You fight over dirty clothes that end up on the floor instead of inside the hamper. You fight over who gets to hoard the remote or to walk the dog. And every single day, you fight over whose turn it is to wash the dishes.
It can’t be that, right? Your breakup must stem from something bigger than fights over soiled dishes. Your relationship’s downfall must go beyond spoons gummed with three-day-old rice bits or lipstick-stained cups half-filled with curdling milk.
According to a recent study, dishwashing can cause relationships to fall apart. Turns out, just like dirty dishes, feelings of resentment over not sharing the responsibility of washing the dishes do pile up.
Come to think of it, dishwashing also revolves around the five stages of grief. Pretty much like any breakup.
A typical day for you means cleaning, cooking, and basically keeping the household together between your nine to five. Surely, you deserve a break. But there are days-old dishes on the sink. Who’s gonna take care of the dishes?
Definitely not you.
“Ako nanaman ulit? Fine, ako naman lagi, eh.”
Turns out, dishwashing still falls on you.
He knows you hate having to scoop out gunk from the sink. He knows you’d rather scrub the floor than scrape off spoiled food from plates left sitting on the sink. Why won’t he save you from doing the things you hate, just for once? You’ve been doing your part to make the relationship work, why won’t he?
You’ve kept your resentment in for a long time, but this time, you can’t take it in anymore. If he makes you wash the dishes one more time, all the dirty dishes will be sent flying through the bin and him, out the door.
You know relationships entail give-and-take. It means doing things for your partner, without being asked, if it makes her happy. You know you deserve someone who looks after your welfare. So you decide to end it.
But. You may avoid dishwashing like the plague, but you can’t afford to lose him either.
If only he’s considerate enough to do the dishes. Or . . . if you only stopped complaining about washing the dishes.
So you pray to all the gods, the Universe, your ancestors, to bring him back. You spend a fortune on eggs to offer the saints. You vow to never complain about washing the dishes ever again, as long as ikaw na lang, ikaw na lang ulit.
After a long time of being in denial, it sinks in: it’s over. Yes, you loved him, you shared many wonderful moments with him, you shared a home – a life – together. But that love isn’t enough to make you forget your self-worth. You know better than to come running back to him.
So you stay away from him for a while. And for a time, you only eat out of paper plates, so you could avoid having to wash the dishes, too.
For relationships to work, both parties need to put in time and effort to know each other beyond the surface. Relationships mean knowing the things your partner despises and the things that make her happy. You realize that’s where you both went wrong.
You love him, but it’s more important to love yourself. To be kind to yourself.
And one day, you wake up to see that the sun is shining again. The pain is over, and the sadness that sat on your lungs for so long is gone. You eat breakfast out of your mom’s fine China; you bring it to the sink to clean.
You grab the bottle of Joy Dishwashing Liquid, squeeze it into the sponge, and glide it on the greasy plate. You realize that hey, dishwashing isn’t so bad. It’s actually relaxing. What made you dread it all along?
As you watch the last streak of grease leave the plate’s surface, you think to yourself, “Kahit pala gaano katindi yung kapit, mawawala pa din.” It could be because Joy was formulated to power clean tough grease, but hey, so are you. Whatever challenge life throws your way, you’re bound to bounce back.
And just like that, you feel like you’re ready to love (and wash dishes) again.
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Pint-sized Pinay. Writer by day, mermaid by night. Loves coffee, elephants, and the old book smell. Adoptive Mom to Churro, Laya, Alab, Chelsea, and Ivory, who all have four legs.