Thursday, February 07, 2008

I Don't Hang Out with Your Husband

So far The Rooster has tagged along for The Mayor’s play dates or spent time with our friend’s children who are, for the most part, boys older than her.

At two and a half, The Rooster finally has two little, girl friends of her own from daycare.

The mother of one of the girls and I have befriended each other.

After she and I established that we liked each other we arranged a get together so that our husbands could meet and they also liked each other.

Things look good…


The other little girl that Rooster plays with is almost always picked up by her father.

He and I often chat while the kids run around in the play yard after school.

[Neither of us ever seem eager to descend into the potential hell that is usually referred to as "dinner time."]

I like the daycare dad.

I'd love to get to know him and his wife, both for the sake of making new friends and to create more opportunities for Rooster to play with another girl her age.

But it's tricky.

K picked the kids up from daycare while I worked extra hours these last three days.

K wasn't in a hurry to get home to the chaos of dinner time and, like me, he hung out in the play yard chatting with the other parents while the kids made the most of the day’s end.

Driving home from work yesterday, I saw that K’s car was still at the daycare center and, eager to see him and the kids, I stopped.

When I got to the play yard I noticed that K was talking to the daycare dad and surprisingly, his wife was also there. She and I made a date to meet each other at the playground this weekend.

Later I was talking to K about how glad I was that she and I made plans together.


“I’d like to be friends with them," I said, "but I almost always see the Dad and my primary relationship can’t be with him, it has to be with her.”

“I don’t think so,” K said. “Why couldn't you establish a friendship with the Dad?”

I rolled my eyes.

“That is not how it works,” I told him.

“What do you mean? Why not?”

“Play that out, K” I said. “Do you feel comfortable with the idea of daycare dad and I having lunch dates and getting pedicures together?”

He looked at me like I was a bit odd.

[A familiar look.]

“Seriously, K. YOU have to make friends with HIM and I have to make friends with HER. That’s how it works.”

K looked doubtful.

I can’t seem to express it well for K, but the rules about making friends DO change when you get married.

I can’t just make friends with another woman’s husband!

Help me out here....


118 comments:

furiousBall said...

Pedicures are a gateway to steamy affairs and well cared for feets. Nicely played, if I do say so. And I do say so.

Seriously.

I have no idea what I wrote up there, like at all.

T. said...

It's sad but true--- sad but true.

Maddy said...

Years ago I had friendships with a couple of stay at home dads.....but they were short lived. I didn't know there was a rule.
Cheers

Sober Briquette said...

It seems to me that K is assuming you would automatically be friends with her - bosom buddies, as it were - so the "work" aspect of it is for you to make friends with HIM and him to make friends with HER.

Maybe you and she can have a good chuckle at your husband's naivete at the park this weekend.

Barb said...

I think you're right on. You can have a friendly-type relationship with the dad (aka chatting nicely when at the playground) but it can't be the basis for anything substantial or the driving force for social gatherings.

It's just too gray of an area. Even with the most innocent and platonic of intentions, it is a slippery slope (I'm not saying an affair will come of it, but lots of other social awkwardness is sure to ensue).

Wendy said...

Mostly, the dads I've met are nice but not possible "girlfriend" material. If one is, then that could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e!

In my younger days, I would have said sure, you can do it! Now, I say, hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Heather said...

My DH is "girlfriend" material. He's very friendly and open. I WOULD think it was a little weird if he were making friends with the other daycare moms and hanging out.

If he were a SAHD, though, I'd expect him to have "mom friends", or at least moms he knew well enough to do playdates with. We were in a playgroup for a while that had major issues with him coming to events on his day off - pretty sad - just because he's male and that's "scary". That was just one of the reasons we quit that group, LOL.

I read in this month's Parents I think it was, something that said "Yes, that dad pushing his kids on the swings is a great example of responsible manhood. Try to remember he's also SOMEONE ELSE's HUSBAND." But hey, you and the wife are going to get together with the kids and that's cool too.

FunnyGal KAT said...

Funny this comes up because I had lunch today with a guy friend. He's married, I'm married. And it's not an issue that he and I hang out without our spouses.

BUT... we were friends long before either of us got married. I don't think I'd be comfortable with meeting up with the guy half of the couples we know without our partners present.

For some reason, I think it makes a difference.

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

hum....i guess this is so.

i am not married...but i guess that sounds right?

nice that people at your daycare speak...mine seems kind of snooty - or just plain rude - no one seems to speak to one another (daycare parents & daycare parents)

kinda weird....


;o)

The Other Dawn said...

I totally get this. I get along famously with a coworker with a young family who's new to our area, and I know that he and my husband could be great friends. Hubs asked me why I didn't invite he and his wife over, and I replied that I couldnt ask him because I had never met his wife, and would only feel comfortable asking her over for that sort of first "friend date."

Hubs was confused much like K.

Unfortunately, I just don't see the situation in which I would come into contact with his wife and so that's what's keeping us from having them over.

I felt silly, too, but I agree that it just felt weird, like I was trying to hang out with some strange woman's husband.

Not the Queen said...

You CAN, but it's probably safer not to. I think you're totally in the right. It gets awkward.

carrie said...

I totally understand. My husband doesn't understand that I can't call my guy co-worker at home about non work stuff because I was raised that you don't call another woman's husband. Too grey of an area.

Robin Marie said...

It sounds just like high school. I spent many an hour spreading rumors that I was a roaring lesbian so that I was allowed to remain friends with my guy friends after they started dating chicks.

Jhianna said...

It seems to smooth the waters a little better when friendships follow that pattern (you with her, and K with him). Things can go a little wonky otherwise. Even with the best intentions of all concerned.

If nothing else, there's the perception of the other parents on the playground to take into consideration.

It's a judgment call really. Is the potential friendship worth the hassles? Or do you get a better deal by bypassing the hassle, befriending the wife, and having the Dad be a friend-by-proxy with K?

Edge said...

All these rules ... you're giving me tired head. Can't we all just get along?!?!?!?!


~Jef

Nancy said...

You're dead on right.

Even though it's 2008, it's just not the thing to do.

Men and women aren't wired to be "hang out buddies".

Kyla said...

I agree with you. It would be weird for me. And I wouldn't love Josh getting pedicures with Daycare Mom either. Of course, our kids aren't in daycare and Josh would never get a pediacure, but it is still solid logic. LOL.

Smiling Mom said...

Um, hello husband! I've had to explain these rules to my husband as well!

Lisa said...

I swear, once you find "the one", it's almost like the two of you have to start "couple dating", which is even harder than dating because both of you have to like two people. AUGH!

Good luck :)

CamiKaos said...

mr. Kaos would never be upset bye befriending a dad... However the mans wife may not feel the same. It is awkward. You're so right!

Kaleigh said...

Oh crud. See, here's the thing. I grew up with a brother. I like my girlfriends and all, but my age-peer co-workers are guys. And we hang out. I tried to get my husband in on that action and he haaaaaaaates hanging out with me and the work people (something about inside jokes and boring and shop talk). All of us (except one guy) are married (and that guy is engaged).

And then, on a social level, there are guys I sing with that I never have had the occasion to hang out with their wives. Not that I would suggest we get together outside the world of rehearsals and cast parties, but...

At any rate, I bond more easily with dudes. And I think being married actually makes it safer, since that puts me in the unattainable group (doesn't it??).

Not sure what I'm talking about now. I guess it's just that I'm too busy to have an affair even if I wanted to. Which I don't.

Mrs. T said...

Have you seen/read "Little Children"? oy.
It's very tricky- the married couple friendship thing. You definitely have to make friends with her. I hope you like her. One thing that totally sucks is when you don't like both people in a couple.

ewe are here said...

Totally makes sense. Yet, it totally doesn't make sense.

Does that make sense?

Liza said...

Ok, I have a question for the group.

My partner and I are both women -- how does the other people's husbands rule apply to us?

I ask because while my partner was traveling for work, I ran into a very nice daycare dad whose toddler and mine play well together, and we all ended up having dinner after the playground. Both his wife and mine were working. Can we become playdate friends?

meno said...

One thing i miss from when i worked is men. I still see my girl friends from work, but i can't call up men i liked talking with and do lunch.

You are right. sigh.

Little Nut Tree said...

I think probably you couldn't make the kind of friendship with him that you could make with her... I can see exactly what you mean...

Maybe you can talk to him and make friends... and then the first suggestion of play date should be all parents meeting for the first time..? Like at a park or something?? Take the kids to the swings and go for coffees and whatever afterwards...?

I really dunnno.... what I *do* know is I would be a wee bit sceptical of a woman that wanted to make pedicure friends with BN!! But coffees and playdates? Sure - I wouldn't have an issue with that.... oh I just don't know...

He's a SAHD and it has to be said - that is kinda rare round here so the people he's likely to meet are women... so would I be saying he wasn't allowed friends if I was daycare dad's wife?

Oh.my.goodness... just don't know.

jen said...

well....one of my favorite play yard peeps came from the dad. now the 4 of us are friends, but me and the dad are the buds, and it's ok.

but maybe i'm just a filthy whore.

Laura said...

Funny you should write about this...I amhaving a similar experience with my son...the father is the main contact...it is funny to call up the dad and make arrangements....

Arwen said...

Let's extend it a little more. What happens if one of your children's cohorts have two mommies or two daddies. Can K not be friends with 2 mommies? Or should he worry about the sexual tension that could arise from you befriending both? Or vice versa with K and two daddies? The sexual tension may not happen, they aren't your type but the playground daddy probably isn't your type either (he's not K). I am not attracted to anyone but my husband and a few superstars. He trusts me but knows that if one of the superstars shows up on my door I may have to run off with said superstar for the weekend. We understand this about me. My husband trusts me to be friends with people, not women or men.

Julie Pippert said...

I hate to say it but I'm with you on this. As innocent and nice and harmless and just being friends as it may be...I know what you say to be true.

I certainly like a good number of dads, some SAHDs or school dads.

But I always make friends with them AND their wives.

I just try to look at it from all angels and that seems most...ummm...decorous I guess is the best word.

It's just good to set the right lines of communication and dynamic up from the get-go. And include spouses.

Julie Pippert said...

Err, I meant ANGLES not ANGELS

HA HA HA HA That's some Freudian slip typo.

Julianne said...

I agree also. You can be friendly by all means, but he can't be your primary friendship in that couple.

You just have to be careful not to intrude too much on their "couple" turf. And I like how Barb called it a "slippery slope". If nothing else, then the perception of others might be skewed: ie: rumors starting that you two are having an affair. Just rumors, for sure - but how would K feel about that? Or the other mom?
I'm just sayin'

The Super Bongo said...

if you are friends with him, all invitations must include her, and you must ask about her every time you see him, and anytime she is available to join you - you must take up the opportunity . . . just so that she doesn't ever decide that he talks to you too much, or says too much about how great you are, or what not. Humans are fickle things, no?

Jan said...

I hate to say this, but are you living in the '50's? Gosh darn, and golly! It's really OK to have men friends, too. Hello. As long as everyone is clear about primary relationships. No, prob.

Moondance said...

Again, I am oblivious. I had no idea.

And boy am I in trouble.

What is the use of being treated as equals if we aren't treating ourselves as equals? I have male friends from work, and school, and life. I always try to make friends with the wife, becasue we do usually fo the "couple" or "family" friend thing, but sometimes, I just don't connect with the wife. Does that mean I can't talk to the man?

Two couples we are friends with are people I was friends within highschool. All four of them. In one couple, I mostly talk to the wife, becaseu she is in the role of social director for the family. In the other, the husband usually calls me back and organizes get togethers.

It never occurred to me that I could be making anyone uncomfortable by being friends with their husbands. maybe becasue it never occurred to me that the husbands woudl view me as potential "cheat on my wife" material. Is that what it's about?

Am I being too simplistic? Guidance, please, sisters.

Yamagoo said...

It is indeed a "pickle" (LOL)

I have an absolute unbreakable rule that I will not spend more than a moment alone in the company of ANY woman to whom I am not related. People make fun of me for this but in this day and age it simply is not safe for a man to be alone in the company of a woman when he is married. (I can here the outcry against this philosophy from across the US) There is simply too much potential for misunderstandings or mis-communications to devolve into potentially disastrous circumstances involving at least embarrassment and at worst litigation.
K ...I admire your progressive views on this subject but I have to tell you...she's right my brother.

Paige said...

Well, I haven't faced this yet, but all I can say is that I have a tot Roo's age and live around the corner.

I'm a girl too.

P

Yamagoo said...

To clarify a playdate is considered "alone" as children cannot testify as to the nature of a conversation" in a court of law.

JaniceNW said...

When my 16yo was in kindergarden I met a great dad! I really enjoyed talking to him and it seemed equally fun for him. He had a girl in the full time K, my son was in half-day so our meeting was unusual. Our kids are in 11th grade now while I still say hey I usually see him with his wife....who gives me a frosted feeling, KWIM? Chatting during helper time was cool but even getting together as families just would have never worked.

One of the biggest problems I see for you younger, more progressive parents is the perception other have about these things. There's always some one who'll wonder...are they just platonic? Stupid but very much a part of our society today.

Whereas in college, when single, I would stay up all night with guy friends talking or listening to music and all was good. Sigh.

Nancy said...

At my girls' old day care, I would always chat with the dad of my younger daughter's classmate. (We always dropped off at the same time). Definitely he and I got along well even before I'd met the wife or my husband had met him.

We solved the awkwardness of the potential friendship issues by having a playdate with all kids and parents present. Now that I know the wife, she and I gravitate toward each other to do things and J and the husband do things together, or we do things as a big group. I don't see the husband anymore because we switched daycares.

I suppose it was risky because the husbands could have not gotten along and/or I could have not liked the wife, but it all has worked out, and now we're family friends.

Robin said...

You're right. But K is an absolute sweetheart for not getting it. Definitely a keeper.

Jen said...

Eh, it probably makes me uptight but I agree with you. It would feel too weird to me to befriend the husband.

lottifish said...

It's true. While I love having couple friends it would be weird for me to be friends mostly with the man of the couple or for my Husband to start playing Halo 3 with the wife.

skiplovey said...

Yep you're right, it'd be weird. Just like I can't hang out with my neighbor that's a SAHD.
Get their phone number and call up the wife to make playdate plans though.

Lindy said...

I've got your back- it's SOOO totally not cool to make friends with the dad it has to be the mum. It's sad but hell I'd cut Wal if he came home and told me he made a 'playdate' with one of the mums from the music group he goes to with Squidge! I'd cut him where she could see it just to send her a message- back off biotch! I JOKE!!

a. beaverhausen said...

Well...if you don't know the couple at all prior to making friends with him, I guess it is traditional for the men to bond with each other and the women to do the same. However! My husband and I entered into this marriage (at age 27) with plenty of ex- relationships we were still friendly with. As well as regular friends of the opposite sex. We did not abandon those relationships because we got married. But...yeah...starting out with new people it looks strange. It's too bad that it does because there's no guarantee that the woman is a better personality fit for you than the guy.

flutter said...

dear K,

just no.

love,
flutter

Beck said...

No kidding. Our household rule is no friends of the opposite sex, period. Nothing good can come of them, ever.

Slow Panic said...

it's true. the male/female friendships are over after you get married. it just doesn't work.

The Sour Kraut said...

Funny you posted about this. We have recently struck up a friendship with a couple we've known casually for a number of years. We all get along well, but the other husband and I really hit it off. We often talk on the phone and email multiple times a day. I agree it can be a "slippery slope" as they say. It definitely IS different. I am always aware of how friendly I'm being. Don't want him to get the wrong idea, although I'm sure neither of us have anything other than good intentions. Still....

Jordan said...

You are right, sadly. The only time I felt okay was when it was a couple we'd known for many, many years before any of us had kids - then I was okay with the dad coming by with his daughter for an afternoon to play with my son and me. But even that we didn't do often at all...

GoteeMan said...

Yepper - I make a habit of NEVER being closer EVER to a woman than I am to her HUSBAND... Seen too many cases of really freaky shit coming out of stuff like that... I mean, what K is describing might work well to setup SWINGERS, but I don't think it really a good idea for a "normal" playdate type parent-kids friendship thingy...

J/

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Hmmmm. . .I agree partially but not completely. We have friends in the neighborhood--he stays home, she works. I see the father about once a week since our girls are all friends (he has two, as do I). We talk a bit during drop-off/ pick-up, and I've been swimming at their house with the kids when the wife is working. Once I left their house in my bathing suit and forgot my underwear in their bathroom---that would've looked iffy except they were my HUGE pregnancy undies.

Now, keep in mind, our meetings are always with the kids around. When he wants to do something on the weekend, he calls my husband. Or, we go over there as a couple. I would think it is REALLY weird for the two of us to go to lunch alone, or to get (really?) pedicures.

But, I also have guy friends that I've known for years that I'd hang out with alone. But, they passed a platonic test years ago.

yummysushipajamas said...

Disclaimer: It has long since been established by family, friends, coworkers, and complete strangers that my marriage is alien and likely impossible. We have been deemed the couple like no other... we actually like one another, genuinely trust one another, and I am that girl who honestly has nothing bad to say when the girls get together to kvetch about their men.

And so, knowing that I speak from the Land of Impossible Marriage, I say there's zero harm in it, unless the wife is bothered, which she probably is.

Helpful, no?

Jennifer, Le Binky Bitch said...

Yeah, that would be a little weird.

yummysushipajamas said...

And, in my opinion, the rules totally don't apply in terms of Liza and other same sex couples. I think all possible tension rises from the possibility of sexual transgression, so I think same sex couples are clear on this one. Maybe their issues would be a mommy being friends with another mommy, but I doubt it...

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I think that it might be asking for trouble....even if you mean it to be innocent!

Men are so clueless!

Dory said...

VERY Good Call. You are absolutely right. You do not want to even go there.

jakelliesmom said...

I met a couple at Jake's new school (I was flying solo that night). We all hit it off, the mom and I coordinated a play date, and at the next school function, it was the dad alone and us together. My beloved felt that the other dad was far too familiar with me.

He's also weird about moms who give him multiple cheek kisses upon greeting and goodbye.

By and large, he's not interested in couples' socializing for all of these reasons.

the mama bird diaries said...

Yeah, kind of awkward. I tend to agree with you. Hard to make new male friendships after you are married.

I have guy friends (but these friendships were formed before I got married).

And if the crappy show, "Cashmere Mafia" is any indication... you would definitely be considered a husband stealer.

Oh give me some slack. The writer's strike. I'm desperate for new programming.

Omaha Mama said...

I have to agree with you. I feel odd if I have a friendly, even somewhat flirtatious conversation with a man. It's just how it is when you're married. Or how it should be, I think.

It's cool that K is secure and trusts you. It's cool that you respect him and don't want to ruin that. You two are cute.

Redneck Mommy said...

I disagree. Boo and I have opposite sex friends and neither of us have had a problem with it.

But if he (or myself) were ever uncomfortable in the SLIGHTEST, or got a bad vibe, then we would back off from said friendship.

Which we have done in the past. Because protecting our relationship is the most important thing, above all.

That said, it's a whole heck easier to be friends with the wife.

Jennifer said...

I think you're right, even if I don't like everything that implies. It's just...better, all the way around not to go there. Can you be friends with the dad? As in chat at school and such. Sure. Should you go the BFF route with him? Probably not. *sigh*

suchsimplepleasures said...

you're right, he's not right...that is JUST how it is!

liv said...

you're right. we've been through this! you must do it your way.

Don Mills Diva said...

Ack - thanks for reminding me how things have changed. Ten years ago I would have said whatever, go for it. But now, well, it might be weird. I still might go for it though...

Biddy said...

er...just remind him that the two of you kind of um yeah, became friends while married to other people and look how that turned out. and while we all know there's no way in heck you'd ever cheat on K, there's no gaurantee daycare dad's wife won't get the idea in her head that there is something more than friendship. been there, done that...still accused to this day!

jennifer h said...

Oh, it's all in The Handbook. Page 1, or maybe 2.

Mrs T beat me to my "Little Children" reference!

It's always good to cover the bases. Tricky stuff. But at the heart of it, it's just good manners.

Loralee Choate said...

It sucks, but it's true. Married woman really can't be close friends with straight men*.

Dammit.

*Hence why I cherish my fabulous gay friends. Cuddly, handsome as hell and 100% safe.

Plus, they are awesome to shop with. (Hey, cliche's exist for a reason!)

Mamma said...

Hmmm. I make a lot of male friends through work. That's the way it's always been for me. Husband has female friends. Is it okay because they're only through work??

Kelley said...

MPS was a stay at home dad for a while when the girls were little. He took them to playgroups and stuff. It was amazing the amount of women that hit on him because of it.

Like quite disgusting really.

I think, unfortunately, you have the right idea. There are some desperate women out there!

blue milk said...

I have a couple of male friends outside of my partner's circle of male friends and one of them is a father and it's a nice friendship, I recommend it. I think friendships with men are healthy as long as you know you're not looking for something else. Sometimes there is a teensy bit of flirting, but you know there kind of is some teensy bit of flirting with women friends too. Flirting can often just be a part of being impressed with your friend.

I'm tired, must go to bed, unable to write anything straight forward right now.

Theresa said...

You are so right.

One thing I'd like to point out is that K must be a very trustworthy husband because it wouldn't even occur to him that the potential relationship would be questionable...to that means that it never would cross his mind to have an inappropriate relationship. Just saying.

Mahala said...

The whole marriage thing seems awfully complicated to me..

Shannon said...

LMAO. Jeff and I have the same rules.

I wouldn't mind him being friends with another mom...as long as they kept the talking at daycare. Going out one on one for lunch and playdates at the park, etc. is a little too close for comfort. And he feels the same way about me and other dads.

But, for opposite sex friends that were established before we got together, they have more liberal rules. It's OK to have one on one meetings without the other spouse around.

Jamie said...

The rules totally change. Good for you for pointing that out...our men need a little help sometimes, don't they? :)

3carnations said...

I completely agree. Making friends with my son's parents has been a challenge. It's hard to find people we mesh well with. For a while we were hanging out with parents who were separated. We would get together with each of them and their son individually. The mom remarried, which you would think would make it a better fit...But it doesn't. We don't hang out with either of them anymore.

WILLIAM said...

I think there are rules. I mean I guess. Becasue most moms that I meat at the playground grab their kids and run away from me....it must be becasue of the rules. Must be.

JamesMommy said...

I have a great guy-girlfriend who is totally straight and married. We used to work together. And now all four of us are friends but guy-girlfriend (yea, he doesn't like when I call him that so I do more)is still my primary friend. We no longer work in the same building but still get together for lunch, etc. far more often than we get the fam's together. He, actually, told me far more about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding than any of my female friends/relatives!!! With all of that, you are right in that it usually requires F:F, M:M friendships for it to be a family or couple thing.

Shelly said...

From the other side of the coin:
My husband is a SAHD and we've had a really hard time scheduling playdates and finding friends for our daughter because people drop us because they don't want to hang out with a dad. So your attitudes can have very hurtful consequences for the children involved.

Michelle O'Neil said...

It's so sad, because we're denied the gifts of half the population if we cut off "all men" other than our husbands.

I do get the implications though.

No good answers.

crabapple said...

Show K the movie " Little Children"--he'll get it .

FishyGirl said...

Really? That's how it's supposed to work? Ooops. I guess I may have been making other women uncomfortable because of my friendship with their husbands. But what about SAHDs?

I have several friends who won't schedule playdates with children of SAHD's BECAUSE it's a SAHD and I feel really sorry for those kids AND the dads. I think most SAHParents, if they are honest with themselves, will admit that one of the harder parts of the job is the social isolation, and it's ten times worse for SAHDs. I have scheduled playdates for my kids with the kids of SAHDs and it's really no big deal - we go to the playground or to a restaurant with a playplace and it's fine. It really isn't that big a deal, and I do know several other women who have the same sort of relationship I do with some SAHDs. I suppose I WOULD feel uncomfortable if there was a suggestion that we go somewhere alone together, or not in public, but that's never happened. And I don't know that I'd be uncomfortable if a wife ever scheduled something with DH - I trust him.

All that said, maybe I'm just more comfortable with it because I have a Manny? Who I've known just a skosh longer than I've known my husband, who actually introduced DH and I? And who I love like a brother, but not THAT way? Maybe that's it.

nutmeg said...

Is he cute?

Shannon said...

Having playdates with SAHD's are one thing, but to treat them as a friend the same way you would a female friend (going out to lunch, having "mom's" night out, etc.) is a whole other ballgame.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

Good move on your part.

Best to avoid anything inappropriate or awkward.

Blessings.

Tracey said...

Hit the nail on the head. Score: You:1 and Hubby:0

Wabi said...

In my childless twenties, I would have scoffed at the idea that women couldn't make "primary" friendships with men under these circumstances.

But now I'm 36 and agree that at least in the early child-rearing years, things get rigidly traditional with arranging play dates and outings. It's usually mommy-to-mommy, or daddy-to-daddy arrangements. Mixing that up is really unusual unless you have a pre-kid relationship with the person in question.

Is it annoying and silly? Sometimes. OTOH, even the best of marriages tends to be on autopilot during the little-kid years. Keeping friendships mostly same-gender at that stage does insulate you from certain potential problems you really don't have time to deal with!

Shannon said...

Nope, you're right. Definitely boys with the boys, girls with the girls. My husband and I have had these same conversations though...

mamatulip said...

Yeah, it's best to play it safe. It just is.

Jen M. said...

Men and women can't be friends without the spouse buffers. THEY JUST CAN'T.

You ever want to hear a horror story involving a mommy and a daddy (one of which was a dear friend of mine) in a situation like the one you describe - you just email me.

Your husband usually seems like a great man - but I'm thinking he needs to re-read the Manual on Men and Women.

Wendy said...

This is true. I have had 2 lunch meetings with a male who is the husband to my friend of 17 years. We have never met up by ourselves until they had a child and he found himself home with her on Fridays. Don't think my husband hasn't gotten around to making some snide remarks. Until I told him to go have sushi with my friend, who is his lawyer. Hell, you can even write it off as a business meeting. (The key point here is that I hate sushi and my friend loves it.)

I am not worried, because I would go crazy with my friend's husband and my friend would go crazy with my husband. It just wouldn't work.

It doesn't help that servers think that we are married, because of the rings and the 2 kids at the table. Also, I would like to know who the hell thinks I want to bring my kids to an affair. That is just sick!

Janet said...

You're right. That can only lead to very bad things.

TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre said...

I'm with ya, girl.

The last time I befriended the dad, well, let's just say that it didn't turn out well.

Recovering alcoholics don't hang out in bars, and I make a point to NOT spend time alone with men I have much in common with, except for the Mr. Cuz I'd like to KEEP him the Mr. for as long as possible. That is, until he realizes what a freak I am and high-tails it for the hills.

Although he does like my new piercing...

Angella said...

My husband and I are in FULL AGREEMENT on this issue!

As is our circle of friends.

I had one friend who was the bread-winner while her husband took care of the kids.

His "play dates" led to an affair...and divorce.

Why play with fire?

Lisa said...

You are right. And it is strange how all of that changes when one gets married -- especially once kids enter the picture.

bfmomma said...

This was why staying home was so much tougher for DH--none of the SAHM's would talk to him... :(

Heather said...

Just watch when Harry met Sally one night and that whole scene about how men and women can't be friends.

Ponygirl said...

I think there can be a friendship with a dad provided there is an equally strong or stronger friendship between the moms or the dads. I think it's when the familiarity is overly weighted on the opposite-sex-friendship that you start getting into danger territory. Having said that, I am not a parent with those new kinds of social situations to navigate (yet).

It's a rule for me not to spend time 1:1 with men who have ever shown interest in me (or whom I've thought about that way. I wouldn't want to give my dear M a reason to worry, and I wouldn't want to give another man any reason to think I'm interested in him. Given that you and K have been through something that started out one way and ended up in a whole other ballpark, I'm surprised K is not more sensitive to the dangers. Can I say that?

motherbumper said...

I guess but SB has female friends and I have male friends and this has never caused an issue. I also hang with a Daddy in the neighbourhood. I must add that his wife called me after we started hanging out thanking me for including him on playdates BECAUSE the other moms were leaving him out. We go to the park with our little ones and trust me, there is no issue with me, SB, him or his wife. I don't think I thought about it until this post. I guess it is different. Makes me kind of sad.

PixelPi said...

There's an award for you over at my site, because I love your Mayor and Rooster adventures!

moosh in indy. said...

Yeah, sorry.
Too late afternoon Soap Opera.
Or a the beginning of a very inappropriate "Dear Penthouse" letter...

kevin said...

This is a touchy one as is evidenced by an overwhelming 102 comments (it seems like I'm always the 103rd wheel.) To sum it up neatly, you're right about who can make friends with wom once marriage enters the picture. Unless of course he's a park ranger and she's an oil wrestling cheerleader, in which case I say go ahead and take the initiative.

On that note, I thought of you recently when I was having brunch with my in-laws at the Amicalola State Park lodge. There was a park ranger at the buffet who had dark hair, brown uniform, gun on hip even. Damn, she was hot!

Jodi said...

You can be friends with the dad, but only if you have a long-standing friendship with the mom first. The kind of friendship where you can fart in front of her and she laughs and calls you a pig rather than trying to pretend that she doesn't smell it.

But even then, it is a tightrope walk. The husband can never be the primary friend.

Unless, of course, they are both men: a same sex couple. Then I think you're on solid ground. But K. might be in trouble.

BOSSY said...

Sorry, did Bossy trail off to sleep and wake up teleported back to 1954?

dlyn said...

Lots of guy friends before marriage - most still friends after. New guy friends after marriage = too weird, even tho my husband would not care. Sometimes I feel like trying to form "couple" relationships is a lot like arranging play dates for kids. A lot of work and they might hate each other's guts.

Little Monkies said...

OMG, I so have this problem, but made worse that the guy is 1) divorced 2) really hot.

So *I* have the rule that we have to be friends with couples...I don't trust women and have been in really ugly situations where the "friend" makes a play. SO I just don't do it/allow it as part of our marriage thing.

But now I have a professional friend who is awesome, totally a great guy on a personal level (totally into his kids, smart, funny like my husband) and would be a great friend to my husband (and to me).

So I have tried to create some "dates" for them but it hasn't taken. I don't think my husband really hangs with the guy friends. It's too bad, because I would love to hang out with this guy too.

So crazy.

Jenifer said...

Good grief the comments...you struck a nerve there J!

I totally agree with your logic...it is a slippery slope indeed.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

All these rules sound very complicated. Will someone explain?

Moobs said...

I'm with K. One of the great joys of being married is making friends with wives of friends. My married status somehow lowers my "threat rating". Rather than being "dull man with dandruff who must be avoided" I become "husband of the lovely P".

Andrea said...

I seriously do not get this. If I am with someone, then I trust them implicitly. If I can't trust them implicitly, then it does not matter who they want to spend their free time with, our relationship is on life support. If someone does not trust me implicitly or wants to control who I can and can't be friends with, I don't want to be with them. I am not at all interested in eliminating half of the human race from the friendship pool because they have a penis. That sounds ... so ... awful!

(Over from Julie's, by the way.)

Speaking from personal experience, it's not the girls your husband gets together with for lunch or drinks you have to worry about. It's the ones you don't know about that are the potential problem. And even then, it's not them--it's him.

Just two weeks ago I went out to dinner with a good male friend who happens to be living with a girlfriend of mine, from highschool. We had a fabulous time. He used to be in love with me, too, it's not like there was never any history there. But now? Great friends, that's all.

Crunchy Carpets said...

LOL..I keep thinking of the movie..Little Children.

I would like to be friends with dads..but for some bizarre reason I do worry about 'what others might think...especially the wives

Kimmylyn said...

It is true. And I hate that it is true. It reminds me of Little children.. Not sure if you saw the movie..

But it does suck that you can't just be friends with the dad because of society bullshit.

Melanie said...

its so sad... I get along much better with men than with women. And yea. its a stigma we parents have to deal with. Me being a single mom, even more difficult.

the lost_poet said...

I seriously see no logical reason why two adults of opposite sexes cannot be just friends after they are committed/or married.

If both want to be friends they will be, plain and simple. If both are unhappy with their married/committed lives, it will give sometime or another.

If one is showing signs of something more developing the other has only one option - breakaway!

Whether from the friend or the married/committed partner it is up to the person concerned.

If one doesn't have enough confidence in one's one level of commitment to another, one shouldn't really make up rules. Also if one's partner is not as understanding that is another problem. It doesn't mean healthy friendships will become a forbidden fruit for married/committed people.

Trust and confidence are key words here - not that is the way it is mean to be.

You can go ahead and mark me a troll but that is how i feel. It is plain wrong to spread an idea such as this one.

Suki said...

One question. What are YOU looking for in this friendship? If it's just companionship and a nice chat, well and good. What's the harm in a nice chat over coffee if you both like the topics?

I seriously don't see why marriage should change how you look at friendships. Making rules like that just narrows down things and creates more divides and more hate and way more frustration. You can't, just can't force someone(including yourself) to do what they don't want to!

My reaction to the whole series of posts here

Mommahbear. said...

You are correct; you can't. Not really. Not without repercussions and consequence and trickling doubt or whimsy or wonder or wanderlust. Not really. Not ever. Not without resentment or regret. But, it's done all the time. lol!

lisawho? said...

i think you have to consider the following:

How hot is daycare dad?
Does he have a hairy back?
Are his hands large or freakishly small?

After those considerations are carefully examined you still cannot be his friend. Seriously, your husband sounds so cool though. It was a nice thought.