Roommate situations are always a negotiation, even if they seem great from the outset. Nobody’s habits are going to exactly align with yours, and so each party is going to have to make compromises in order to make the relationship work.
Sometimes, though, you find yourself months in when a bad habit just completely overwhelms you, as Redditor OolongPeachTea did.
A roommate who seemed unable to just pick up a dish from the sink and watch it got under everybody’s skin and made an emotional mess.
After her reaction, our Redditor friend turned to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” to get feedback from objective strangers on her predicament:
“AITA for refusing to cook dinner if my roommate won’t do the dishes?”
Our original poster, or OP, took us back through her relationship with her roommate.
“So about 5 months ago I (29F[emale]) got a new place with two of my friends, let’s call them Todd(33M[ale]) and Jess(32F). The three of us split rent and utilities equally.”
“We all have a similar cleanliness level and a general rule of clean up after yourself. Everyone does their own laundry, keeps their bedrooms tidy, and the common spaces like the living room and kitchen get cleaned regularly by all of us. It’s a pretty decent situation that keeps everyone happy.”
“Now Todd is very vocal about hating cooking all around. He likes to eat but cant stand the act of actually making food.”
“So Jess and I made a deal with him, we will cook dinner if he does the dinner dishes. He agreed and loves that he can come home from work, crack a cold one, and put his feet up.”
“The issues in question occurred a few days ago. I made dinner for everyone, we ate dinner and watched TV together, the night came to a close and everyone went to bed.”
“The next morning Todd left for work, Jess left for work, and I got up to start my job (I work from home) only to realize the dishes had never been done. I figured he was just tired and didn’t have the energy to do them, no biggie.”
“So I put all the dishes nicely into the sink, and wiped down the counters while I was waiting for coffee to brew.”
Soon enough, however, Todd and OP clashed.
The day proceeds like normal, everyone gets home from work. Jess and I discuss what we will cook for dinner and realize that we need some of the dishes from the previous night.”
“We ask Todd if he will wash them and he grumbles saying how he’s had a long day and doesn’t want to be on his feet any longer.”
“I press him and say I’ve worked a full day and so had Jess but we are making dinner so he should do his part and wash the dishes for us.”
And it got out of hand.
“It turned into a big argument about how his work is harder than ours because he works outside on his feet all day while Jess gets to be in AC and I get to be home all day so I’m practically not working.”
“Everyone is still mad and I have refused to cook dinner for everyone if Todd doesn’t do the dishes anymore.”
“So Reddit, AITA for disrupting the balance of the house?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit agreed that OP was not at fault here.
“Your roommate is the AH. I’ve worked hard labor jobs and office jobs. Either way when someone offers to cook (I hate cooking) with the expectation that I clean, I JUMP on it.”
“I think cleaning up is such a sweet deal. Cooking is hard AF, cleaning is mind numbingly easy- just throw on music or a podcast and cruise through it. You are NTA at allllll.”-jack02554
“None of which requires you to cook for him. Or clean for him. This isn’t a marriage, where it would be reasonable to adjust (with agreement from both parties after a fair discussion) the at-home assignments to be in balance with the time and energy spent on paid work.”
“This is a house share arrangement. What kind of work each of you does, the location and conditions of said work, and the hours spent at work, are irrelevant to the breakdown of household responsibilities.”
“If you earned more than him, would you think it fair that you paid more rent and utilities? Of course not. That would make sense in a marriage, but not in a house share.”
“Just as you all contribute equally to rent based on how much of the house you get to use, not how much you earn, you should also be contributing equally to the household chores based on how much of those chores you create, not how much time and energy you have.”
“He eats therefore he should cook. He eats, therefore he contributes to the dirty dishes (including cooking equipment not just the dinner plate), therefore he should do the dishes.”
“If he were only eating at home one meal a week, then yes I would say he should only be cooking and doing the dishes once a week.”
“But if he’s eating at home as regularly as everyone else, then he should be cooking and doing dishes as much as everyone else does. NTA.”
“Also huge side eye to the only man in the house just simply hating cooking and somehow getting the women in the house to volunteer to do it for him, and then he escalates that to also get out of doing dishes.”
“What next; he convinces you it wouldn’t inconvenience you at all to throw his laundry in with yours? Do you and Jess really want to let him turn you both into housemate-wives?”-ReasonableFig2111
“There are physically hard jobs and mentally hard jobs. Both can be exhausting in different ways and leave you done at the end of the day.”
“The deal was he gets to eat without cooking, so he cleans. If he missed doing his part yesterday, he gets double duty today. NTA”-MamaCZond
“You didn’t tell him what job to get; you’re not his parent; there is absolutely no reason for you to take on responsibilities because he’s tired from (gasp!) working.”
“He can figure out his own meals if he doesn’t want to pitch in equally. Ramen is easy to make and easy to clean after.”
“And I’m pretty sure that if he lived with two dudes, he wouldn’t be expecting to be taken care of; I’m even more sure that two dudes wouldn’t feel obligated to take care of a random roommate just because that roommate wants to chill on the couch with beer after work.”-littlefiddle05
And most people agreed OP and her roommate had the hard job in the kitchen:
“Cooking is a lot harder than washing the damn dishes. He may have a ‘harder’ job but you would be completing the more difficult task at home in exchange for him having basic manners.”
“I was raised to know that if mom makes the dinner, the rest of us clean up after. NTA. And that was the agreement anyway so if he breaches it, the agreement is null and void”-Ask_Angi
“You had an agreement. Now he is just thinking of not doing his share at all because you would cook for him anyway.”
“You wash these dishes once, and he would see it as an acceptance of a new deal where you guys just cook & clean for him, end of story.”
“NTA obviously. Like Disney vs Scar Jo, doesn’t matter what the agreement was, and who works more or gets paid more, you have to honour the agreement.”-Merunit
“NTA. You all made an agreement, Todd didn’t hold up his end so neither should you. Simple as that.”
“I get that sometimes you’re just too tired to do stuff, but that is no excuse for Todd to be behaving that way. It seems like he’s just trying to get out of some of his share of work.”-trjr102
“NTA. What y’all do for work doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if he’s job is hopping on one foot for eight whole hours and he doesn’t want to spend another minute on his feet at home after that.”
“What matters is you pay rent and utilities equally and had agreed on the cooking/cleaning part and Todd broke the rule. If anything Todd is the one who’s disrupting the balance of the house.”-mr-nightsky
Regardless of how Todd’s day was, OP expects him to hold up his end of the deal:
“NTA. Sounds like Todd is the one that disrupted the balance.”
“If the arrangement no longer worked for him then he should have brought it up like an adult instead of just refusing to do the dishes like a child.”
“Sounds like everyone should make their own dinner and clean up after themselves (or you and Jess can have your own arrangement) and Todd can fend for himself.”-ShmamBo88
“NTA. Pretty clear deal, and it’s not dishes for the sake of dishes, it’s stuff you needed to cook him a meal. If he doesn’t want to do the dishes, he doesn’t get the meal. Simple.”
“I get being tired after a day’s physical work. That’s cool. If he wasn’t expecting someone else to do stuff for him, it would be entirely up to him whether he does the dishes/has a cooked meal or not, given his tiredness.”
“But if you want someone to do their part of the work, you gotta do yours. Cooking is longer on your feet than doing a few dishes, which he’d have to do if he made dinner himself, so he’d be coming out ahead if he just stuck to the established deal that he agreed to.”
“And as physical as anyone’s job might be, dishes from one dinner for three people is about ten minutes work. He can manage that, he just wanted to slack off.”-elsehwere
“NTA. Todd is going to have to cook for himself and clean up after himself now. Let him do that for a while and realize how much more difficult it is.”
“Let him know that if he’s ready, you’re happy to change back to the original plan. But do not back down on this.”
“Make yourself extremely beautiful meals while you are at it. Make yourself better meals than you’ve ever made before, and make them for everyone but him.”-Side-Fresh
“NTA, sounds like he got comfortable having two wife-roomates with no emotional obligation. A red flag should have been that he wanted to get home so he can ‘get a cold one and kick up his feet,’ translation: I wanna get home and do absolutely nothing.”
“Why did he agree to do dishes just to complain that he works harder? Why not mention that beforehand? Cus he wanted the benefit of meals without the need to keep his promise.”
“Don’t make him any food. If he doesn’t wanna do his part, don’t do yours.”
“Cook for you and Jess, leave his portion untouched so he can make it himself but not say you used up his food. Be fair to yourselves, he’s using you both.”-callinguoutcusucant
“NTA To be honest sounds like a great deal. The alternative is he goes back to cooking his own meals AND cleaning up after himself. I really don’t see his ‘end game’ here.”
“As for grumbling about differences in his job, if he doesn’t like it he can look for a new job.”
“What his job entails really doesn’t matter, as the only relevant point as far as the roommates are concerned is that it provides enough money for him to afford his portion of the rent.”-Judgemental_Panda
OP’s roommate has a sweet deal, so hopefully he doesn’t sour the pot by continuing to make a fuss about his position.
And hopefully the entire situation will pass sooner rather than later.