Designated Wife
A character acts like another characters wife to the point that others start treating them that way.


(permanent link) added: 2011-09-16 01:42:13 sponsor: NoirGrimoir (last reply: 2011-11-03 21:02:06)

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"You two are totally married!"[[hottip:*:They're not]]
--Liz Allen, toward Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson, Ultimate Spider-man

They pack you lunches to take to work. They are always waiting for you when you get home. They follow you around and you two are always seen together. You take care of each other when the other is ill. They nag you when you do something rude or silly, and generally act like the ol' "ball and chain''.

They are NOT your wife...but they might as well be. And Everyone Can See It. Congratulations, this person is your Designated Wife. Beware, people will probably even start to address them as such, and will usually catch on to it long before you do. If other characters refer to the character as their 'wife' enough sometimes it actually causes misunderstandings with other people in-story, with them thinking the two actually are married when it isn't the case.

A Designated Wife isn't always romantically involved with the character, or even destined to be a Love Interest, but they often are. Sometimes they are actively trying to be become the other characters wife, while other times they simple have a wife-ish personality and habits. These characters are also not Always Female, despite the word 'wife' generally referring to females only, the character simply takes on what is a traditionally 'wife' role towards another character. Usually such a person is a close Childhood Friend, Heterosexual Life Partner, Love Interest of either gender, or a boyfriend or girlfriend. This is especially common in Boys Love manga, where often one of the Yaoi Guys (usually the Uke) will be the Designated Wife of the other in the relationship, often even before they officially get together or even realize there is a relationship between them.

Sometimes the character will ruthlessly deny that the Designated Wife is as such, saying such things as "she/he is not my wife!", especially if there actually is something going on with them, whereas if it's simply a close friend they are more likely to laugh it off or joke about it.

Compare She Is Not My Girlfriend. The Patient Childhood Love Interest is almost always this if female.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Nodame from Nodame Cantabile, towards Chiaki, so much. She refers to herself as his wife, and tries to act like it, when they aren't even dating, and other characters pick up on it and mistakenly think they are dating or even married. Chiaki was resistant at first but...yeah, gave in to the inevitable eventually.
  • In Hetalia Axis Powers, Sweden refers to Finland as his wife(and maybe even believes that he is). Finland was a little weirded out at first, but there's no denying later that Finland really seems to live up to the title.
  • Sakura is this to Shirou in Fate/stay night. She always comes over in the morning to make breakfast and do other chores for Shirou before they head out to school and she has a crush on Shirou.
  • FLCL episode "Fire Starter". Naota hangs around with Mamimi so much that one of his classmates refers to her as his "wife", even though they're just kids.

Literature
  • Jessica and Chani in Dune. Officially, they're concubines, leaving Leto and Paul Mua'Dib technically free to marry for political expediency and Paul does marry Princess Irulan Corrino to strengthen his claim to the imperial throne. Jessica lampshades this in the closing dialogue of the novel (adapted into a voiceover in the 2000 miniseries):
    "See that princess standing there, so haughty and confident. They say she has pretensions of a literary nature. Let us hope she finds solace in such things; she'll have little else." A bitter laugh escaped Jessica. "Think on it, Chani: that princess will have the name, yet she'll live as less than a concubine--never know a moment of tenderness from the man to whom she's bound. While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine--history will call us wives."
  • In The Redemption of Althalus, people keep on assuming that Dweia is Althalus's wife (which is a pretty reasonable conclusion for them to come to after seeing the two of them interact). Althalus does a Spit Take the first time it happens, but eventually gives up on correcting people.
    Sergeant Khalor: So I was talking to your wife...
    Althalus: My what now?!
    Sergeant Khalor: The woman's who's financing this campaign...? I just assumed the two of you were...

Live-Action TV
  • This was a major part of Who's the Boss? with Tony playing the 'wife' part for Angela.
  • Det. Olivia Benson to Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU. Never had an affair but were so involved emotionally that Stabler's wife referred to Olivia as Elliot's "office wife".
  • Being considered "the mother" is a Berserk Button for Cameron in Modern Family.
  • There was an episode of Frasier, where other characters were making jokes about Martin being his wife. And another episode had a Martin/Daphne scene that seemed to be going here but didn't:
    Daphne: You know, it's funny when I think about the two of us. I mean, sure, we have our little fights, but for the most part we get along so well together. And when I think about how I enjoy looking after you, and how you always seem to miss me when I've been gone for too long, well, it's sort of like you're my...
    Martin: What?
    Daphne: No, it might sound funny to say this...
    Martin: It's all right, you can say it.
    Daphne: Well, it's sort of like you're my pet.
    Martin: What??
  • In Big Bang Theory this is played for many laughs when Rajesh is cast in this role to Howard, often for extended sequences. Frequent hat-tips are also made to it throughout the show, with Raj displaying some stereotypically feminine attribute or attitude.
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