Many of us find ourselves in charge or a certain dimension of our relationship alone, be it cleaning, financial planning, parenting, and more.
This sole responsibility is often a source of tension and frustration in the dyad.
This universal pattern is called the seesaw principle (as coined my Michelle Weiner Davis), where the more one person does, the less the other partner does.
In this talk we unpack the seesaw principle in intimate relationships through examples from our marriage and the clinic and offer practical advice to help you both find a more collaborative, interdependent partnership.
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Can we , why am I all a role in holding a lot of,Speaker 2:
For the same reason that I am all alone, holding everything else?Speaker 1:
That's true. Do you find yourself that you're doing everything alone and one of the areas in your relationship? If so, you're not alone, it happens to everyone. And you can change that if you wanted to ,Speaker 3:
You are listening to the potential state podcast with your hosts, Dr. Sal and gullied Romanelli.Speaker 1:
Hi, my name is Dr. CEL Romanelli, and this is the central state. And today we're talking about why am I doing everything alone, the art of interdependence. So this idea comes from the sex, start marriage by Michelle winter Davis. And she talks about this Seesaw principle, which is basically the more one partner does over time . The less the other partner does, if you constantly cleaned the house, the less your is going to clean the house, right? If you're always dealing with the mortgage and social security, your partner's going to be dealing with it last , okay. Or theSpeaker 2:
Wine disciplining, the kids, your partner's going to be less involved in disciplining theSpeaker 1:
Kids and the stereotypical kind of scenario C and , uh , heterosexual couples is the one would be more with the housework and cooking and cleaning. And there'll be more with the finances,Speaker 2:
Gender, gender,Speaker 1:
Personally . Right. And then what happens to the partners come in and they complain about it. They complain with the keep doing it. They keep overfunctioning the department . Why am I the only one cleaning the house as they're cleaning the house alone? That sounds familiar. Yeah. And here's the thing. So obviously the intuitive thing that also Michelle talks about in her book is to do less, the less you'll do the more the partner will pick up a here's where here's the caveat, the caveat, the caveat is if you're doing it less and your partner's going to pick up the slack, he will not do it at the same level of expertise, precision, and perfection that you want. You will have to let go of control because here's what I see all the time. If you not going to let go of control, if you say, okay, now you're going to clean the dishes. And you're always like, not, not like that. And not like that. I'm not like that. Of course , I'm gonna say, screw it. I'm not going to do it.Speaker 2:
I think it's really interesting because soon as embarrassed and in her book called bottled up, she talks about how with infancy, what happens, especially kind of with mothers who breastfeed, you know, breastfeeding turns into, you know, nighttime and bedtime and then nighttime and bedtime turns into soothing and then soothing becomes, well, I'll take him to the shot because I breastfeed and I can see with the baby, and then it becomes, and then slowly, you're accumulating much more experience , like you said, expertise in a particular realm or in a particular field or aspect of your kind of mutual life together. And so then that becomes the that's becomes kind of your expertise. And that becomes the place where you hold kind of more, but basically kind of her idea. And I guess also what you're reflecting on is that if we can find places where I can step out, so you can step in, right? Like , so, you know, with the example of , of motherhood and breastfeeding might just because let's say a mom is breastfeeding, it doesn't mean that she has to do everything related to the child and child rearing and the baby and infancy and things like that. So I think that, and I don't know if that's where you're going here, if I'm sure it is, but like, it's kind of finding the places and seeing like, oh, what can I let go of a little bit, everyone . I always do that. No, but what I actually wanted to say was, before I jumped ahead, what I wanted to say was that it's not particularly, it's not necessarily expertise, right? It's not that she is, you know, by virtue of her being a mother and a woman knows better than that. It says she has more experience and more practice because she's doing it more often. Right. So if I'm more often with the kids, then I can, you know, I'm more in tune with them. I can read their cues better. I can, you know, I've been in the spaces of kind of navigating conflict with them more often and things like that. So it's, it's this kind of experience and practice and not necessarily like preference or mastery or in nature,Speaker 1:
That's good to use an example. We have a new dog, he was queen and Gilead tape is doing most of the work alone. And what happened when she went to the states? She obviously it was my, the SISA right . I had to do more of the work, but there was some times where I felt like she was trying to micromanage the way I deal with queen, which is exactly what I see all the time. And one of the partner is letting go of control. Like, did you do this? Do you like that? And like, that is super annoying. And then it's , it just makes me less want to do it. I didn't ,Speaker 2:
I didn't do it for , uh , uh, I didn't do it from a place of micro-managing . I visit some I've . I, I love and care for me. And you aren't used to spending as much time.Speaker 1:
So that's where the growth comes from. So how do you change this? And this is important. Okay. So the first thing is,Speaker 2:
Wait a minute, I'm really sorry. You're not going to like this, but I do have to say that I think that there are certain places, and this is something worthwhile to , as a couple is to , is to figure out like, did we naturally gravitate to these rules because we have a preference here? Or did we gravitate because of expectations because of gender norms, because of, you know, social pressure or things like that. And I think it's worth checking in on that. And I think that under that lens, right, then you might not want to change it. And they might be okay, that like, queen is my love of my life. And I want to take, you know, the most care of her. And so it wasn't micromanaging . Right .Speaker 1:
Okay . To say back to where we wanted to go, how do you do that? It was an important, it was a very important point. Thanks you for sharing. Yeah . So the first thing share this episode with your partner. So you have this common language that each one of you make a list of the task where you feel your pulley too much of the weight. Yes . How do you know which one they are? Think about which tasks or areas are you most bitter about?Speaker 2:
Yeah. What are you doing that you don't enjoy? Like I enjoy taking care of queen, but I do not enjoy cleaning the house entirely on my own. And so we've changed that. Right ?Speaker 1:
So each one of you who makes the list and then what you want, what I'm inviting you to do is circle the ones that you're willing to let go a little bit, knowing it won't be done to the same level that you are . Right? Like the cleanliness really crucial. I want to give an example,Speaker 2:
The cleanliness of our home . Exactly.Speaker 1:
So for instance , um, let's say I have this all the time in the clinic. So the wife says, I want him to do the laundry. I was like, fine. And he's going to fold down fine, but I want him to fold the way I like it . No, wait, let'sSpeaker 2:
Give the example of our life. Let's give the example of our , we decided, because I don't want to be the only person cleaning this house, that every Friday we're going to divvy up different tasks and also age appropriate tasks so that our kids could participate. And that means that while there are streaks from the spritzer on like the mirrors and stuff, I didn't have to do it. They're clean. I didn't have to do it. It wasn't done, you know, to my level of satisfaction per se, but it was done. And I think that that is a really good example because it meant that I needed to let go a little bit, but the game , right? So the loss was like how clean it is. But the game was that I didn't have to do it all by myself and B . I think we're instilling really important values in our kids.Speaker 1:
So each one of you has a list. You circled the ones where you're willing to let go a little bit. Then you talk to your partner. And what you're trying to do is you're trying to like, let go of that area . Now. Here's, what's really important when that part , it takes over that area. When it's your kids or your partner, it's really important for you to back off, enjoy it. When they finished doing it, it's not going to be natural for them. It won't be. Yeah , no, it won't be natural. I bite my lip every time I swallow the criticism and the comments, the constructive feedback to say, thank you so much. It ,Speaker 2:
As I cleaned the toilets extra, just cause I'm like, I don't, but I don't want to ruin that. I don't want them to feel like they didn't do a good job.Speaker 1:
And then meanwhile, I don't bake it. Well, then see what your partner is doing a little too much where they're getting a bit burnt out and try to help them even without even announcing it. You try to take a load off a little bit over there now here's, what's really important. Expect ruptures and misunderstandings. Why? Because for the one partner who is not used to doing it, they're not either going to be frustrated by it or they're not going to be doing it well, that's something good . Okay. And there might be, be begrudging it a little bit, but this is part like you're , you're kind of rebirthing, you're kind of rebalancing the Seesaw and it's going to , it's going to be a bit cracky, little bit,Speaker 2:
But I also want to say that there may be places where your partner is feeling a bit burnout and they do wish that you would take more. Um, but, but that's just not possible or it doesn't make as much sense it's less efficient or , or you don't want to, or their best position to kind of be, you know, doing that at the moment. But I think even just an acknowledgement of like, I know, or I see that you're holding, you know, all the finances of our mortgage and things like that. And that you're the one that's kind of always like checking and keeping an eye and things like that on our finances. And I really appreciate that. I think that in and of itself says a lot because I think what happens is, is that we become resentful when it becomes taken for granted.Speaker 1:
Yeah. So if you just start , if you don't, so one way is to take some of the load off, but if you can't do that or you don't want to do that, at least acknowledge the fact that they're holding the, the main point . And soSpeaker 2:
Why , if you don't want to do it say why say, you know, I don't think that I will do it as well as you. I feel like you have a lot of experience. I feel like you have already kind of made then the connections with, you know, the bank and the, this and the , that, and, and, and also kind of, it's kind of a, more of a man's world scene kind of thing. And I, I think you represent us well there, but, but to really acknowledge that, like, you know, these are the reasons why, and, but I see, I see the toll that it takes or I see how much energy you have to expend, and I really appreciate it.Speaker 1:
And that is wonderful to hear. And as well, I think it's also important for if you're acknowledging that you can also acknowledge where the areas where you're holding more, not, not to show them not to, not in competition, but also, but to also remind them there's scenarios where you're holdingSpeaker 2:
The main part of the cleaning and the cooking .Speaker 1:
Exactly. And the reason you're doing does not it's like Jose was working harder , but you're also reminding them. Yeah. The fact that the kids are eating two hot meals a day is because of you. Yeah. And I think sometimes you want to remind that to your partner as well. Yeah. I see that . So I celebrate that as much. Okay. So that is why you are doing things alone. He doesn't have to be like that. You can shift, you can play with the Seesaw, but at least it can knowledge because there's always going to be one partner sometimes going to hold more of a , of every area, like the high desert .Speaker 2:
It talks about this in one of our videos, right. That it's not efficient for you both to be , um, at the same level of involvement in everything. It's just, it doesn't make sense. Plus that might not be fast in terms of utilizing your skills. Right. So, you know, just like in an organization or in a team, you know, it's rare that two people are working at exactly the same capacity on kind of , you don'tSpeaker 1:
Have to do it alone, but if , but sometimes you might do more of it. But as long as it's acknowledged, it's talked about, it's agreed upon that will protect you from bitterness. Check out the episode on bitterness. All right. So the leads was , you were going to be Romanelli.Speaker 2:
Do you want to model like appreciation? Yeah, I do appreciateSpeaker 1:
The fact that you're doing, you are maintaining a really high standard of living for us when it comes to the kids' education. The kids are always being really , you're putting food on the table. You're cooking all the time. You're cooling . Yes . Yes. And I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your taking care of queen, really taking care of her . And I really appreciate that. So that was the lead Romanelli potential . Say, we'll see you next time.Speaker 3:
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