For the purposes of this post the terms girlfriend and wife are pretty basic. Girlfriend= someone you are dating, probably less than a year and with whom you are not living; wife= someone you marry or the person with whom you have a long term, live-in relationship. I don’t want anybody to feel left out.
“My wife doesn’t pay attention to me anymore; she’s too focused on the kids.”
“When I’m with my mistress she pays me her full attention.”
“My lover is exciting and wonderful. We don’t spend all of our time talking about mortgages and the kids. We have hot sex and talk about where we’re going to go on vacation.”
We hear this a lot, don’t we? How we’ve somehow let our significant other down in the day to day living that is our marriage. We need to keep things exciting. Just ask those professional mistresses. They’ll tell you that the secret is to always shave your legs, never turn down sex, stop focusing on your kids, and make that sweet little narcissistic cheater the center of your world.
There is a man, a so-called reformed cheater, who runs a fairly popular website. I’m not going to call him out by name because he doesn’t deserve it. I read his site over a year ago and my blood pressure sky-rocketed I was so pissed about the drivel he was peddling. One of the entries he made which really got my goat was one where he talked about how his wife had changed since the girlfriend days, and boo hoo, he still wanted her to be his girlfriend. Apparently, if you just refuse to transition from girlfriend to wife he’ll never cheat! Yes, that was his advice to “affair proof” your marriage. As he put it: What was once a cute, snug top with a pair of flattering hip-hugger jeans, with some cute little matching panty and bra set from VS’s now has turned into granny panties underneath sweats. He goes on to talk about flirty text messages all the time (hey- that sounds familiar!), working out so that you remain fit and trim, and constant sex. To be fair he does also talk about sharing hobbies, emotional intimacy, dates, and having fun together; however, you can tell when you read this crap that those things are far below wearing sexy panties, keeping fit, and having sex all the time.
Consider this my PSA to cheaters everywhere (not that they’ll read this, of course): Hey, you idiots! She’s your wife, not your girlfriend. They are two separate and distinct roles. And for any males who have been cheated on and might be reading here ya go: He’s your husband, not your boyfriend! Again, they are two separate and distinct roles.
Surely I am not the only person who gets this. Dating is all about putting your best face forward, feeling others out to see if you’re compatible, having fun. Dating is to marriage what going out to dinner with your best friend is to going to a company function with your boss. It’s not so much a bait and switch, which is what these whining crybabies want people to believe. It’s a matter of being comfortable with a person, letting your hair down and letting them see your faults.
If I ever date again I’m sure that in the beginning I’ll dress up; I’ll wear make-up. I’ll chat about incredibly fascinating subjects. I won’t belch or fart. I’m not going to scratch any awkward itches. I’m going to be on my best behavior. I won’t be inviting him back to the house so he can watch me color my hair, put on a mud mask, or wax my mustache. Additionally, we’ll be going out. Every time we’re together it will be fun. Because that’s the point of dating.
I liken it to my niece visiting me over the summer. She would come out and we would be on the go constantly. I am a kickass aunt. We were at the amusement park on Monday, the water park on Tuesday, hiking on Wednesday, a museum on Thursday, movies on Friday, back to the amusement park on Saturday, skating rink on Sunday and repeat! I had one summer where we were so jam packed my son actually begged me to let him just stay at home. It was fantastic. I had a great time with her and my kids. However, that’s not what every day life in my household looked like. She was with us for a short period of time. There was no homework. No school. I would cook her favorite foods and make sure I purchased her favorite snacks. It was all fun. Every.single.day. Because, again, I am a kickass aunt and mom! That’s the same for anyone who comes to visit. You take them around, show them the sites, go to the best restaurants. More than likely your day to day life does not involve hitting all the touristy sites and dining out every meal. You’re not lying to these people. You’re entertaining them, showing them a good time, hitting the highlights of where you live.
Eventually though the time will come where I will invite my gentleman caller to hang out with me and the kids. And the dogs. It won’t always be wineries, movies, dining out, hikes, luxurious weekends away (fingers crossed!) and whatever other interesting things people do when they go out on dates. Seriously, I wouldn’t know; I haven’t dated in over twenty years. Eventually I will be wearing a comfortable pair of jeans and a t-shirt, maybe even a pair of sweats. I will see him without putting on foundation, mascara, eye shadow, and bronzer (I do regularly wear lipstick and eye liner; I’m not a complete slob!). If my gentleman caller is really lucky he might eventually find out that I hate doing laundry and I’m down to wearing my ratty underwear instead of my cute polar bear panties or the ones with Elsa from Frozen on them. Yeah, I rock those bitches! I also have ones with minions on them.
Here’s another wild difference. When you’re dating you have time away from each other. If his jokes are wearing on my nerves or I don’t want to watch another minute of SportsCenter or I have no desire to watch his favorite baseball team on TV, I can retreat to my own place. If I want to drink margaritas with my friends instead of drinking beer and watching boxing with him and his friends, I can. If I want to hang out in my sweats, no bra, no make-up, hair combed but not styled, stuffing chocolate chip cookie dough and Pringles in my mouth while I watch The Notebook and yell at the ending I can! Hey, baby, wanna get together? No, thanks; I’m busy! Boom! Snacks and a movie with an unsatisfying ending. No husband bitching about how I’ve let myself go. Bonus: next time I see the gentleman caller he’s all, “Wow, Sam, you are rocking that dress! Did you do something different with your hair? You look amazing!”
Of course I do! He hasn’t seen me in three days. I’ve been watching bad romantic movies non-stop and stuffing non-nutritious snacks into my gullet. This is the first decent meal I’ve eaten in days. He has no idea the mess I’ve been. The illusion is protected.
That’s dating, folks, although I know I don’t have to tell you that. That’s the big difference between dating and marriage. With marriage they never go away! If you don’t feel like putting on make-up and looking your best some Sunday your boyfriend will never know. Your husband, however, will. If you’re dating and you haven’t shaved your legs in five days your boyfriend has no clue! Especially if you shave those legs before your date! With your husband you have to shave every day! He knows when you’ve gone multiple days without shaving because he never goes home. With dating every time you meet up it’s exciting; it’s an event. You can even choose how often these events happen. That’s not true in marriage. You’re always on; he’s always there. That’s not a bad thing. It’s simply a big difference between dating and living together/being married. Here’s another one: At its most basic, as girlfriends we’re only responsible for ourselves. As wives we’re responsible for everything and everyone.
OK, maybe that was just my marriage; however, I did do it all. I did all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry; I even put away his clothes for him. I took care of the kids- fed them, bathed them (as infants and toddlers, of course), made sure they got their homework done, did 98% of all drop offs and pick ups, did the parent-teacher conferences. I did all of the shopping, both for groceries and household goods. I made all of the appointments- his, mine, the kids. I took care of the pets- made the vet appointments, fed them, cleaned out cat boxes, took them to their vet appointments. I took care of him- picking up his prescriptions, making his appointments, dropping off and picking up his dry cleaning. I managed all the holidays, bought all the gifts, and did the prep work for any vacations. I volunteered at the schools, taxied my kids and their friends around. When I was his girlfriend I did none of that. I could focus exclusively on him because I didn’t have any of those other responsibilities. If I chose to cook for him I was essentially showing off for him. “See what a good cook I am? If you choose me I could cook like this for you all of the time!” Anything you do as a girlfriend is a favor, a gift- picking up a package, dropping off a letter, cooking, ironing, offering to do his laundry. Once you get married it’s expected.
Really, how many of those people whining about the change in the relationship are doing their part? My guess is that Mr. Reformed Cheater wasn’t coming home with roses every week, planning romantic getaways, or taking his wife out on dates. No, he probably wanted all the “wife” perks while at the same time expecting her to step up her game and behave like his girlfriend.
If I had remained CF’s girlfriend how would that have worked after marriage anyway? He wants me to behave the way I did before we got married? OK, I’ll primp all day, make sure my hair looks perfect, my makeup is flawless. I’ll spend plenty of time at the gym, trying to fit into my jeans I wore when we met. I’ll do a lot of shopping so I have plenty of matching bra and panty sets, and lots of cute outfits. I’ll text him all day (when I’m not shopping, working out, or making myself pretty) and fuck him and blow him every day. BUT he’s going to have to hire a few people. We’ll need a nanny because I can’t be expected to take care of a kid or kids all day, get them where they need to be, make lunches for them, or buy them the things they need like clothes, homework supplies, toys, etc. I need to focus on me and making myself sexy and desirable. And it would be very inconvenient if he came home and I had to deal with a toddler meltdown or a teenager needing a ride when he needs his after work blow job. We’ll need a cook because I’m going to be busy shopping for bras and panties so that he doesn’t fuck some whore. I’m not going to have time to go grocery shopping or cook. It’s all about him and all of those mundane tasks take time away from him. While we’re hiring help, I’ll need a maid. I won’t have time to do dishes or laundry or pick up the house because I’ll be at the gym working out, or shopping for something sexy, or just at home making myself all pretty for my man. He wouldn’t want me exhausted and overworked, would he? If I’m tired I can’t fuck him every night with the proper enthusiasm. I’m hoping the maid will also run all necessary errands and shop for the household and pet goods. If not, we’ll have to hire somebody. We’ll also need someone to come in and take care of our pets, and someone to tutor our kids when they need help with homework. We’ll be far too busy fucking to bother with them. Oh, we’ll also need someone to plan our holidays, buy gifts, arrange birthday parties. You know, the petty stuff in life. And we should probably hire a lawn guy and a handy man. He won’t have time to do any of that because he’ll be busy planning elaborate surprises for me- lavish dates, wonderful vacations for just the two of us, jewelry, cars. Oh, lots and lots of gifts. And plan on sending me flowers at least weekly. I hope we can afford all of this. It would be a shame if he had to work a second job to pay for all my bling. Kinda defeats the whole purpose of focusing solely on him.
Yes, if men want to whine about their wives no longer being their girlfriends and using that as a justification for cheating, two can play at that game. I can be his wife or I can be his girlfriend, but I’m not doing both.
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I’m all for couple time. I love the idea of date night. I think it’s great when couples have support and can spend some time away, whether that’s a weekend getaway or an evening out. Some people don’t have that, though; I certainly didn’t. I also don’t advocate living in a pair of sweatpants, refusing to bath, and never taking a razor to an armpit. I think make-up is a wonderful thing and as I’ve said above I usually wear eyeliner at a minimum and most days apply lipstick as well. I’m NOT saying you don’t ever need to text each other, communicate, have fun together, try new things in the bedroom, share a few hobbies and/or interests. What I am saying is that marriage is not all about that. It’s about the every day stuff. It’s not the big picture-worthy moments; it’s the every day moments- laughing with your kids, telling an inside joke, watching a favorite show together.
Hopefully, your relationship will have evolved from the days when you were dating, when you were putting your best foot forward and always on guard that you might do something to make this person bolt. Hopefully this person beside you has seen you at your worst and still loves you, still wants to be around you. Having a boyfriend is easy. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s new. While that’s fantastic for a little while I want the real thing. I want the man I can cry in front of. I want the man who understands my jokes and makes me laugh. I want the man who is going to be by my side when I’m going through something tough. I want the man I can lounge around the house with and not have him say, “Geez Louise, why aren’t you dressed up today? Have you ever heard of make-up?” I want the man who holds my hand and tells me we’re a team and we can get through anything together. I want the man who will be around for the long haul. I want the man with whom I have a history and I don’t have to explain everything to because he’s already been there with me.
I’ve heard it said that marriage is hard work. I’ve also heard it said that marriage isn’t difficult at all when you’re with the right person. Maybe the real difference is that people who believe marriage is hard work are still looking for the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The people who say marriage is easy when you’re with the right person realize that there is a difference between being a wife and being a girlfriend. They realize it; they embrace it. They celebrate it instead of whining about it.