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Expert Offers Tips On Handling ‘Chore Wars’ At Home

Woman doing the dishes (credit: CBS 2)

Woman doing the dishes (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When it comes to stress at home, some couples say it’s caused by chore wars.

A recent national survey conducted by Bosch Home Appliances found that more than 40 percent of Americans fight about loading the dishwasher and nearly 61 percent say what causes the argument is whether to pre-rinse the dishes or not.

For couples in New York, it seems dishwashing opposites do attract.

“I rinse them lightly, I don’t wash them,” Amparo Ayala told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu.

“Not me, I just put everything the way they are supposed to be in, if you buy top of the line. If not, take the darn thing back,” Joe Sena said.

As CBS 2′s Hsu reported, laundry is also a messy topic for some couples.

“Discolored, but at least he made an effort. I think it happened once,” Leonie Kolvenbag said of her husband of 22 years.

“Then I stopped and I kept buying new shirts,” Geert Kolvenbag joked of his laundry skills.

Sheri Bell said even after 28 years of marriage, she still does all the chores.

“Yes, I do do the trash. He doesn’t know what night it runs,” she told Hsu.

Experts note that if there is one person in the couple not satisfied with the chore imbalance, it’s best to nip the issue in the bud early on.

“As stress builds, we start to kind of keep count and keep track of what I’m doing versus what the other person’s doing and then everything explodes,” psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein told Hsu.

Another landmine, Hartstein said, is to expect your partner to do the chore perfectly. She advocates patience and praise for the effort.

“You want to reinforce what they’re doing that’s helpful and that will encourage them to want to do it more instead of putting them down, which is going to make them throw their hands up and say ‘forget it,’” she said.

The one thing all the couples agreed on is how to keep the peace.

“Communication and not make a big deal out of something small,” the Kolvenbags said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on an average day, men do about 16 minutes of housework compared with 52 minutes for women.

Have you endured a ‘chore war’ in your relationship? Share your comments below…