Carolyn Hax: Why does the cleaning partner get the extra household?

Carolyn Hax: Why does the cleaning partner get the extra household?

Carolyn Hax: Why does the cleaning partner get the extra household?

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Caroline: Explain again why the person with the higher standards should always do the job. My partner, P, does not clean up the kitchen according to what I consider basic standards; they put the jars and leave out spices and herbs that I may have forgotten to put away, and they don’t wipe the counter or stove. When P cooks, they leave things out, including food wrappers. (The trash is there!!!) I feel like I’ll be cleaning for two or three days when it’s my turn to make sure we don’t get bugs.

I said I want them to put clothes in the laundry basket, and P said I should “just let it go” and that they don’t say anything about what [I do] that irritates them.”

I’m not a neat freak, and I try to be patient, but I get very angry that if I want a quiet, clean space, it’s always my job. Worse, if it’s important to them, like if they want a clean, uncluttered background for Zoom meetings, they’ll do it, but they won’t help with what’s important to me, like cleaning out the bookshelf where they put things. stacking that shows in MY Zoom meetings.

I can’t be the only one facing this. How can I get them to help maintain standards that may be a little higher than what they want, but less than I want?

Higher standards: The person with the higher standards should always do the job if they are not willing to leave it undone if the other refuses to do it.

Note that this is all fact, not honesty.

If you want to delve into the issue of fairness, you master those facts too — just because you can ask other people to do things (you probably have that a lot), but you can’t make them do anything.

So the facts you need to manage are:

1. If you’re going to live with P, you have to accept that it’s unfair to do more to keep things as clean as you want them to be.

2. If you want both honesty and a quiet, clean space, you will have to live alone or with another partner.

Obviously you don’t like that math or you would have already left — or learned to embrace the extra cleaning as a price you’re happy to pay for P’s company or other contributions.

The only way to get around the bad honesty math is if there is a chore or area of ​​chores that your partner does well, willingly or out of necessity. If you have that to work with, then you can push all that to P’s side of the ledger.

A word of warning: if you have a slop box where you dump all the stuff P doesn’t pick up, and cook your own meals, and do your own laundry and leave them to theirs, that’s effective — but also a step off the door.

Re: Cleaning Meanie: Have you noticed that when you’ve “forgot to put away” herbs, it’s innocent forgetfulness, but if it’s your partner doing it, it’s negligence / meanness / laziness? It might be worth giving your partner the same benefit of the doubt that you give yourself.

Anonymously: Search for “fundamental attribution error” for more information on this. Thank you. But it only works if the frequency of each partner’s “forgetfulness” incidents roughly matches.