DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend and I have been together happily for a number of years, but we've had a few bumps, like most couples. One of the more recent ones has revolved around the balance of chores. He lost his job due to the pandemic a few months ago, while I have been working from home. He still feels that chores should be split 50/50, while I feel as if he should step up to take on more since he is not working. I am doing the same amount of chores on top of work, while he does as he pleases all day and then does the same amount of chores as he previously did. We always had a pretty egalitarian split historically. Am I wrong in thinking he should pick up more of the chores now that our schedules have changed?
ANONYMOUS: How is this even a question?
"Keeping the chores 50/50 even though I'm working and you're not is, to me, utter BS. You're welcome to make a persuasive argument why I am wrong about this."
Then he either makes one — which I'd sure like to hear — or he puts an immediate stop to his entitled behavior.
Unemployment is hard, life in Pandemia is hard. But abiding a partner's disproportionately heavy workload, for no reason besides self-interest, is not a defensible form of relief.
Don't put up with this for even another day. I've spent more than 20 years arguing there's no one-size-fits-all in advice, but here's an exception to that rule: Don't commit yourself to anyone who is comfortable with your discomfort over the division of labor.
The misery there is built-in, and potentially lifelong. If you don't feel a shared responsibility for each other's well-being, and own that responsibility with action, then your "together"-ness consists largely of sharing a home address.
DEAR CAROLYN: What does one do about a close friend who is always multitasking when she calls to catch up? Our most recent call while she was outdoors on a walk is an example: There was breathlessness from hill climbing, a "dead" cell zone in her neighborhood, traffic whooshing by and then a low battery, at which time we hurriedly said our goodbyes. It was not a pleasant, caring exchange of thoughts and ideas! The last time I called her, she was cleaning up after dinner with her cellphone sitting on the counter on speaker, and I couldn't hear her with all the noise. In retrospect, I should have said I'd call back another time when she could talk. How do I address this annoying issue? Do I say, "Let's talk later when you aren't busy?"
L.: No, because she will insist she is not busy, just walking or loading the dishwasher.
So say what you mean: that you struggle to follow the conversation when there's background noise from dishes or passing cars. Ask if it's OK to pick a quieter time to talk.
People are more likely to give you what you want when they understand what it is.