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Above and beyond the question of household responsibilities

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

Above and beyond the question of household responsibilities

Tucson: On dividing household responsibilities fairly: In general, I have found that the best way to divide responsibility is to work on a scheme that adds up to 150 percent, with both sides taking more responsibility than they think fair.

Absent that, just take responsibility for as much as necessary to put matters to rest — think of it as your share, plus a cut to world peace, pay it forward, gracias a la vida, whatever works for you, and enjoy the satisfaction of being free of bitterness and also the secret pleasure of being the one in control.

Works for me.

G: On dividing household responsibilities fairly, cont'd in perpetuity: To the uninitiated, "how messy she is" sounds like one of those things one can "learn to live with" given true love and commitment. The reality after 10 or 15 years is dramatically different, especially when life delivers items that increase the chores and lessen the time available to do them: kids, pets, house, yard, a job outside the home.

One person ends up assuming responsibility for endless work, the other does what they consider their fair share (in this case, mowing the lawn occasionally). One person is constantly picking up while the other complains about the general lack of order; one person does all of the cooking while the other complains about the inadequacy of meals or meal times and feels no responsibility to help with the dishes; one person tries to organize or even move shoes out of the walkway while the other complains about the "invasion of personal space," one person harbors growing resentment for being treated like a servant while the other feels growing resentment for being nagged about what they consider to be someone else's work. Both resent the other for being lazy and messy.

Ultimately it's not about the chores, but something no amount of love or commitment can survive. One person is self-involved and both are resentful because their needs are not being met. If it was just about the chores, you could simply get a maid, but the "me first" attitude negatively affects every part of daily living. It's so much bigger than whether they put the cap on the toothpaste.

Legitimate reasons for these calls to her working husband

Anonymous: On dealing with unwanted personal calls at work: What kind of jobs do these people have that they can take all these personal calls at work? In 20 years of marriage, I probably called my husband at work a dozen times; two I specifically remember were "I'm in labor" and "The house is on fire."

Understand that tormenters are tormented themselves

Anonymous: On expecting apologies from people who have tormented you: I find release when I realize what my tormenter must be feeling inside to need to torment me. Yes, it's making me miserable, but I can escape that misery simply by leaving them behind. They will be stuck with that misery inside them for the rest of their lives.

Then, to expect an apology from them is like awaiting an apology from a tree that falls on you.

Above and beyond the question of household responsibilities 01/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 1, 2010 3:30am]
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