Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.29 15 Feb 2021


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On this week's 'So You Think You're An Adult', one listener has questioned her relationship - owing to the fact that her boyfriend relies too much on his mother for everything...

'My boyfriend has no basic house skills... what can I do?'

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The listener's problem

I moved in with my boyfriend at the start of last year and it’s been a huge learning curve.

I didn’t realise how much he relied on his mother.

He fails at the most basic skills around the house like filling the dishwasher, hoovering.

My biggest gripe is he doesn’t know how to make the bed. The sheets would never get changed if it wasn’t for me and then when I ask him to dress the bed he does it all arseways. Duvet the wrong way on the bed (widthways not lengthways).

He once forced the fitted sheet the wrong way on the mattress. No idea how he did it. The pillowcases can be inside out.

I'm honestly amazed at his incompetence. Is this a dump-able offence?

I love this boy but being honest, spending the rest of my life doing everything for him because he wasn’t taught properly is not something I can live with I don’t think.

Am I over-reacting?

Declan Buckley's advice

"Most of us learn how to do things as we go along - we aren't born into being domestic goddesses - or whatever it is called when men try.

"But the reality of it is, this person here - the woman who wrote in - is talking about a guy who was born exactly in the same way that she was, he grew up in a family [and] just was never put into a situation where he had to learn these skills.

"How you get through life without acquiring basic life skills like making a bed is not down to anything other than believing you'll get away with it - thinking that somebody else will step in and do it because you're not interested.

"It's not about now knowing how, it's not about the skill: it's about the work ethic involved around managing your life."

"All of those things, they don't do themselves - and what tends to happen is the person who seems to care the least about it tends to allow the person that cares slightly more about it to takeover".

"It always comes down to basically the same point: if you're not stepping in and you're not doing your share in a particular role, it better be because you're balancing that out somewhere else."

"For this girl, she kind of insinuates that she's in love with this guy, I don't know what the pluses are if she's willing to let him continue on just not doing anything around the house."

He also suggested she needs to talk with him about it and create "a rewards system."

"You make the bed, then the bed is a bed - you don't make the bed, then the bed's not a bed".

Barbara Scully's advice

"The first thing that comes out in this is there are two references to his mother - and whereas his mother may have enabled some of his supposed helplessness, she is not to blame.

"I hate the way Irish mammies get the blame for all kinds of things that their kids do or do not do".

"The second thing I want to say is this is his choice. A lot of housework, including making a bed, hoovering, filling a dishwasher isn't rocket science.

"I actually would contend it doesn't even need to be taught".

"I do know there are men who go 'Yeah if I make a hames of this, I'm not going to be asked to do it again and I couldn't be bothered because housework is kind of beneath me'.

"But I do think that because housework is fundamental to how to live, we can't live from a place of chaos.... so she needs to give him a kick in the ass.

"She needs to say 'OK - I'm showing you this once, this is how you do this, this is how you fill the dishwasher, this is how you make the bed. Now sunshine, you better start doing it.'

"If he doesn't up his game, you'd want to think on girl.

"It is a very fundamental part of life and something that will continue to annoy you every single day - not once a week, every single day".

You can listen back to all of the 'So You Think You're An Adult' podcasts here.

Main image by Achim Thiemermann from Pixabay 

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