If you’ve been seeing each other seriously for a long time, have the talk. If you’re in a committed, long-term relationship, you must have the talk – the gender roles talk.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Did you grow up as a fixture in a Leave it to Beaver rerun or did you hear Free to Be You and Me over and over and over? What if you fit the first description and your partner fits the second?
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This scenario could lead to communication cross-talk, and no couple needs that!
Each of us comes into a relationship with our entire past, including experiences, norms, assumptions and rules that can differ tremendously, even between people that have lives that, on the surface, seem quite similar.
If he’s not taking out the trash, it could be that he didn’t know that you assumed it was “his job”. Any automatic assumptions of laziness or uncaring are, at this point, completely unfounded. If she doesn’t have dinner on the table at six o’clock sharp, it could be because she grew up and a perfectly decent home – one where there was no particular person appointed to restaurant duty.
Both of the situations described above are marvelous opportunities for communication. Of course, both sides need to feel happy, loved and cared about and it is up to the two of you to work this out. Harboring resentful feelings will only help those destructive emotions grow.
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Assumptions are dangerous in any relationship, be it a working, neighborly or a loving relationship – all the more so when you’re living together. The day-to-day issues that can build up when one feels his/her needs aren’t being met, that his/her emotions are being ignored or, even worse, if she/he feels taken advantage of are highly destructive.
So please, sit down, pen and paper in hand if necessary, and invest in your future collective happiness.