Can a Married Woman be Friends with a Single Guy?

I posted this on my Myspace, but I figured I’d get more (and better) responses here on SDMB. What is your opinion?

Okay, here’s one for you: I had a dear friend of mine from way back in high school contact me on Myspace (not in my friends list because she has since deleted her profile). I was so excited to talk to her, I considered her the coolest girl I ever knew (past tense because you will see below she has lost some cool points). We chatted for a while about stuff from things like music and our past history to current events. She described her marriage as “tense” but she believed being a family was very important. We hung out, exercised together by walking in the park and so forth. We had great times together, she made me laugh and she laughed at my lame jokes (if you are going to be my friend I need you to laugh at even the lamest of my jokes). Well, back in July we kept chatting online and stuff, but we were never able to get time to go hang out any more. I don’t think she was intentionally avoiding me, but just as a coincidence around that same time in July I started hanging out with another girl I used to know. Well, just last week my friend e-mails me and says we can’t visit anymore and that our friendship is causing tension in a tense marriage. I respect my friend so I will let her be, but I will miss her. It’s kind of unfair to have someone come back into your life so suddenly and things are wonderful and BOOM they are gone again.

I explained this story to my buddy who is a strongly conservative christian person and his wife. My buddy has known this girl as long as I have. He didn’t say much, but his wife said that she was not surprised and she went on to explain that married women should not have single men as friends. She also gave some example of how, out of respect for her marriage, she will never schedule men to come over to the house (like a plumber or something like that) without her husband being home. At first I kind of thought, “Yeah, married women and single men shouldn’t be friends.” When she went on to explain about the plumbers and stuff, I thought to myself, “that’s wrong!” There has to be trust in a marriage, and one individual should not put that kind of restriction on their partner. It seems overly-protective or even controlling. It’s strange that I agreed with her until she went on to talk about the second example, and because of that second example, I reversed my thoughts on her first point. Why can’t married women and single guys be friends?

A marriage should have mutual trust. If you can’t trust your partner to have single friends or plumbers without cheating, the problem isn’t having friends and plumbers – the problem is the absence of trust. Without trust, I think a marriage is doomed, and by that logic if you can’t trust your partner to have a friend of the opposite sex perhaps you should evaluate your relationship. Keeping your partner from having friends and plumbers will not prevent cheating, it’ll just make your partner sneakier about having friends and plumbers.

Anybody have any comments on this? I imagine it might be a tough topic.

Sure, why not? However, there are potential problems, and this:

is a red flag. Telling someone she is just getting acquainted (or reacquainted) with that her marriage is tense is broadcasting a message that despite her marital status, nothing is out of the question. You don’t need that type of complication. You should have her call me.

And your buddy and his wife’s plumber phobia is a bit weird. If she said strange men in the house made her uneasy, that would be fine. But she seems to be more concerned that she’ll accidentally fuck the guy while he’s snaking the drain. No double entendre intended. You should have her call me too.

When I was still active in tournament bridge, my partner was a married woman. Her husband didn’t play the game. We played three nights a week, and traveled to tournaments together, sharing a hotel room (two beds, obviously). Nothing innappropriate ever happened. Then again, we were focused on bridge, and that’s really all we had in common.

I think it depends on the soundness of the marriage. People who are happily married probably have completely innocent friendships all the time. People like your friend, and one of mine (who got very close to another friend this summer and wondered aloud how people would react if she had an affair with him :eek:) who are in shaky marriages to begin with… maybe they shouldn’t have single opposite sex friends until things improve in their marriages. Or they end them. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see how adding potential temptation to an already insecure relationship is going to be an improvement.

goddamn smilies, that’s the second one to burn me today.

I certainly hope so, since my best friend is a married woman. I didn’t introduce her to her husband but I did convince her not to dump him as soon as she wanted to. I don’t care much for him so it’s kind of a mixed bag for me, but she seems at least somewhat happy with him.

Of course I’m gay so there’s no question of any sexual issues between us (although she did offer to hold my johnson last week while I was peeing at her house, which, what?).

I’m in the opposite situation: I’m a single woman, and my best friend is a married man (who I met when he was already married). There’s no doubt that he wouldn’t be my best friend if I didn’t get along with his wife, but she never would have told him that he couldn’t be friends with me just because I’m single (and 10+ years younger than him). Which is probably one of the reasons that I do get along with his wife – in fact, I usually refer to the two of them as my best friends, their son calls me “Aunt Jenny,” and they’ve really become my family down here.

If a married person can’t be friends with a single person of the opposite sex (or whichever sex they’re attracted to), the problem is with the individual(s) involved – not the situation.

Waverly I think you may be right about the red flag, however I flat out told her, I wouldn’t be “that guy” and I wouldn’t do anything to mess up someone’s marriage. We continued to be friends after that, so I figure it was not necessarily what she was going after…I dunno, I’m awful at reading people’s intentions/reading between the lines.

I never met her husband, and I figure if he’d met me he would understand that I’m not a threat. I exude “nice guy.”

I have a male friend who’s single with whom I occasionally talk on the phone or chat online.

And the plumber thing? Hell, I spent three days alone with two plumbers who were doing some of our bathroom remodeling, and the *gorgeous *21-year-old of the two spent the entire time hitting on me (and damn was he a master charmer; best I’ve ever seen). Even after that situation (which I told hubby about because I don’t keep secrets), I’d be very upset if he felt he couldn’t trust me with people paid to come into my house.

Sigh. To finish a thought in my head, t’would be a marvel. Let’s try this again.

It’s silly to think that a married woman can’t have a single guy for a friend. What, are his single-guy pheremones going to whisk her into a frenzy of passion the minute she steps out of sight of her husband? Does she disdain her husband so much it takes almost nothing to tempt her away from him?

Hmmm. I guess I’ll be the lone married woman without single guy friends. My husband wouldn’t dream of demanding or even requesting I didn’t, but it’s one way I choose to show respect to our marriage. It’s not that I think I couldn’t control myself or that there is any possible way a single guy couldn’t control himself around me (I know, I know, the spit-up all down the front of my shirt may make it difficult). To me, it’s just vaguely improper and inappropriate (for me, in my marriage…I wouldn’t think twice about anyone else choosing differently). My husband has a single guy friend who often stops by on Friday afternoons for a beer. Occasionally, he gets here a 10-20 minutes before my husband gets home. That makes me a little uncomfortable and it’s really hard to even articulate why. Male workmen in the house while I’m alone make me very uncomfortable, but that’s because I feel unsafe with a stranger here who could overpower me.

For what it’s worth, I’m not religious and wasn’t brought up in a religious household. My husband doesn’t have any single female friends. I have never “forbid” him from this or requested that he didn’t; he just doesn’t. I trust my husband absolutely and he trusts me - neither of us are jealous people. We both do lots of stuff that would give us opportunity to cheat, if we were so inclined, and neither of us is worried about it.

I know I haven’t explained at all why I feel this is right for our marriage, but I do. There you have it.

Apparently the OP’s answer is that in the general sense some people can do it but not every one does.
My rule is that I can keep all the female friends I never managed to sleep with from BEFORE I met my wife. If she tried to tell me I couldn’t talk to one of my friends from high school that I spent 6 years not managed to bang, I’d pretty much laugh until I passed out.
My wife seems to have the same rule on her end, but I couldn’t care less about how many guy friends she makes; she’d be more upset than I would if she screwed around.

Don’t feel too odd, that’s my wife’s rule with an exemption for old friends she never dated.
Regarding your husband’s buddy and his getting there before your husband, I wouldn’t be inclined to do what he does. Why place your friend in a situation where he has anxiety?
I’d leave work later or stop for a coffee on the way in or spend more time listening to the radio in my car to avoid being in your house without your husband around… barring of course, other adult chaperones. Less muss, less fuss, more smiles all around.

I wouldn’t dream of telling my partner that they couldn’t have single male friends (SMF) however every married man I know that been abruptly dumped by a wife with SMFs has subsequently found that one of the SMFs has been a significant factor. It happened twice to me and both times I was starting to feel uncomfortable about the increasing level of SMF contact that excluded me. Neither woman ended up in any kind of meaningful relationship with the guy although I know my first wife (who I remain friends with) is still friends with the SMF.

In each case I know of I wonder what the intentions of the SMF were. It doesn’t seem to be like that of your married friends who want your marriage to prosper.

I should add that in both of my cases the SMF became a friend after we married and was not some long standing friend. I assume that this may make some difference??? I don’t know about my friends and acquaintances.

I have a few single male friends. They’re all folks I knew before I was married, and my husband also knows and likes all of them. We occasionally go out for coffee together, but I’m more likely to invite them over for a dinner party or group get-together.

If I felt uncomfortable introducing these guys to my husband or having all three of us hang out together in a group, then I would worry that I was coming close to crossing a line.

Misread as: Can a Married Woman be Friends with a Simple Guy?

This made me laugh out loud. Is their understanding of the plumbing industry based solely on cheesy porno plotlines?

I dance the ballroom dances at a much higher level than my husband. He only goes to class to be with me, so we don’t live seperate lives. It isn’t fun or constructive for either of us if my husband partners me. I dance with lots of single men in a social setting. But I can’t say they are friends. I recently read that a man and a woman can be platonic friends only if they found each other slightly repulsive. This made me laugh, as I know that my husband spoils me so shamelessly that no other man could stand me. I’m shameless!

And if it is - would they ever admit it?

A slightly different persepective: I develop crushes very, very easily. It’s not an inherently sexual thing for me – I’ve probably had ten signifigant crushes since I’ve met my husband, and they’ve spanned the spectrums of age and gender. I just get really facinated with people–people amaze me easily–for a while and then it passes. Although these aren’t really sexual, there is a sort of energy associated with it that could be sexual in the right circumstances. So on the couple of occasions where the object of my crush was a male around my own age, I’ve avioded developing a friendship with that person, and just been facinated from afar. I don’t really see myself cheating, but I value my marriage and feel like assuming I could never do something that I was later ashamed of, and so do not have to avoid the near occasion of sin, would be prideful and tempting fate. But I don’t think other people “crush” like I do, and so what works for them may be very different.