March 24, 2023

Wife Guy: Is it a Narcissist Relying on His Wife for Clout?

A dear friend of mine was married to a guy who seemed to never stop raving about her.

He openly adored her, and all his social media posts were about her brilliance and his love for her. In his social media-eyes, she was the best looking, world’s most devoted mother, fittest woman, and successful entrepreneur.

I don’t trust anyone to be so on all the time about their partner. But in weak moments, each woman from their circle of friends (including me) had nudged her respective partner, “Why can’t you be like that? Why can’t you do what he does?”

A few years ago, my friend found out that her husband was cheating on her. Not just that; he had a girlfriend and kids from another relationship. A married man with a wife, three kids, and two dogs had a whole other life. We were all shocked. But he loved her soooo much. Our minds kept going back to his social media posts. His bios, across different platforms, listed him as “Husband and father.” He was so grateful to have a wife and be married. He publicly worshipped the ground she walked on. Wife guy! Who can you trust if not the man who effusively and overtly talks about how much his wife means to him? I guess that was the red flag.

That level of intensity and constant need to praise his wife were both fake and performative. He is a musician and his public adulation and reverence for his wife brought in more crowds. He pretended to play the role of a “good man,” when his wife was an object to fulfill his narcissistic needs. Celebrities like Adam Levine, John Mulaney, and Ned Fulmer are all considered wife guys. They put their wives on a pedestal! How many on this list have cheated? Every single one of them!

Wired, Slate, The New Yorker, the New York Times, Entrepreneur, New York Post, and other media outlets have defined wife guy in their own unique way. As said on Motherly“according to social media, a ‘wife guy’ is a man who posts content about his wife to upgrade his social standing and the public opinion of him. A wife guy is a guy whose fame or career is owed to the content he posts about his wife. It’s different than just a man who loves his wife and doesn’t care who knows it.”

I was talking to one of my closest friends about relationships and how some men feel the need to constantly promote their wives and prove how much they love them. It feels so unreal. That’s when she confessed that her next-door neighbor is an annoying wife guy. Six couples in their neighborhood meet for weekly dinners every Sunday. This wife guy only praises his wife at gatherings and serves her plate. He is uninterested in what anyone else has to say. “He’s so passive aggressive and fake. I am waiting for him to say, ‘No one poops like Betty.’ Because she seems to be the best cook, runner, seamstress, housekeeper, breather, and best-natured human being on the planet.” My friend was understandably agitated. All the other couples also feel uncomfortable around his wife-doting performances.

This wife guy, her neighbor, is an unsuccessful business owner himself who has difficulty fitting in any social circles. My friend said that to garner attention, either he praises his wife or cracks self-deprecatory jokes. Because people in-person see through his bullsh*t, he acts introverted and prefers to be active online. In fact, he is notoriously famous for constantly posting his wife’s products and events online. When she launches a new clothing article, he leaves her online reviews. He also unabashedly broadcasts his feelings for his wife online. Whether they go to a coffee shop or out to dinner or hiking in the woods or travel anywhere, his claim to fame is his love for his wife. That’s how he gets the attention of people online, especially women. Meet yet another kind of narcissist, just more covert.

Wife guys know that to be successful on social media, they need the support of women. A 2021 study from Pew Research Center found that 78 percent of women use at least one social media platform, as opposed to 66 percent of men.

Don’t get me wrong; each relationship is different. There’s nothing wrong with a man who is open about loving his wife! The problem is with “wife guys” who are open about loving their wives for the benefit of the public and themselves, rather than their actual wife. Read that again! People would say to my friend, “How lucky; he idolizes you.” Basically, her cheating husband was earning high praise for loving his partner—something he was supposed to do anyway?! My friend’s neighbor, his love is also rooted in narcissism. It feels the idolization is all a show for social media for his own betterment.

Let me reiterate; showing your love and support for your wife in subtle and supportive ways—be it personally or publicly—is healthy. It’s also known as a symbiotic and balanced relationship where you both take care of each other. But when wives become part of their husband’s shtick and there is a desperate attempt to publicly proclaim their love for the wives, that’s when you need to worry, wives of wife guys.

A man who loves others based solely on how they make him feel, or what they do for him, is really not loving others at all — but loving only himself.” ~ Criss Jami


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