Cohabiting might seem the modern way, but behind closed doors an old-fashioned division of labour holds firm.

It seems women who live with their partners but do not marry still end up doing most of the housework. Research found they even end up doing the lion's share if they're the sole breadwinner.

Women are still most likely to do the washing and cleaning whether or not she works and whether or not he works too.

Even where they share duties, she does not get off lightly because she still tends to supervise him as he gets on with his chores, said the journal Qualitative Sociology. Researchers from Cornell University in New York state analysed the lives of 30 cohabiting couples aged 35 or younger.


Professor Sharon Sassler said: "When men aren't working, they don't see domestic labour as a means of contributing. In fact, they double down and do less of it, since it challenges their masculinity." She said not one of the couples equally shared both household and financial responsibilities.

Many married couples live together before tying the knot so the situation is likely to exist among them too.