Ms. Meniscus:

My husband thinks we are in a modern relationship, but from my view we are still stuck in the 50s. I work and clean the house, make meals, and serve as his personal assistant. When I was first diagnosed with RA, he was ready to help, but now that I’m on my biologic and look and feel pretty normal, our relationship is back to the way it was.

This needs to stop. Tell me how to retrain this old dog.

I’m not Doris Day

Dear I’m not Doris Day,

“Modern Relationships” can be interpreted to be many things to many different people.  One thing that most would agree on as a consistent factor between these relationships is the idea of responsibility sharing.

Since you both work outside of the home, you should both sit down and talk about coming to a compromise when it comes to house-related responsibilities. As a good husband, he was willing to help you when you were in pain.  Thankfully, the biologics are helping you to recapture the mobility and your independence again, but that is not an excuse for him to disengage.  You have to explain to him that, although your RA might be under control right now, it remains a chronic disease that you will have to deal with the rest of your life.  He should consider himself lucky that you are able to resume your life while on biologics, but he should not take advantage of it!

One area you might consider starting your responsibility sharing in is something that is more than likely very important to your husband – food.  Cooking is a perfect way for him to help out because he can become invested in the final product. 

If you are in an area where you can fire up an outdoor grill, barbequing is a relatively easy and delicious way for him to start helping you out in this area. You can even invest in one of those silly, “Kiss the cook” aprons if you like.  Please be cautious though – some oversight will be necessary to assure that unlike your medium-rare steak, your home doesn’t end up well done.

Talking and working through these things through are typically the most helpful ways to try and stimulate these changes in behavior.  If this fails, there is always the route of announced strikes on the dishes!

— M

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