What's The Deal?

I just realized how much time I spend pretending to be something I am not or pretending to have a life that I do not. I attend a lot of my H’s business functions, i.e. dinners, award ceremonies, openings…etc. I am expected to dress sexy (not trashy sexy, but elegant sexy), engage his clients and peers in interesting conversation, be an adoring wife who hangs on his every word, etc…At these events my H, becomes physical…puts his arms around me, holds my hand, talks to others about the joys of marriage. Sometimes another man will tell him how lucky he is to have me for a wife. He agrees with such comments and adds his own. He is quite affectionate at these social events. All who know us think that we have a great healthy relationship. However, the second it’s over, and we get in our car, everything changes. The affectionate flirty man at the event immediately turns back to the cold indifferent man I live with on a daily basis.

This radical shift in personality has always confused me, and I end up feeling hurt. He has an event coming up that would require us to travel, and he wants to book the tickets. I am saying that I don’t want to go. I just don’t want to go through that right now.
As I am thinking about going, I am wondering why/how he is able to be so affectionate and turn it off so quickly. Does he really have those feeling for me, but feels safer to show them in public. Am I just there to promote an image??
If you have any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.
Teger Teger 41-45 18 Responses Nov 1, 2010

Your Response


It some ways it really does not make a difference on the WHY of his behavior does it? Don't you think it's time for the trophy get off the shelf?

Thank you all for your comments, just wrote a long story...probably too long, and my fingers are on fire, but I will read and respond whan hands are a bit better.

Yes I can absolutely relate to your story I refer to it as leading my double life. the life you are expected to demonstrate to everyone as you are out and about. and then the other, the non-existent relationship one, the real life you are living.

you and i are also similar because my husband was an executive, and so there were many business trips, dinners, functions etc where he shows you off. What I don't get, and i never will get is: why would it be so important to carry on with this charade?

It would seem to me that the spouse can't be happy and really has to be tired of it all. It's stressful to pretend.

Originally, when the overseas trips were new, at least it was exciting to go to some of these places. But, it didn't take long for that to get old. So then there was the contentous kind of insistance that i go on the trip or attend what ever function.

I don't know. I have a tough time reconciling the fact that my spouse was happy. but the weird truth is my spouse was and is very happy. Now, he is not very pleased with me at this moment, because i haven't been playing the game as i normally would. I am not as attentive but this information belongs with a differnt story.


Teger, I think it is a fear of intimacy. I think people like that don't know how to be vulnerable and trusting. I have had experiences like that and it is painful. If you haven't already spoken to him about it you may want to try that. It will not be an easy conversation and probably more pain will surface, but you have to make a stand for yourself and your relationship. If the relationship is based in love and respect you can push past the pain and into some good loving.

Really life is too precious and glorious to be spending time shackled to a lie. Speak your truth, stand in it and let the chips fall where they may. IF he loves you he will hear your cry. IF he is just a small minded, emotionally stunted, egotistical, developmentally delayed BUTT face unwilling to grow, change or evolve you will find that out and be able to make a choice. Freedom from the shackles of lies or Kissing BUTT face for the rest of your life.


Good luck

If you are glad handing customers / work colleagues etc, you use whatever tactics / props / language that will appeal to the audience.

You tell amusing anecdotes to those who find these enchanting, tell a risque gag to ones who like that, talk about kids to those who have them.

Put on an air of stability to your directors (a wife and kids are excellent things to have for this, and if they present an appealing image to the numerous other 'marrieds' at the gathering, so much the better)

It's marketing / networking / self promotion.

Teger, I mean no disrespect, but I am really surprised that you have not seen this for what it is, as you seem pretty switched on and smart.

Of course you are there "as a prop to promote his image"

Tread your own path.

Dear Teger...

It sounds like your husband has intimacy issues that he's just plain in denial about. I wouldn't go to this upcoming function...I'd hang back and tell him that you'd rather not don't even owe an excuse. While he's gone, why not treat yourself to a dinner with your girlfriends, get a mani/pedi, or just do a move and stay in your pyjamas or curl up with a new anything but go to this function.

In my case, in the last month leading up to my filing for divorce, my STBXH and I were expected at yet another family function, maybe a birthday party?, and I was all dressed and ready to go...and he didn't compliment me on my dressing up for the occassion. Not a big deal, right? Well, the thing is that he never complimented me, never, and this time I really got my feelings hurt and said so. He rolled his eyes and said something to the effect of 'Yeah, you look pretty, can we go now?' which only hurt more since it was so insincere. And I had been ready on time, ready to walk out the door, just like he liked, but it was like it took too much effort to even tell me I looked nice for him and his family. It would have taken so very little. But I got hurt and told him (for the first time) that I was not going and for him to go by himself. He was floored and DIDN'T apologize and asked what excuse he should give his family and I replied something like 'Tell them the truth, you hurt your wife's feelings and you didn't say sorry and acted like a total dickhead'. Well, he left the house without saying sorry and when he returned hours later he hadn't even brought me a piece of birthday cake back.

What did I do while he was gone? I don't remember, but I remember NOT going to the party and I remember feeling great that I had stood my ground by not going to yet another family function as a fake couple . I thought he'd feel bad about me not going and at least bring me home a piece of cake but if it never hppened.

I'd tell your guy exactly why you don't want to go and see how he reponds.

My H does the same thing. In front of everyone else he is an attentive, loving, affectionate man. At home he would not notice me if I burst in to flames. I told him I was just window dressing so he could pretend to the world that he was a normal man. I have since told him that I was not going to anymore work functions so I could "fake it" for him.

kim- that is sad, but it made me laugh so hard. It is so typical of the ***-backward thinking of many refusers.

After reading all of the comments on this, what strikes me the most is that on some level he knows the way he treats me at home is not normal. Yet, a lot of efferot goes into hidding it, and trying to appear normal. I wonder why he would put so much effort into changing how we appear rather than putting that effort into changing how we are.

I would be willing to bet three to one that he has a mistress on the side. You are what appears to the public a kind and loving wife and he also appears to be the same. When he turns it off, he has given you a sign that he no longer needs you sexually and therefore, you are only a trophy wife.

Kungfuchic: My STBX wife was the same..I think the consistency at least makes it clear . Mine wouldn't even ride in the front passnger seat of my car :-)

Teger: How about you refuse to stop indulging your husband, and tell him you're not going to any more functions with him, and what's more do NOT give a reason. See how he likes trying to explain why you're not there?

I agree that this can mess with your head and leaving you feeling used and abused.

On the other hand you could have had my situation. Up until the last few years of our marriage, my husband barely touched me in public. (not any different when we were home). If people would comment on how "lucky" he was, he would stare blankly and not say a word.

Don't know what's worse.

I think that once again, VLB hit the nail on the head...and everyone else as well.

You're what he is 'supposed to have'. You're the perfect accessory...Malibu Barbie!! (if you'll pardon the reference)!!!!

You see Teger - were all in it or have been through it

"Live the Lie" - so common here...

"She lives the lie."

Yep. Everyday its the lie that everything is ok. She has no idea the fight is almost out of me and when I am finally empty there will be no going back.

We go to church and her arm goes around me. We go to the mall and she holds my hand. But in the house... not a chance.

The deal is simple: He does not love you.

Time to dump him out in the cold.

I know! Lets get some t shirts printed! When they start pretending we can just whip our tops off and show the "my partner wont F me" slogan off!


I have my own room now too, but that was my choice. Sometimes I feel like a trophy wife. More like something he owns than a human being he loves. I think having me with him makes him feel more masculine...if only they knew that he can't/won't do it with his trophy....LMAO

In my opinion it is an act Teger, sorry. I can only talk from the experience I have based on my wife and some stories I have read here, so my source of information is limited, but my wife is the same. She puts on the show to make things appear normal.

I think maybe our partners do not want to confront their own issues. If the truth came out at one of these functions what would come out?

"Oh don’t you have the best marriage" says the business person over a glass of wine

"Well not really" you say. "My husband is emotionally inept and unable to show any intimacy, affection or love to me and his arm around my waste at the moment is a lie isn’t it darling..."

"I don’t know the reason, maybe he is having problems down below, maybe he has some deep issues from past abuse or something or maybe he just does not love me but has not the balls to leave, maybe he is having an affair, or has a **** or drug addiction, I don’t know to be honest.. Why don’t you tell the nice man in the suit and his trophy wife what’s going on in your head? Maybe it will help?"

I can dream I suppose Teager....

The same happens to me. She lives the lie. The biggest F***ed op thing now is the refusal to sleep in the same bed, but to be seen to be waking together so the children don’t see there is a problem, but this is more for the parents and teachers so they don’t gossip.."Oh, did you know that Mr and Mrs ETG have been in separate rooms for years! I wonder what’s...." Oh the gossip.

Good luck