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Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Dealing with dividing chores

Welcome to Love Happy, where we help you successfully navigate the ups and downs of relationship life and share simple tips for keeping love fun, fresh and on track. In this installment, we look at finding an equal balance when it comes to housework and other chores no one wants to do.

Couple fighting over choresThe great divide

Housework – such a sore point in so many relationships, mine not excluded. Picture this: A lazy evening, relaxing after a nice meal, casual chit chat, and then: "I did the dishes yesterday so..." A few seconds of silence and then, "But I'm so tired from work. I'll just do them tomorrow." More silence and then, "I can't go to bed with the kitchen looking like that, so..." Ugh. Arguments about whose turn it is to do the dishes never end in our house. I hate dishes and he hates dishes, so what happens? We argue about it for a while, and then, inevitably one of us gets up and trudges reluctantly to the kitchen to tackle the post-dinner disaster zone that has become our counter. We don't really have a system or a chore chart or any other tools in place to ensure no one's dishpan hands end up worse than the other's, but we do know when the other person has probably been on dish duty one too many times that week. In other words, we really do make an effort to share, which makes living together (and dividing housework) much less stressful.

His & her chores

Dishes are one of the only chores my boyfriend and I truly share. Other than that we have his and hers chores – roles we just seemed to fall into. For example, I do the majority of the cooking and cleaning, but he is solely responsible for taking out the trash and upkeep on the yard. I do the laundry and then he puts it away (eventually). I'm sure this is fairly common among couples who live together and it's a great way to ensure no one feels like they're doing the brunt of the housework. But just like I have days where the last thing I want to do is cook, I'm sure there are many garbage nights where the boy wishes I would at least offer to drag the bin to the side of the road. But I don't because it's gross. The point is that I don't feel resentful about cooking when I know he's cutting the grass, pulling weeds or dealing with the icky garbage – because those are all things I'd rather not do.

Knowing when to step in

Despite having our go-to chores, there are times when the system must be overridden. I recently started going to a bootcamp fitness class every Monday night from 6 to 7 p.m. Before heading out for my first class, I sort of assumed that I'd just throw something together for dinner when I got home. Or that we'd just order a pizza. But much to my surprise, when I returned from running, lunging, jumping and otherwise getting put through the paces, dinner was in the process of being made. And it looked good. So now my guy proudly considers Monday "his cooking night" which I find adorable. But unfortunately, I usually end up taking care of the dishes. Oh well, you can't always have everything.

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