(Closed) How to stop being so passive with DH in front of others?

posted 5 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
12247 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m going to put a disclaimer: Darling Husband and I are NOT PDA people. Ever. We don’t hold hands, we don’t kiss in front of other people (unless the men are heading to the casino, and the wives are staying home to drink and watch TLC. Then one quick peck)

But I dated a guy who was all about PDA, and I’m really not!

He tried to make me comfortable with it, but I’m not. Then he would get irritated when I wouldn’t hold his hand or kiss him. We had the same problem–people thought we hated eachother!

Honestly, if he does it at home, I wouldn’t be worried about him not doing it in public.

As far as him being insulting or snarky, I would laugh at the comment, roll my eyes, and call him on it the SECOND you get in the car. Darling Husband is one of those guys who rides the line between joking and being an asshole, and that’s how I show everyone “Whatever, haha! Doesn’t bother me.” and then in private, I let him know he seriously crossed a line!

Post # 4
2481 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Some people are really into PDA, some aren’t. Darling Husband and I fall into the latter category but for sure, I have never got the impression that people might think we aren’t together! Also, it truly can get irritating watching the sort of couples that are so into PDA that you find yourself thinking “Get a room, guys”. Also, PDA alone are no reflection of the soundness of a relationship.

But it sounds as if you have some basic insecurities about your relationship and that the lack of PDA is a symptom, rather than a cause. You don’t need to be passive or bitchy but perhaps consider that since you are just fine and happy at home, the pair of you have a different approach to PDA and somewhere along the line you need to find a happy medium.

Post # 5
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Darling Husband and I don’t act like we are together when we are out. We just aren’t one of those couple-y couples. When we are out we both like to go off and socialize and do our own thing. So I don’t see that there is anything wrong with that. (We think it is funny when the other person gets hit on.)

However, you seem to have a problem with it. Is your problem just what other people think or do you want to be more couple-y out in public? 

If that is what you want I think you should have a discussion with your Darling Husband and come to a PDA comprimise.

However, if it is just because you are worried what other people think I think you are going to have to become more secure in your relationship. I really don’t care if people know Darling Husband and I are married when we are out because it doesn’t define me as a person. I care that he tells someone that is hitting on him that he is married but they don’t necessarily need to know that it is me (however, he does the “Oh let me introduce you to my wife” line often).

Post # 6
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Honestly you care too much what people think. Every couple is different so you both should do the level you are comfortable with, I don’t think pda should be done publicly as a show of some sort for others to look on and know you are together.  I also think a lot of people not thinking you together is in your head, what exactly will you accomplish by constantly having pda so people every you go can know you are together?


While I’m sure you have relevant things in there, like him being clueless about the women flirting with him, or the whole bitchy comment. Maybe when you ares are disagreeing you can agree to wait until you get home. But I don’t think it’s fair to force him to be someway he is not or act differently just to prove something to other people publicly.


By the way my husband is white and I’m black, and often times when we go out in public people can’t quite seem to grasp that we are together, example just from the last two weeks, we went shopping at a department store, I talked to the lady picked out different things for a gift, my husband was right there commenting and all, yet when it came time to pay he pulled out his wallet to pay and she asked him twice if he was paying for “my stuff”. We went to get ice cream last weekend and again standing right next to me, and we were talking, and the clerk rings up mine separate from him, without even asking even though we came in together and were talking to each other.


My point is if I was upset because other people couldn’t suss out the fact that we were a couple I would go around  being pissed off all the time. If I were you I would focus on positive things in your relationship, because to me it seems like you are nitpicking, and making a mountain out of a molehill. You should have pda because you want to as a couple, not because you want other people to feel or think a certain way about you guys as a couple. Maybe take a step back and get some perspective


Post # 7
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I agree with PP – not everyone is comfortable with PDA, but it doesn’t mean people don’t think you’re a couple.  My Darling Husband hates holding hands when we’re out – he finds it uncomfortable to walk together, his hand gets sweaty, etc.  Which makes it all the more special when he does show some PDA.  He knows it’s important to me to kiss goodbye when he leaves, and he doesn’t mind that anymore.  The situation you described at the winery would be hilarious to me, having some woman trying to pick up my husband, and then he’s like “oh and this is my wife” and meanwhile I’m secure enough to be over here talking to other people and not concerned at all that he’s going to do something when I’m not around. 

As far as you not standing up for yourself, I would never want to fight with Darling Husband in front of other people.  If he says something that upsets me, I’ll laugh it off, give him a look, and then when I can pull him aside I’ll say, “I’m kind of upset about what just happened, I want to talk about it later.” 

Post # 8
5220 posts
Bee Keeper

@texasbee:  I feel like I say this same thing on all of your threads about your Darling Husband, but it just all boils down to you two have different expectations and communication styles than the other one. Maybe there is another way that you two can feel close in public without being too touchy, like maybe a shared inside joke or code word.

My Darling Husband hates PDA, when we are out, people probably don’t even know we know each other except for the fact that we are walking or sitting together. My sister and BIL? ALL over each other, holding hands, kissing, rubbing backs– the whole bit. 

If it bothers you, it bothers you… not much you can do about that. However; public affection is really no true indicator of how ” in love” someone is. It is about as useelss as a Facebook post on how much someone adores their SO. Only you know what goes on behind closed doors, and if you feel like that is on shaky ground, it may make you feel more insecure about him being in public and not addressing you like you would like to be addressed as his SO.

Post # 9
2532 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

In my relationship, we don’t always touch and cuddle, nor do we sit at the same table when we’re out with friends, but we don’t really care whether people think we’re together or not – we know we are, and that’s what matters.

You just need to learn how to be more assertive without being controlling.
Start with the “When you ___, I feel ___” technique. “When you sit at another table, I feel lonely because I like having your company at events.”
Don’t blame, don’t accuse, just state how things make you feel. Because it sounds a bit like you’re holding your feelings back about this, and if there’s anything that will start a fight, it’s keeping your concerns to yourself.

And find out if there’s another kind of PDA he’d prefer. In the summer, I don’t hold hands – it’s too hot. Fiance really doesn’t like that, he’s much more pro-PDA than I am. But I am happy to hold on to his arm or hold pinkies with him, because it’s a good comprimise for both of us. I break contact often because I get uncomfortable or need my hands, but he’s happy as long as I give my hand back to him.

I also feel that you may have some insecurities that you need to work on for yourself. Comparing your hand-holding or PDA to others’ relationships is going to do nothing but bring you down, and scrutinizing another woman’s short discussion with your husband (and her reactions to you) isn’t doing you many favors in the self-assurance department.
Sorry, but dwelling on these things isn’t going to help you be more assertive – it threatens to make you seem pushy and demanding if you put these expectations on your husband’s head.
I think it will be better if you stop comparing and start loving what you have – he is who he is, and so are you. You just need to find a comfortable middle ground to the two of your needs.

Post # 10
11747 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Some people aren’t into pDA and as much as you try to force it you can’t. Sounds like you’re a bit insecure so I’d explore those issue rather than trying to get Darling Husband to act in a way that doesn’t sound natural for him. 

I don’t really understand what you mean by you can’t not be bitching when you’re out so I can’t help out there. 

Just relax and enjoy each other and the moment. It sounds like you’re always looking down at yourself watching from the outside instead of just being in the moment and going with the flow. Nothing is more awkward looking than forced PDA.

Post # 11
567 posts
Busy bee

SO is the same, out and about it’s less of the handholding and no kissing whatsoever. 

I don’t mind though because SO is timid when out and about.

Post # 12
8590 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

We’re really not the PDA type so I can see where he’s coming from on that one. But sitting at a different table and ignoring you at a work function? That wouldn’t fly with me. Did you say something when he sat at another table?


Post # 13
747 posts
Busy bee

@texasbee:  Honestly OP I think you need to work on your own insecurities, IMO.  Be confident in your relationship and all those worries over where he’s sitting will fade.  I mean, why do you feel you have to “show” everyone that you’re together?  Grabbing his hand back when he stops holding yours?  It sounds kind of …juvenile, really.  Like the (admittedly) cringeworthy relationships I found myself in in high school where I would obsess over how long he hugged me for, or I would keep tabs on how often he held my hand, etc, etc.

Not trying to be rude, OP – but I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill and risk coming off as suuuuper-clingy.  I get that some couples are into PDA and some aren’t.  But I think this goes deeper than just PDA- you should take an honest look at yourself and where you stand in your relationship.  You should be able to feel confident, and proud, of yourself in relation to you man.  Not worried about every single encounter he’s going to have with female coworkers, friends, etc.  

Also if it hasn’t been mentioned yet – the book the Five Love Languages talks about this kind of stuff and you might find it really interesting.  Basically we all tend to express love in one “language” the most, and if our “language” differs from that of our partners, dissatisfaction can occur.  The book’s been recommended many times on the Bee and it might be really helpful to you.

Good luck!     🙂

Post # 14
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012


1. Lots of advice already.  Learn to be secure in yourself.  The only thing I would add is that it if were me it would upset me that he was willing to do PDA in order to “mark his territory” but not otherwise.  I’d discuss that (and point out that you’d like to mark your territory too, since that seems to be the case).

2. Two words: Code words.  Set up some so that you can say something to let him know that you think he’s saying something snarky and he can let you know he thinks you’re saying something bitchy.  A friend uses “eggplant” for their “lets stop fighting” code word.  Pick what works for you.

3. This just seems to be an example of 1 that particularly upsets you so see above comments.  (FWIW, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all that you didn’t sit close enough to proclaim to all you were a couple, or that your husband acted inappropriately.  He was clueless, but he mentioned you early into the evening.  He didn’t flirt back.  Not much else needs to be done.)

Post # 15
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@texasbee:  So I’m going against the grain and say screw the “get over it mentality” that some of the PP said. If this is something that bothers you, then fine. It’s up to you and your SO to figure out how to deal with it together. Not for you to have to “get over it and not be insecure.” Pretty much everything you described has happened with my Darling Husband and he seems to be just like your. Darling Husband was never really that big on PDA in the beginning, but I was. I like holding his hand in public, not to stake claim so single women did not pounce, but because the closeness means something to me.  It would totally piss me off for Darling Husband to bring me to an event for HIS job, with HIS coworkers and then seemingly ignore me. I’m not saying that I’m attached to his arm all night, but not only are we a married couple, I’m here as your guest. It’s rude to pretend I don’t exsist 

I think you did the right thing by not making a big deal of it in moment while Ms. Lady was flirting with your husband and he sat blissfully unaware. So kudos to you. Waiting until you are in private to have that conversation was completely appropriate and the right thing to do, IMO. Darling Husband and I have had countless convos about these scenerios and here what we came up with that works for us and both parties are happy. When we go to events where we both know a few other ppl, we separate and mingle amonst the guest individual or as a couple (whichever feels natural as the night progresses.) We come together a few times throughout the night to “check in” for lack of a better word and decide how long we’re staying, update the other on what So and So said or even just to make sure the other is still doing ok. When we’re at an event when one person does not know anyone, we do tend to stick together for this most part and if we split we stay within eye range of the other person. I am not a very social person right off the bat if I don’t know anyone. Darling Husband knows that so he’ll introduce me to someone I can chat with while he talks about boring work stuff or sports with someone else. 

Don’t feel bad for wanting to hold your guy’s hand in public and definitely don’t feel bad for wanting to not be ignored.

Oh and I second what @kay01:  said about code words. They get your point across without drawing too much attention to tense or embarrassing situations.

Post # 16
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

There might be two issues here. 

First, the PDA thing.  Not everyone is comfortable with PDA.  I hate doing things like holding hands.  It’s physically uncomfortable.  I’m also unlikely to kiss, etc. in front of others.  Come to think of it, most of my friends with partners are like this.   It doesn’t mean anything about the quality of my relationship, or anyone else’s. 

You might have a valid point about wanting to sit by your husband when you are out with his coworkers, if you don’t know them very well.  It’s rude to bring a guest to an event where they don’t know anyone and leave them to fend for themselves without at the very least introducing them to others.  My husband sometimes isn’t the best at this either, from time to time and it can make me feel uncomfortable.    If we go to parties, dinners, etc. where we both know everyone, we often go our separate ways and then just check in with one another now and then — mostly to see when the other wants to leave.  

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