We should all be able to agree that living together with someone means sharing the responsibilities of the home they’re sharing.
But some people just really do not want to chip in, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Choresforpay was happy to invite their partner to live in their home, as long as they could work out a system of who was contributing financially and who was performing other tasks.
But when their partner accused them of treating them like a servant, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to think.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my partner they can only quit their job if they do 40 hours of chores each week?”
The OP’s partner recently made a request regarding their relationship.
“I (35) own my house outright thanks to an inheritance from my grandparents.”
“My partner (34) hates their job, and we’re thinking of them moving in with me once their lease is up.”
“My partner asked if, after they moved in, they could quit their job to reduce the amount of stress they’re under.”
“It would be very easy for me to support both of us, especially without rent/mortgage, and would allow them to either find a different job or do something they enjoy. I do enjoy my work, so I’m happy to keep working.”
The OP wanted something in exchange for the new arrangement.
“I told them sure, but in exchange, they would have to do 40 hours of chores.”
“I said if there were one or two chores they absolutely hated, I wouldn’t mind taking care of those, but since we had no pets or children and have no plans on getting any, it should be easy for them to take care of the rest of the chores by themself.”
“That way, we can both relax at the end of the day in a clean house.”
The OP thought it was a pretty foolproof plan.
“Besides, I honestly don’t think there are even 40 hours of chores to do. I keep the house relatively clean by myself, and with a roomba that runs daily, the only daily chore would be cooking and dishes.”
“Laundry is once every week or two depending on how much we would make, bathrooms would be once every two weeks, dusting once a week, taking out the trash once a week, etc. I pay a company to take care of the yard.”
“The house isn’t a mansion, and I’m able to get these chores done on my free days, so it should be more than easy to break up the chore list to one or two tasks a day, get everything done during the week, and still have plenty of time to relax the rest of the day.”
“Of course, if they got a new job, I’d be happy to split things evenly.”
The OP clarified a few points about their discussion.
“They are not planning on looking for a new job. They will only be getting a job if something really interests them, but ideally, they want to not work at all since they have hated every job they have ever had.”
“I’m fine with this, since I love my job and I am happy working, but understand they are not the same and would be happier not working.”
“Ideally they would find something else to bring them joy. I’m happy to take care of things while they find happiness.”
“And it was made clear when we talked that I would pay for everything, too. Rent, bills, fun money, etc.”
The OP’s partner did not take this arrangement well.
“They threw a fit, saying I just wanted them to be my servant, and that chores should be split equally.”
“I normally agree, but if one person is just hanging out all day and the other works, the person hanging out all day should do more of the house care, so that the division of labor to actually run a home is more equal.”
“I said if they didn’t want to do the chores, we could keep them split, but they would have to keep working, as well. I wouldn’t pay for them.”
“This upset them even more, and now they’re giving me the cold shoulder.”
“Am I the a**hole here?”
Some thought the OP’s idea was totally fair.
“This is what a SAHP (P for partner) DOES. The earning partner works 40 (or more) hours to support the family, and the SAH does the housework. It’s a division of labor.”
“When the earning partner is at work, the SAH IS ALSO AT WORK, and they must do as much of the housework as is possible during that time, with reasonable breaks and meals.”
“This is ABSOLUTELY how this works. Otherwise, you’re being taken advantage of: you’re sharing housework, but ONLY YOU are contributing financially. It’s reasonable to refuse to support someone financially if they refuse to support you with housework.”
“But this is a red flag, OP. Don’t move them in, and reconsider this relationship, because they are making it clear what they want the future to be.” – JadieJang
“NTA, assuming what you mean is that they’d be expected to tackle all of the chores, not necessarily 40 hours’ worth (as you mentioned, I doubt there would be enough chores to fill those 40 hours).”
“You’re allowed and wise to set expectations before having your partner move in with you, and these are very reasonable expectations.” – finkplamingoes
“NTA, that is absolutely fair that the person who isn’t bringing home the paycheck to pick up most of the housework.” – Oadspo
“NTA. If your partner is just going to be sitting around the house, not working, what is s/he contributing to the relationship?”
“When they said, ‘You just want me to be your servant,’ I hope you retorted, ‘You just want to use me for my money.'” – He_Who_Is_Right_
“NTA at all. Funny how they can’t save money and quit, or find another job while still working. This only came up once they are moved in with you?! It will be a lot harder to get them out once moved in.”
“Good for you for having boundaries.” – Foronceinmylifetaken
“But the point of living together as partners is to BOTH contribute in meaningful and substantial ways to the household. If one is and one is not it sets a beautiful stage for resentment.”
“Perhaps your partner would consider getting a part-time job doing something that they like vs something that they hate. Or perhaps enrolling in coursework and changing careers.”
“Either way, you are no more looking for a servant than looking for someone that wants to make constant withdrawals and zero deposits.”
“Good luck!” – stinstin555
Others didn’t totally disagree, but they didn’t like how the OP phrased the idea.
“You shouldn’t have said 40 hours, that’s the a**hole part of this.”
“You should have just told them, ‘Sure, just take care of the chores.’ Saying 40 hours of chores makes it sound like you want them to work for you rather than take time off to unwind and relax before looking for other work.” – EarNo2652
“I think he got mad for the weird way you told him to do the chores. 40 hours a week is weird and not how grownups have this conversation.” – Solid_Quote9133
“YTA. People in the normal world don’t work their entire 40-hour work week just for rent.” – Hot-Specialist-6824
“ESH, but you are a greater AH than your partner.”
“Their capacity is currently diminished from stress, and they need to devote time and energy to searching for a new job. You did not consider these crucial issues before making your pronouncement, and this gives the impression that you are more about yourself than your partner. Not cool.”
“Although they didn’t say this, I suspect that part of the reason they got upset is because you asked for more than they can reasonably give.”
“For their part, I think they should have offered to take on a somewhat greater-than-half share of the chores because they will have a bit more free time than you, but probably not as much as you think.” – cpagali
“YTA for the way you phrased it. Instead of nicely saying, ‘Okay, but the compromise is that if I bring in all the finances, you have to do all the chores,’ you implied they were taking advantage of you and needed to put at least the same amount of work in as you do.”
“Expecting them to take care of the chores is reasonable, but making it seem like it should be equivalent to a full-time job is ridiculous.”
“You sound like you’re not actually ok with supporting them fully. That would of course be fine, but then be honest about it.”
“The way you turned this into the chores need to be a full-time job, or otherwise you’re not contributing enough, doesn’t give me much hope for the way you’re gonna feel about being the sole income. Are you sure you’d be ok with this?” – just_arandomusername
While the subReddit thought the OP could have communicated their idea better to their partner, since they clearly didn’t mean for their partner to literally clean their home for 40 hours per week, they did agree that an equal distribution of contributions to the home was only fair.
As long as the OP was comfortable contributing to the home, bills, and their partner financially, it only stood to reason that their partner would contribute in some other way, whether that was by cleaning their house, cooking, or completing some other vital task.