Does this scenario sound familiar: you really want something to be done by your partner—the garbage taken out, the dishes unloaded, the toddler’s new car seat installed, but you decide to do it yourself, even if your partner notices and asks if you need help? For whatever reason, you’ve decided to brush it off and proceed as if they hadn’t.
Sometimes we feel we can’t ask for help
Maybe your partner was “supposed” to do it, but they were taking too long, and you didn’t want to become a nag like their mother or father.
Maybe you were putting their needs before your own and adding to the never-ending list of the things you have to do. Your partner has long days at work and the last thing you want is to burden them when they get home with this thing you could’ve just done yourself, even if it added to your already full plate.
Maybe you feared that your partner wouldn’t have completed the task “the right way,” the way only you know you can. Maybe they’d have done it quickly, or sloppily, or lazily, and it would have ended up being more work for you in the long run to have to redo whatever it was they were supposed to be doing to “help” you.
The downsides to doing it alone
Regardless of the circumstance, not asking for help in a partnership will eventually lead to feelings of resentment, underappreciation, and the lack of being seen. It might feel better in the moment to “just do it yourself,” but it’s a dangerous habit to get into. Even in the moment, if it’s not that particular day and time that sends you over the edge, there will be a day and time when the task you have to take on without help is one too many.
That’s because when we’re stressed, all of our emotions intensify. Our perception is clouded by blame and shame and what was once a very small chore becomes an avalanche of contempt and accusation.
It’s always better to clearly and effectively communicate your needs to your partner. Asking for help builds intimacy and connection. It allows the other person to feel like they can take care of you. It allows you to be taken care of.