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LONDON — Can’t we all just get along? It’s not so easy once you move in with your better half. A recent survey finds the top things couples bicker about include leaving the toilet seat up, not putting dishes away, and leaving the lights on.

The poll of 2,000 British adults living with a partner found one in four clash heads over a significant other starting on the housework, but not actually finishing it.

Other quarrels in the top 30 list include not dusting properly, failing to “squeegee” the shower after use. leaving crumbs in the bed, and whose turn it is to clean the floor. How much time they spend on their phone, leaving dishes to soak for ages before washing them, and not taking the trash out are also among the top tiffs. Incredibly, all of these cause more problems than not flushing the toilet or managing the bills properly.

But the study, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by cleaning product brand Method, finds the fights aren’t always minor disagreements. Three in five respondents (59 percent) admit their domestic disputes can lead to the complete breakdown of the relationship. And 39 percent believe the bulk of their spats arise from a cleaning or household chore disagreement – with 13 percent getting into an argument about this on a daily basis!

Household chores still being left to the ladies

It also emerged that gender stereotypes are far from a thing of the past. More than half of women — 54 percent — believe they are still doing the lion’s share of the housework. “It’s shocking that in 2022 we’re still seeing such disparities in the way cleaning and housework are shared,” a Method spokesperson tells South West News Service.

The study also shows that 45 percent of women cohabiting with a male partner agree household tasks are “disproportionately split,” compared to just 34 per cent of men who feel the same. And the 39 percent of females who claim this imbalance increased during the pandemic say it hasn’t rebalanced since adapting to post-lockdown life.

“We need to shake up and challenge gender norms that see women left responsible for household work – that means more men taking on their fair share,” says Jemima Olchawski, CEO of UK gender equality charity, the Fawcett Society. “Whether in the workplace or at home, women carry the burden of unpaid domestic labor, and this has a significant impact on achieving gender equality. A rebalancing of household chores and care would unlock the potential of thousands of women.”

Tit for tat

It seems that some couples act more like children when it comes to bickering in that everything must be even. The research finds 41 percent get frustrated by the split of household tasks as it becomes a matter of “fairness.” For a third of respondents, the chore battle is so extreme, they would have reconsidered moving in together had they known how the housework would be divided. To make matters worse, nearly half of those polled say their partner expects praise or thanks when they finally manage to complete a task.

And it’s not just heterosexual pairs experiencing domestic disruption. Forty-one percent of same-sex cohabiting couples say there’s a notable imbalance in how their housework is split too.

But while a quarter of people in relationships are frustrated by the inequality of household chores, it’s not necessarily because they don’t enjoy cleaning. More than two in five (41 percent) say tidying up has a positive impact on their mental health. Similarly, 42 percent enjoy it as a form of exercise, and 11 percent see it as a type of meditation.

So what made the list of top spats for couples? Have a look at the list below.

Top 30 Most Common Household Arguments For Cohabiting Couples

1. Leaving lights on around the home
2. Leaving the toilet seat up
3. Not putting dishes away
4. Starting but not completing the housework
5. Whose turn it is to clean the floor (vacuuming, mopping, etc.)
6. Not squeegeeing the shower door/glass wall after showering
7. Leaving dirty clothes on the floor
8. Dropping crumbs in the bed
9. Not dusting properly
10. Not making the bed
11. Not listening
12. Leaving crumbs on the side
13. Not taking the trash out
14. Leaving dirty plates in the sink
15. How much time they spend on their phone
16. Leaving plates to “soak” for ages before washing up
17. Not loading/unloading the dishwasher
18. Making plans without checking you’re free first
19. Who is cooking the evening meal
20. What film/TV series to watch
21. How to decorate the house
22. Not flushing the toilet
23. How loudly they listen to music
24. Not making enough effort with each other’s family
25. The amount of sports they watch
26. Inviting people over without consulting you first
27. Who is responsible for getting the groceries
28. Having to socialize with partner’s friends
29. What to do with a spare room
30. How to manage the bills properly

72Point writer Astrid Cooper contributed to this report

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