07/17/2013 04:58 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2013

Why the Honey-Do List Gets Shorter When Honey Moves Out

Every household has its honey-do list and inevitably some of the tasks on that list have been there for a very long time. We're not talking weeks, we're talking months, even years. So how is it, that when honey moves out, these tasks start getting crossed off and the honey-do list gets shorter?

There are tasks that honey simply won't do. Given the change in your relationship there are inevitably some tasks that your honey simply won't do for you and vice versa. Those tasks become "nice-to-haves" relegated to the very lowest priority or even no longer desired and even if you do still want them done, your honey may be the very last person you'd ask for help.

There's no point in disagreeing any longer. That tiling project that was never completed because you and your honey couldn't agree on the tile suddenly becomes a priority because the house is being sold. Now, neither you nor your honey really cares what tile is used, you both just want it done and neither of you wants to spend more than absolutely necessary. Your interests are now aligned.

Honey doesn't have a say any longer. For years you've been looking at holes in your ceiling where some speakers were supposed to be installed. Your honey said they would do it but they never got round to it and yet they wouldn't agree to you hiring a contractor. Now that honey is gone, and you're staying in the house, you find a contractor (or learn to do it yourself), the holes are gone, the speakers are in and you're enjoying the music wondering exactly why it took so long.

You have time. One advantage with shared parenting means that you do now get some designated alone time and that makes it easier to find an hour to sort through that toy box, something you and your honey have been saying you have to do for a long time now.

Getting the honey-do tasks done makes you feel good. Yes, it is satisfying to see that list get shorter and at a time when so much in your life is changing and is uncertain getting these honey-do tasks done may bring a much needed sense of control. This is especially true if you and your honey aren't making much progress agreeing over the division of assets or your parenting agreement.

But be prepared - while that shrinking honey-do list may make you feel good, it could have the opposite effect on your honey. Be prepared for your honey to say that you're making them feel guilty or incompetent or even complain that you should have asked them for help.

Now's not the time to debate the past and why some of those tasks have lingered for years. It's definitely not time to rehash past disagreements. The better response is to simply acknowledge that you getting these tasks now is not a reflection about the past but rather that the honey-do list is now simply a to-do list.