Dear Carolyn • My wife insists that we split our housework 50-50 and she thinks it's sexist of me to resist that. I feel like since I do way more than 50 percent of a lot of other things I work longer hours, make more money, spend way more time with her family than she spends with mine, etc. it's unfair for housework to be the one thing that gets split 50-50. Do you think housework has to be split evenly?
Dear 50-50 Split • Contributions to your household, as a whole, should be split as close to 50-50 as possible without bean-counting. So, suggest you and your wife make a list of what it takes to keep your marriage and household running everything from earning money, buying and cooking food, cleaning house, maintaining connections with family and friends, keeping a calendar, etc. Then see whether the current division of labor is fair. Also make sure you agree on the "currency" you're using; is it time, value, money, effort? Also explore why you're both acting as adversaries, versus teammates.
Dear Carolyn • My brother and his wife had a daughter 16 months ago. My whole life I've been certain I didn't want children. But I LOVE my niece. She's changed my mind entirely on the issue. I've been with my girlfriend for five years, and she was OK with my no-children stance, but not as certain as I was. We are getting married this winter, and I was wondering what your advice would be on my bringing up my change of heart? It seems a bit unfair, like a bait-and-switch, even if that wasn't my intent.
Dear Game-Changer • Changes of heart happen. They become unfair when you withhold them, spin them, lie about them, or act on them without communicating openly with a partner. Tell her, NOW, what you said here, and see where it takes you. However, make sure you prepare yourself for the fact that your child will be relentless you can't just hand your baby back to your brother and leave. Your baby also will be a completely different person. The one thing that doesn't vary is how badly they need their parents to love them as they are.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.