My name is Gloria, and I am an epic dater. An epic couple dater.
Now before you start getting any dodgy ideas (seriously, you’d have to know by now that dodgy is so not my M.O!) let me clarify.
When I say that I am an epic couple dater, it means two things:
- My social life, when I have a social life that is (long story and not worth lamenting too much here because chocolate and my shoe collection do compensate a little bit when empty weekend nights strike) consists of a notably high proportion of time spent with couples. As couples. By myself.
- The couples who I do socialize with, are, without exception, epic couples.
This might seem to some, to be their idea of So Not Fun. It might seem to some, to reek of being a third wheel.
But actually, that’s not my experience. At all. I love socializing with couples. It has a lot to do with the couples I spend time with of course. They appreciate me for me. Not for my relationship status.
As I write this, I can think of at least fifteen couples – yes that’s right, fifteen – across my two homes of New Zealand and Singapore, who I spend time with as a couple. By myself.
These couples seek out my company and they seem to enjoy spending time with me. They make time and space for me in their worlds, and I them. It doesn’t seem to bother or deter them in the least that I am at present choosing not to Front Up With A Man. Although I know they’d love it if I did, and they will love it when I do. Front Up With A Man, that is 🙂
And they never, ever, do or say anything that might reek of ‘third wheel’. And neither do I.
When we get together, we catch up on things that are happening in their lives – including things for them as a couple which I love and am genuinely interested in – and things that are happening in my life. You know, like, as in what friends normally do when they catch up.
And these couples are freaking epic for a bunch of reasons. Not the least of which is because they are, individually and together, seriously awesome people.
They care about the people in their lives regardless of someone’s relationship status, which I love. This, we have in common.
They care about and deeply respect one another…this is no mean feat as they live immersed in popular cultures that seem to trivialise and consumerise relationships, and reduce men to nothing more than a pay check and women to nothing more than a collection of physical attributes. They have seen something in one another that goes beyond the superficial, and they haven’t let the culture, or the superficial, or their own Stuff (and lets face it we all got Stuff), prevent them from fully seeing, and appreciating, and being with, the other person. That right there, that is something extremely special, methinks.
And they actively engage with the world in a way that doesn’t follow a couply, in-our-own-little-world just-you-and-me-babe stereotype. But they are absolutely together, they are absolutely committed to one another (even when they don’t like each other much sometimes) and they love one another as a strong couple all the same. It’s not like there’s no romance – there is no question that they are besotted with each other, and have eyes only for one another. It’s lovely – and it’s heartening – to behold.
But they are individuals too. And they give each other space, to be themselves, whilst still being together.
And they’re so freaking real. I love this about them. We share a common allergy to all things BS. Some of these couples are very open with me, about stuff. They trust me enough to talk to me about their stuff, as a couple. The stuff that they’ve found difficult in their relationship, the stuff that has scared the crap out of them about one another, the stuff that nearly ended them, the work they’ve had to do to stay present with one another when everything in them has screamed Run, Run, Fast, In The Opposite Direction – NOW.
I see, up close, what it has taken for them to be together. To stay together. And I can see that whilst it’s amazing, and it’s a gift, it isn’t always a doddle, this relationship commitment lark. The commitment bit especially. This is extremely helpful insight for me, given my very, very, very limited experience of such things.
From what I can tell, anything worth having in terms of a relationship will have its moments where you Just Want To End It Now. But these couples, they don’t. They stay. And they talk. And they fight. Not against one another, but for one another. For their relationship. They back each other, they back their relationship and they back themselves. It gets messy sometimes. They hurt each other quite badly sometimes, when their own hurt parts get in the way. But they keep reaching past that, to one another’s true selves. And work it out. And what could have driven them apart draws them closer. Mad respect. Seriously. Mad, mad respect.
For each of these couples, of course it was usually one of them who I was friends with first. The guy or the girl. And it was lovely that they wanted to introduce their partner to me once they knew they’d met Their One. This, to me, is an enormous privilege. And an honour. And without fail I always adore their beloved as much as I adore them. Of course their beloved would be awesome. Cos they are awesome!
Of course there are the friends who disappear after they become part of a couple. Either they completely disappear off the radar, or they ‘disappear’ by gently, and sometimes unwittingly, putting you into the ‘single friend’ box…that is the box where they will still spend time with you, but not with their partner – you’re more of an ‘insert’ into their daytime schedule now, the ‘single friend’ they keep in touch with off to the side, as opposed to an actual part of their day-to-day lives the way you were before. You certainly wouldn’t figure in any of their weekend plans anymore, where they now socialize with family or other couples. You get the feeling that if you were part of a couple, you might actually make their weekend socializing list once in a while.
In fairness though, there is a lot of adjustment and re-prioritisation and stuff that happens when couples form and commit, especially when babies are added into the mix. And not everyone wants to spend time with their partner’s friends!
That’s all pretty normal, and such changes After Coupling do not reduce the value I place on those relationships in any way. I still love them, and am genuinely grateful their friendship. It still means something to me.
One day, and soon, I will be Loved, and Loved Well. By That Man. Some days, I see the harsh reality of my history, my life, my circumstances, my fears…and I’ll admit it can overwhelm me, and I lose all hope of this. But I want to choose hope in the face of years of screeching hopelessness. That he exists. That Man. That Man, who will see me the way God sees me (warts, munted toes from 2.5 decades of teetering around in high heels, and all) and who will love me the way God loves me.
And whilst I will want to share that with all the friends who I love and who have loved me through thick and thin, no matter what their relationship status – when it comes to couples, the first couples who I will want to introduce to That Man…the first couples who I will want to spend time with, with That Man, when I am part of a couple…are the people who spent time with me as a couple, when I was by myself.
Because of course.
Love you guys. You rock. You know who you are x 🙂