A “recovering man child” is using a series of TikTok videos to demonstrate the many, many ways men add to their partners’ emotional labor through small actions
In virtually all relationships, there’s emotional labor involved—the invisible mental work that each partner has to do to help maintain the relationship and household, take care of kids and pets, do their job, and everything else that life requires. Emotional labor is a part of life, and there’s no way to eliminate it entirely. When it becomes a problem is when one partner thoughtlessly piles a ton of unnecessary extra labor on their partner and expects them to just handle it—and many studies show that in heterosexual relationships, it’s so, so common for men to do this to their girlfriends and wives. That’s what one “recovering man child” is pointing out in a series of TikTok videos, where he explains common ways men tend to add extra emotional labor to their partners’ plates, and how they can correct course.
Zach, who goes by @zachthinkshare on TikTok, is a husband and dad who shares examples of how he himself has added extra “mental load” for his wife, and how he’s learning to recognize when he’s doing it and take back the load so his wife doesn’t have to carry it for him.
In one video, he shares this example: His wife made blueberry muffins, and their daughter wanted one, so he yelled across the house to his wife, “Do you think these muffins are too hot to feed to her?”
Instead of asking, he could have just felt the muffins. Instead, he interrupted whatever his wife was doing to ask.
“I don’t know what she was doing in the other room, but if she’s doing anything that requires a little bit of thought, she has to switch directions with her brain, answer the question, and come back to it,” Zach explains. “Multiply that by one or five or 10 or 100 things a day. That’s called decision fatigue.”
In another example, Zach and his family are going to a party at their in-laws’ house. They’re bringing chairs for the party, which starts at noon, and Zach is wondering what time they need to leave (while also considering their two-year-old’s nap time in the day’s plans). But instead of just asking his wife what time, he goes to her with a suggestion that “shows his work.”
“I’ve been thinking about how we want to get to the party today,” he says. “I’m thinking we’re definitely doing nap after we get there. We probably want to get there at 11:30 because we’re bringing chairs for the event so we don’t want to get there right at 12. So I’m thinking we’ll need to leave by at least 11?”
He adds, “It showed the work—the thinking I was doing. There’s no open-ended question in there… Not only was there no mental load added, but I was able to communicate to her, indirectly, that we were on the same page.”
Zach’s examples ring really true for tons of viewers because he shows how simple it is to reframe how you approach questions and tasks to take the lead—to not put extra emotional labor on your partner’s plate.
If you could use the reminder, he’s worth a follow.