The Playbook For The Modern Man

Experts Explain How To ‘Deal’ When Your Partner Doesn’t Have Their Sh*t Together

Don’t be a manchild.

Is there anything quite as annoying than the painfully millenial term ‘adulting’? That’s not a dig at millenials specifically, just that f**king term. These affectations? So bloody played out. People should stop trying to make lacking life skills cute. It’s not cute.

And that’s the crux of this article: it’s not cute when your partner doesn’t have their sh*t together, so what do you do?

Triple J’s The Hook Up podcast reached out to A/Prof Leah Ruppanner from the University of Melbourne to dive deep into why many relationships have an imbalance where one partner does much more of the domestic heavy lifting than the other.

While it’s widely acknowledged that women spend more time physically doing housework than men, Ruppanner says we also need to consider the concept of ‘mental load’ – that is, the intellectual division of labour within a relationship.

That can be anything from organising holidays or chore schedules, remembering key dates or deadlines, and even just the mental toll of shouldering responsibilities more broadly. For example, it’s not enough to just to cook dinner. Creating a meal plan, a shopping list and considering people’s dietary preferences is all part of the hidden labour of making a meal.

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Of particular importance is how this ‘mental load’ is disproportionately shouldered by women in heterosexual relationships, Ruppanner explains. For example, one guest on the show shared how a sticking point in her last relationship was how her ex never did his own laundry, and if she didn’t do it, he’d just go out wearing dirty clothes. What a f**king manchild.

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This example is hardly unique, and many men are guilty of this sort of unacceptable behaviour. The big takeaway? Don’t let the burden of having to organise your sh*t to your partner. Women “don’t want to be anyone’s mum,” The Hook Up host Nat Tencic related. Don’t let your partner fall into burdening the mental load by default.

While men may be the worst offenders, women can still be guilty of not doing their fair share of the mental load too. Like always getting ready at the last minute or never putting out the rubbish…

Regardless of who you’re into or how much you have your sh*t together, the key to any successful, happy relationship is being considerate and able to compromise. Both parties need to be upfront and clear about their expectations. Things don’t have to be perfectly 50/50, either, as long as you’re both happy and you’ve had a conversation about it.

No-one’s perfect. Maybe your partner’s a bit messy or terrible with money, or are living out of home for the first time and not used to dealing with every aspect of managing a household. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing how to do something. Maybe their parents never taught them, for example. If your partner needs help learning how to do something, then teach them if you can, and be patient.

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But if they’re unwilling to learn, then consider if the relationship’s got legs. If they don’t respect you enough to even try to meet you halfway, why stick around? Even I can do a passable attempt at a hospital corner. Another guest on The Hook Up shared how her manchild partner also didn’t do his own laundry, but when she tried to teach him how to do it, he “wasn’t interested in learning”. Absolutely pathetic.

Treat yourself and your partner with respect by making sure you’re pulling your weight. And for God’s sake, don’t brag or complain about doing the basics. You’re not special. Shut up and smash an avo.

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