Is Having a Back-Up Husband Prudent or Perilous?

When I read that a recent not-too-scientific survey found that 50% of women had a back-up husband in mind, I was incredulous and more than a bit surprised. My first thought was for the husbands, wondering if they had any notion that their replacement was apparently standing at the ready. I then pondered if the men-in-waiting knew they were a consolation prize or a safety net and how they might feel at being placed in that role. I then contemplated the women that were either unsure of their marriages or so afraid of the thought of being alone that they always made sure to have another man at the ready.

It seems risky to me to have this sort of mindset. If you have a back-up husband, there must be some energy going into the relationship with him to ensure that he stays close and available (and are there really this many men that are willing to be held in limbo for an uncertain amount of time???). It is almost like the existence of a back-up husband increases the need for a back-up husband. If that energy was put into the primary relationship, perhaps a Plan B would never be required.

Of course, sometimes no matter how much effort we exert, marriages end. And it’s scary to be alone. Daunting to face dating again. Risky to expose vulnerabilities in new relationships. Perhaps there is some prudence to having someone already selected for the role.

As someone who is generally risk averse and a planner by nature, my back-up plans usually have back-up plans. So purely as an intellectual exercise after reading this study, I surveyed the single men in my life to see if any could be candidates for a back-up husband.

And even though they are great guys, awesome friends and would make great partners for somebody, I am not that person. In fact, the mere thought made me feel kind of squicky.

Even though I know firsthand that marriages can end, I don’t want a back-up husband.

I’d rather invest 100% into the marriage and risk losing it all than to spread myself so thin that no relationship really has substance. I would rather count on my own strength to see me through than believe I need a man to support me. And I would rather nurture a supportive group of friends that can act as a safety net than quietly court a man-in-waiting.

Back-up husband? No thanks.

I’d rather have my husband’s back and take my chances.

Thank you for sharing!

5 thoughts on “Is Having a Back-Up Husband Prudent or Perilous?

  1. forest9patrol – North Dakota – Semi-retired writer and lover of nature and women. My gravatar is part of the cover of my memoirs, "Dying to Live" The Life & Times of Jimmy Nelson," my true account of growing up on a storybook farm, experiencing a killer tornado, surviving teenage confusion, an adventurous four-year ride on a submarine, a skydive, not maturing into your regular adult, discovering the world is not a bowl of cherries, a crash to the bottom, and, finally, accepting that the only person responsible for me, is me. But first I had to descend into the deep depths of the emotional chasm. In my fiction I do not try to create super-heroes, but rather bring alive common and regular people who try to find love, survive, and react to circumstances as best they can, and, usually, try to do the right thing. My books are more than one genre, from war to sex and violence to romance, humor, horror, fantasy, science fiction to adventure. I write in third-person with viewpoints by men, women, and children.
    forest9patrol says:

    You are an amazing woman, Stilllearning2b, Your articles shine, and after reading this one I have to wonder if any wife out there (or “any” woman, actually) has ever seen “me” in that light?
    I doubt it.
    And being alone? Sometimes I “do” “wish” but I’m far out in the country, and alone, and 99% of the time I’m fine.

  2. I was informed by wife following our wedding reception that I was a ‘safety’ for one of my close friends. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that, but thought it was kinda sweet.

  3. momfawn – Visalia, CA – I am a sixty-something baby-boomer -- daughter, mother, wife (twice), grandmother, aunt, Independent Consultant with Close To My Heart -- retired and celebrating a life thoroughly lived.
    momfawn says:

    Very wise, Lisa. – Fawn

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