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In this castle, the princess puts her feet up

By Amy Dickinson

Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World

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DEAR AMY: I have been remarried for 10 years and currently share a home with my wife and 23-year-old stepdaughter, who has a full-time job.

I was raised in a household where everyone who lived in the house had some responsibility to help out at home. We had chores to do, ranging from cooking to vacuuming to whatever else was necessary. My stepdaughter makes absolutely no contribution to the household and never has.

I have been trying for years to get my wife to agree with the principle that everyone should make some contribution. My wife does not agree. She believes that it's enough that her daughter does great "outside" of the house.

I find this extremely disrespectful. This issue continues to have a major negative impact on our marriage and even 15 minutes a week of contribution is not acceptable to either of them, and so the running of the household continues to fall solely on our shoulders.

I have not been able to ignore this and cannot believe that this problem still exists after all these years.

We have discussed this many times at marital therapy. Any suggestions? -- Frustrated with Conflicting Values

DEAR FRUSTRATED: It's time for this adult to move out of the family home. I realize that this doesn't really address your underlying issue, which is that in your household, your wife's values have more weight than your own. In a way, I feel sorry for this young woman who has been so discouraged from demonstrating her capabilities.

I happen to agree with you that everyone who lives in a household should pitch in to help. In addition to making the household easier to manage by sharing the burden, the willingness and ability to perform household chores makes a person a better roommate and spouse later on.

You should ask your wife how she would feel if you came home one day, announced that you were doing great "outside of the house," and that you had decided therefore to do nothing inside it.