Familiar Expectations

Ah! There is nothing and I mean nothing I prefer more than coming home. After a day of work, I love pulling out the key to my apartment door, turning the lock and crossing that threshold of the rest of the world and me.

Well, not just me; us. It’s great to come home because I don’t live alone. I have never lived alone. I grew up with three brothers and so have always wanted company when I return from the things that I do outside of my home. Now, I live with my one true love and life could not be better. Yeah, I am super content exactly where I am. And now that I’ve crossed that threshold, I am ready to make myself something to eat. Maybe a sandwich? No, I didn’t get the bread I told myself I’d get. That’s fine, I have plenty of food, and the food I have plenty of is cereal. Easy, ready in a snap and as long as I’ve got… let me see… yup, milk then I’m good to go. Let me open the cabinet and reach for a…

Oh.

You’re kidding.

All the bowls are dirty. *huff* I really didn’t feel like washing any dishes. In fact, it seems like I’m the only person who washes dishes around here… This is really annoying. How many dishes can one couple go through? And it’s not like she has a full time job, so why can’t she wash, at least, some of these

Okay, this is not cool. When I get home, I expect the sink to have maybe a few dishes but I work a full day, there’s no way I want this to be a regular occurrence. This isn’t fair. I sweep, I wipe counters and I cook. I now have to make sure all the dishes are clean, too?

You know what this is? This is manipulation. She is deliberately leaving the dishes here because she knows that I’ll wash them so she doesn’t have to. Like she has no time to do anything around here because she’s soooo busy, what with a part time job and the rest of her time doing… whatever it is that she does. This is nonsense and completely disrespectful!

Fine. Great, yeah, okay, I’ll do the dishes. And next time she needs something done, we’ll see who helps her out. I can’t believe this. And it’s not like I can just clean one dish because it’ll just go right back in the sink until I need it again, so I have to do all the dishes because if I don’t do them, they don’t get done. I might as well be living with myself if I can’t rely or her to get stuff done. How long will this go on for? Was she expecting to eat off of the floor? I bet I’d have to mop it too!

RRRRAARRAGH!

WOAH, let’s hold our horses there, cowboy. Wow, can I get myself worked up. I am unabashedly furious right now. And I have every right to be! She should know better.

Shouldn’t she?

To be honest, I didn’t ask her to do the dishes… I’ve asked her a couple of times before, I just thought… well, I kind of thought she’d get the hint… um, passive aggressive much? More to the point – I want her to read my mind. And I realize something: I resent her when she doesn’t.

You would think that after living with someone for a while, you’d know what they want… But the thing is… I want the dishes done. It’s important to me. But she’s not such a big dish washer. It doesn’t make a big difference to her whether the dishes are clean. What’s important to her is that the bathroom mirror isn’t full of spots… so she cleans it… a lot. That’s something I don’t attend to.

Is it fair to get angry at her? Not at all. And to feel resentment without even speaking to her? Am I trying to be jerk of the year? I feel kind of embarrassed that I would think and feel those things. She’s my partner; we live together. I want to make this household work and it can’t work if I’m expecting certain things that I do not communicate to her.  I’ve seen households like that… they are not fun to be in.

Alright, I feel much calmer now, having realized that it’s my choice to clean the dishes and I readily accept that choice, unless I specifically ask her otherwise. Let’s see, I’ve gone a significant way through this pile of dishes and I am still hungry. Right now, I choose not to do them all. I’m going to stop and have that snack-

“HI!”

Oh, she’s home. “Hi, I’m in the kitchen”

“Hi. Oh, you’re doing those? Great.”

“Well, you know I would prefer to not eat off the floor.”

“I was just out buying bread… feel like a sandwich?”

“Wow… you totally read my mind.”

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