My GF and I split the cost of our rent with the promise that she pays less and does the household instead. She only works 80%, I do 100%, thus we decided that I pay 60% and she 40% of the rent and she does the household instead.

This didn't work for many years and I am at my limit. Whenever possible I try to help her.

It began with her being overly eager. Like cleaning the toilet every 2 days and so on. My mistake was telling her that I just want to live in the house, it doesn't needs to be perfect.

It got worse over time and I'm doing more and more. This would be fine if I see that she tries to get stuff done too. But whenever I see her she's either reading/playing mobile games or exaggerating with cleaning useless stuff (great, you put chlorine in the bath for the 3rd time this week. We still have mud in the house and ants eating away our food).

On her free days she's either with her friends or playing her mobile games.

Talking with her doesn't help since she says she's too busy (which is partially true) and she gets really angry. Trying to point out about our agreement of splitting the costs in exchange for home maintenance gets her angry and she points out that I only care about money (which I do more than her. I'm from an average family and never got anything from my parents except beatings, she's from a poor family that threw away their money for fun. And that is why it was/is a poor family).

How can I get it into her head that I'm not willing to accept this situation any longer? The house looks horrible and I can not and will not waste my time and money for her to have fun at my expense.

I've added the "mental health" tag since she had a burn-out a few years ago and the situation basically worsened from that time on.

  • Instead of just adding the mental health tag, can you explain a little further how the situation has deteriorated? What is she burned out from, the housework, the arguments?
    – user8671
    Mar 22 '18 at 17:17
  • I understand that you are very angry right now, but try not to take too much of an accusative/insulting tone. Not referring to the site's "Be Nice" policy, just in general. Also, you say "She says she is too busy (which is partially true)" - What do you mean? Is she actually too busy? If she is, why did you even come to this agreement with her? Mar 22 '18 at 17:39
  • @Kozaky she said it was her work. At that time I begun to increase my effords in the household. Since I have a rather abberating stance on mental health issues and solutions in todays society its rather hard for me to go into details. Mar 22 '18 at 17:41
  • @CrazyCucumber she is busy following her hobbies most of the time. This agreement was made because we both thought its a nice idea for her to save money and get the house in the shape she wants (when we did this agreement whenever I tried to help it was wrong) Mar 22 '18 at 17:45
  • Does she perhaps have a different view of what counts as household chores? Which household duties were included? Who fixes electrical issues? Who shovels snow or mows the lawn? Who takes out the garbage? Grocery shopping? Do you think perhaps that the effort and time needed to complete all chores has now outweighed the benefit of saving money for her? Mar 23 '18 at 0:28

It sounds like one of two things might be going on here:

  • You two have different expectations about the amount of work needed to offset the rent difference. Maybe she thinks that to go from 50-50 to 60-40 calls for a smaller amount of work than you do. Or maybe one or both of you underestimated the effort required.

  • You two have different standards about the quality of the work. (I see some of that in your question.)

Either way, you have a disagreement that is starting to fester, in a relationship that you presumably both want to maintain. You could keep asking her to do more of the work, but I suggest attacking the underlying cause instead: Ask her if the two of you should alter the agreement.

I've been in the "different standards of cleanliness" situation before, and we solved it by redistributing the chores so that we each did the things we felt most strongly about, using the "eh, whoever" chores to load-balance. It's also worth checking in from time to time -- are you both still happy with the distribution?

It's possible that, now that you've lived together for a while and both seen what it's like to live with each other, your girlfriend might prefer to pay equal rent and have you do some of the chores. Or maybe the chores are fine but they take longer than she thought and she wants more of a rent reduction. Or maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, if you approach it with the idea that everything is open to renegotiation, you should be able to find out what the core issues are and work together to solve them.

  • 5
    Agree with this, altering the agreement seems to be the way to go. Personally for me, saving 10% of rent seems quite low for all the household work
    – svj
    Mar 23 '18 at 5:10
  • @svj I personally would never do that. Emphasis on personally. Thats why this answer is correct: They have to talk.
    – Mafii
    Mar 23 '18 at 10:23

I'm sorry that's really hard to go through. I'm glad you're taking steps to try and fix it rather then let it fester and make you bitter and resentful.

So I usually start this type of answer with a disclaimer, you can't change people, all you can do is ask them to change themselves. However you can get strategic about how you ask them to change. The best strategy is one that is good for you and good for them. Most of this comes from Clinical Psychologist Jordan Peterson.

1) Don't attack or accuse your GF. If you are anything like me you'll instinctively want to "go for the jugular" by saying something like "you never help clean xyz any more." That leading "you never" is an accusation that implies she is a terrible person. Avoid it at all costs.

2) Ask for a specific change in behavior. Only ask for one thing right now. This should be the most fundamental thing you can find. For example don't ask her to start cleaning the house. That's too much. Ask instead that she cleans the toilet once a week. Or does laundry once a week, or the Dishes every day after dinner.

Just say something like:

Sweetheart, could you please make sure the dishes are clean every day after dinner?

3) Be prepared she will probably get angry at you for daring to ask her to improve herself when you yourself have so many flaws, and be prepared she will point those flaws out in an attempt excuse her behavior and guilt you into rescinding your request. OR she may cry because "you think she is lazy". honestly most people usually try both. Gently but firmly stand your ground.

A good replay to anger or tears may be:

Sweetheart, It's ok, I love you and I think you're a great person. I just feel more comfortable in a clean home and our agreement was you would do a larger share of the work. I'm not mad. I'm just making a simple request.

4) When she finally does as you have asked, even if she does it poorly and or grudgingly, thank her and praise her. Everyone thrives on attention. If you give her positive attention when she does something right multiple times you will be reinforcing that behavior and assuming that she loves you she will want to keep hearing your gratitude for her.

5) Repeat the steps above with a new behavior.

I love when people use these steps to get me to change my behavior as well. It works so well.

Now your GF is a person with free will. Meaning she may choose not to respond positively or not at all to the method above, If she refuses to change for you at all, well, you may need to sit down and tell her bluntly that you can't handle her behavior any more, and that if she doesn't start making some effort it is going to ruin your relationship. Don't make this an ultimatum, but rather a simple statement of fact.

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