one’s ball and chain

ball and chain

1. Something, usually a responsibility of some kind, that restricts one's freedom or limits one's possibilities for personal pursuits. This job is such a ball and chain, I can't wait to quit and start freelancing. As John got older, he felt that his decision to settle down and have a family became a ball and chain that prevented him from pursuing his dream to travel the world.
2. A jocular but disparaging term for a person's spouse or significant other who is thought to stifle the person in some way. Almost always applied to a wife or girlfriend. We could tell Jimmy was joking when he called his wife the old ball and chain, but I think he does feel a bit like he doesn't get out enough.
See also: and, ball, chain

one’s ball and chain

n. a wife; a girlfriend. (Mostly jocular.) I’ve got to get home to my ball and chain.
See also: and, ball, chain