Britt, you really got me with this article. I read it, tried to start doing something else, but had to come back and put in my response.
Firstly, I feel your pain. You are frustrated, overworked, underappreciated, and feel lonely, when it comes to the journey of making your house a home or keeping it that way.
One thing I want to ask, and I ask with so much love, is what is your responsibility in this situation?
You say you do not want to be your partner’s mother, but all I see you do is mothering him. Providing him snacks, at close proximity, when you think he’s stressed or working. Repeating meals, you think he liked, to provide him happiness. Picking up his shit and putting it away, though no one asked you to.
You say your partner is a feminist, he sound very smarts and well educated, so I do not think he is beneath understanding what shared responsibility is.
I wonder, is there something to be gained by being the household martyr?
Do not hang me out to dry, just yet, hear me out. Sometimes, we hold onto shitty situations just so we can lament about them. There are usually really clear, simple solutions to the problem, but sometimes, festering in our own shit is so damn fun to do. I am guilty of it a million times over.
You say you do not want to be the one who notices, but you also did say your partner did tell you to tell him what to do. Let’s put his money where his mouth his shall we? If he is truly your love and respects you, one day, expend the energy, you usually spend mothering him, in creating a chore list, for both of you. What each of you does on each day of the week and rotate who cooks dinner.
If he is not as good at noticing what needs to be done, as his partner, help him to notice, rather than doing the job for him. Feed a man fish, versus teaching him how to fish situation.
Please, before you tell me he cannot cook, everyone can cook. If his dinners start out as toast and scrambled eggs for dinner, so be it. I do not want to hear this bullshit that adults do not know how to cook.
I also hear a lot of need for perfectionism in your story. Perfect dinners, doting wife, immaculately clean house, there is always room for self analysis when we are complaining about our partners.
You need to understand that it takes two hands to clap. The very situation you seem to disdain you are allowing to thrive and grow.
I am in a heterosexual relationship as well. My partner has a love for video games, as well, but he is my partner. Not my leader, I am a primary in my own life.
Why are you making yourself secondary? And why are you killing yourself with these fancy ass meals, when you are clearly burnt out?
Your partner sounds like he sits on his throne, in his boxers, playing video games all day and you feed him sparkling water through a straw.
Sometimes, we are so use to a situation and person, saying that we love them, that we do not really question what we expect in our loving relationships. You teach people how they can treat you and you have taught your husband that he does not have to do anything and you will silently, maybe passive aggressively, do everything yourself. So why should he change? The game is rigged in his favour right now.
I apologize if I am being harsh, I am really trying to show you that your life is your responsibility. You have the power to change every single thing you do not like about your life. If you know he does not notice the things which need to get done in the house, help him start noticing, rather than doing everything for him.
Help him become the partner you need. For example, my partner is notorious for leaving his shoes scattered all over the foyer. I hate it, but I do not pick them up. I spoke to him about it, clearly explained my need, he agreed to correct this situation and when he forgets, I tell him to go put his shoes away. Super silly example, but it works; he is now conditioned to put his shoes away when he walks through the door.
The other option I could have said was that he is not a ‘noticer’ and he will never change, so I am forever doomed to pick up smelly sneakers and put them in the closet when I get home. Let’s be serious; everyone has the power to change, especially if it is for the love of their life. If he respects you, he will change.
You can even start slow. Today, tell him to no longer throw his jackets wherever, when he comes home he needs to hang them up, period. Then, maybe later this week, tell him before video game time he must clean the kitchen. If you made the dinner, he has to clean the kitchen, every night. Another problem solved. Let him know you are doing this too, so he is not bombarded with this whole new you, but there can be a whole new you, if you want that freedom.
It is scary to get your free time back because then you have to do something with it. That promotion you overlooked? Now you had an excuse as to why you turned it down, but what if you did not have your partner to blame? Do you see how we sometimes love our shitty situations because it is the only thing we focus on, but if it went away, we would have to take a good hard look at ourselves and how we are letting ourselves down.
Take back your power, do not worry about upsetting the household because it sounds like you two are very much in love. I really do hope you do not spend your entire marriage in this ‘woe is me’ situation because there is no medal for being a martyr.
When you die, there is not prize for overlooking your own opportunities to pick up the dirty socks and make the chicken cordon bleu for your partner; you made the sacrifice which suited you.
I feel for you, but I also hope my write up here slightly angered you because anger can be a great catalyst. Prove me wrong! Show me that you two are actually soulmates and he, being the feminist and loving partner you assure me he is, should be more than happy to start being a partner in your household, instead of owning all of your time and energy in the household.
I hope to read an article in six months to a year about how you created a home of love, respect and shared responsibility.