5 Questions To Ask Your Partner About Chores Before You Agree To Live Together
Moving in with your partner is a really exciting step. Here you are, making progress in your relationship and starting a whole new life together! It's romantic and fun, but it can also feel like the point where things start to get very real between you two. That’s because, along with all the amazing things about cohabiting come all the practicalities of sharing a living space. Which, of course, also means you're going to have to figure out how to divide up the housework. There are several questions to ask your partner about chores that you're going to want to hash out before you pick up the keys to your brand new place, because trust, you'll be so much better off if you make sure you're on the same page.
While chores may seem like a small, unimportant thing before you move in together, they can easily turn into a point of contention once you begin settling into your new place. Chores can also become a source of a lot of friction if you're not on the same page about how tidy you want to keep your home, and who's responsible for what parts of keeping it that way. Over time, the way you divvy up chores will likely evolve with compromise and understanding, and eventually, you'll find your rhythm. But you'll save yourself a lot of stress and resentment by having the conversation before you move in, and at least try to figure out a temporary chores arrangement. So, if you're about to move in with your boo, here are the questions you should ask about chores before you move on in.
1. How important is a clean house to you?
The first thing you want to establish is how clean you expect your home to be. Is one of you a neat freak and the other more relaxed? If so, now is the time to know how the other feels so that you can start working toward some compromise and figure out how you're going to make sure your place feels comfortable to each of you.
2. How do you feel housework should be divided?
No matter how neat or relaxed you expect your home to be, there is a decent amount of housework required to maintain it. So, is that something that both of you feel should be divided equally? Or should one person be taking more of the lead in the chores? Whatever the case may be for you and your partner, the real question is: What division of work do each of you think is fair? By figuring this out upfront, it should help to prevent the resentment that comes from one person shouldering all the responsibility for the housework without their prior consent. It’s all about setting realistic exceptions of labor.
3. Which chores do you enjoy, and which do you hate?
When you’re splitting up the housework, a good place to start is by finding out which chores each of you prefers. For example, I really hate dusting, but I love doing laundry, and for my partner, it’s the reverse. This makes for a natural place for us to split up some of the chores. Of course, there will be some chores that you both dislike, and potentially some chores that you both enjoy doing, so the key here is to take those tasks and divide them equally.
4. How often do you think the house should be cleaned?
Some folks prefer to tidy up the house daily so they maintain a clean space, while others feel like the best way to tackle it is to have a chore day and knock it all out at once. Neither is right or wrong, but if you disagree on this, it can make for some serious frustration and friction. That said, it’s good to go into living together with open eyes on the topic. That way, if you are on opposite sides of tidying divide, you can start working out your compromise before any resentment kicks in.
5. What is the best way to communicate with you about chores?
When you think of couples dealing with chores, it's likely that the next thing that comes to mind is nagging. No one likes to be nagged, but you know what? Being the person nagging ain’t so fun either. Oftentimes, this comes from simply not knowing how to communicate about chores and waiting until you're frustrated to finally bring it up. This makes communication a lot harder and more likely to come across as nagging. So, instead of waiting until you're irritated or there's a stack of things you just wish your partner would do already, talk about how to best communicate about household tasks so that you can approach it in a productive way.
Chores may not be the most romantic topic or even really on your mind during the excitement of moving in with someone you love, but it's one of the unavoidable realities of cohabitation. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be big deal if you're proactive about it and start working on compromises and communication styles right from the start. That way, you can focus on the good stuff about living together instead of whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher... again.