Playing With: Parenting the Husband
Basic Trope: A marital relationship in which the wife takes care of her husband as though he were a child.
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- Straight: Alice makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with the crusts cut off, for her two school-age children and her husband Bob to take to school and work.
- Exaggerated: Alice waits on Bob hand and foot, and the only difference between her relationship with her children and her relationship with Bob is that the latter involves occasional sex.
- Downplayed: Bob makes peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches like they were made by a 5 year old.
- Alice wants to make Bob happy.
- Bob is sick or injured, or even disabled, and Alice needs to take care of him
- Bob is a Bumbling Dad, and Alice is Closer to Earth
- Making Bob dependent and obedient to her is Alice's way of dominating the household.
- Bob's brilliant, but an Absent-Minded Professor. Without Alice, he might make peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches without remembering to use peanut butter and jelly.
- In the culture and/or time period in which Alice and Bob live, it is expected that a woman will wait on her husband hand-and-foot. (Usually at least a partial subversion in this case, because she is expected to be the dutiful and obedient one.)
- Inverted: Bob treats Alice like his daughter, except with sex.
- Double Subverted:
- But then comes down with the flu and expects Alice to drop everything and take care of him.
- Bob decides he doesn't want this kind of sandwich and whines until Alice makes a new one for him.
- Alice gets up to tend to her crying baby, and then hears Bob crying in the living room because he dropped the remote.
- Alice asks Bob to take out the trash, and he pouts and stomps and says "No!" like a 2-year-old, complete with eventual tantrum.
- Zig Zagged:
- Bob acts childish but when it counts, he acts quite mature. The second he can though, he reverts back to actings like a manchild.
- Bob and Alice intermittently parent each other.
- Enforced: Closer to Earth.
- Lampshaded: Alice readily admits that she feels like Bob is one of her children.
- Invoked: Alice marries Bob, who is blatantly a Manchild.
- Exploited: Alice knows that Bob acts childish and will expect her to mother him. Alice deliberately does a poor job so it forces Bob to grow up and help.
- Defied: Alice breaks up with Bob during the dating stage (or divorces him) when she sees that he is just too childish to qualify as a good husband, and that a) he isn't likely to change anytime soon and b) she sure as hell can't change him.
- Discussed: "Did Alice make Bob's lunch today?"
- Conversed: "What is she, his mother?!"
- Deconstructed: May lead to (or be part of) power dynamics, or even a Secret Test of Character. Alice could become stressed, and Bob and the kids might see (or never stop believing) that women are just household servants.
- Reconstructed: Alice and Bob both pull their weight around the house. Alice learns to say no sometimes, and Bob takes responsibility. The relationship is running smoother, and Alice doesn't feel resentful or "used" or stressed, or taken advantage of. And Bob has a sense of purpose and more self-respect.
- Played For Laughs: The typical Bumbling Dad with a Closer to Earth wife.
- Played For Drama:
- Bob is a Henpecked Husband; by keeping him dependent on and obedient to her, Alice asserts her dominance over him. This may also involve Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male.
- Alternatively, it's a Secret Test of Character from Bob, or Alice is in an unhappy marriage/relationship with a Manchild (or both).
- Played For Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow: Age-play; for example, Bob wears an adult diaper and acts like a baby, and Alice cares for him, followed by sexual favors. (As always, this can be Fetish Fuel for some and Distilled High-Octane Squick for others.)
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