My partner is lazy. How can I make the workload in our relationship fair?

It’s not uncommon for one partner to feel as though they do more within the relationship than their lazy partner. This may be in relation to the household duties, income earned, perhaps its regarding the parenting or it could even be the effort put into maintaining and deepening the relationship. There are a few reasons why you might find your partner to be lazy, and it depends on what the reason is as to what you’re going to do about it. Here are some common causes:

-      Have they always been lazy or is this a new thing? Is this perhaps a personality trait you used to see as ‘chilled out’ or ‘relaxed’ and now you just find it frustrating? If that’s the case it may be time to decide whether you can find a way to accept it or move on. If your partner’s lack of ‘get up and go’ is beginning to drive you mad, maybe your values aren’t as aligned as you once thought they were. Will this trait be able to support your personal and relationship goals?

-      Maybe they’re feeling directionless and need a change to re-inspire them. If this is the case, you’ll probably feel as though the ‘laziness’ is a new thing, that they didn’t used to be like this and have changed. If so, maybe you could find a way to encourage them to pursue their dreams. Even if this means you have to make some sacrifices (either financially, emotionally or time-wise), perhaps this demonstration of love and support is exactly what they need to re-energise them. 

-      Are they unwell? Get them to see a doctor. Their immune system may be fighting an illness and draining their energy. Do what you have to in order to get them back on their feet.

-      Perhaps they’re feeling depressed, unloved or unsupported. If so, take some drastic action to make them feel as though they’re your number one and you couldn’t live without them. Satisfy their needs so they can get their mojo back.

-      Are they mirroring you? Is there a chance that they perceive you to be lazy, possibly in a different area to the area you think they’re lazy in. Be honest with yourself and if you think there’s an area where you might be perceived to be slacking off, pull your head in! 

-      Are their values different to yours? Maybe they don’t perceive their lack of enthusiasm in certain areas to be an issue. They may feel they have limited time and energy and choose to spend it on other areas that to them are more important. In this case you will need to speak to them and express how you feel and come up with a resolution either a) the task(s) in question gets left undone, b) you do it yourself or c) you find a way to communicate to them how important it is to you that they do it for you.

Another option that’s always open to you is to talk to them about it. Express how you feel about their habits, where they think the laziness is coming from, how it affects your day to day life and what you can do to help them overcome their laziness – if they want to of course. 


In order to address this concern, many people tend to keep score – “I did this, this and this and you only did that!” If you want your relationship to be fairer, you have to stop keeping score. Relationships, after all, are about giving. What if you saw things differently? What if you saw them in relation to what you’re able to give to the relationship? Perhaps you’d like to write down what you feel you bring to the relationship, and the things your partner brings. You may find that although you’re doing a greater number of things, their things are invaluable to the relationship. And what if your partner were to take on some of your tasks? Would they do them as well as you? 

If you’ve eliminated all reasons as to why they’re being lazy and just need a change to happen and find that you’re still overwhelmed by what you perceive you have to do, tell them! But don’t blame them. After all, you’ve been doing it up to this point, they probably assume you’re okay with it. So, say something like this “I know I’ve been doing (insert task) for a while now, and it’s really important that it keeps getting done, but I’m really struggling with the load at the moment and was wondering if there was a way you might be able to help me with it?” If you make it about you, and not about them, they’re much more likely to be understanding and happy to help.


Things to give thought to this week:

·     What are the specific areas in which you find your partner to be lazy or not pulling their weight? You won’t be able to address the issue without having defined it.

·     Give some thought as to the reason behind such behaviour. Is it internal or external?

·     Make an action plan as to how you’re going to address it. Will you make some behavioural changes of your own or will you discuss it with your partner?