Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Single girlfriend wants to “borrow” your hubby for the night? Has romance left the room?

DEAR NATALIE: At a recent gala, one of my single “friends” approached my husband while I was in the ladies’ room and asked him “why a good looking guy like him was sitting all alone?” She later asked him if she could “borrow” him for an evening out. She recently became single and is clearly on the prowl. It’s not like she doesn’t know that we’ve been happily married for decades. Subsequently, I told her that this was unacceptable, that I would appreciate it if she would keep her distance, and that she was not welcome to borrow him for any reason. She blew it off as a poor attempt at humor, but there is nothing funny about asking my husband to go out with her at night. Your thoughts? -- NOT FUNNY

DEAR NOT FUNNY: It wouldn’t be funny if someone asked to “borrow” my husband for the night. I feel sorry for this woman. She sounds really lonely and desperate. It’s sad that she feels as though her friendships are less valuable than having a man on her arm, but the truth is, not everyone can handle being alone. You definitely did the right thing in calling her out. Your marriage has lasted for decades because you care about it and are willing to defend it and I applaud you for that. I just hope she can keep her hands to herself and recognize that dating a married man will not bring her happiness. She needs to find that within herself first before she can sustain any healthy or positive relationships in her life, romantic or otherwise.

DEAR NATALIE: My husband and I have been married a little over a year, and it seems as though the romance has left the room. He used to wine and dine me when we were dating, open the car door for me, leave me little love notes hidden in my suit jacket before work … now he doesn’t do anything like that anymore. He made a joke, saying, “What’s the point?” Ummm, the point is I feel neglected and unloved. He has totally changed, and I’m not happy about it. How do I get the romance back in our marriage? — UNLOVED HUBBY

DEAR UNLOVED HUBBY: How would he like it if you changed things about yourself that he fell in love with? My guess is, he wouldn’t. It isn’t a lot to ask of someone to hold the door open or treat you to dinner once in a while or slip a love note in your pocket. These little niceties are what keep relationships exciting and alive. If those are the things that you need from him, make it very clear that you are not happy with the trajectory of the relationship. To get back on track, try romancing him for a change. Maybe part of his reasoning for dropping the ball is because he feels it is a one-way street. Pick up his favorite take-out from a restaurant he likes when he’s working late or leave a little note in his jacket before work. Do something that is sweet and that will surprise him. It’s all the little things in life that make the biggest difference, so perhaps he just needs to be reminded of how good it feels to be in love.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Crunched for time? Plan networking events in advance so that you are building them into your schedule and not trying to figure out last minute how to make it work. When you plan, it’s easier to stay committed to the process.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)