If one spouse is mopey and morose and the other optimistic and cheerful, does the latter get more marks on their side of the relational ledger book?
Compounding the difficulty in measuring the worth of such things is the fact that we are all judges of just how much of the weight we’ve been pulling.
If the husbands and wives had been accurate in their assessments (say the husband said he took out the trash 60% of the time, while the wife said she did it 40% of the time), when they added up their respective percentages, each total should have come out to around 100%.
But that’s not what happened; the totals consistently 100%.
And if their partners fail to pick up on this veiled message, and reciprocate in a way the Nice Guy deems equivalent, he grows angry and bitter towards them.
So you how do you avoid falling into The Tit for Tat Trap?
First off, we still haven’t even resolved the debate over which is the tougher lot–working full-time or staying home with children (having had a hand in both, I’d say they’re equally difficult, just in different ways).
And does cleaning the bathroom garner more points than mowing the lawn?
After reading this post, hopefully the next time you’re prone to feeling that you’ve been pulling more weight than your partner, you’ll stop to put yourself in their shoes, and realize they’re probably thinking Quit mind reading.
2) Let you know that she’s got an equally full plate, and all the things she’s been up to.
At which point, if you calmly reflect on it, you’ll realize that the availability bias had steered you wrong. As we mentioned above, Nice Guys expect their partners to meet all their emotional needs, but can’t make those needs known, and so resort to “covert contracts,” in hopes their partners will take the indirect hint and reciprocate their “generosity.” Dr.
In other words, each partner overestimated their respective contributions to each chore.
And the same result was found for other social contexts as well (such as group projects for school or work).