Do You Really Have to Split the Housework in Half?

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About Neil Keifer

Neil Keifer has a penchant for relationship psychology. He enjoys sharing his insights on various relationship and lifestyle blogs. Visit DatingWebsite.com for more relationship advice.

Comments

  1. I disagree, I think strict gender roles are like a job itself rather than a modern relationship where there is flexibility

  2. The June Cleaver model looks more like a business arrangement to me.

  3. JoAnne Dietrich says:

    Strict gender roles stay in the 50′s. The purpose of these roles were used to oppress women. I am happy things have changed.

    • Please, do elaborate on this rather hateful assertion. How were gender roles used to oppress women (and do note this article before you say something you’ll regret http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/two-vets-die-in-accident-after-pushing-wives-to-safety/)

      • It’s interesting since a lot of men died in the 40′s especially, and the 50′s too…

      • How is this hateful? Women were subjected to reproductive roles in society and it did make us unable to join the workforce and be independent. This is not hateful, it is the truth. That’s like saying that people who point out that racism is wrong are being hateful. You comment is unfair :P

        • It glosses over the oppression men faced too, like I dunno…war, conscription? The lucky lottery that women didn’t get involved with?

        • To suggest that gender roles had a purpose of oppressing women begs the question, who’s purpose? Who designed them in such a way? Of course, those called on it will often use plausible deniability regarding the clear implications regarding the answer. This is often accompanied by the claim “the patriarchy hurts men too”… but if that were actually believed and accepted, then wouldn’t that mean men were oppressed by their gender roles too? And if THAT’s the case, then what is the purpose of oppression via gender roles if everyone is oppressed?

          So ultimately, the statement is ether claiming men oppressed women (a rather hateful assertion) or else men are also oppressed, but not worth bothering to include in the statement.

  4. Actually this study sounds weird to me, because most of the studies have shown opposite – couples who share the housework, are less likely to get divorced nowadays.

    We can also ask, whether traditional roles really connect with happiness – what if this “traditional” couples don’t split up because they also believe that once you get married, you stay married (no matter are you really happy in a marriage or not)

    As a woman I couldn’t imagine I was happy in relation where I would be cleaning and cooking. What guy even has to do nowadays at home, if he only does traditional menwork? The things don’t have to be fixed so often, but you must clean and cook food every day. The best thing about my man is that he can cook and clean, and I love him because of that.

    • JoAnne Dietrich says:

      Susanna, I agree with you. Women are much happier when they are equal partners in a marriage. I also agree that traditional “men’s work” is less time consuming. Most women who work outside the home are very happy having careers.

      • Traditional men’s work such as yard work is less time consuming but in a place like Northern Australia it’s FAR MORE energy consuming. Cooking, cleaning inside an air conditioned house for 3 hours is nothing compared to mowing a lawn for 1 hour in summer here. I’ve done both and I can tell you that I am dripping with sweat 10 minutes into the mowing and after 1 hour I am exhausted from heat but inside I barely break a sweat n go for hours.

        Comparing housework by hours alone is pointless n stupid, every job has differing levels of comfort, energy usage n time. Even worksite jobs differ, a roofer working on houses with up to 50 degree celcius heat will be working far harder than someone in an office, an hour on that roof will drain more energy than a full day’s work in an office probably.

        The way it went in my parents home was that both mum n dad cleaned, cooked, but dad did the outside work as well whilst mum did more of the childcare. I’d say both put in equal effort, though dad may have had less time the climate n heat, energy output outweighed that time difference not to mention skin cancer risk, sunburn, potential for getting bitten by a snake (if you live in more remote areas), etc. Hell I live in a suburban area n had a taipan slither past 1 meter from me, one of the top 3 most deadly AND aggressive snakes out there. I don’t face the threat of taipans cleaning the house but if I am cleaning the yard I have to be cautious.

  5. What this piece fails to acknowledge is correlation vs. causation. I think that the “modern couple,” where the woman has achieved education that is likely equal to her spouse, is not inherently unhappy because the woman is no longer dependent on her husband. It probably has more to do with the fact that she is more aware of her value as a human being and can call her husband out on patriarchal shit if he ascribes to antiquated gender roles. Wanting to be equal doesn’t take any love out of the relationship–it can actually add a whole new level of compassion–and does not morph the marriage into a business transaction. Removing yourself from the emotional needs of your spouse (including their desire to be treated as an equal) is what turns it into a business relationship.

  6. The lower divorce rate could be totally epiphenomenological– religions and age are also correlates to gender roles, attitudes toward housework, and propensity for divorce that might impacting BOTH the divorce rate and division of household chores simultaneously.

  7. There is no such thing as split housework. You have to factor in the time, amount of effort and strengths of the partners, there will always be one partner doing more than the other.

  8. Sedeer El-Showk says:

    Why should this relate to traditional gender roles? Even if the traditional bread-winner/bread-maker division makes for a better relationship, there’s no reason those roles have to be assigned according to the traditional gender dynamic. Wouldn’t a working wife and a househusband also enjoy the benefits suggested by the study?

  9. When both parents are working professionals, you need help at home….a babysitter can also relieve the pressures of trying to do it all and also be a confidante and marriage counselor! However, during the recent Sandy storm, I was home alone with 2 kids and constantly cooking and cleaning in a dark and cold house with cold running water! It was not exactly “Little House on the Prairie”, but now I get why so much of the narrative revolved around description of household chores!

  10. The results may be positively correlated because people who assume traditional gender roles are more likely to stay in a marriage because of sense of duty. Positive correlations only mean that it was statistically significant, but they don’t get the the “why”.

  11. The ONLY quoted study (despite the plural in the title) specifically discusses the fact that the researchers believe that the attempt at equality is NOT the cause of the splits – as other commenters have mentioned correlation doesn’t imply causation.

    My guess? When a man attempts to break traditional gender roles he feels entitled to additional praise for being willing to do stuff he’s not “supposed” to. We’ve all seen the studies that show men overestimate the share of housework they do. (I’m definitely guilty of this myself… I do all the cooking in our family and sometimes feel resentful if my wife doesn’t do the dishes… despite the fact that I never clean the bathroom…)

    The way to make it work I think is not to worry about what’s “fair” or “right”, but for both partners to be honestly focused on serving and supporting each other. Then you don’t have to worry about a 50/50 split or “traditional” roles… Do what works, and check in from time to time to make sure it is really working for the other person! True good faith in each other always wins.

    • “My guess? When a man…”

      Ever consider that men having blame heaped on the constantly, from every direction, and the hit to the self esteem, the sense of identity, etc, plays a part? Ever consider the stress of the wife taking on too much, by not actually relinquishing control over some things can lead to the problem? Ever wonder why men ask for the approval? Ever notice that, even when a man is responsible for a task, it must be done to the woman’s satisfaction? Could that not explain the seeking of praise? Could that not explain women taking on too much? Nobody can have it all all at once. men know this, women have been told otherwise. But when women try and fail, men get blamed for that too, just like you’re doing.

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