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"wife" vs. "girlfriend"

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ms521 posted 7/2/2013 17:12 PM

So, we were at the beach on Saturday as a family, and the late afternoon outing for ice cream was MY suggestion. We grab the kids, grab some friends, and while we're in line, FWH turns to me and says, should you and I just share an ice cream? We don't really need to eat whole ones, do we?

My mind raced because on the one hand I *did* want my own ice cream! I'm not overweight, I'm an adult, and if I want to eat ice cream before dinner instead of after it, why the hell not?? On the other hand, "need" is the word that threw me. Did I *need* my own ice cream? Of course not. Does anyone "need" ice cream at 4pm on a Saturday? No. We might WANT it, but do we **NEED** it?

Ack! So, I'm hesitating trying to figure out how to say I want my own without sounding like a petulant child in front of our kids and friends, and all I can come up with is the oh-so-famous, semi-pouty, wifely No, I guess we can share if that's what you want. That's fine.

Now, you would think after nearly 20 years together, FWH would know immediately that it wasn't "fine." But he doesn't. He's now prepared to buy three ice-creams instead of 4, and asks the kids what kind they want. Well they BOTH choose my favorite flavor, but with add-ins that I hate. Ick. FWH knows they have chosen my favorite flavor, turns to me and asks if we can get HIS favorite flavor... "because it would be lame to order 3 of the same flavor."

I managed another, "fine, order whatever you want," and he does... oblivious to my mounting irritation. I have a lick of his (meh), a lick of kid #2's ice cream (gummy bears in ice cream, really?) and kid #1 has a sick sinus infection, so I opted not to taste his concoction. And that was it. I spent the rest of the afternoon silently fuming (over stupid ICE CREAM). Why??

Not because I didn't get my favorite flavor... but because I suddenly found myself wondering if OW was asking for ice cream, would he suggest sharing HIS favorite flavor?? No. I know what he's like when he's "dating" someone, and now I'm wondering when I stopped being the girlfriend!!? Is it the kid-thing? Am I forever going to now just be the mother of his children? I think being their mother is pretty great, but I feel like I can separate mother and wife in my own head, and I'm NOT the one who's good at compartmentalizing. He can keep a mistress on the side for 3 years, but can't bother to know when to see me as girlfriend vs wife?

Is it even possible for a wife to regain "girlfriend" status? Am I even articulating this well enough to make sense?

Lucky posted 7/2/2013 17:20 PM

I totally get it.

Two thoughts come to mind; if you don't want to share an ice cream you could always say "I thought by now you realize I don't share well"


He thought it would be romantic and sexy to share something with you?

Seriously hon stepping up and getting what you really want isn't all that hard. Just say it, do it.

heartache101 posted 7/2/2013 17:21 PM

Oh you articulated that just fine..
I told my husband recently he needs to date me. He just looked at me like I had 2 heads.
I meant it. He knows that I meant it too. I am tired of the same ole same ole.
SO I totally get it.

karmahappens posted 7/2/2013 17:24 PM

I don't know that I want girlfriend status.

I want an equal partnership where we both respect and honor each others views and feelings.

All of this made you feel so bad, but IMO all you had to do was say, "Yes, I would like my own ice cream."

If we don't ask for what we need and put our feelings on the back shelf then how would we expect our SO to know what we want?

You can't ask for chocolate and expect black raspberry KWIM?

1Faith posted 7/2/2013 17:37 PM


You have to start standing up for yourself and not playing the "good wife" all the time.

If you wanted your own ice cream then say, no I want my own.

I agree, it was stupid of him to suggest but he isn't going to read your mind or catch your "I'm fine" remarks.

Be honest with yourself and him and next time get your own ice cream.

No, I don't think you can regain girlfriend status. Girlfriend status is discover, idealism, fantasy.

Too much has happened and passed for the magic and innocence to return in that context, IMO.

Good luck.

Ashland13 posted 7/2/2013 17:54 PM

Yes, I know what you mean too.

During false R, I wanted some similar things. I wanted to feel special, to feel loved, to feel that someone knew my favorites and wanted me to have them, like STBX did prior to OW's entrance in his life. She is no doubt getting the romance side of him now and it can be intoxicating.

I'm sorry for your frustration, Ms. It sounds like you're doing as I used to do and maybe trying to be a peace keeper? You are working to make your WH happy but I wish he was working harder to make you happy; I did it too, for a long time and it went unnoticed a lot of the time.

The thing is, it sounds to me like in trying to reconcile you may be becoming passive or passive agressive at some point and that's not good. It won't be good for you, for you see already the negative feelings you have after...and he won't know what you really want if you hold it in.

STBX here was passive aggressive and finally couldn't hold it in any longer, where if he had worked with me and tried, I would have gladly worked on things too.

I think I know what you're trying to do and one term I learned in this process is "martyr". Don't become one. It's putting oneself aside for others sake, as far as I understand and a lot of swallowing a person's own need.

I have an IL who does it for her whole life and I feel bad for her and worry that she is not getting her needs met and giving up a lot of her own life. I learned recently she is also a BS and hope she's not doing it to keep him around, but I don't want to judge anyone and hope my note won't come across that way.

My mom also tried to keep the peace and finally it burst out of her and she ended up abandoning my father. I'm not saying that's your path or anything of the sort, just saying I hope you will be careful and be able to find a medium.

I think you were caught off guard. I know what you mean about the flavors, DD here always wants gummy bears and piles of candy-it's more for the candy than ice cream she goes-one thing I may have done is bought my own. Then WH would have nothing to say!

sisoon posted 7/2/2013 18:37 PM

What karmahappens says.

You can't get a good compromise unless you're straight about what you want. You also have a lot more fun when you're straight about what you want.

[This message edited by sisoon at 6:38 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

DoneWithLove posted 7/2/2013 18:55 PM

My FWH has willingly spoiled me since his A, everything is my choice. If I didnt want to share, id say something and he would be fine but im a chocoholic and hes the opposite, all vanilla. But things like that do come up and I get my way, not because I act like a spoiled child but because I tell him, I deserve it and I let him know that I apreciate his efforts. Next time have him share your favorite or pick something together. Like with pizza, we half and half it. That's how it should be because that way no one goes without. Talk to him and use that situation as an example/ learning opertunity, if he understands were your coming from then next time maybe he will stop and think about what you would like to happen in other situations. Good luck

[This message edited by DoneWithLove at 6:58 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

ms521 posted 7/2/2013 21:07 PM

Thanks all!! I needed the validation AND the reminder that I'm an "equal partner" in this relationship. I also know I need to speak my mind more and if I choose to stay silent, then I can't justifiably stew about it!!

I think what surprised me was how fast my brain went to the OW during this. Did SHE have to spell out in detail what she wanted, or did he put effort into reading her new-and-interesting-girlfriend mind? For that matter, did he put effort into reading my mind when WE were first new and shiny and blinded by the romance stage of our relationship 20 years ago... or was I so "in love" that I would've just found the romance in sharing ANYTHING - even if it had gummy bears in it!

Always interesting what can set of a trigger!!

authenticnow posted 7/3/2013 05:26 AM

I agree with Karma.

BH and I made a rule for our M that has worked very well. It is: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Honest communication on both sides is key.

I understand what you mean but, even without infidelity, that new relationship/girlfriend boyfriend feeling eventually fades into true, sustaining, real love.

Maybe a talk with WH about the kind of attention you need from him would help. But please don't hide your feelings. You aren't being true to yourself (or him) when you do that, and you're setting yourself up for all kinds of resentment.

Bobbi_sue posted 7/3/2013 06:06 AM

stepping up and getting what you really want isn't all that hard. Just say it, do it.

This is my philosophy.

None of us are perfect, but I probably have gone too far in the other direction, making sure my spouse knows when I'm not "fine" with something.

I might not make a scene on the spot, but when alone I would make darn sure he understood that sharing (unless it is my idea and I know in advance that is the way he would like it) would NOT be an option, and especially not if I didn't get to choose the kind of ice cream. I guess I cannot relate to someone thinking it would be silly to order three of the same kind. Who would care about that?

But this is not really to criticize your H whom I don't know. What I get from this is that YOU have helped set up a dynamic in your M that enables your H to continue to treat you kind of like an old shoe. Sorry if this comes off as a 2 x 4 but you MUST really assert yourself in times like this, if not in front of the kids, at some point alone afterward, so this is not repeated in the future.

I don't think it has anything to do with being the wife vs. gf. Regardless of what he did for the gf, part of it was set up by the way you have allowed him to treat you, and your reaction (or lack of reaction) when you feel he mistreated or disrespected you.

Blobette posted 7/3/2013 08:25 AM

Lots of things I would say have been said. This is an almost classic case of you not taking responsibility for your own happiness and expecting your WH to read your mind and respond to it. That's a tall order, and it really isn't the case that if "he really loved you" he'd do a better job of it. You want ice cream? Say I want my own, thanks.

What no one else has picked up on is your statement about "not wanting to cause a scene." Hmmmmm. Why on earth would this "cause a scene"? All you need to do is say politely, "I'd rather have my own, thanks." No scene there. Kids get to observe you resolving disagreement in an adult manner. Good lesson for them. (Whereas passive aggressive mom stewing about something really is NOT a great lesson for kids.) Anyway, you might want to think about why you think that routine disagreement is a "scene" -- I'm sure it goes back to your family and how they handled things.

Sorry to be a bit 2X4-ish, here, but it sounds like you're aware of what you need to do. I hope thinking about this additional element might help you...


JanaGreen posted 7/3/2013 08:32 AM

I know what you mean.

This sounds completely stupid, but it meant a lot to me when he got Cherry Coke at the movies (my fave) for us to split instead of Sprite (his favorite, bleh) recently. Because he always used to get Sprite since he "hates coke" and we never get two drinks at the movies because they are so daggum expensive.

A little consideration goes a LONG way.

hopefullromantic posted 7/3/2013 09:23 AM

What's most interesting is that you gave the sort of "girlfriend" answer.

BeyondBreaking posted 7/3/2013 14:58 PM

I know what you mean- I do the same thing all the time. Just the other day, he wanted to see a movie, and suggested we see the one he has been wanting to see instead of the one I have been asking to see for months. I could have spoken up and said, "I would rather see my movie," but in an effort to be agreeable and a good partner, I said fine and fumed about it silently.

On the other hand, I thought about when I stopped dating him. Because honestly- while there are times that I do sit through his movie and pretend to like it as if we were dating- there are most certainly times in which I do what I want even though I wouldn't suggest it if we were dating. The other day I wanted cucumber-avocado salad for dinner. He hates avocados, I know this- but it was what I wanted and I made it anyway. He ate it- he could have chosen not to- but you can bet that I would have never made a salad I knew he wasn't going to enjoy when we were just dating.

Remembering these things keeps me in check when he does things that I know he would never suggest to a girlfriend. He would never fart in front of someone he was just dating. He wouldn't wear underwear full of holes and pick his teeth in front of me. He wouldn't clip his toe nails on the sofa. He wouldn't suggest to see his movie instead of mine. At the same time- that's a false-nice. It is who he is, but guarded. I like the fact that he is a vulnerable human being and I know him. And I am not perfect either. I certainly was on my best behavior when we were first dating.

Next time, tell him you want your own ice cream. Because you're right- he should know you well enough to know that it wasn't fine. BUT you should also feel comfortable enough to speak up instead of gritting your teeth and suffering through it.

MartlArts posted 7/3/2013 17:15 PM

Ms - I can relate to what you're saying, I've done & thought similar things. But what I have learned in my case is that my own H is a very "face value" kind of person with communication. If I say something is fine, even if it's something I think he SHOULD know isn't fine, he tends to assume it's fine.

Subtle cues, like a bit of huffiness, are lost on him. I would have to be screaming or throwing things while saying 'fine' for him to get the hint. It was that way when we were dating, and it's that way after yrs of M.

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