Do you remember the scene in the beginning of the movie when Jennifer Aniston is finishing up dinner and wanted 12 lemons for her table's centerpiece, and Vince Vaughn waltzes in the door with only three? On top of that, he's all "what my baby wants my baby gets" about the whole thing. On top of THAT, he sits right down on the couch to play video games instead of offering to help.
After dinner, they have a huge argument because Jennifer wants Vince to "want" to help with the dishes after dinner. News flash: no man wants to do the dishes any more than a woman wants to be the designated dish doer in the household.
The truth was that Jennifer wanted Vince to be more considerate and show some respect for her. But she never actually said that, soVince never got that, and then they really did break up.
Maybe she thought she was articulating what she wanted just fine. She didn't want to hurt his feelings (except she went ahead and fought with him, which is worse). She didn't want to seem ungrateful for the things that he did do.
It is within the realm of possibility that a man, a human being, after all, would feel enough empathy to sense what Jennifer was on about, actually want to do the dishes, and apologize profusely for the lemon incident.
Being in a relationship is difficult, of course, but it is also a learning experience if you use it correctly. If you are observant, you will realize that your man, like most men, does not understand shrouded references. Women can sense things. Men cannot. I'm not trying to say a woman is smarter than a man. Women are intuitive. Men are logical. Infuriatingly so.
When you surmise that your man can't see beyond himself because he doesn't get that you just want him to do what he says he will do (that's fundamental, guys), like I have, it's because he can't, and it has nothing to do with you nor is it a character flaw on his part. It's just the way he's built. So, you need to take your issue/request/whatever and serve it to him on a silver platter, unencumbered by garnish, if you will.
Give him a time by which whatever chore has to be done instead of fighting him because you wanted something done tomorrow but were so afraid to ask him for a favor in the first place, you didn't dare say "tomorrow".
Here's an example, not so far from reality, actually: I have some clothes to pick up from the tailor. I postponed doing it on Thursday, Friday, and then again the following Monday, because "birthday vacay". I can't do it during the day because of pesky work, and the tailor's is closed by the time I leave work. Yesterday, BF asked, "Why didn't you ask me to do it?" So I asked him to do it. I called him a few hours ago to remind him that the tailor closes at 4pm. He said that he knew that, and was just about to call me to tell me he was going to do it tomorrow because he wanted to SLEEP IN. First of all, how dare he say the words SLEEP IN to a person in the middle of her work day. Second, how inconsiderate you are, BF, and how little regard you have for me. I was fuming and hung up the phone quickly to avoid further discussion. If you so wanted to do me the favor, Man, why would you opt against it, especially in favor of sleeping late?
Normally, we would argue about something like this and then waste hours on a silent treatment. He would insist that I'm mad just because I want everyone to do everything for me and I don't want to take responsibility for my own things. I was completely outraged that he would do something so inconsiderate, and it was a good thing that I hung up that phone when I did and thought about it first. You see, I have only myself to blame. I asked him the favor, and then I said, "tomorrow..... or maybe the day after." I got sheepish. I should really have known better; if given the option, of course he will do it on the second day, which is probably what I would have done, too. If I'm going to get outraged, I have to have the grounds to do so, and if I had clearly asked him to pick up my clothes today, I would. But alas. I was trying to be Little Miss Nice Girl. Ladies, that is a sweet intention. But suffice it to say, it will not turn out like that. You will feel cheated and put upon, and worse, you will act accordingly.
Be clear with your man and you might avoid many arguments or even having to figure out who gets custody of an apartment. I learned this from "The Break Up". If you've already established a loving relationship with Man, there's no good reason why you should be so afraid of him that you can't ask him a favor. Trust, he will survive the discomfort of any hurt feelings. If your man is a good one, he won't come back to you questioning why you're so ungrateful. But in case he does, just be clear. Maybe an "I'm very grateful for the things you've done for me, but I asked this favor and was very clear about it and you agreed to it," will do the trick. The reaction you get will be quite revealing.