Weaponized Incompetence Is The Awful New Way Guys Take Advantage Of You

Weaponized incompetence isn’t the slick move that men think it is.

guy sitting on couch in living room Trzykropy / Shutterstock

If you’re female or present as moderately feminine, you’ve experienced a moment where you were shoved into the caretaker role. It’s a social expectation foisted on women since patriarchal societies first came into being.

Caretaking, homemaking, parenting…It feels like it’s always been a "woman’s place" to be the master of these realms.

Men were out being providers, or something. (Sorry, I kinda tuned out the patriarchy for the past 15 years and forgot what role they play.)


Women have all experienced the unspoken expectations of the patriarchy.

Sometimes, it’s a guy shoving laundry in our hands without saying anything about it. Other times, it’s more subtle — the older guy saying, "You’re so good at babysitting! It comes naturally to you."

What is weaponized incompetence?

Weaponized incompetence is a manipulation technique that involves one party faking incompetence to avoid regular duties. In other words, it’s a way of "playing dumb" to avoid chores.


Some good examples of this would include…

  • The husband who "just doesn’t know" how to do laundry, purposefully wrecking clothing until his wife caves and does the laundry.
  • The boyfriend who gives sad puppy dog eyes every time he’s asked to do a load of dishes.
  • The boyfriend who makes "mistakes" while bathing the baby, then tells his baby mama, "You’re the mom. You can do it too!

RELATED: Lawyer Reveals The Number One Reason For Divorce Among His Clients & It's Not Infidelity — 'Women. Are. Tired.'

Honestly, guys weaponize their incompetence because they can. They want to have a mom figure who picks up after them.

And, it’s not like society rags on men who are useless at home. It’s even a TV trope.


I can’t blame the guys who try to push chores on others. Like anyone else, they want to deal with fewer chores. It seems like a good short-term method, but there’s a little penalty men are starting to experience…

RELATED: 7 Ways You're Being Gaslighted — And You Don't Even Realize It

Women know when guys fake incompetence

Women are not stupid, but a lot of men sure seem to think we are. Weaponized incompetence isn’t the slick move that men think it is.

We know that being able to do a batch of laundry is part of being a functional adult. The same goes for cooking and keeping a home sanitary. If men can’t do this by the time they’re 18, they probably shouldn’t go to college or try to get a girlfriend.


Most guys, however, are capable. This is why it becomes glaringly obvious when someone is faking it.

Ladies notice when their boyfriend moves in, then suddenly become too stupid to do the laundry they did at their home half a year ago.

Why weaponized incompetence makes men play themselves

For the life of me, I can’t understand how so many men seem to be shocked when women dump them over chores. I mean, what did they expect to happen?

Weaponized incompetence may create a nice status quo for the guys, but it’s a relationship death knell over the course of years. Here’s why:

  • Other people will eventually take notice of it. Guys might not hear it from their guy friends, but a lot of men judge men who need to be "mommied" pretty harshly. Even if they may not realize it, others will be talking about their incompetence.
  • It’s very difficult for women to remain attracted to someone who they have to clean up, coach, and cajole into a partnership. No one, male or female, wants dead weight in a relationship. Humans are naturally wired not to be attracted to the people they parent. When a wife turns into a surrogate mom for her spouse, she’s going to lose interest in him sexually. A lot of dead bedrooms start this way.
  • Refusing to do your share will make her resent you. Resentment is one of the key indicators of a dying relationship. With resentment often comes cheating, rage outbursts, passive-aggressive behavior, and other unhealthy issues.
  • Weaponized incompetence forces women to have a lower opinion of you. I still don’t understand how so many men are okay with being seen as "too stupid to function." When you act stupid, don’t be shocked when others call you useless.
  • Burnt-out wives are not going to be happy wives. Don’t like seeing your wife upset and grouchy? It’s kind of a downer, right? Yeah, loading her up with all the chores will do that.
  • Smart women will rethink being with you before you even tie the knot. This is fine if you’re not into being married. But if you want to have a wife at home who acts as a homemaker while you are the sole breadwinner, that’s a bad look.
  • Actually, this kind of behavior will almost always end in a breakup. No one puts up with this kind of abuse (yes, it’s abuse) for their entire lives. Eventually, the overworked wife will realize she’d rather be a mom to her kids without the "help" of a man-child.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Husband Doesn't Help Around The House — And What To Do About Each


I know I can’t speak for others, but when I see a man doing chores, I get a little weak in the knees. There’s something about seeing a man pick up after himself without having a woman nag him to do it. It’s…what’s that called again?

Oh yeah, being a normal adult.

At the end of the day, I think we all know that women shouldn’t have to ask a man to pick up his own socks. We all know that dishes in the sink should be cleaned.


The fact that doing these things makes men stand out in the dating scene is kinda sad.

But hey, it’s actually a pretty good thing to know that this little tweak can mean so much to us ladies, right? He who can cook and clean with the best of them will probably never have to worry about getting a date again.

RELATED: Husbands Create 7 Hours Of Extra Housework A Week, Says Study

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