Yesterday I found myself reliving a scenario common to just about any romantic couple living together. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in this position, so while it didn’t come as a complete surprise, I was still unsettled that it would come so soon after we’d moved in. After discussions he instigated that Sunday afternoon would be our day of doing chores and cleaning the house, I found myself left with the Lysol bottle while he disappeared to the computer.
I tried to fight any negative emotions that bubbled up as I scrubbed the kitchen sink, after washing the dishes. He had told me he’d take care of the kitchen if I took care of the other stuff. Yet as soon as we’d finished the lunch he’d doled out, he leaped from the room, down the long hallway, out of sight and out of reach.
I knew what he was up to. Earlier, after we’d come back from the gym, he’d told up me about this character he wanted to fashion in the last epic video game he promised himself he would play before retiring. While we were eating, he had put up the podcast we enjoy listening to—except while the speakers had my rapt attention, the boyfriend was panning through character descriptions from other video games for various attributes and powers that would fit his ultimate warrior. I asked him a question about the podcast, and he had no idea what I was talking about, so immersed in this other world was he.
With a kitchen full of dirty dishes and counters begging to be wiped down, I set to work. “Why do I get grime-scrubbing duty while he gets to play video games,” I asked myself.
“Because he doesn’t notice the grime,” I answered myself. Or after years of bachelorhood, he’s learned to overlook the grime for much longer than I care to.
It’s not as if I hadn’t been forewarned. There are some things that my man is very good at, such as moving heavy things, reaching things at heights I can’t reach and he’s great at retrieving things for me when I am in the middle of something. And he takes care of his laundry, does most of the cooking and usually he will do his share of the dishes—though it may take longer for him to get to them than I’d like. He’s repeatedly told me he’s good at taking directions if I request help, though there are some things he won’t/can’t do well.
Yet as I found myself scrubbing down the bathroom and putting his forgotten laundry into the dryer, I couldn’t help having a smidgen of that old feeling of resentment. I know I shouldn’t. Right now, he’s financially responsible for everything, which I hope to fix very, very soon. Yet I remember old relationships where “We need to clean” always turned into me cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, buying groceries, etc.
I’m doing my best to remind myself that this relationship is very different from ones of my past. We have a loving partnership, in which he is very much invested in all ways. I know he will do his best not to take me for granted, as I will do everything I can to show my appreciation for all he does. Most of all, I have to remember that this wonderful man and I can communicate better than I ever believed possible for me in a romantic relationship. If I need help or need to see some signs he is pitching in elsewhere, I don’t have to be afraid to just ask.