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Playing With / Henpecked Husband

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Basic Trope: A man who submits to a domineering wife.

  • Straight: Alice makes all the major household decisions and runs the household with little or no input from Bob. For his part, Bob always caves to Alice's decisions, even if he doesn't agree with them.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice outright abuses Bob.
    • Bob is clearly dominant in all areas of his life, except for his marriage.
  • Downplayed:
    • Generally, Alice make most the decisions in the house. But she does sometimes ask Bob, and reconsider her decisions if necessary.
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    • Alice and Bob divide up responsibility equally, though Alice decides who does which.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Bob makes all the household decisions and runs the household with little or no input from Alice. As far as he's concerned, her only responsibilities are to cook, clean the house, and have his babies.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice asks Bob what he thinks about going to Paris, and Bob states that he'd rather go to Hawaii for their vacation.
    • Alice is quiet and submissive only makes requests not give orders.
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    • Alice seems to make most of the decisions simply because the things she desires are things that Bob either doesn't care about or agrees with Alice on. In return the few things Bob actually insists on he usually gets.
    • Alice is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who leads Bob on a roller-coaster of a life. Bob is an easy-going fellow who is content to passively enjoy Alice's ideas. Bob does what Alice says not because she is domineering or he is weak willed, but because he thinks it fun.
    • Bob complains about his wife, but that's just because he's a Straw Misogynist.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Alice has already booked the trip to Paris.
    • Alice controls Bob through passive-aggressive behavior (such as threatening to leave, threatening suicide, fake tears, or the Lysistrata Gambit) or through Hint Dropping.
    • Even though Bob is a Straw Misogynist, his wife is still far too controlling of him.
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  • Parodied: Awful Wedded Life
  • Zig Zagged: Alice makes the decision, but Bob argues with her when he disagrees. Sometimes, he gives in, other times she is the one who relents.
  • Averted:
    • Alice and Bob make decisions and spend money equally.
    • Alice gets lots of things simply because she cares much more about them, and Bob isn't too bothered. Those things he does care about are areas she lets him have a say.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "I always get the last word in any argument: 'Yes, dear.'"
  • Invoked: Bob is the Dogged Nice Guy to Alice.
  • Exploited: "Alice you tell Bob to straighten up!"
  • Defied:
    • Alice refuses to date a wimpy guy like Bob, much less marry him.
    • Bob doesn't let anyone walk all over him, especially Alice.
  • Discussed: "Poor Bob. Alice never lets him have any fun."
  • Conversed: "Alice may be a bitch, but Bob does need to grow a backbone. At least enough to get out of that crappy marriage."
  • Deconstructed: This is not grounds for being Happily Married in any true sense for very long. Eventually, Bob will start to feel unimportant and uncared for, and may get into Passive-Aggressive Kombat or be unfaithful to Alice. Also, Alice may think Bob is weak and pathetic.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice gets Bob involved in decision-making and learns to compromise and not be such a Control Freak, and Bob learns to say "no" sometimes. The relationship grows healthy boundaries and improves.
    • Or, if Alice is actually abusing Bob, Bob gets up the courage to leave her, because she isn't likely to change and could eventually do some real damage.
  • Played For Laughs: Awful Wedded Life, Abuse Is Okay When It's Female On Male
  • Played For Drama:
  • Implied: Bob is offered vacation time by his boss, and it's suggested he go on a vacation with his wife. Bob doesn't exactly seem excited by the idea.

"Now go back to Henpecked Husband!" "Yes, dear."


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