Moving in with your partner is a really exciting time. Here you are, taking the next step in the relationship and starting a whole new life together. It’s romantic and fun, but it’s also the point where things start to get very real. That’s because along with all the amazing things about cohabitating comes all the practicalities of sharing a living space. Which, of course, also means you’re going to have to figure out how to divide up the housework. Which is why there are questions to ask your partner about chores that you’re going to want to hash out before you pick up the keys to your brand new place.
While chores may seem like a small unimportant thing before you move in together, they can easily turn into a point of contention once you begin settling into your new place. It can also become a source of a lot of friction if you are not on the same page about how you want your home to be, and who is responsible for what parts of keeping it that way. Over time, it will likely evolve and you’ll find your rhythm, but honestly you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and resentment by having the conversation before you move in and figure it all out first thing. So, if you’re about to move in with your boo, here are the questions you should ask about chores before you move on in.
1How important is a clean house to you?
The first thing you want to establish is if the two of you are on the same page about how clean you expect your home to be. Is one of you a neat freak and the other more relaxed? If so, now is the time to know how the other feels so that you can start working toward some compromise, and figure out how you are going to make sure that your place feels like a comfortable home to each of you.
2How do you feel housework should be divided?
No matter how neat or relaxed you expect your home to be, there will need to be some amount of housework required to maintain it. So, is that something that both of you feel like it should be divided equally? Or should one person be taking more of the lead in the the chores? Whatever the case may be for you and your partner, the real question is what division of work do each of you think is fair. By figuring this out upfront, it should help to prevent the resentment that comes from one person shouldering all the responsibility for the the housework without their prior consent. It’s all about setting realistic exceptions of labor.
3Which chores do you enjoy? And which do you hate?
When you’re splitting up the housework, a good place to start is by find out which chores each of you prefer. For example, I really hate dusting but I love doing laundry, and for my partner it’s the reverse, which make this a natural place for us to split up some of the chores. Of course, there will be some that you both dislike, or enjoy doing, so the key here is to take those tasks and divide them equally — or to whatever division of labor you’ve agreed upon together.
4How often do you think the house should be cleaned?
Some folks prefer to tidy up the house daily so they maintain a clean space, while others feel like they best way to tackle it is to have a chore day and knock it all out at once. Neither is right or wrong, but if you disagree on this tactic it can make for some serious frustration and friction. That said, it’s good to go into living together with open eyes on the topic. That way, if you are either side of tidying divide, you can start working out your compromise before any resentment kicks in.
5What is the best way to communicate with you about chores?
When you think of couples dealing with chores, it’s likely that the next thing that comes to mind is nagging. No one likes to be nagged, but you know what? Being the person nagging ain’t so fun either. Often times, this comes from simply not knowing how to communicate about chores and waiting until you are frustrated to finally bring it up. This makes communication a lot harder and more likely to come across as nagging. So, instead of waiting until you are irritated or there is a stack of things you just wish your partner would just do already, talk about how to best communicate about household tasks so that you can approach it in a way that is productive.
Chores may not be the most romantic topic or even really on your mind during the excitement of moving in with someone you love. It’s just one of those unavoidable realities of cohabitation. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be big deal if you are proactive about it and start working on compromises and communication styles right from the start. That way, you can focus on the good stuff about living together instead of whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher… again.
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