What Is Emotional Labor in a Relationship?


When it comes to emotional labor, people are extremely lazy, even if the reluctance to do it leads to negative consequences. Some sociologists agree that emotional labor begins with such small moments as thinking about what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These may be more important tasks, such as paying utility bills or birthday greetings to a close friend or relative. Generally speaking, emotional labor summarizes all our thoughts and helps us not to forget about our plans, tasks, and important life moments.

What is emotional labor?

When a man finds the one among single ladies to date, they start a relationship and then family. The actions necessary to maintain a comfortable environment at home and in the family are called emotional labor. For example, someone from a couple needs to be the first to start complex conversations, make sure that children do their homework on time or go to bed, remind relatives about their birthdays and ask a loved one to take out the trash or unload the dishwasher. If only one of the partners does all this work, problems and discontent may arise in the relationship.

What can be an example of such labor?

You can ask yourself these questions to determine how much emotional labor you do. Who seeks reconciliation first if there is a conflict in your couple? Who does pleasant things for a partner more often? Who plans what you will eat for dinner? If someone close to you falls ill, who will go to the hospital to bring pajamas, food, and toilet paper?

Please note that emotional labor doesn’t include situations in which you ask a partner for a certain service, and he/she agrees to fulfill this request. It is only about who takes the initiative more in your relationship.

Solving the problem of emotional labor with a partner

You must do it sensitively and respectfully. If the partners don’t feel significant support in the relationship and don’t express their problems, then they create obstacles for a happy life. And they will not be able to build healthy relationships. When starting a conversation, avoid accusations. We know that housework can cause serious debate. But you will only make yourself better if you remain calm. You need to focus on how to better express thoughts and feelings. Keep in mind that if you say: “I feel we should do this …” rather than “you must…,” you are less likely to offend your partner and initiate a dispute. That is, you can better understand the opinion of another person and hear him or her.

You need to correctly express your ideas for solving this problem. Try to identify and discuss the current division of emotional labor between you. Find agreement and compromise. Then you can decide who will do what. And make sure both of you are happy with your duties. Shared responsibility can be a new round in your relationship. Or you can agree that one person takes responsibility for housework and the other for finances. In any case, try your best and communicate regularly with each other.

We know that communication is an important key in any relationship. But due to the too fast pace in our lives, we pay little to this time. Whatever your situation, discuss with your partner the changes that will help both of you. Choose the right time and calmly share your feelings with your loved one. Your relationship and emotional state will only get better after that.

A sincere conversation with your partner is the only way to ease the pressure on you and reduce the level of emotional work.