Are You a “Chore Martyr”?


It’s been two hours since your partner said he’d help you take out the trash and he’s still stationed on the couch, engrossed in a game of sudoku. Do you: A. Remind him of the task or B. Sigh loudly, grab the bags and drag them out the door begrudgingly.

 If the latter is more your M.O., you might be what we call a “chore martyr.” What’s a chore martyr, you ask? It’s someone who takes on all or most of the household duties in order to make the point that they are, well, taking on all the household duties. While every marriage and partnership has its own rules when it comes to the chore wheel, the martyr usually appears when one person feels that the IRL distribution of the work is not fair and, in their head, it’s easier to just take care of it than to have a confrontation.

 So how can we prevent this negative behavior from screwing with our relationships in the long-term?  According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, honest convos are the only way to avoid problems down the line, especially since resentment and chore martyrdom go hand in hand. The first step: Remember your spouse isn’t a mind reader. Per Hafeez, “We tend to send signals to our partner that their actions are not making us happy, but the signals are vague, passive-aggressive and do not account for the fact that your partner’s radar might not even be reading into your signals…So chances are those subtle sighs, eye-rolls and mutterings under your breath are either confusing your partner or going completely unnoticed.