What Is Gatekeeping In Relationships and Is It Secretly Eating Away at Your Partnership?

what is gatekeeping in relationships

Negging. Phubbing. Keeping score. There are tons of tiny, annoying spousal actions that we’re all guilty of. The newest? Gatekeeping. So what is gatekeeping in relationships, exactly? Here’s the deal.

1. What is gatekeeping in relationships?

It’s when you expect your partner to help with something around the house (or in any area of your married life) but micromanage said task so intensely that he or she can’t possibly do it to your standards.

2. Gimme some examples.

You ask your husband to do the laundry…then get mad when he doesn’t use the dryer sheets you like. Your wife says she’ll address the Christmas cards this year…you then check in every day at 5 p.m. to see if she’s started. You beg your partner to cook dinner…and hover over his shoulder the entire time, art-directing the parsley placement.

3. Why is this bad for your marriage?

When your spouse tries to step up and take on a greater share of domestic duties only to get reprimanded and corrected, it’s demoralizing for you both: He feels chided and wary to help in the future; you feel frustrated that you “have” to do the task yourself.

4. So what should you do?

In the words of Elsa, “let it go.” Let him do the laundry without the extra fluff. Let him serve the potatoes with way too much parsley (and tell him it’s delicious). At least you have clean clothes and food on the table, right?

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jillian quint
Jillian Quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...
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