Wife dresses up for everyone but me.
The details are unimportant, I think. What one couple finds unacceptable is another couple's reason for being together. So, how to discuss this?
The generalities: It seems to me that things are backwards.
When she's home, it's sweats and flannel and slippers. Anything else isn't 'comfortable'. Nothing else is 'practical'. This is "her being her". This is how she's comfortable. Anything more "just isn't her."
Wife's job involves a lot of walking, bending, lifting, in a non-office environment, and involves getting a little bit dirty - just a bit, not construction or anything. The environment tends to be cool or drafty, with regular trips outside. But - going out the door in the morning, she's in skirts, stretchy, clingy tops, high heel leather boots. Nothing over the top, mind you - this isn't "my wife dresses like a streetwalker" or anything. But she sure does look like she's going out on the town or to the board-room or something, when really her job would be better performed in nurse's scrubs and running shoes. And I've seen her co-workers. Sure,a few dress up too, but not so ofen, and mostly it's jeans and shirts.
She does sometimes dress nice for me - but we have to be going out to something special just to get her to dress as well as she does going to work. A simple dinner out or a movie or shopping usually gets no more than jeans and a shirt. She makes a point of having me acknowledge how she treated me to something if she even puts on one of her less attractive work tops. And if she does dress for me as good or better than she dresses for work, well, suddenly she dressed up "ultra sexy" for me - oh yeah, these clothes are head-turning and she's a temptress in them, you know. Then Monday morning, what was supposedly super-hot, "you won't be able to take your eyes off me" Saturday evening, now is supposed to be just normal everyday workwear, and what kind of lunatic am I for having even the slightest issue with this...'cause you know, it's not EXACTLY the same top as Saturday night - this one's not quite as form-fitting, although it does have a v-neck the other didn't...and it's not EXACTLY the same high heels - these ones are a whole 1/2" shorter!!...no, THIS outfit is the single most practical, ordinary, comfortable and appropriate thing she could possibly wear...anything less and I'd be asking her to wear a burka...until, of course, 5 minutes after she's in the door in the evening..then suddenly it's not at all comfortable any more, she's tired and just wants to be comfortable, and we must get back into the flannel asap or I'm being totally unreasonable again....
Writing this is proving to be very useful - as it requires organizing the thoughts.
It occurs to me that it's not so much the classic "I'm jealous of my wife dressing nice when she's out without me." - so much as it's the sense of being taken for a fool and feeling suspicious about the obvious double-talk. No, I don't have any real suspicions of bad behaviour outside the home. She's a great wife and we're probably in the 90th percentile of marital bliss most of the time. But that doesn't mean I'm not a normal human being with normal human insecurities and doubts - and we decided long ago that we both accepted that the other was such a normal human and that we'd take those things into account as a matter of caring for the other.
Now, I don't want to overstate things either. Sure, there are days that she purposely puts on something playfully alluring at home. But what I'm describing is the daily routine, a routine that tips the balance way out of my favour, and not only does that just seems wrong, it seems wrong that I'm told I'm unreasonable for finding it wrong.
She wants to just feel good about herself? No problem - I'm all attention and compliments. Really She gets more appreciation than most, I'm sure. And it's sincere - I really think she's the most beautiful woman on the planet, even in her sweats - and I let her know it. So get your feeling good here at home. What's so darn imperative about looking like a model for everyone else? Especially when you insist that you get no attention from it, or if you do you're ignorant of it. And stop taking me for an idiot - stop trying to tell me that the spandex pants and the thin, clingy tops are totally un-sexy like I don't know better.
So, the question - if there is a question in all of this - is:
To the ladies - can anyone provide a reasonable, rational explanation of this behaviour that will allow me to understand why a wife would be so determined to show herself off to the rest of the world every day, but uninterested in doing the same for her husband, other than occasionally, when every other aspect of the marriage is absolutely story-book? If I can gain some undetrstanding of it, maybe I can get over this feeling of being the fool and the loser in the story and I won't have to bug her about it - 'cause I gotta admit this has been eating at me for some time now - I don't want to be the over-bearing husband, but at the same time, she may have a right to dress how she likes, but I have a right to have an opinion on it and my feelings about it. It's getting to the point of - ok, do what you want, but if I'm going to avoid blowing a gasket I'm going to have to go the other way and stop caring at all, and do you really want that?
To the guys - Does this sound familiar to anyone? Doesn't it sometimes seem like modern life is totally backwards?