J. Peirano: The secret code of love: I earn more than my boyfriend, he does more housework. That's between us

Dear Ms Peirano,</p>My boyfriend and I (both in our late 20s) have been living together for four years and we get along really well.

J. Peirano: The secret code of love: I earn more than my boyfriend, he does more housework. That's between us

Dear Ms Peirano,

My boyfriend and I (both in our late 20s) have been living together for four years and we get along really well. But there is one problem: money. He is currently working from home while I have to go to the company every day. I work full time.

Since he currently has few orders as a graphic designer (or wants to have them), he has less money than I do. We split the rent and living expenses, but I also go shopping more often and then pay for it. Or I pay for a hotel on vacation or a nice activity.

Somehow I have the feeling that this is not enough for my friend. He often complains that he has so little money and does so much around the house, but he doesn't say exactly what he wants either.

But I work all day and of course he gets more dirty at home because he cooks something during the day or sometimes makes a mess.

Whenever it comes to the topic of money and sometimes also the division of tasks, there is a bad mood. Sometimes he teases, but when I ask, he takes it back.

And I'm also annoyed because the more often I pay for the purchases or any extras and he doesn't see it.

Do you have a tip for me?

Best regards

Gaby G.

Dear Gaby G,

Unfortunately (!) in our German culture it is considered indelicate or unwise to speak openly about money. In a recent Emnid survey, around 64 percent of those surveyed said money was a taboo subject.

However, money is a very complex and often conflictual subject that is extremely preoccupying and driving us all. It also regulates social relationships or at least plays a major role in them. It is all the more strange that this is not even talked about in partnerships.

A few examples: High earnings or an inheritance can generate envy. This is sometimes so strong that friends or acquaintances turn away from someone who earns more. Conversely, there are people who choose their friends based on income or social class and do not want to associate with anyone who is financially inferior to them.

Having money creates security and comfort and is also closely linked to health. Wealthy people tend to be healthier.

I work as a behavioral therapist and love coach in private practice in Hamburg-Blankenese and St. Pauli. In my PhD, I researched the connection between relationship personality and happiness in love and then wrote two books about love.

Information about my therapeutic work can be found at www.julia-peirano.info.

Do you have questions, problems or lovesickness? Please write to me (maximum one A4 page). I would like to point out that inquiries and answers can be published anonymously on stern.de.

If you have a lot of money, you don't have to take an unwelcome job, but can allow yourself freedoms that poor people don't have, e.g. not working, having expensive hobbies or traveling longer. Some people use their money to put themselves in a position of power and to make other people dance to their tune, be it the waitress at the hotel or be it relatives or even their partner.

Money is therefore a coveted good: quite a few murders or criminal offenses occur with the motive of enrichment.

And last but not least, money is also an expression of appreciation. Giving a tip or paying a high price for an item or service also means that it is worth it.

Now to your partnership: You and your boyfriend seem to have different attitudes towards money or at least live in a different situation at the moment. They give up free time and work full-time to have money. Your friend gives up money to have more free time.

For each of you individually, your own life model would be fine. It becomes problematic because the life models and the different values ​​meet. Perhaps each of you is a little jealous of the other: your friend of your better filled account, you of his relaxed daily routine? It would certainly be a relief to talk about it.

Because I can imagine that the topics are intertwined. If your friend accepts less money for more freedom, then it can go against his grain if he loses some of his freedom (for which he gives up money) because he has to take care of the household. And here it is often the case that the person who is closer to the household also sees more tasks, gets more done and takes on more responsibility. Those who are less often at home then sometimes underestimate the effort from a distance, so to speak.

In addition, with many couples, everyone knows more precisely what they themselves have contributed. This is because some expenses and tasks are perceived as tedious. Who likes to pay for the toilet paper, then bring it home, unpack it, put it away, throw the packaging in the garbage, and take the opportunity to quickly take out the garbage? Everyone sees this as a sacrifice they are making.

And often everyone secretly growls and keeps an invisible book about their own commitment and thinks that their partner could also contribute more. Sometimes just transparency and clarity helps. How can you be thankful to your partner for taking 45 minutes to find a parking space and standing in line for flowers in the rain when you don't know it? Or if he went to the hardware store to buy that stupid screw you need for the reading lamp?

How about if you both really write down for two weeks what you do for the household and how long it takes? And maybe also creative: How much do I hate this task (smiling smiley, ok smiley, sad smiley). Also, list how much each of you is paying out of turn.

Because one thing is clear: what your partner doesn't know, he won't appreciate either. And sometimes he wants to have a say in the decisions. Maybe one thinks: We don't really need flowers, I'd rather have my partner clean the bathroom. And the other thinks: Really now? The old reading lamp should have been thrown away, but you don't have to buy a new screw for that. If one person's list is longer than the other's, a balance would certainly be a good idea.

It would be important for you to find out what it ACTUALLY is about. Is it because your partner wants more appreciation for what they do? Would that be balanced with a regular invitation to dinner, where you also emphasize how great you think his service is?

Or is it about justice? Then you would really have to take a closer look at the hours worked and add them up, as well as the financial commitment. For example, if your friend spends 5 more hours a week than you do in his time (for which he gives up money) for the household, then that adds up to quite a bit. That's 20 hours a month. Perhaps respect and justice will also help? In any case, it can never hurt in a partnership!

Occasionally the systems you two have chosen don't go together. Because financially, the rule of the game is: Everyone takes care of themselves. But in terms of household, it would mean: You have more time, so you can use it for both of us. There's a catch somewhere, don't you think?

Possible solutions so that you both have less to do would be: If necessary, hire a cleaning help or other help, such as having groceries delivered, stocking up, freezing food and thus cooking less. Thinking creatively about what takes a lot of work and what you can optimize. And to talk to each other about whether the flowers or the screw for the reading lamp are really necessary.

But before you get to the possible solutions, you should have an open conversation about the taboo subject of money and see what everyone is really concerned about. Then the subliminal growling stops quickly.

Best regards

Julia Peirano