Dating as a Duo

I think in one way or another, we all live vicariously through our closest friends and in my case, many of these people are single.  I eagerly ask about recent trips, new business ventures and new love while my friends enjoy my stories about motherhood and married life.  We are all in such different places so it's nice to be able to share and hear about the greener grass on the other side.  In a room full of some of my dearest girlfriends, I am often the only one that is married with a child.  I met my husband when I was 25 and am grateful that I met him before Tinder or any other dating phone apps because though I enjoy the stories from my single friends, everything just seems so complicated.  I wonder what is feels like to know every move of your potential date, to see their status constantly updated and to count their likes or judge their selfies.

I will admit, that even after hearing modern dating horror stories, I still encourage my friends to get on dating websites.  This is partially selfish as I am hoping for all of my girlfriends to meet someone cool so that we have more friend couples.  Besides, after couple's dating for the past seven years, I believe that dating in a duo scenario is just as complicated as the single life and offers it's own pain.

Let me explain.  When you are dating as a single person, there are only two people you have to worry about.  There is one connection, two phones, two social media personas, two homes, two senses of style, two set of dietary restrictions, two.  There are two people establishing a relationship and two people who break up.  That's it, just two.  I know, I have been living in couples land for almost seven years so have probably forgotten about most things single, I am not trying to discredit breakups.  I have had some really painful parting of ways and I imagine with social media, it is far worse.  On some level breakups are less complicated because there are less people involved.  You could make the argument that more weight is on a relationship between two people, so it's more painful to lose that significant other.  I am simply making the point, that the more people that are involved, the more complex the breaks up can be.

Let's think about dating as a duo.  There are four people involved so now there are four different relationships that have to be established which means the chances of finding this match are lower.  This doesn't mean that you have to be in love with either member of the couple the way you would a partner but it is twice as many dynamics to manage.  On some level, you have to like both parts of a friend couple because there is nothing worse than sitting at a table where your significant other sits across from his close friend and you are literally your partner's wing man.  This is horrible, I have been there and I recommend cutting it short before the relationship gets any further.  Now think about having the perfect friend couple.  You all love each other, you like the same food, you like the same music, you enjoy the same activities.  It seems like two matches made in friendship heaven.  Then suddenly BOOM, they break up.  Your perfect couple friends are no more, you are all broken.  You can try to maintain a relationship with one side of the couple but if you got close as a foursome, unless you can redefine your relationship with that person, it's over.  You have now lost two friends and your weekend hang out buddies because after a certain point, everything is done with other couples.  Your single friends want to meet people are bars while the relationship folks want dinner parties.  It's a natural progression that happens without any warning.  Don't fight it, embrace it.

If you do manage to maintain a friendship with one part of the couple, what happens when that person starts dating again?  It's like trying to rebuild a new relationship except a piece from the old relationship still exists.  It's confusing.  It's like painting a wall without using primer, you can still see the old color.  I am such a creature of habit and get really comfy with familiarity.  For example, when Brenda and Dylan broke up on BH 90210, I was super devastated.  They were so great together and I just couldn't understand why they would part.  So, even though though the new partner of your friend might be amazing and you might really connect, it's just not the same.  Or worse, what is the new person sucks and you don't dig them but you still really love your friend, you can't be honest about how you feel.  You can't tell them that you just aren't that into their new partner because they will get really defensive and break up with you anyway.  So you can either lie and risk spending time with someone that you don't vibe with or you can tell the truth and get friend dumped.  It's bad any way you slice it.  Seriously, if any more of our friend couples break up, I am not sure Bryan or I could handle it.

Let's take this one step further and talk about family dating.  This involves all of the couple situations with the added dynamic of children.  Look at the diagram below and see all of the relationships that have to work for successful family hang outs.  It looks like a bloody mess.  Not only do you have to like the couple, now you have to like their kid and your kid has to like their kid.  Your chances of finding a perfect friend family lowers each time you add a new person.   WMaybe you really like the younger kid in the other family but their older kid bullies your child, then what?  Or maybe your kids play well together but you don't bond with the parents.  Now, age is suddenly relevant because babies don't play with teenagers.  It starts to get really complicated.  Bryan and I are lucky to have some great friend families and loads of blood family that are forced to love us.  This is something that I am appreciating more the older Wallace gets. 

While I feel bad for my friends who are forced to date in present times with social media and very public breakups, I believe that dating gets harder as you get older regardless of your relationship status.  Time is the riskiest investment and truly the only thing that you cannot get back so when you spend time with people, you are literally spending your most valuable commodity without any real guarantee that things will work out.  Make sure you are investing in people who love you and love your children.  Nurture the relationships that are healthy and work through the problems that can be fixed so that you can get a return on your precious time investments.