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Do You Pull Your Weight in Relationships?

Written by Ariana G. for

When I think about relationships, I think of the word partnership. The 50/50, I scratch your back, you scratch mine, “if you keep it real with me, I keep it real with you” kind of deal. Now, I’m not referencing the sentimental, walk in the park and kiss me under the stars part of the relationship. This is more of the full-time job, day in and day out, “love won’t pay the bills” part of the relationship. However you want to dissect those lengthy descriptions, my point is that when it comes down to it, love takes work…from both people. Unfortunately as many of us have come to find out in our own unscripted soap-opera tinged love lives, this doesn’t always happen. This, my friends is called not pulling your weight.

This issue is not exclusive to one gender. A man or woman can be guilty of not putting in their half of the work. Case in point: the textbook case of the good-for-nothing man and the hardworking woman. While she’s getting up at the crack of the dawn to maneuver the crowded subway to get to a job that’s working her to the bone, he’s just chillin’ like Brotha Man from the 5th (raises four fingers) Floor. He doesn’t help out around the house, provide love, comfort, and support to his woman, or attempt to take care of problems as they arise. Clearly, he’s not pulling his weight. As a result, she’s a mix of 1 part rage and 1 part sadness with a splash of disappointment.

Now, consider the flip side, the classic good guy. He makes an honest living and works very hard to build financial security, not swag. He does his best to make his woman feel like the most beautiful, wanted, and loved creature to walk the earth. He’s not perfect (but hey, no person is) but he makes it his business to do right by his woman. While he’s putting in work, his woman can be found laying back doing nothing. She’s never satisfied with the effort he puts forth. She’ll make him go to the ends of the earth for her and even then, she still wants him to go further. She’ll nag and complain and you can bet that she won’t oblige the slightest request her man makes. Clearly, she’s not pulling her weight. Now he dreads dealing with her and his life plays out like that Gil Scott-Heron song: “Home is where the hatred is / Home is filled with pain / And it might not be such a bad idea if I never, never went home again.

I can sit here and write all day about how wrong that is and that if you happen to be in that type of relationship, find someone better. But it’s my creative and seemingly civic duty to go at this from another angle. If you happen to be in a relationship, it pays to sometimes ask yourself “Have I been pulling my weight?” Truth be told, it’s easy to sometimes to get caught up in what we [women] see our honey not doing that we don’t notice where we come up short (pause). We want our partner to do what he can to make us happy, but we don’t keep in mind that the concept goes both ways. So before you go all Janet Jackson on him and break out with a rendition of “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” make sure he can’t ask you the same thing. Remember, it’s not about what you can get out of a relationship; it’s about what you put into it.

And in the words of Jerry Springer, take care of yourself, and each other.

In your opinion, what does it mean to pull your weight in a relationship? How do you deal with a significant other not pulling his/her weight?

14 Responses to “Do You Pull Your Weight in Relationships?”
  1. soraya says:

    i was dealing with a dude who wasnt pulling his weight, ie not making time for us, or putting the relationship as a priority, we had a conversation about it and i gave him some time to get it together but in the end i just had to let it go. I couldnt hold it together for the both of us anymore.

    • Ariana G. says:

      And that’s the thing: relationships aren’t meant to be held together by one person. You did the right thing by addressing the issue with him and then moving on when he still wasn’t coming correct after that.

  2. jasmine M. says:

    im in a relationship with a guy right now whos not pulling his weight. Hes not there emotionally, and not even 100% sexually to be honest, but i know he has good qualities and one day has the ability to become the man that i need him to be, im just not sure how long i am supposed to give him to get it together.

    • ms_esk says:

      jasmine.. your waiting on potential.. but you can’t bank potential.. dude either makes happy/worth the hassle or keep it moving.. that dude is stealing precious moments of your life.. let him go.. maybe that will wake him up.. as right now, your not giving him any incentive to change as you tolerate the excessive shortcomings..

  3. ebony says:

    im young, admittedly, but im more used to men that are not pulling their weight than men who do. I think pulling your weight is making sure your personal needs are taken care of and that you are taking care of your partners needs as well, whether its emotional, physical, a back rub once a week or whatever. you should know your partners needs and if you neglect those on a regular basis you are not pulling your weight.

    • MR IGNORANT says:

      @ebony, i agree with your definition 100%…but dont forget financiallly too!! U listed emotional & physical,but left of financiallly LOL. It’s a lot of men that are fed up with carrying chicks financially,as I’m sure there are lots of women that feel the same LOL

  4. MR IGNORANT says:

    Pulling ur weight in a relationship means contributing to your relationship as much as possible on a CONSISTENT basis!! As I get older(wiser) I am starting to notice that its waay too many women that don’t & can’t pull their weight in a relationships. I personally know of 3 marriages where the wives of my boys..are flat out bums. And this comes from the mouths of my boys. So many women want a man to carry them thru life without having to contribute to the situation anything more than sex & maybe cooking a meal *shrugs*. They want us men to support them financially & take care of all of their wants & needs. The difference between a male & a female bum(those who don’t carry their weight) is a man can own up to the fact that he isn’t doing what he needs to be doing & possibly even change for the better. But most women like that become combative & start giving weak ass excuses & logic as to why they’re bums,therefore never willing to change for the better.and good of the relationship. I call it “getting too comfortable” LOL. The only way to deal with bums is to have a real conversation about what it is u need from each other,give them a little time to step it up and if they dont….drop em!!! I just left my girlfriend of almost 5yrs because I just had to be honest with her and tell her she was a bum so I speak from recent experience LOL.

    • Ariana G. says:

      Yes, there are females who are complete bums who don’t want to pull their weight. I think the reason for this is because at a young age, we’re taught that men SHOULD take care of us financially, emotionally, sexually, etc. While that’s true, I can tell you that it’s rare that girls are taught what to do to take care of a man (outside of sex). Unfortunately, some women take this one-sided advice very seriously and start to get all entitled. Then when a man, a reasonable one, asks the female bum why doesn’t she pull her weight, they get an attitude. Reciprocity is not really taught from the jump.

  5. lady says:

    I dont think I pulled my weight in my last relationship when i think about it. But thats when i knew it was time to leave. I could tell by that I wasnt interested in being with him anymore.

  6. Rachel says:

    im not in a relationship because i knowww im not ready to pull my weight. you need to be self sufficient before you enter a relationship and im not there yet.

  7. Dani says:

    A blog I needed to read because at times I feel selfish and want my other to take care of me and do for me because I always did for him and i forget about his other wants and needs

  8. Cyndi says:

    I’m currently in a relationship where I am financially supporting my boyfriend. We have been together for 7 months and live together. In the 2nd month of us living together he got laid off. Told me he was taking week off then it would be easy to get job in his field. It took him month and half to get work. Then because of his past relationships that resulted in children he is responsible for his child support. Due to lay off he didn’t pay for two months. Then first pay check got nailed hard. Understandable it had to happen. So within the last 5 months of us together he had given me a total of 2500 to pay for all of everything. So I have been covering everything else. His portion of the bills a month are 1250, that’s not including spending money or any extras. All I ask in return is when he tells me something he follows through with it. That he appreciate what I do and show me he does. All I really want is someone who is supportive emotionally. All I get as a response from him is thanks for pointing out all my flaws. Then he says because I was upset with him the night before and he had lots on his mind he had to come home from work because he was so tired and stressed do to my argument with him. Do I stay or do I go????

    • Riri P says:

      Cyndi, at this point your relationship is relatively new, you have to make the decision on whether you want to stay or not. Just know what you’re seeing now is the real him and it might not get any better then this, decide if you will be happy in it or not, your choice.

  9. Riri P says:

    I agree that relationships take work fulltime even, and it’s so easy to get into the routine of things and lose yourself in the relationship and settle in complacency. But if people would just communicate 90% of the time, then you would know what the other person is thinking and feeling. COMMUNICATE, so important.

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