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Therapist Says Men Who Don't Help Out At Home Is Just A Symptom Of A Bigger Problem With The Men Themselves

Photo: @thegentlecounselor / TikTok
tiktoker lin discussing how men who don't help out at home lack emotional intelligence

Everywhere you look these days there's a new story about "weaponized incompetence" and how men who don't help out at home are destroying marriages and sending divorce filings surging. 

It seems that many women have simply had enough, and it might lead many men to think all they need to do to save their marriage is simply load the dishwasher or do a load of laundry now and then. But a therapist on TikTok says household laziness is only part of the story.

According to a therapist, men who don't help out at home is just a symptom of the real problem — a lack of emotional intelligence.

Los Angeles-based therapist in training, Lin, known on TikTok as @thegentlecounselor, recently dug into what she says is really upending so many relationships and marriages nowadays: why no amount of demanding a male partner pull his weight seems to make any difference.



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"I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and I'll say it a million times until the day I die," Lin said in her video. "My expectation of a healthy partnership is not equally dividing tasks.That's the bare minimum. We live in 2023." Rather, she says, "What makes me want to be intimate in a relationship is emotional intelligence."

"I see all these TikToks of people being like, you can't expect your partner to be intimate with you if you leave your clothes on the floor," she added. "But putting your clothes in the hamper and running errands and putting the dishes away, that doesn't make me want to be intimate with you either... I can't be intimate with you if I don't feel safe with you."

Men's laziness around the house is actually a failure to care about their partner's needs. 

"I can't be intimate with you if I don't feel safe with you," Lin went on to say, and she added this is ultimately what's at the heart of many women and men's battles over things like housework.

"I need to be able to come to you and tell you that I'm struggling with something... I need you to not have a childlike reaction. I need you to be able to process what I said and validate what I said and then communicate in a healthy way."

Lin says that in relationships based on emotional intelligence, issues like "weaponized incompetence" and men not pulling their weight "aren't even an important topic of conversation because there's no way that person would see you working hard, raising their children, cooking dinner, cleaning up, and not want to help you. They would experience things like gratitudeand empathy and appreciation, and they would want to match that energy."

And Lin thinks that when it comes to domestic issues like these, we're focusing on symptoms, not the sickness. "I think sometimes there's so much of a focus on the division of labor being equitable because it's masking the larger problem that we don't even want to touch yet."

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Therapists and experts agree that emotional intelligence is a make-or-break factor in relationships.

It will probably come as no surprise that there's relative consensus in the mental health field that when it comes to a successfull relationship or marriage, emotional intelligence is among the most important traits a partner can have. 

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Sure, every partner has annoying habits and idiosyncrasies and blind spots that might drive us nuts. But relationship counselor Larry Michel says that all successful partnerships come down to two things: emotional compatibility and emotional intelligence, and the two are intricately linked together. 

"Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use one's own emotions and the emotions of others in a healthy and effective manner," Michel writes. "Emotional compatibility refers to the level of harmony, understanding, and connection two or more individuals share in their emotional lives."

Men who don't help out at home is just one of myriad examples of a partner failing at these key relationship dynamics. After all, what is so-called "weaponized incompetence" after all but a failure to either "recognize" or meet a partner's needs and using it to their advantage.

Pretty easy way to disrupt the "harmony, understanding, and connection" between two people, right?

Ultimately, it's not about the failure to help clean the kitchen or do the laundry. It's a lack of recognition, care and respect for the partner's needs, and it's tearing relationships apart.

Therapists and divorce lawyers say they're seeing so big a surge of divorces because of this exact issue that family law firms are not even able to keep up with the caseload.

Bad habits and laziness may be annoying, but once that lack of emotional intelligence underlying it all embeds itself? There's often no coming back from that one.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.