7 Warning Signs Of An Overworked Spouse (That Everyone Ignores)

Are you sure you’re pulling your fair share in the relationship?

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My friend John* is homeless again. This should not have happened. He struck what is basically literal gold in the world of the poor — a high-earning person who was willing to bankroll him until he got his own business afloat.

All she asked was that he helped with the chores and made her feel loved.

Long story short, his then-girlfriend, Amy*, would come home from a hard day at a law firm only to see her high rise looking like a pigsty. She ended up picking up the slack from the chores he didn’t do. Every time she asked about his business, he said, "Oh, I’ll do that tomorrow."


After three months, she served him an eviction notice. John was stunned. In reality, John actually earned his homelessness. He patently ignored every single warning sign that his girlfriend was overworked and begging him to help out.

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People, make no mistake about it. Overworking a spouse will destroy your relationship.


If you keep ignoring these warning signs, you’ll be single sooner rather than later — and it’ll be all your fault.

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Here are 7 warning signs of an overworked spouse (that everyone ignores):

1. Your spouse has started to nag you

I’ll let you in on a little secret, fellas: no woman ever wants to nag her husband. Like, ever.

No woman wakes up in the morning and goes, "Hm, I wonder what I can badger my man about today?"

Nagging happens when a woman gets sick and tired of waiting for you to pick up after yourself, pull your share or just do the chores that she asked you to. If she’s nagging, she’s deeply upset and does not feel heard by you.


You’re low-key showing her that you don’t care if she’s overworked or bothered by something.

Nagging stops when chores are done. I’ve never met a woman who was happy nagging her husband. Usually, it ends up being one of the last things she does before she draws up divorce papers.

Do you want an upset spouse/girlfriend who’s nagging you, or do you want to do some work? It’s up to you, but one will lead to a breakup faster than the other.

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2. They foot the majority of the bills and also still do most of the chores

I refuse to believe that people can be so obtuse that they don’t notice when their partner works 40 to 50 hours per week, then comes home and starts picking up messes other people left behind. I refuse to believe it.


People see this and they know it’s happening. They just don’t care enough to care about how tired their partners may feel.

You just need a pair of eyes to see the look of disappointment in an overworked spouse’s eyes when they come home and realize they have to start cleaning.

Spouses who like the idea of coasting along don’t care. They’re more interested in sitting in front of the TV because they don’t see it as a pressing matter.

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3. Other people have warned you that your spouse is overworked and upset with you

Not for nothing, but many of John’s friends have pulled him aside and told him that he’s not doing right by his girlfriend.


They’ve even been present when Amy had a meltdown because she was up for two days in a row due to all the work she had to do to support John and keep the place clean.

John thought, stupidly, that Amy would eventually just get used to it. I mean, he’s a cool guy. Surely, that had to count for something when it came to Amy’s happiness, right?

Yeah, we all see how that worked out.

A lot of his friends (myself included) distanced themselves from John because we genuinely felt bad for Amy.

There’s a certain point where dating stops being a partnership and starts being one person using another. We felt he crossed that line.

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4. Your partner has started to drink more or take more drugs

So, this didn’t happen to Amy, but it did happen to another overworked spouse I know by the name of Charla*. Charla always wanted to be an "Instagram mommy" type.

She had three kids with Aiden* and Aiden was out all the time. She still wanted the Insta-mommy life hard — to the point that she developed an eating disorder. Things only got worse when she realized Aiden didn’t want to wake up to feed the kids at 3 AM.

Long story short, she ended up addicted to speed in order to keep her end of chores up. Her marriage ended with child abuse charges and a stint in rehab.

I’ve seen this happen quite a lot — either with booze or with uppers.


Long story short, if your spouse is in rehab, there could be many reasons for this. One of those reasons is feeling overwhelmed and undersupported with work.

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5. Your partner has started to display passive aggression toward you

When Amy was on the way to her breakup, she made no reservations about talking about how she felt. She’d say stuff to him like, "Nevermind, I’ll do it," then angrily wipe down the counter as he said, "I was gonna…"

Sometimes, it wasn’t even passive-aggressive. It was straight-up sniping toward him via talks with her girlfriends.


I still remember overhearing her say, "You know, when he gets to work on my level…when pigs fly."

The anger and resentment oozed off her when she said it. John just stared and went back to watching TV. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he heard that, but that would’ve been my cue to pick up a mop.

Are you actually trying to do things to make your partner’s life easier? Are you just taking your partner for granted?

More often than not, these kinds of complaints have more to do with your behavior than your partner’s. If you hear your partner making fun of your lazy demeanor, it may be time to rethink how you support your partner.

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6. Your partner has mentioned that they feel overworked and underappreciated

You know, this was a meme before the age of memes. When I was young, I saw Looney Tunes shows where they portrayed women as overworked and upset.

There was one phrase that still sticks out in my mind, and yes, this was an actual quote in a cartoon I watched: "I work, and I slave. And what thanks do I get? I wish I was dead."

Looney Tunes, you're cold.

It says something when a wife’s suicidal ideations were things to make fun of, right? Back in the day, apparently, women mattered so little, men made fun of the fact that they wanted to hang themselves. Wow.

Honestly, a lot of guys I’ve met (and several women) don’t seem to care when their partners have meltdowns that involve saying s*** like this. They only seem to care when it turns into a crisis where their partner/appliance stops working.


It’s sad but true. If your partner has mentioned feeling overworked, they probably are overworked.

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7. Sex stopped happening

Most people don’t want to acknowledge this, but there is a biological imperative that we don’t have sex with people who we view as children.

When someone ends up being a relationship "dead weight," that’s when we stop viewing them as adults and start treating them like kids.

Think about it. Parents nag kids. Parents pay for kids’ stuff. Parents pick up after kids. Parents advise kids, only to have their ideas ignored.

That stuff kids pull is not attractive, is it? Nope. No, it is not.


Whether people realize it or not, falling into the parentification of a romantic partner will kill your libido. It’s not only just parentification, either. It’s also a matter of feeling resentful because they know that if they stop working, nothing will be done.

Most women I’ve met who’ve stopped having sex with their partners did so because they were overworked, underappreciated, and felt more like a parent to their partner than anything else.

The worst part is? Once that interest in you is gone, it’s almost impossible to get back.

Hm. It’s kind of like relationships in that matter. Who knew?

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.