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When I am boyfriendless, I tend to rely on other people’s husbands to do the things that my own husband would do, if he existed.  (Well, no, not everything. This is all very G-rated.)

If I could’ve figured out a sane way to have a (faithful) husband on a part-time basis, I possibly would have married at some point in my life. Possibly.  But I now realize that I have figured out the part-time-husband thing.  He’s just not my husband. More correctly, they’re not my husband.  

I’m fortunate to have a number of good girlfriends who are married to great guys who willingly pitch in when I don’t have a beau to do whatever it is that needs doing.  Entertain, fix things that need fixing, share a meal and/or cocktail . . . sometimes just hang. (I say they “willingly” help out; I’m just hoping that’s true.)

In some cases, I knew the wife first; in others, the husband was already my friend.  This situation is kind of the best of both worlds.  The guys are funny and smart and useful . . . and then they go home . . . to their wives.  

Recently, Serena’s husband, who is one of my best friends, took a ride with me to confront my wayward tenant about not paying the rent.  Having him with me gave me more confidence, and I thought it would be handy to have him if a fight broke out.  (Kidding . . . but just a bit.)  He has also accompanied me to a social event or two when I needed an escort.

Trina’s husband helps me with my computer whenever I’m stumped, which seems to happen quite often.  He’s also good for a glass of wine, which we both enjoy. 

Lori’s husband really hooks me up.  He regularly does work around my house; on their last visit, he re-arranged and fixed so many things that my place almost looked like new when he was done. He and I even had to talk his wife into a trip to South America, a place he and I both wanted to go. I’m not sure she enjoyed it as much as he and I did, but she was a good sport about it. 

Once, I left an old car at my house and didn’t drive it for a while.  Betty’s husband cleaned out the nest that some critters had made in the car engine.  (I would have just given the car away.  No way was I going near that.)

How do these husbands feel about me? I’m not at all sure how all of them feel, although Betty’s husband has called me his “co-wife” on occasion. I do know that I’m very lucky that these women so freely share their husbands with me. I consider these guys my good friends.

It doesn’t always work out that way, though. 

Chuck and I had been really good friends for 10-plus years.  Always platonic, we’d seen each other through multiple relationships, jobs, the deaths of our parents, and thousands of parties, movies, meals, and laughs.   

But then Chuck dumped me.  He had a new girlfriend (now his wife), and, apparently, no longer needed me.  We went from being in touch every week or two to, well, never.  Just like that. It was confusing because he’s had lots of girlfriends through the years, and our friendship was never an issue (that I know of). Although I don’t know it for sure, I suspect that this girlfriend-now-wife wasn’t comfortable with our relationship. 

And, a few years ago, I became friendly with a couple with whom I have mutual friends. Actually, it’s an overstatement to say “friendly with the couple,” because it’s only the husband who is friendly. The wife is rather chilly toward me. We live in the same neighborhood and the husband has suggested that we (he, his wife, I) get together for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. The wife has made it clear that this will not happen. It’s awkward. Hubby is friendly, and he and I get along really well. It’s all completely aboveboard. He’s never said or done anything that would suggest he wants anything other than a platonic relationship. Wifey is not having it, though. I imagine she thinks there’s more going on between us. Or maybe she just doesn’t like me. I suppose that’s possible. Rather than trying to win her over (something at which I was having no success anyway), I’ve decided to write that friendship off. 

I know that a friendship between a married man and a single woman can be tricky. Which really makes me appreciate my guy friendsand their wives—that much more. Sometimes the Single Lady just isn’t welcome. 

I’ve learned, though, that each relationship is different. This part-time-husband thing wasn’t planned; it just sort of developed organically.  I like it.  Obviously, it works for me . . . and it appears to work for the guys, too.  Men do like to be needed, don’t they?

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  • Dawn Johnson (Mississippi) July 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I dunno! Have been single all of my life, and have always found that other women, married or single — including my mother — are a slippery slope, and getting “their” man to do me a favor is, crudely put, like “sucking a hind teat.” Really like being able to hire whatever I want done and not having to mess with other people and their nonsense.

  • Peggy July 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Eleanore, I’ve had very similar experiences. I have several married male friends who help me with all sorts of things, from hanging hardware to just hanging out. And I don’t think my female friends (their wives) mind or feel threatened.

  • Julie Phelps July 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I like the bit about sending him on his way home when the helpful task is completed – it reminds me of how grandparents explain they enjoy the little ones but are happy to send them home after a visit. Made me smile.

    You are lucky to have friends who share.

    I am now fortunate enough to have one of my sons close at hand to help out with such things, including the tech support. Otherwise I would not know where to turn. Since relocating to New England I have no girlfriends -nor even man friends – anywhere close by. Hoping to fix that one of these days soon.

  • Eleanore Wells July 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    @Tara: I also have a handy man that I’ve hired enough to seemingly buy him a new house. Nuthin wrong with having options, though!

    @Diane: Those are definitely reasons to marry. I talk about them in my book. Just to be clear, though, these women are not wimps. If they minded in the least, they would shut it down. One of the reasons I’m so comfortable with this is that the wives sometimes volunteer their men.


  • Roz Warren July 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Fascinating topic. Interesting set of responses. EW, you are ALWAYS worth reading!

  • Ronda Bowen July 14, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Diane, I’m with you. I would not continue a friendship with a woman who wanted to “borrow” my husband. It’s strange, and I’m sorry, but Eleanore should just learn to do this stuff on her own! I mean, when I was single, I looked after myself…needy women are trouble waiting to happen.

  • diane July 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Am I the only married woman on this site who would not be thrilled to “share” her husband with Eleanore who has chosen to live the Spinsterlicious life? Those of us who have a husband often need him to a. share a glass of wine b. be our escort c. to do chores around the house. We are not interested in sending him out with foxy Eleanore.

    While many of us marry for love and sex, we also get the benefits of an escort to events and parties, someone to go out on a date night with even though we both have worked hard all week, and for most of us married girls, a sex partner…right there at home! There are reasons to marry, Eleanore.

  • Diane Dettmann July 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    After my husband passed away, I luckily had a brother-in-law who was my “go to” guy. During the first couple of years, he fixed plumbing, helped me with financial questions and took me out to dinner a few times. Plutonic relationships with my friend’s husbands, didn’t enter into my single life equation. I spent time alone and had a great group of friends that included me in social gatherings. Worked for me.

  • tara July 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Single, I have many single girlfriends & married friends.

    I also have a handy man I hire. So do my single girlfriends.

    Who wants to be a mooch?

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara