There’s a difference between someone who loves their partner and someone who wants the world to know they love their partner while making it their entire personality.
By now, the world is aware of Ned Fulmer and John Mulaney’s Internet downfall. Both men rose to prominence as “wife guys” while crafting their persona around their respective partners—only to cheat on them later on.
As stated in an article by The New York Times, the wife guy is more than “just a husband.” This person creates and markets themselves using his partner to create an illusion of a perfect family or relationship—even if it’s far from the truth.
With this definition in mind, does this apply to everyone who is in a relationship? Far from it. What makes the wife guy different from those who are taken is that they use their significant others as a tool to make themselves look good.
This Internet phenomenon doesn’t just apply to Ned, John, and even Adam Levine. This goes for everyone who makes their relationship a status symbol to make themselves appear to be in front of the pack. Perhaps, they make their peers believe that they have it all by being on top of a company, looking flawless, having an ideal set of friends, gaining the admiration of those beneath them, and maintaining a picture-perfect relationship.
Apart from Ned’s “my wife” compilations on YouTube, constantly mentioning how much he loves his wife Ariel gives an impression that he’s over-compensating for a flawed relationship behind-the-scenes. This also applies to John’s “perfect husband” image with Anna Marie Tendler—only to find out he cheated on her with Olivia Munn.
It's common sense that once you say “yes” to someone, they should be your priority. Why do some go to extreme lengths in showing off their partners and making their personalities revolve around the latter? Has the bar on relationships been set too low that we easily fall into their trap?
Your significant other is a unique human being with different likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. It's important to see them as a companion for life and not as a direct extension of yourself.
Maybe so. According to a sexuality and gender expert, many believe that heterosexual relationships are bound to fail even before they start. Researchers cited that failing to meet sexual urges, rapid increase in breakups, and gender roles are the reasons why they don’t work. At the same time, some happen to be products of experience from their own parents, relatives, and even best friends.
This explains why a lot of us seem to put "wife guys" and "partner persons" on a pedestal. Seeing a happy couple on social media seems so ideal that they’re made to be the standards of what love is about. But true love doesn’t work that way.
Now that John and Ned’s cheating scandals have shattered the wife-guy persona for good, it’s high time for us to get over this image as well. Kylie Cheung of Jezebel worded it perfectly—they’re dead. It’s totally fine to congratulate them on their anniversary, engagement, or marriage and celebrate their wins, but let's not put them to a higher standard. Don't allow them to define what every romantic relationship should look like.
This goes for people who fall into the Ned Fulmer-slash-John Mulaney spectrum. Your significant other is a unique human being with different likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. It's important to see them as a companion for life and not as a direct extension of yourself. After all, isn’t it insulting if the world believes that the most interesting part of you is your partner? I love my boyfriend, but that would hurt me too.
I am a firm believer that we control the standards of what love and romance should be. Couples have the power to find ways of working things out away from the prying eyes of social media. And if it doesn’t work, we must be brave enough to acknowledge our respective failures whether it ends up in a stronger bond or even a breakup.
Besides, my partner always tells me that it’s better to strive for what’s real than what’s ideal.
Hopefully, the Internet has moved on from Ned’s cheating scandal. Now, let us reassess what we truly want when it comes to matters of the heart.