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Impact of dividing household labor on coexisting with your significant other

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Couple doing domestic chores.
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Couple doing domestic chores.
George Marks/Getty Images

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Chores are...well...a chore. And when you’re in a relationship, getting stuff done around the house usually means dividing up the chores somehow.

It’s easy to divide household labor based on gender roles -- it’s what many families have done for years, when men were traditionally the primary breadwinner, did the yard work, fixed the house/car/appliances, etc., while women did the cooking, cleaning, childcare, and shopping. But in a time when more couples are waiting to get married and are both working full time, the way labor is divided is changing.

As it turns out, same-sex couples might be more effective when it comes to divvying up the chores.

A recent article in the Washington Post referenced a study from the Families and Work Institute and PriceWaterhouseCoopers that showed same-sex couples divide up work based on preference rather than gender roles or power position in the relationship. It also showed that in straight couples, those who earn or work less were often responsible for the more stereotypically female jobs like cooking and cleaning.

How do you divide labor in your house? Do you tend to fall into gender roles when it comes to chores or do you decide with your significant other? Do straight couples divide up labor differently than same-sex couples do? What are the results? How big an impact does division of labor in the household have on the relationship?

You can listen back to Larry's interview with Andrew Solomon back in 2012 here.


Andrew Solomon, author of “Far from the Tree: Children, Parents, and the Search for Identity” (Scribner, 2013). He’s also a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University