The stay-at-home girlfriend


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I don't know if this is new, per say, but my internet algorithm keeps throwing stuff at me for some reason about the rise of the stay-at-home girlfriend lifestyle.

Now, while I realize that the housewife/homemaker stereotype was actually a flash in the pan historically, at least the way we want to picture it and usually the female adult of the house was doing SOMETHING besides watching soaps and eating bon-bons, I do support the general notion of a caretaker of home and children. I think there are many benefits to this: house care, direct and full-tie involvement with children's needs, food prep, errands, even the wild card in the back pocket of having someone a household could theoretically always send to work for money, if needed.

But the notions of the stay-at-home girlfriend vs the stay-at-home wife (or, hey, husband, whatever) seem worlds apart and I'd even say a mockery of that traditional type of marriage. On the surface, it seems the same: you have someone caring for the home. Yet is there any commitment or is it just two people playing house? In the current economy, it really is a sacrifice for many to get by on a single income. So what happens when the stay-at-home girlfriend, without the significantly greater commitment (and, let's be honest, legal protection) of marriage, gets dumped? Why would you be in this situation without a real commitment despite the sacrifices?

And I realize the ones making it on social media rather do have a job and are getting an income out of this, but what message does it send?

Edited by Backroads
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

What I don’t understand are those people who “fear commitment” but have matching tattoos and three kids together, yet are not married  

The other day I saw this hilarious comic strip of two people very pessimistic about their relationship,  bemoaning the frailty of relationships and how commitments never work out. Each panel moved from meeting to dating to marriage to some illness, all the while bemoaning how people never stay together and their relationship will fail, with the last panel showing them still together as gloomy old people.

Just... commit. Try it out. You might be surprised.

On a philosophical level, I suppose I can get behind the idea of a lifelong commitment without the legal paperwork of marriage, but it's still that, a commitment. 

And I strongly believe you should not be bringing kids into this world if you don't think of yourself as committed for the long haul.

Edited by Backroads
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Sometimes I feel like the last guy out there in a family where I was always the worker and my wife was the SAHM.  I have to be careful telling stories because of the awkward silences that ensue.

However, I'm hearing a new phrase in social media: "Trad wife".  It's used both favorably and critically, but there are an awful lot of GenY folks out there wanting to live the lifestyle.  I'm ok with younger generations finding it appealing to have the dude be the main provider and the chick be the main kiddo nurturer.  Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Proclamation on the Family - it has weathered startlingly well, and new humans in the US are coming up with some of the principles here on their own without ever being LDS.

But yeah, the "I'll find a man and will never have to work" notion should be dispelled.  The SAHGirlfriend thing is troubling.  ~15 years ago, my bishop asked me to give a talk about the importance of women gaining an education and job experience.  Basically, how the women in our church need to prepare for a future where they'll get married and never have to work.  Statistics, even 15 years ago, stated that most of them would have to work for at least part of their lives.  

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6 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Sometimes I feel like the last guy out there in a family where I was always the worker and my wife was the SAHM.  I have to be careful telling stories because of the awkward silences that ensue.

However, I'm hearing a new phrase in social media: "Trad wife".  It's used both favorably and critically, but there are an awful lot of GenY folks out there wanting to live the lifestyle.  I'm ok with younger generations finding it appealing to have the dude be the main provider and the chick be the main kiddo nurturer.  Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Proclamation on the Family - it has weathered startlingly well, and new humans in the US are coming up with some of the principles here on their own without ever being LDS.

But yeah, the "I'll find a man and will never have to work" notion should be dispelled.  The SAHGirlfriend thing is troubling.  ~15 years ago, my bishop asked me to give a talk about the importance of women gaining an education and job experience.  Basically, how the women in our church need to prepare for a future where they'll get married and never have to work.  Statistics, even 15 years ago, stated that most of them would have to work for at least part of their lives.  

I can count on one hand the number of wives I know what are honestly doing nothing but the traditional stay-at-home stuff. I get to be the WFH mom (with the best/worst of both worlds?) and that's no longer uncommon. I recently became privy to just why a relative with a humongous fancy house had an online job (apparently they can't afford the humongous fancy house). I know a lot of women doing part-time work, or selling their wares, and a couple of ladies working the small urban farm for actual profit. My YouTuber brother keeps threatening to quit his church office job and his wife (one of those few people I know just being a wife/mom/homemaker) isn't quite ready for what that will do to their reasonably comfortable lifestyle.

I've heard lore than in the early 20th century, a surprising amount of Relief Society stuff was focused on helping to generate a household income.

I think there's a big difference between nurturing the home while the man works for the majority/all of the support and being absolutely financially useless, if that's not too harsh to say.  

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1 hour ago, Backroads said:

But the notions of the stay-at-home girlfriend vs the stay-at-home wife (or, hey, husband, whatever) seem worlds apart and I'd even say a mockery of that traditional type of marriage. On the surface, it seems the same: you have someone caring for the home. Yet is there any commitment or is it just two people playing house? In the current economy, it really is a sacrifice for many to get by on a single income. So what happens when the stay-at-home girlfriend, without the significantly greater commitment (and, let's be honest, legal protection) of marriage, gets dumped? Why would you be in this situation without a real commitment despite the sacrifices?

And from the man's point of view, why have a "kept woman"? She won't be faithful. and you don't want children with her anyway. What's the attraction? She's a money sink with no connection to you other than sex and (your) credit cards.

I don't actually want to understand this. Some things are better just left on their own.

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27 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

"Trad wife"

Ah, yes. The trad wife, hearkening back to those halcyon days of yore when women just stayed home all day watching TV, doing Pilates, and going shopping, while the man took care of annoying things like paying the bills and keeping the cars running. You know, like our grandparents and great-grandparents used to live.

Edited by Vort
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37 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Sometimes I feel like the last guy out there in a family where I was always the worker and my wife was the SAHM.  I have to be careful telling stories because of the awkward silences that ensue.

There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle-until the man leaves his wife and she’s left with no “outside the house” skills and has to raise three kids by herself. 

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42 minutes ago, Vort said:

And from the man's point of view, why have a "kept woman"? She won't be faithful. and you don't want children with her anyway. What's the attraction? She's a money sink with no connection to you other than sex and (your) credit cards.

I’ve been married to the same woman for 20+ years, so this doesn’t apply to me. But I have friends who are single, don’t want drama but want sex, and would almost certainly be okay with paying for an apartment in exchange for a friends with benefits thing.
 

It’s gross and sinful to me, but I can see it happening.  

Edited by LDSGator
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1 hour ago, LDSGator said:

There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle-until the man leaves his wife and she’s left with no “outside the house” skills and has to raise three kids by herself. 

In a more civilized era, this was an uncommon though not unknown phenomenon. The neighborhood men (either those local, or those who took part in the families' social group, or those related, or some combination of all three) saw to it that the abandoned wife was treated as a widow and helped out with things so that she could continue her important mission of mothering her children while the men collectively and individually picked up the responsibility of surrogate father to the children. Wasn't a perfect system, for sure, but I think it beats our modern system of the government sending a check and everyone else just keeping their distance every which way.

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To be fair, most of the single women I know (uh, three of them. I don’t have many single women friends) wouldn’t put up with being friends with benefits, and certainly would not be a mistress to a married man. So I don’t think it’s common, especially out of your college years.  

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4 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

To be fair, most of the single women I know (uh, three of them. I don’t have many single women friends) wouldn’t put up with being friends with benefits, and certainly would not be a mistress to a married man. So I don’t think it’s common, especially out of your college years.  

I'm at the point of my life where I don't like much of the social scene. I like the comfort of a purchased home with my name on the paperwork and a legal marriage and kids and the friends I have. I think I look pretty darn good (though I'm currently pregnant enough to have the construction workers on the street outside of my house bending to my every whim: they will literally move entire trucks for me in fear I will pass out on the sidewalk from walking) but the friends with benefits is something that can potentially only work so long before I believe most people want a lot more.

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1 hour ago, LDSGator said:

There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle-until the man leaves his wife and she’s left with no “outside the house” skills and has to raise three kids by herself. 

I have a friend who does work part-time outside of the home, but I don't think she has a full set of outside the house skills. 

What they do have, and it isn't the worst option (particularly in their case where she is very much also the homemaker and homeschooling the kids as well) is a rather complex financial plan with a lot of stuff just in her name so that if he dies or runs off she has enough to pay for everything including a training/school plan for a number of years to get herself into the workforce. Hopefully it won't happen as her husband is in good health, knock on wood, and is the quintissential devoted husband and family man, but it's there.

I really don't get not having a plan. 

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4 minutes ago, Backroads said:

I'm at the point of my life where I don't like much of the social scene. I like the comfort of a purchased home with my name on the paperwork and a legal marriage and kids and the friends I have. I think I look pretty darn good (though I'm currently pregnant enough to have the construction workers on the street outside of my house bending to my every whim: they will literally move entire trucks for me in fear I will pass out on the sidewalk from walking) but the friends with benefits is something that can potentially only work so long before I believe most people want a lot more.

I think most men would be okay with a FWB arrangement but to me the woman is basically a prostitute charging how much her rent is for her services. Not the qualities most look for in friendship 

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2 hours ago, Backroads said:

(though I'm currently pregnant enough to have the construction workers on the street outside of my house bending to my every whim: they will literally move entire trucks for me in fear I will pass out on the sidewalk from walking) but the friends with benefits is something that can potentially only work so long before I believe most people want a lot more.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Comic book style pregnant spider-man on Craiyon

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6 hours ago, Vort said:

In a more civilized era, this was an uncommon though not unknown phenomenon. The neighborhood men (either those local, or those who took part in the families' social group, or those related, or some combination of all three) saw to it that the abandoned wife was treated as a widow and helped out with things so that she could continue her important mission of mothering her children while the men collectively and individually picked up the responsibility of surrogate father to the children. Wasn't a perfect system, for sure, but I think it beats our modern system of the government sending a check and everyone else just keeping their distance every which way.

It’s also worth noting that a man who did that would pretty much have to haul up stakes and leave town; because socially/ professionally/ religiously, he’d be absolutely finished among those who knew what he had done.

But the risk of a “tradwife” relationship isn’t all one-sided.  The breadwinner takes a risk that his wife isn’t going to render him both breadwinner and homemaker by deciding that household drudgery is beneath her or by developing a chronic physical or mental illness.  And of course, if *she* leaves *him*, the alimony can be catastrophic.

Fundamentally, any marriage (regardless of the anticipated economic arrangement) is a tremendous leap of faith.  And I realize I’m judgmental, but part of me thinks “if you’re going to farm the kids out to daycare and insist on working/insist she works because you think there’s a good chance your marriage, specifically, will end in divorce; then why are you getting married at all?”

 

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21 hours ago, LDSGator said:

There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle-until the man leaves his wife and she’s left with no “outside the house” skills and has to raise three kids by herself. 

Very true, and probably why the church has preached so hard, for decades and decades, for it's women to get lots of education and marketable skills.    We can social program and UBI and food stamp and welfare as much as we want to, but the life of a single mother can be rough, and getting torn between raising your kids and getting a crappy job can be soul-crushingly rough.

It's also true that 7 out of every 10 divorces in the US are initiated by women.  

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19 hours ago, Backroads said:

(though I'm currently pregnant enough to have the construction workers on the street outside of my house bending to my every whim: they will literally move entire trucks for me in fear I will pass out on the sidewalk from walking)

Yay - preggo privilege!  My wife has stories too.  

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17 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

 

It's also true that 7 out of every 10 divorces in the US are initiated by women.  

Correct. I’ve also heard of studies that say women regret breakups more than men do, but I don’t know how accurate that is.  

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On 4/4/2024 at 11:06 AM, NeuroTypical said:

I'm hearing a new phrase in social media: "Trad wife".  It's used both favorably and critically, but there are an awful lot of GenY folks out there wanting to live the lifestyle.


Eating my lunch and scrolling, and I came across an example of what I’m talking about:

https://youtube.com/shorts/GMq9NalMTp8?si=JGF6ByKYshz-JJ2I
 

it is nice to see younger folks arrive at a little bit of wisdom on their own. Completely secular viewpoint being given here.

 

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On 4/4/2024 at 7:11 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

Fundamentally, any marriage (regardless of the anticipated economic arrangement) is a tremendous leap of faith.  And I realize I’m judgmental, but part of me thinks “if you’re going to farm the kids out to daycare and insist on working/insist she works because you think there’s a good chance your marriage, specifically, will end in divorce; then why are you getting married at all?”

Oh, I very much agree with this. It's getting pretty common to pretty much ignore the homemaking/child-rearing side of things because what if the marriage implodes? Got to be ready!

And sure, it's good to be prepared, but the paranoia is unreal.

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