What’s your idea of boyfriend responsibilities?

“Boyfriend responsibilities” are not the same as “marital duties,” but the latter can be included in the former. My sweetie and I were discussing boyfriend responsibilities during his visit this week.

After he returned home he apologized for not being more cognizant of his boyfriend responsibilities. He knew my garage door opener needed a minor repair. While I was conducting an hour-long client call he took a nap, which was fine with me. In his email he said, “I’m very sorry about the garage door. I should have jumped right on it.” I hadn’t asked him to fix it, nor did he say he would, so I didn’t have any expectations that it would be magically fixed while I was otherwise engaged.

Home DepotI don’t expect my beau to be my ad-hoc handyman, unless it’s something in which I know he has expertise and doesn’t mind doing. He said, “My fingers shudder and refuse to let me pick up a hammer. Power tools have a restraining order against me. Changing oil means changing cars. Is there such a thing as an ‘unhandyman’?”

As a homeowner, the never-ending list of “honey do’s” keeps expanding. Even when I was married, I always had a handyman to do all but minor repairs. It saved us a lot of tension and fighting from my nagging my ex to do what I considered simple things, but he thought were time-consuming trips down frustration lane — as well as multiple visits to Home Depot.

I may occasionally ask my sweetie to help out with a quick job, especially if it’s something simple that I can’t do by myself. I do a lot on my own, but some tasks need two people. Others are better delegated to my handyman so I can focus on other things.

I really appreciate it when my beau takes initiative to do anything that helps around the house and would fall on my shoulders otherwise. Without my asking, he’s already emptied the dishwasher, cooked me breakfast and dinner, washed the dishes, fixed a nearly clogged faucet, brought in the mail, helped me prepare some packages for mailing, took out the trash, brought in firewood, and other things that he saw needed to be done. Since this week was an especially frazzled one, I’m grateful for anything he did to pitch in. And I appreciated it even more when I didn’t have to ask or point out the task. It feels more like a partnership rather than his being a guest in my home.

What’s your take on boyfriend duties? When you’ve been seeing someone for a little while, do you have any expectations of what he will do for you around the house? Do you discuss these expectations and see if he has any desire to take on these “honey do’s”? Or is there tension and conflict because of different expectations? And what about when you’re at his house? Does he expect you to do tasks that are traditionally “women’s work” — mending, cooking, cleaning, laundry? If so, how do you handle it if you don’t want to do the task, or don’t have the skills?

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6 responses to “What’s your idea of boyfriend responsibilities?”

  1. CatieB Avatar

    I agree with you that a guest in your home would not be expected to fix a broken garage door. that he even thought to mention it reveals his thoughtfulness, let alone all the things he DID do around the house to ease your workload on a crazy week! I am already wishing for one like him!

    My boyfriend has stayed at my apt. during a change of places for him. He has used the bathroom, and kitchen, dirtied the carpet with his boots (I always take shoes off at the door, it is obvious, and even asked him to do the same), made various messes, etc. all in the “normal” course of living in a place. He never once offered to assist in prep or clean up in anything. When asked politely to help make a meal, or clean up a mess, he declared “Oh, now I am your honey-do man, for your honey-do all this for me list. Well, I am not in to housework”. He would often get mad over something small, and leave as well, with me to clean up the home after him. That happened twice, which is 2x too many. He no longer is my boyfriend, nor would I again offer to help him out.

    One can usually tell what kind of person they have by the small things they say and do, i.e., from being polite to strangers, waiters, etc. to offering to assist you in minor things, even when they do not feel like it at the time. I gave this guy extra room because of the situation he is in at this time. But his complete lack of awareness and willingness beyond himself revealed him to be narcissistic, not simply in a bad place right now.

    Your boyfriend showed a lot of gentlemanly grace in his willingness to go the extra distance for you during your stressed week. His momma raised him right, as they say.

    He sounds like a keeper! Good luck! Catie

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar


    You are so right that this one is a keeper!

    And you are also very right to have dumped the last selfish oaf who sponged off you and expected to not carry his weight while living in your space. I can’t imagine being a guest in anyone’s house and doing what you described. How uncouth and ungrateful. Perhaps he’s now moved back in with his mother! I’m glad he’s out of your life.

  3. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I don’t really expect anything of any guy I date as I feel lucky to get a date in the first place. In relationships I’m the proverbial doormat, doing everything and keeping my mouth shut, (yes, I admit it’s not ideal, but that’s my personality). And yet as frustrating as this can be sometimes, it’s worse when the guys don’t appreciate any of it and leave me for some woman who barely gives them the time of day. What is wrong with men? I know if I had someone waiting on me the way I did on my ex and my ex ex, etc., I’d hardly raise my voice to complain and I’d never ever want to leave, not unless the guy tossed me out.

    I guess I never will understand men, no wonder I’m single, sigh…

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  4. Gatti Avatar

    I have a little mantra that I say to myself when I think of the sweetie:

    What can I do today to show him that I love him.

    From the way he treats me, I’m pretty sure he has a similar sort mantra of his own!

  5. rooB Avatar

    My last sweetie put up my pictures. I typed his resumes. We cooked for each other.

  6. Julie Avatar

    What?! You’ve been to his house? He emptied the *what* washer for you? Hmmm…I’m beginning to believe my best friend when she tells me that this is just a “booty call.” (But is sure has been a long and a good one – on – or off – for 8 months…gosh, if I had wanted another baby, I could have potentially almost been there by now!) Then, one casually thinks to oneself while cooking dinner, “hmmm…if he *is* my “boyfriend,” what would his responsibilities be? We already know what the mutually beneficial benefits are.”

    “What can I do today to show you I love you??” is a wonderful thought, but lost on someone who refuses to respond…even though I do keep trying and my task is to understand *why* I keep doing that.