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Relationship metawork / mental load?


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Today I came up with something I would call mental load of the relationship.


You may already be acquainted with metawork or mental load which would be explained by this comic for example: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/gender-wars-household-chores-comic ( sfw )


But has anyone considered the mental work that is needed in love relationship? Meaning trying to improve or deeped the rel, figuring out dates, making sure both are happy and get what they need, create/have dreams together, solving issues, improving ways of communication.... you name it.


I have realised I often have this issue where the dude becomes bit of a freeloader in the rel ( sorry for bashing you dudes... even maybe some of you deserve it :p ) and just sits back.


In bad moments I always feel they are not as interested in me as I'm in them but mostly that is not true. One part of this is love language of course ( I love actions ) and possible differencies there but often even that has not been the issue.


In better moments I don't mind it, or I try to put the responsability for them by either telling them that they are in charge of x or simply by trying to bite my tong and let them have time to come up with stuff ( I'm pretty quick to go to solutions, ideas and actions... but waiting doesn't seem to help really tbh ). However, none of that really feels too satisfying and mostly I end up in situation where I feel like the other person is a sledge filled with stones I'm trying to pull with me. Even the other person normally likes all I do but I still feel somehow unappreciated and like only one who does anything and who tries to be proactive.


I guess I'm just really torn with my normal approach which is to take charge, get things done, have control, and the need to have someone more dominant in my life taking care of stuff for me/us.


Any thoughts or experiences? :)

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Guest crazycatdaddy

For my two cents, I'd say that any relationship needs to be balanced. Balanced in terms of communication between both partners first and foremost. If one partner feels like they're doing most of the talking, making most of the decisions, and putting in most of the effort, it isn't actually a very nice feeling. I think we all want to feel that our partner wants to join in and contribute to the relationship as much as we do, and if that seems like it's missing or not happening as much as it should be, then it's time to sit down and talk about it.


Even though CG/L is a power play, both partners in the relationship still need to be contributing. A caregiver obviously brings different things to the table than a little does, but that doesn't mean one partner is bringing more than the other and it doesn't excuse one partner putting in less time and effort. An individual being submissive or little is not an excuse to let their partner do everything while they contribute little or nothing. But again, communication is key and the first step to addressing any relationship problem has to be to talk it out. In many cases, people don't always recognise that a particular behaviour (or lack of a behaviour) is an issue until it's pointed out, and when it is pointed out, they'll try to address it.


Obviously that isn't true of everyone, and some people will become defensive or take any criticism as a personal attack. But in my opinion, those kind of responses aren't a great sign that that individual is in the right mindset to have a successful and long-lasting relationship.


Many of us have, I'm sure, been in a relationship where a partner seemed to not contribute as much as we wanted or needed them to. My ex-wife, for example, quit her job not long after we started living together because she "wanted to be a housewife" and felt that her contributions to the relationship would be in looking after our apartment. Except she never really did any of that, and spent most of her time gaming. I was in a position where I was working 9-6 Mon-Fri, coming home and still having to cook, having to go out for groceries, having to clean and tidy up, and of course that should've been a sign that there was a serious imbalance in the relationship. But that's looking back in hindsight, and I've learned a lot since then and certainly I wouldn't let someone get away with that now.


But for "relationship stuff", such as having goals and ambitions, ensuring each other are happy, and solving problems, it's 100% about communication. I'll always want to sit with someone and talk about the future, talk about where we want to be, not least because if we have completely incompatible goals and ideas that's something both of us need to know. Being able to talk about important things like this is a key sign that someone is mature enough and in the right frame of mind to pursue a serious relationship. This applies to long-distance relationships too, and in fact good communication is possibly of even greater importance when two people can't be physically together. If someone tries to avoid these kinds of conversations, if talking about the future and the relationship is something they won't do or can't do, I consider that a pretty bad sign.


But to get back on track, OP, the mental load in a relationship needs to be shared. Both partners need to do their share and contribute in a balanced way to the relationship, even if the relationship has a dynamic like CG/L which can appear to be unbalanced.

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I agree with @crazycatdaddy, the load should be shared and it is ( at least ) communication issue.


I think I have not been able to communicate this too well in the past, as I mainly have said something along the lines "I wish you did something too", "I wish you showed interest by suggesting things", "I hope you could take more charge on dealing with our issues and starting to talk of them and/or would lead the convo". Sometimes that has helped a bit but mostly all has fallen back to how it was shortly after.


If I have asked their ideas on how to fix this, the other parties just has always said "oh, I try to be better in future". Which..... well, doesn't really happen and is bit vague. I then could start to give the other person precise goals and make sure they like come up with one suggestion on what we could do in a week or so but that is sort of my problem: I don't want to supervise the other person, I don't want to tell them what to do and when, I don't want to be their mommy ( o_O ) or micromanage them. I can help them but would not wish to have all the responsability.


Would assume this is issue mainly for caregivers but I'm a little with probably something some call as "alpha streak". So, I tend to take charge of the rel or whatever I feel is not managed well. I try to respect how the other person does things which of course is not same as how I would do things... but issue seems more to be in them just not doing anything than me wanting to have things in certain way. Even I can admit being sometimes too hasty which worsens the issue a lot.


How caregivers tackle this issue btw? How you don't feel that you do all work in the rel? Or do you just enjoy someonewho is really submissive, static or even really passive? How you communicate about this issue? And what sort of changes you have done to make things better? ( Obviously not all littles are passive at all and so on but if your little is )

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Guest QueenJellybean

everyone knows me here as a communication queen.

i definitely think that communication is the key to all things in relationships, and the load needs to be shared. 
i see a lot of posts about caregivers supporting their littles, but caregivers also have mental issues/struggles and need support, too. 

the idea that a relationship dynamic, even one like this one, should be one-sided isn't healthy, in my opinion. 

that's why meta-talks are so important, especially for newbies to the dynamic/BDSM in general.

if you can't talk to your partner, stripping away the titles just as two people who love each other, then you don't really have a relationship at all.

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