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How Housework Can Hurt a Relationship

Study: For Women, More Housework Can Mean More Psychological Distress

Distress Affects the Whole Family

Family psychiatrist Alan Manevitz, MD, says the study's results are neither unexpected nor earth shattering. Like Weber, Manevitz says that psychological distress results less from an unequal division of household labor and more from a perceived lack of respect and appreciation in a relationship. And, he points out that if any distress does exist, it will spread.

"One partner's unhappiness will lead to stress in the whole family," says Manevitz, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. "What matters most is that couples agree and have the same vision about how to divide things up, and that that vision evolves and has flexibility.

The kind of equal teamwork that marks successful couples -- "If they have it, they're usually not seeing me," says Manevitz -- makes for happier marriages and teaches a couple's children important lessons.

"Parents should be role models of communication and mutual respect," Manevitz says. "Their children should see them sharing tasks and making decisions as equals."

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