What does this mean?  

Lately I have come across several couples where one partner feels they are taking all the responsibility in the relationship. They are the driver of the relationship, they make all the hard decisions, they plan, they carry the mental load, and they perform more tasks within the relationship. 

Being in a relationship takes work. It takes good communication to sit together and work out who is responsible for each area. For example, who oversees the finances? Usually in a couple one person is more equipped to manage this area, and if there is transparency and agreement, it should not be a cause of tension.   

Relationship responsibilities can take different forms and include emotional, financial, personal, household functioning, parenting, and sexual responsibility.

Taking responsibility can help cement trust and allow room for vulnerability and growth of the relationship.

As a couple go from being just the two of them, to having a family, they need to make changes.  

It is important to work out who is going to be the breadwinner of the family and who will stay home with the children. At first the mother will be the primary carer but later this could change. Each partner needs to respect and support the role each of them plays, realising both roles, the breadwinner, and the primary carer, are as important as each other for the family to function. 

There can be times that the partner that goes off to work can feel as if the primary carer is having the easier life, but this is just not true. They need to understand that being with a baby 24/7 is incredibly demanding. The partner looking after the baby is at the beck and call of the baby, and if the baby is sick everything goes out the window. Meanwhile they are working with adults and have more control over their time. 

Be kind to each other and work out what is fair and reasonable to expect of each of you. Make decisions together. Remember to also prioritise your relationship, making time to connect and have quality time, to have fun and laugh together.

The word ‘responsibility’ won’t sound like a burden when both of you are ready to share it. And both of you follow through with mutual commitments. It requires each of you to take self-accountability and hold each other accountable. 

Some useful strategies you can use to build a responsible partnership are good communication, being able to own up to your mistakes, using a problem-solving attitude and fulfilling your commitments.