It’s time to reset your relationship’s power dynamics
Dan Carlson, who studies the gendered division of labor, has advice specifically for men in heterosexual partnerships. “You need to take stock of what is needed in your home — what your children need, what your partner needs — and you need to step in,” Carlson says. “That’s not you being a helper. This is you taking ownership of domestic needs and not waiting to be told to do things.”
Carlson, who spoke to me while caring for his own children as his wife worked, explains that his research has found negative communication — that is, nagging — to be more effective in getting men to pitch in at home than partners asking nicely. But it comes at a cost: Over time, negative communication can wear on both the nagging partner and the relationship quality itself.