Labour with emotions is exhausting. It seems like the millionth-time this month your friend and their partner have broken up and gotten back together, and you have been there giving advice the whole time. Or when your parent calls you for emotional support, despite you being in a precarious situation emotionally yourself, you feel as though you just want to send the call to ignore. There is no denying that this can lead to problematic and toxic relationships.

I want us for a second to think about the implications of conflating our most personal relationships with labour, though. The problem with referring to the emotional work we do in our relationships as labour allows for every emotional situation to become transactional, further extending the colonial and capitalist ideologies of everything serving an economic purpose. Focusing on the idea that emotional situations need a transactional reaction in order for it to become “fair” propagates the worship of profit.

an 8-bit gif of a banana peeling

But is it fair that we are constantly being put into situations that drain our emotional resources? No! But instead of framing it as you having been wronged in a transactional relationship, perhaps consider...