Cleaning dishes is the chore most likely to harm a relationship, finds study

Women who do all the dishwashing reported lower sexual satisfaction in their relationships

Chelsea Ritschel
Wednesday 04 April 2018 20:18 BST
Sharing household tasks results in happier relationships (Stock)
Sharing household tasks results in happier relationships (Stock)

Not all household chores are created equal - but it turns out the one chore with the potential to ruin your relationship is doing the dishes.

In a new report from the Council of Contemporary Families (CCF), the results of a study on relationship dynamics and how they relate to shared household chores including shopping, dishwashing, laundry, and house cleaning were revealed - and it is time to divvy up the chores.

According to their findings, women in heterosexual relationships who find themselves washing the majority of dirty dishes reported “significantly more relationship discord, lower relationship satisfaction, and less sexual satisfaction than women who split the dishes with their partner.”

And proving just how important it is to take turns washing dirty dishes, the study reported that sharing responsibility for dishwashing was the single “biggest source of satisfaction for women among all household tasks.”

Cleaning dirty dishes is undeniably gross - especially when they aren’t your own dishes or they’ve been sitting in the sink for a while.

But the gross factor is just one part of the relationship dissatisfaction associated with dishwashing.

Dan Carlson, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Utah, and the lead author of the study told The Atlantic dishes are the one chore that does not beget compliments.

“What is there to say? ‘Oh, the silverware is so… sparkly?’” he observed.

The task is also traditionally reserved for women - who “see themselves as relegated to the tasks that people don’t find desirable,” according to Carlson, which can lead to resentment and dissatisfaction.

However, the good news is dishwashing and shopping are now the most frequently shared tasks.

In 2006, 30 per cent of couples reported sharing the shopping and 29 per cent said they share the dishwashing responsibilities.

According to the study, as the commonality of sharing a task increases so too does the possibility of it having a damaging effect on a relationship when shouldered solely by one or the other.

This is likely because “individuals and couples take stock of their arrangements in comparison to those around them, and those assessments of relative advantage or disadvantage come to shape their feelings about their arrangements and their relationships overall,” according to the authors.

So the next time your partner asks you to do the dishes, it would be wise to say yes.

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