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Social media has shed new light on a concerning dating trend similar to gaslighting.
Have you ever been in a situation with your partner where you've asked them - repeatedly - to help you out with something, only for them to turn around and tick off every possible end-scenario of them messing up? Maybe you asked them to put the bins out and they complained about not knowing the right day for collection, which colours to bring, or the difference between compostables and recyclables.
According to experts (and TikTok), you may be experiencing something called 'Weaponised Incompetence'.
Although originally coined in 2007, the term has been blowing up on TikTok of late. The hashtag has generated a whopping 22-million views since September. Female users of the platform are taking a stand against the 'useless husband' trope, insisting it simply 'isn't funny anymore'.
According to TikToker Jessica Jo, the phrase 'fine, I'll just do it' is key. Being bombarded with excuses from a partner after asking them to help you out around the house is a 'patriarchy problem' designed to add to a woman's 'mental load', as explained in her caption.
In order to get a better understanding of Weaponised Incompetence, it's warning signs and how to combat it: we spoke to Sexologist Ness Cooper.
"Weaponised Incompetence can present in the form of simple household tasks, to much more complex things like paying the bills and other financial aspects of a relationship", she said. "Essentially, your relationship ends up making you feel like a personal assistant, rather than someone's romantic partner".
Every-day chores appear to be the focus of Jessica's TikTok; with the 'partner' finding elaborate ways to avoid making dinner, doing the washing, or cleaning the office.
"If you feel like you're doing significantly more essential tasks than your partner," Ness continued, "it may be a sign that they're using the tactic to get out of doing it."
According to Ness, the issue can often be easily resolved with the help of communication.
"Sometimes individuals just need some guidance and support, perhaps from a relationship coach or therapist," she said. "Whilst the task divide is rarely 50-50, it's important for each party to put in a fair amount of effort".
A reluctance to address these problems could spell out trouble for the future of your relationship. "If your partner isn't willing to look at their behaviour after you've spoken to them, there could be some bigger problems which need addressing".
Whether you feel like you're being manipulated or not, open communication is at the core of any healthy relationship. Talking about your feelings may help you to understand your partner better, and set the groundwork for a richer relationship in future.
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