When Three’s A Crowd

The Star (St. Lucia) - - THE LIGHT SIDE -

Ifound my­self won­der­ing over the week­end about pos­si­ble rules that gov­ern in­ter­ac­tions in third-wheel sit­u­a­tions. You know, those times when you, seem­ingly the only sin­gle in your group of friends, find your­self dragged out by them ei­ther be­cause they’re try­ing to hook you up with some ran­dom dude at the bar who’s a sound en­gi­neer and “such a nice guy”; or you were straight up bored out of your mind of your own com­pany and there­fore de­cided to ven­ture out of the house.

I mean, se­ri­ously. Two com­pletely iso­lated in­ci­dents over the week­end forced me to re­flect on the times I’d been swoon­ing in the hon­ey­moon stages of love. How had I han­dled it then? Had I cut friends off, or tried to main­tain my most cher­ished friend­ships, in­cor­po­rat­ing into my new re­la­tion­ship the ones that were most true?

But it wasn’t even about in­tro­duc­tions, or find­ing a way to dish out ap­pro­pri­ate por­tions of love to my sig­nif­i­cant other vis-à-vis my friends. The real ques­tions I had were about the rules that guided the be­hav­iour of cou­ples in third wheel sce­nar­ios. I mean, I’ve al­ways felt most com­fort­able try­ing my best not to make oth­ers feel un­com­fort­able, or give them cause to feel ex­cluded. If we’re out to­gether, then we’re go­ing to act like it. I know that I for one would not want to spend an en­tire evening with a cou­ple that made out the whole night, as though I didn’t ex­ist. Why would any­one want to do that to some­one else?

In the midst of my con­tem­pla­tions I had to stop my­self and con­sider, maybe it wasn’t even that deep. Maybe peo­ple didn’t even re­ally think about things like that, but what I’d experienced just days ear­lier made me pause. I went out on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions with cou­ples, one mar­ried, the other newly shacked up. With­out re­ally try­ing to com­pare the in­ter­ac­tions, the dif­fer­ences were glar­ing. The freshly minted cou­ple couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and the en­tire time I felt as if I was in­vad­ing their pri­vacy! Don’t get me wrong, I com­pletely un­der­stand about the pas­sion that comes with a new re­la­tion­ship. But on the re­called oc­ca­sion I imag­ined my­self a Peep­ing Tom in a skirt.

Then I spent time with the cou­ple who’d been mar­ried for about two years. Per­haps that should say ev­ery­thing, but in re­al­ity it does not. They have a new baby, and they could have acted the same way in their pre­cious mo­ment of free­dom, but they didn’t. They couldn’t have been more ac­com­mo­dat­ing, en­gag­ing, con­sid­er­ate . . . fun. Much like the first cou­ple, we hadn’t seen each other in a while, but long be­fore I left they were ea­gerly an­tic­i­pat­ing and mak­ing plans for our next in­ter­ac­tion. Our con­nec­tion just felt right, and deep down I knew this was the way things were al­ways sup­posed to be with friends; mar­ried or not.

I sup­pose some may con­sider these all just the chron­i­cles of the sin­gle gal, but I am even more cer­tain that there should be some kind of guide­line to fol­low in en­coun­ters such as these. Trust me, I’ve experienced things from both sides of the fence; you ei­ther want to spend time in the pres­ence of an­other per­son that you value and you act like it, or you and your sig­nif­i­cant other take a long hon­ey­moon some­where far, far away and hit up your long lost friends when you’re good and ready!

Two’s com­pany. Three? De­pends on who you’re with!

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