By Gina B.
I’ve been in a relationship for a while now, which means that everyone demands to know when we’re getting married. Oddly, that question bothers my boyfriend FAR less than it annoys me. I avoid the question for a few reasons. First, my decision to change my marital status is nobody’s business. And if I’m being honest? I don’t think that the concept of being a wife is all that sexy.
To be clear . . . I’m not talking about women who choose to be the girlfriend, as in “other woman.” I’m referring to a monogamous relationship where there is a consideration to make the transition from girlfriend to wife.
My opinion has been shaped by watching good friends and colleagues evolve from single to married, and how their lives and perceptions of their spouses have changed over the years.
My theory is unsettling to several people – especially the couples who disagree, and those whose lifelong ambitions have been to say “I do.” But before becoming offended, I invite you to really think about it.
Here are the differences, as I see them:
Girlfriends are fun. When a man goes public with a girlfriend, everyone is happy for him. “Finally!” they exclaim, “he has someone to have fun with, who’s good for him.” If they like her, his friends will be excited to witness the relationship unfold and see where it leads. The couple hangs out together and they play together -- all efforts to get to know each other and maximize their experiences. It’s very exciting and suspenseful – especially for the couples’ family and friends, who are voyeuristically sitting back with bowls of popcorn, watching, wondering and making suppositions as to whether or not the couple will “make it.”
Wives are serious. Wives run households and take care of all of the people who reside within the four walls of their homes. Wives have responsibilities and they sacrifice. There’s no mystery. The couple has crossed the marital finish line, and it’s time to start building a life together. In some cases, date nights have to be created to keep the spark. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep it moving.
Girlfriends are voluntary. There’s nothing that keeps a man there, except that he wants to be there. There are no legal obligations. No fear of financial ruin. In most cases, there are no children to remain for. It’s pure desire.
Wives are perceived as obligation. I really REALLY hate hearing a man refer to his wife as “the old ball and chain,” or complaining because his wife is keeping him from doing something he’d rather be doing. Yet I hear those things all of the time. I’d be a gazillionaire if I had a dollar for every time I heard “I can’t that night. There’s an event that my wife is making me attend” or “I’d better not, or my wife will kill me.” Unfortunately, I rarely hear a married man say “I can’t WAIT to get home to my wife.”
Girlfriends are keeping it sexy. As a girlfriend, there are a few things you know for sure: 1) your man can leave you at any time, so you have to maintain your hotness. 2) If he does leave you, you’ll need the ability to attract a new one. Most girlfriends stay on their game.
Wives? Well . . . according to several men, many women make a distinct shift after getting married. There’s less of a commitment to sexiness, and the complaint is that the “girlfriend version” is much hotter than the “wife version.”
Girlfriends are pursued. Men enjoy the hunt, and girlfriends are the prey. Men are known to make grand gestures to further engage a woman.
Wives are no longer pursued. Men aren’t interested in pursuing what they’ve already won. I’ve known men to completely change their behavior and demeanor once they’ve “closed the deal.” (To be fair, men don't typically pursue any girlfriend they've had over six months.)
Girlfriends are supposed to be treated like princesses, who are youthful and to be indulged.
Wives are the queens, and while that is a revered position, hers is a more stately and administrative role.
As far as sex is concerned? Well . . . we’ve all heard the complaints that the frequency of married sex is WAY slower than dating sex.
Disclaimer - if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for several years, you might have defaulted to spouse status without the legal paperwork.
I’m obviously trying to remain sexy for as long as possible. But . . . having never been a wife, I’ve clearly told one side of this story. I welcome and encourage a healthy debate. If you’re a wife or husband who disagrees with my theory, please leave a comment. Yours is an under-represented story.
Thanks for reading!