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...when you are afflicted with a lazy partner! Samantha Dent explores the lack of balance in housework and parenting that plagues many homes...

Do you wish you and your significant other could swap places, if only for a day? You’re not alone. A relationship with a man can be exhausting, as men assume that they know what we, as women, want out of our relationships. But do they really?

Different people show they care in different ways; in general, most red-blooded males assume that physical intimacy is a good enough way to show their love. Sure, intimacy is a big part of any relationship; but it’s not what makes it work.

Not all women are after sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most women seek security and simple acts that show that their man really cares.

What do the men say?

When asking a group of married men to describe their relationship with their wives; most of them said that they have great relationships. One husband, let’s call him Dan, explained that he and his wife discuss their days every evening and have a very honest relationship.

The men also explained that they do help around the house: cleaning up the garden, watching the children and on the odd occasion some would cook. However, very few of them mentioned picking up after the children (or themselves!), or volunteering to take the reins in the kitchen for a week.

The women's verdict

When the women were asked what they would like their husbands to do more in their relationships, sexual needs weren’t at the top of their list. They wanted help; the kind of help that could make their lives easier around the house.

Helping to organise the children’s lunches for the next day, cleaning up after them, and assisting in the kitchen are a few examples which came up quite often.

"According to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, women spent an average of 27 hours a week on housework in 2002, while men spent 16 hours," says American journalist, Leslie Bennetts. "Even today, married men perform little more than a third of household labour, whether or not their wives or partners are in the paid labour force. And women spend more than twice as much time as men do on child care."

Three types of lazy

Dr Joshua Coleman, author of The Lazy Husband, recognises three types of lazy husbands (we’ll put boyfriends in the same category). The first is the ‘boy-husband’ He will act helpless and incompetent when it comes to doing anything around the house.

Next, we get the ‘perfectionist husband’ who wants everything to be done right, but won’t help in achieving this.

And lastly there is the ‘angry husband’ who intimidates his wife with his irritation so that she would rather not ask for his help. Do any of these sound familiar?

This is not to say that all men are lazy: there are men out there that are very happy helping out around the house and supporting their wives in every way they can.

What can we do?

Encouraging your significant other rather than asking (which men think is nagging) goes a lot further in our quest for getting the help we so need. So the next time you’re swapping between the stove top and bathing the children, while your man is loafing on the couch, negotiate with him.

Give him a cause for taking out the rubbish or watching the children. Nagging only creates tension, whereas encouragement reaps rewards, even if it’s helping with the small things.

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