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Aster's avatar

Do most men do housework before marriage but none afterwards?

Asked by Aster (18756points) January 7th, 2012

What was going on crept up on me gradually. He cleaned and straightened up HIS house before we got married and I stupidly thought, “wow; this is great!” Then it abruptly stopped after we married and , although he fixes things and pays the bills, he acts terribly insulted and irritable if doing anything related to cleaning. I mean anything. So I’ve just let it slide while he complains, although not a lot, about disorder. Is this common? Or do most men do “nothing” but fix things after fifty? At forty five and single he did it all. I know; it’ll never change. But is it normal?

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49 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

My husband didn’t stop helping around the house when we got married, but after I quit working that changed. It makes sense that I take care of the house since I’m home, but I think he is so out of the habit now, that when I go back to work it will stay as it is now. Just a hunch.

judochop's avatar

It’s true. After marriage we become totally incapable of taking care of ourselves. We stop doing push ups and start eating sticks of butter in bowls that we push under the couch. Sometimes I clip my nails, well peel them is more like it and leave piles on the end tables, I know she’ll get it with a smirk and sigh and a little pet name cursing. Man, sometimes I knock over the honey on the shelf but I hate picking it up…. He’s all sticky! Thanks for being in the kitchen….I’m probably on the couch, asleep. I was tired from my nap. I’m hungry and none of these bowls under the couch have anymore butter. Oh, and can you please move these dirty nail clippings? I don’t have anywhere to set my 92oz. Soda.

janbb's avatar

Nope – my husband did his fair share always.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Ahhh but there is another possibility… As a single dope, I grew accustomed to having things my way with no challenge as to why I did. But when married, my way was always the wrong way, and it’s not so easy to change my way when I don’t think it’s wrong way for me.

For instance, putting the knives in the dishwasher… She put blades up for better cleaning. I put the blades down as not to cut my fingers (which I have). If asked, I say why… once. Men don’t typically repeat themselves. And though I know her why, she does still keep repeating it, as if to hypnotize me into submission. Some call it nagging. At some point, rather than continue the confrontation, I’ll just let her do it her way. And thus, I remove myself altogether from doing the dishes.

This goes on and on from the directional drape of the toilet paper on the roll (I drape away from the wall, she drapes towards the wall), I accept her way whenever I see it. But she’ll always complain about my way. It goes on and on right down to the manner in which I wind the chord on the vacuum cleaner, to the direction in which I scrub the shower tiles. I always did it wrong in her eyes.

If everything I do is wrong, then I’d rather not do it at all.

janbb's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I think that is a not uncommon dynamic. Some woman (myself included at times) try to control the way things are done and drive men off.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well you know it’s not much different than if I put a camera or hack saw in your hand… then explained how you’re using them wrong. But the difference is that I’ll say it once and then let you be to discover it for yourself. Some people (not just women) can’t do that. They’ll keep complaining and nagging until they get people to do things their way. My experience with these people is that even if I try, it’ll never be good enough.

SavoirFaire's avatar

He may be thinking that he cleaned his own place because no one else was going to, but now thinks he doesn’t have to do it anymore because someone else will. The division of labor is something that couples have to work out for themselves. I can’t cook, and my wife doesn’t like doing the dishes. My wife likes cooking, and I’m indifferent towards the dishes because I’ve been doing them since I was 10-years-old. We took the obvious solution here. You need to ask him what his assumptions about marriage were, tell him about yours, and work something out from there.

Charles's avatar

When I was a bachelor, I didn’t have to clean the crumbs off the floor. The ants took care of that for me.

Aster's avatar

@SavoirFaire knowing him and how long we’ve been together there is no way he would change. Your wife is very lucky that you do dishes, imo. He just fixed my computer about ten minutes ago. Then, of course, went on and on about how much money and grief he has saved me by fixing things. And, even though I am chained to doing most everything around here, I suppose there are some women who would love to have the home I have and the car I drive. That’s how I console myself, somewhat.
I will go take out the trash, 3 bags of trash, on my way to the store. ):

judochop's avatar

@Aster how is it not a working relationship? You keep things clean and he fixes all the broken things. Are you also fixing the broken things? Have you guys tried splitting up the chores and duties of the home? This seems incredibly biased and sexist and old school to me. I don’t think I have any male friends at all that are slobs. I’ve always thought of sloppy people on the outside to be sloppy people on the inside. I just don’t get this question. At first I thought it was a joke…How can any of you maintain a relationship that feels like uneven ground? Are you just venting for relation (misery loves company) or are you serious?

john65pennington's avatar

In our early years of marriage, my wife called me Mr. Fix It. Anything that needed fixing had my attention.

Now that I am retired, it takes a five alarm fire bell to get me to fix anything. Was it was because I just became lazy? No. I remember what my doctor told me on my last physical. He said, “listen to your body, it will tell you when to slow down in life”. This hit me when I turned 65 and my back really began to give me problems with scar tissue from four previous back surgeries. Its not that I do not want to continue to be Mr. Fixit, it’s just my body not wanting to act like it use to. I have a lot of back pain. I have never been a lazy person. My back will just not let me do the things I want and use to do, without the pain.

I think my wife understands this, but she is really not happy with it. Instead, I hire a handyman to make the repairs now.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Aster I do a lot of the laundry, too, as well as other cleaning tasks. Household chores are divided evenly between my wife and I for the most part. It’s good for you to remind yourself of what’s good in your life, but you do have a right to ask for a little help around the house.

@judochop In the average home, there’s a lot more to clean than to fix. Also, cleaning jobs are regular and recurring, whereas repair jobs typically are not. What seems biased and sexist to me is the notion that asking men to do a little housework is somehow insulting.

Aster's avatar

@judochop Did I say it wasn’t working? No; the subject of splitting up the chores has never been broached. He fixes things (not cars or appliances) and pays the bills and
I : do the laundry, all the cooking, dusting, vacuuming, most of the grocery shopping, feed/water the dogs, buy my own “stuff” and some of his. And now, I pay a housekeeper once a month. I was also trimming shrubs but stopped and he has stopped mowing. We hire someone on rare occasions for that. Joke? What joke? We do share taking out the trash. That amazes me.

Aster's avatar

@judochop I could not have said that better. “Cleaning jobs are regular and recurring, whereas repair jobs typically are not.” Perfect.

Aster's avatar

@john65pennington With back trouble you should not be vacuuming or mopping. But would it be painful to cook or load the dishwasher?

judochop's avatar

ew you people sure do get fired up easily.
I just think you should cal him out on it. Talk to him about, you know….Communicate? And if he still is not doing anything then stop doing it. Let it pile up so that he sees what you do.
@SavoirFaire Seems to me that when I owned a home there was plenty to be fixed and plenty of yardwork to be done on an almost daily basis but you are right, cleaning is on going and with help it never needs to be a big job.
The question just seemed very old school. Like my grandmother and grandfather. If dude is not doing something then call him out on his shit. The joke I was referring to is that I can’t believe there are still guys that just sit around and don’t help out just like I would never expect my partner to be stuck in the kitchen all day making three meals.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@judochop I don’t believe I was “fired up” at all. Just making a response like any other. But thank you for explaining what you thought the joke was. Quite the opposite of what most people would assume, I think.

Aster's avatar

@judochop oh, I’m sort of used to slavery by now. What was worse was doing all this and changing all the diapers and doing all the 2am feedings. Somehow I lived through it. Twice. Then came the transportation of older kids to their activities. whew!

john65pennington's avatar

Aster, believe it or not, I do unload the dishwasher and I help fold the clothes. Its the bending over and up and down in a chair that throws the scar tissue into a frenzy. Thank God for muscle relaxers and pain pills.

Aster's avatar

^^^^^^^ I think that’s very good, John. I can honestly say I have never once seen him fold anything.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Sometimes it feels like we can argue about anything around here.
@Aster I agree with those above, if this is bothering you, why not talk to him about it? “Used to it” or not, you’re both adults, there’s no reason you can’t discuss this. It doesn’t matter if it is housework or any other matter, no one likes to feel taken for granted.

Aster's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I don’t talk about it because I’ve known him for so long I know what he’ll say: “Uh-huh. And who bought that car you drive? Who paid for this house? Who bought your daughter a home? etc etc You will just have to deal with it.” Rude, huh?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Aster I suppose, but, maybe he feels the same way that you do. It sounds like the problem isn’t how the household is run, but that perhaps there should be more “thank you’s” being said, all around. But, what do I know?

Aster's avatar

I have to go to the store while he takes his second nap but I shall return !! Bye, guys!

digitalimpression's avatar

I clean house all the time and have been married for 13 years. If there’s a mess I can’t stand looking at it, so I try to defeat it before it becomes a raging, stench-filled, alien.

On the other hand, there are times where I’ve been at work for 14 hours straight and come home to a mess and I get a bit agitated that a mess has been sitting since the day before. Am I right to be agitated? Well, that’s a different discussion.

But yes, I do still clean the house. It’s a team effort isn’t it?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’ll share a quick story and then give some unsolicited advice as to how to git yir man enthused about helping out with cleaning without having to complain to him about it or even say a word.

Story… My grandfather had a hearing problem… a selective hearing problem. For some odd reason he could hear me just fine, but his hearing failed miserably when my grandmother spoke to him about something he needed to take care of around the house. This baffled many doctors and hearing loss specialists. State of the art hearing aids had no affect. I’m beginning to develop the same hearing problem with certain people in my life. Thank goodness I’ve got my grandfathers story to back up my inherited condition.

Now if you want to get your man to help out around the house, without saying a word, all you need to is to hit him where it hurts the worst. No, not in his belly or below the belt… Hit his pride… silently.

Just hire another man to come over and help out with some chores… right in front of your husband. Just call Rent a Husband and they’ll be very happy to take care of you. I’d wager a plucked chicken that your husband rises to the call of duty without you ever having to say a word to him about it.

HungryGuy's avatar

A few years ago, I was in a vanilla live-in relationship (unbelievable, eh?). We shared the cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. But food shopping was our bane.

In the summer, I hate being hot and sweaty. So after coming home from anywhere on a hot summer day, I’d always jump into the shower straight away.

So when we came back from market, I’d put the iced cream and fish and milk away first, but would leave the rest of the bags until after my shower. This drove her bonkers. So she grumbled about “having” to put the food away by herself.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The solution @RealEyesRealizeRealLies suggests is brilliant. Definitely worth trying.

Aster's avatar

@HungryGuy she sounds sort of demanding . LOL

Aster's avatar

I looked them up . Nothing about ordinary housekeeping . And they aren’t everywhere=yet.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If Rent a Husband doesn’t exist in your area, then a quick ad on Craigslist to Rent a Husband in the “handyman” section may dig up prospects.

And if they don’t advertise for “ordinary housecleaning”, that doesn’t mean you can request such a thing from them. After all, that’s what you’re requesting from hubby anyway.

Aster's avatar

This is true. I mentioned it to him and he sounded annoyed. lol

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh… well mentioning it beforehand takes away half the effectiveness of the plot. Now you’ll have to rent two husbands simultaneously in order to get your point across.

Aster's avatar

^^^^^^^^^ HAHA!!!

judochop's avatar

My SO gets on me from time to time and claims that I do not help as much as she would like. I sometimes see it and sometimes I feel her claims are outrageous. I am a deep cleaner. Much of my cleaning I feel goes unnoticed yet I do it frequently. For example, instead of just running the vacuum, I vacuum the baseboards and window sills and pull the attachments out and get between the couch cushions. When I clean the bathroom I clean between the tiles. Granted, my cleaning is not as often as hers but I do more than just the surface so I feel it unnecessary to clean with the frequencies that she does. I also, make the bed on a daily basis, I for the most part keep the dishes out of the sink and in to the dishwasher. There is plenty that I will admit to that she does more of and the number one being laundry. I dislike laundry so much that when I had a great job, I sometimes would just buy new clothes and give the old ones away. I will do it but I’d rather hit the laundry mat and do ten loads at once.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Hmmn… I think they’re messier on their own than when coupled, at least the ones I’ve known.

If he pays all the bills, would he object to you bringing in a cleaning person at least once a month to give the floors, tubs/showers and windows a good going over? Does he like dry cleaning? My husband says he’d rather pay for dry cleaning than for me to waste time ironing or worse, not ironing and him having no ironed shirts for work so he has to do it himself! Stash some money girl and give yourself a break.

FutureMemory's avatar

Are both of you employed? If he works and you stay home, I would think it normal that you do more than him when it comes to housework. What am I missing?

Aster's avatar

Both retired for many years.

Aster's avatar

@Neizvestnaya we now have a lady come in once a month. This does nothing for the day to day dishes, clutter and laundry.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Aster: Have you asked him to help you as you cook (assuming you’re also doing most of it) or to carry dishes to the kitchen and help clean? If I don’t ask, my husband will do very little but not out of meanness, he just doesn’t think of this stuff, would rather not think of it but he will get going if I ask him to grab this or that, unload this, hang up that. I like clean but get angry to do it myself and so end up letting things go until I can’t stand it and then the two of us run around like kids, trying to fix up to end the TENSION. I swear, it’s taken me near 3yrs to get comfortable asking for help up front rather than waiting until I’m fed up. Ask, ask, ask.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Aster Both retired for many years.

Well now, that changes everything. You really need to tell him how you feel. Who does he think you are, his personal maid? He needs a reminder that you’re his wife, not his mother.

Unfortunately, this seems to be very typical for men of his generation.

Aster's avatar

I understand, @FutureMemory , but he thinks he’s my personal accountant and Mr Fix It.

keobooks's avatar

My husband comes by his housecleaning laziness honestly. He never cleaned up before we got married—or before he met me as far as I can tell. He’s a natural born slob on that matter. I used to never clean up either and we didn’t care about messes.

The trouble now is that we have a toddler. I HAVE to clean up now to keep her from eating stuff or getting into things. Now I have to deal with the fact that my husband and I were devoted to lifelong slobbery and we make messes really fast—and getting him to help clean is almost as hard as convincing myself to clean.

augustlan's avatar

Even when I was a stay-at-home mom, my husband(s) helped out. In my current marriage, he probably does more than I do. I think it just depends on the guy.

Aster's avatar

Well, I wasn’t asking about clutter; just cleaning. I have a lot of clutter in some rooms and none in others. The worst that is my fault is this desk. I have 2 lightbulbs on it for some reason, postcard Christmas cards from relatives, almost a dozen bottles of various vitamins, a pack of printer paper, a half eaten bag of Poppycock, the newspaper ad for the week’s grocery special, a small bag of dogfood, a pair of scissors and assorted crapola and I don’t know why, really. One reason may be that my last desk had 2 file drawers but this only has one and the center drawer is packed with pens, checkbooks, moisturizer…I just don’t know what to do with it all. Maybe I want it out so I can see everything as a security blanket. It’s sloppy. Like his lamp table which looks like a cross between a pharmacy and a trashcan. lol

linguaphile's avatar

I just found this thread… not sure how I missed it.

I couldn’t care less about how something’s done, just that it gets done well and nothing’s destroyed.

I didn’t have the problem of my ex not helping, but being very “helpful.” The ex used to “help” with the laundry and almost every time, he would ruin something- he would shrink, tear, bleach, mix colors, or over-dry. I lost many cherished articles of clothing this way. He also accidentally broke dishes or warped silverware while doing the dishes, and while cooking, used metal on the teflon cookware until it looked like a cat shredded it. He cooked food my doctor said I shouldn’t eat, or was allergic to for the family dinners. There are so many more like this.

If I tried to do all of these myself, he would complain that I was devaluing his role in the family. Then, each time I asked for it to be done differently, in a way that nothing got destroyed, he would complain, “You don’t appreciate what I do.” I struggled with this for the longest time until I was almost convinced that I was just being a selfish, thankless hag, should suck it up and accept his “help.” It got to where he ruined my family heirlooms and I was so numb I had no reaction. I didn’t want to be that ‘unappreciative wife.’

My question to the collective is—where’s the balance? Where is the line between a nagging, unappreciative, unnecessarily critical spouse and a spouse who isn’t getting their needs met? Where’s the line between toilet roll issues and ruined clothes?

It seems to me like Aster is not just asking for help from her husband—she’s asking for respect for what she does do without having to check the tally chart first.

Aster's avatar

He ruined your family heirlooms?? OMG; that is too much!
I have never wanted anyone to wash clothes. Hate the thought of it.

augustlan's avatar

@linguaphile Honestly, I’d have to wonder if your ex wasn’t just being very passive aggressive. It almost sounds like he set it up (deliberately or subconsciously) to go that way!

linguaphile's avatar

@augustlan Might be so—but it’s really nifty and easy to blame the woman for being a nag—sometimes it’s true that she’s a nag but sometimes not. I often wonder how much the conflicts over housework, cooking, laundry, cleaning and toilet paper direction really are symptoms of a bigger problem, not the problem. I know in my case that was true.

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