This reader went to visit her boyfriend's family and she didn't like how unhelpful her partner was around the house. She's now worried that he might start to be like this in their relationship.

Dear Angela,

I recently met the family of the guy I've been dating. We decided to work towards marriage so meeting them was a big thing. But I was a little put off by how he and his other family members were treating his mom. One night we had dinner and first, my partner didn't think to offer to serve anyone else and then after dinner was over, none of them offered to help clean up. Ultimately, I picked up the dishes and she cleaned them off.

It's something I noticed some time ago when I offered to make dinner for my partner (OK, it was a sandwich) and he just walked out of the kitchen without a word.

Perhaps I need to take a step back but at the same time, I don't want there to be an expectation that I'm going to wait on him hand and foot. He knows I'm pretty progressive as far as relationships and he's pretty progressive too, but seeing that scared me a little. Am I overthinking it? Should I bring it up to him?


Nobody's Doormat

Dear Nobody’s Doormat,

Yes! Bring it up to him! Otherwise it will continue to make you mad and turn into a big thing that could have been solved easily and early on.

I would avoid the “We need to have a serious conversation about how you don’t help with the dishes” conversation. Instead, opt for the, “Hey, time to do the dishes — roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work!” tactic. Meaning, if you’re feeling like it’s time to get the dishes done, the table cleared, etc., involve him until it becomes a natural part of your routine with him.

You can even straight up tell him, “I feel bad when your mom is left to do x, y and z by herself. Can we make it a goal to help her more?” And then follow through with that plan, together.

64 comments on this story

You’re in a fun part of your relationship because you’re learning about each other and creating new habits together. It’s natural that he would do some things that may “put you off” a little bit, but I don’t think it means he’s a bad guy. You know?

On the other hand, if he’s like, “Hey, doing dishes?? That’s only a woman’s job!” Then break up with him. Ha! (JK — kind of.)



Readers: What do you think? Do you feel like this behavior is a red flag that "Nobody's Doormat" should be worried about? What's your best advice?

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Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the Latter-day Saint experience. Twitter: askange_column