Love is grand, and a new relationship can feel like an adventure. But once the honeymoon period is over, it’s easy for tiny little niggles of resentment to start emerging, especially once two people are living together.
In a Reddit thread, men and women have started sharing the rules and deals they and their partners have agreed on that have helped their own relationships run more smoothly.
“We thank each other for the chores we do instead of being resentful for the ones we ‘always’ do and the other ‘never’ does,” wrote one woman. “Sometimes when I’m sweeping and vacuuming or cleaning the toilet I get all grumbly like ‘he never does this’ and then I remember he always does the laundry and grocery shopping and that helps my grumbles.”
Others commented that the division of chores is something probably not best left to chance. If there isn’t a set list of assigned tasks, more often than not one person will end up doing the lion’s share of the housework. Implementing a shared workload means it’s less likely that one partner will get annoyed at the other.
And if conflict does arise, it’s important not to escalate things. “We have a code word, ‘pineapple’, for when the other person is getting frustrated or angry and we can sense it’s going to lead to a fight,” says one comment. “The word just means we take a 5 minute breather away from each other and come back to see if we can talk it out more calmly.”
Safe words, it turns out, have multiple uses outside the bedroom. One comment extols the virtues of having a “safe word for everyday life,” so that a partner can easily discern when teasing has gone too far. This extends to the outside world as well: “My partner and I have a safe word for social situations,” so when one of us needs to leave/go home we just work the word into a sentence and get the hell outta there.”
“We have an explicit goal to always have the other feel like they are our darling,” says somebody else. “When things get heated, either of us can declare ‘I don’t feel like you are treating me like your darling’ which pauses everything. Even when we’re upset, we want the other to feel treasured and precious.”
“No threats to leave. Ever.” Advises another commenter. “If one of us is actually at that point we’ll treat that seriously. It really helps solidify our trust and feel like a team.” “My husband and I set this rule when we started talking about marriage,” reads a reply. “We never threaten to leave or joke about divorce at all. It just doesn’t exist.” They added: “We are ’til death do us part, so we do joke about killing each other… It’s funnier than it sounds.”