy it is to nag at someone. But, (big but) we're also careful to show our honest feelings around it. We always make ourselves think of what the other is saying as if we were saying it.

    Bill glares, uncomfortable, "I'm tired of stumbling over your shoes in the hall, at the doors, or in front of the sink."
    Doug raises an eyebrow and hesitates, the image of Bill's gardening gloves piled in just those very same places Bill has listed would make Doug nag, too. Bites lip. Lowers both brows. Bill straightens up half expecting a retort. All the bluster goes out of Doug. He grins. He imagines Bill banging his head hard on a counter edge having tripped over disputed footwear. He grins because this little trick works. Part of him is horrified by Bill injured.Vows to do better. The words make Bill smile; he knows what mental gymnastics Doug just did, as they've idly talked about this very mechanism of perspective shifting in the past. Gets little rush, because he does this too.

    I've never described this in that minute detail before. Hmmm. Thanks for the opportunity. Kind of like describing how each leg muscle and tendon works while walking.

    Hope some of that made sense and helps!
    Use humour. Tell him that your affair with the litter box is feeling stale, and you'd like him resume dating it while you do extra laundry, or something that is easy enough for you to accommodate. Even better, something that he doesn't like but that you don't mind doing.

    Right now I'm at home weekdays and Bill at work. I think about the whole process of getting up, getting ready, going out, coming home, trying to fit a laid back life into just a few evening hours while I've had all day. So get up with him, iron, make him toast, go to the bus stop with him, wave him off, then go home to do chores and enjoy not having to go anywhere I don't want to. I directly own everything I touch and whatever I do benefits me AND Bill. Makes the mundane tasks easier and sweeter.
    -Doug

    PS
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    Sep 21, 2008 4:38 PM GMT
    i can somewhat relate to what you're thinking because my relationship is very similar to yours, where i'm more like you. hang in there man.

    for starters, it's important to recognize that your relationship is balanced overall. he does some of the "not so often chores" whereas you mostly do the "daily stuff." it may feel like you're doing more work and it is completely okay to feel this way. it's just that you're doing it very regularly. i felt the exact same way and it really bothered me.

    since i was feeling this way, i decided to share with my bf how i felt i was constantly doing all the housework and that i wish it was something that we either did together or had a more balanced stake in doing it. i also shared that i didn't like cleaning in the least bit. this was a key statement. trust me. in the conversation, i also thanked him for the things he does, despite how irregular they may be in the bigger picture. we talked and decided that it would best for both of us if we hired a house cleaner. so this is what we did and it seems to be working out.

    i'd be happy to chat with you some more. good luck.

  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Sep 22, 2008 1:50 AM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle saidIt sounds fair to me. You do certain chores around the house and he does a lot of organizing and gives you back rubs. I'd be happy in this type of situation in terms of sharing responsibilities within the relationship.


    Thanks for the reply, Much More. I think you missed the gist of what I was getting at. I realize that there's give and take. I'm more wondering when/how you decide that there's too much give or too much take. I could list out all of the little things that we each do, and give each one points. I didn't think that was as relevant as how I feel. And I was more wondering if anyone does keep points, in theory.
  • VinBaltimore

    Posts: 239

    Sep 22, 2008 2:14 AM GMT
    Your description of your relationship is almost word for word what I would write about mine.

    After much proding my boyfriend/husband/whatever told me that, as unfair as he knows this is, in his mind the house is pretty much 100% my responsibility. He contributes very little to the care and maintanance of our home. He grew up in a house with a mom that did everything for him while I grew up in a house where responsiblities were doled out at a very young age.

    It used to bother the crap out of me. I came into this with the expectation that we'd split the work 50/50. And for a very long time I did keep score, but I've had to learn to let that go come to terms with the fact that this is how it's gonna be as long as we're together. Just as I'm sure he's learning to live with my flaws and little quirks.

    So instead of tried to control the things I can control. Since the dishes and the living room being cluttered are what bother me most, I've started to keep them neat and let everything else go. I've also learned that if I'm really tired and I start to clean the house, I'll just get pissed off. So if I'm tired, I just let it go until the next day.

    I would encourage you to at least talk to him about it. In my case, it bubbles up when we argue about other things. We got into it last night because we both forgot to buy beer for tailgating for the football game today, but I had gone to the store for the food and prepared it all myself. When I asked him to take care of it. He asked why he should have to and I blurted out, "Because I do EVERY fucking thing else that's why!"
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    Sep 22, 2008 2:30 AM GMT
    Maybe it's also important for you to decide which came first: the unfairness or the unhappiness? Genuine unfairness may have caused justifiable unhappiness on your part. But what if you've already been unhappy, even depressed for some other reason, and this unfairness is merely your own distorted perception, the product of a general dissatisfaction with other things?

    I'm often guilty of this. I get grumpy & fumpy over some other thing, and suddenly I'm finding fault with my partner. Yesterday he was great, but today he's a mountain of little faults. Tomorrow I feel better and he's an angel again (his natural state).

    Humans are emotional creatures, and our judgments can reflect that. Make sure of your own emotional footing before passing verdict on someone so important in your life as your partner.

  • cityguy39

    Posts: 967

    Sep 22, 2008 1:56 PM GMT
    Relationships are like See Saws, they go up and down on both sides and for brief periods you have a perfect balance that keeps the movement going, I always try to keep that in mind when I'm in relationships. Some things in life just become more clear as you get older, I think when your young, you have this perfect vision of how your life should be, how your relationships should work, but life always has other plans that in many cases supersede yours. What I'm trying to say is, don't keep tabs on what your man does or doesn't do, because he's probably keeping his own mental list on you. If it really bothers you, talk to him about but don't bring up your laundry list, it will only cause drama you don't want in the end, trust me I have been where you are Unclever.

    Good Luck
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    Sep 22, 2008 2:22 PM GMT
    GQjock saidFairness is something like a simultaneous orgasm
    it's great when it happens but I wouldn't bet my life on it happening all the time.


    This has got to be the best way to put it. I know in my relationship, I'm very tidy and nit-picky. I'd rather do the dishes, make the bed, vaccum, clean the littox, etc.., not because I know it'll get done, but just because I'm OCD like that. As SOON as I get home from the gym, I put my dirty clothes away, dishes are washed, and the litter box is empty. It's just the way our relationship works.
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    Sep 22, 2008 2:31 PM GMT
    Fairness is extremely important.

    BUT

    Because what is seen as "fair" is different for different people, the most important thing is to make sure you discuss this with someone you are dating.

    I enjoy cleaning, but I'm bad at cooking. Usually in relationships, I like having an arrangement where the other guy cooks and I do the dishes.... I consider this "fair". However, I've been with guys who hate cooking, so they don't consider that "fair", so we come to some other arrangement. It all depends on the individuals.

    In my last relationship, he was unemployed for a while and I was supporting him. He vaccuumed and took care of the plants in my apartment. He considered this "fair", but I did not because I didn't think those two things cancelled out, or were equal in their contribution.

    But I know some people who DO think that it would be fair.

    So if it's coming up as an issue in your relationship, I think the best answer I can give you is: talk about it, and remember that YOUR idea of fairness isn't "right" and his isn't "wrong"... it's a negotiation the two of you have to make in order to come to something you're both happy with.
  • Aquanerd

    Posts: 845

    Sep 22, 2008 2:31 PM GMT
    Initial thought is that uses sounds like a mature relationship. Once the tally sheet comes out, I think that there is a something else going on, it's like starting a mental pros and cons list. There is something else that needs to be addressed. Not speak to anyone's specific relationship or comments here, just from my own experience.
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    Sep 22, 2008 2:56 PM GMT
    HighVoltageGuy said
    ...I'm OCD like that. As SOON as I get home from the gym, I put my dirty clothes away, dishes are washed, and the litter box is empty...


    That made me smile, because I have a gay friend like that. I'd be sitting in my living room talking with his hubby during a visit to my place, and suddenly realize his partner was in my kitchen cleaning the dishes, the countertops, the floor, etc.

    Now my place was never as bad as the apartment in the comedy film "Love at First Bite" --

    Woman as she invites Dracula into her apartment: "May I get you something?"
    Dracula: "A broom, perhaps." (it works best with a Bela Lugosi-like accent)

    But still, I reserve the right to maintain my kitchen in a more relaxed "lived-in" condition, neither a pig sty nor an operating room. I'd chase him out of there, despite the lost opportunity of free maid service, because I found it humiliating that my guests would find it necessary to clean my kitchen like it was some bio-hazard emergency.

    Aside from a few eccentricities like that, however, that couple remains among my best friends, even though we now live in different states. And I know his new state is the cleaner for him living there -- LOL!