The next person who dates me is pretty screwed. Not only do they need to impress my family, which consists of a former state police officer, heavily-involved-in-my-personal-life mother, protective older brother who lives across town and twin sister, but they need to impress my sister wife and husband as well. Confused? I’ll explain.
In normal relationships, it’s a requirement to impress the family, but it’s convenient to impress the friends. Not that a relationship can be successful if the person’s friends actively hate you, but you can politely keep your distance at social events and choose not to hang out one-on-one to maintain a semblance of acquaintanceship. While it’s absolutely not negotiable that my family approves of anyone I date, I’ve always managed to get by if a few of my friends weren’t enthusiastic about the person. However, after leaning on friends more than usual over the past crazy year, there are a few in particular that are no longer allowed to “accept” any relationship, but will have to “approve” before I’d consider even the possibility of getting serious with someone.
My lovely friend M and I have been friends since I moved to the city, but have known each other since college. To try and describe her as my “best friend” doesn’t do all the nights in the past few years where I ugly-cried on her couch as she fed me whiskey and her incredible homemade meals, justice. She knows more about me than I know about myself sometimes, and her presence in my life has made me a stronger and more responsible (well, mostly) person. Even better, she comes with another half. I’ve actually known N longer than I’ve known M, and have had more fun with him goading her on in the years we’ve all been in New York. It’s like a ritual, our friendship: M and I talking too quickly about too many things, N offering sage advice laced with innuendo, each of us riling the others up to the point of frustration and then collapsing on the ground in laughter, immature and carefree and wonderful.
We live within 11 blocks of each other, go to the same gym (frequently together) and have been known to experience separation anxiety after 4 days apart. I’ve never once felt like a third wheel when it’s just the three of us hanging out, largely because we’ve all grown together since college and beyond. I was there for them in their brief break up a million years ago, and their apartment was the first place I went after my break up, where N gave me something to numb the pain and let me cry on their couch until I couldn’t anymore.
After the break up, I practically moved into their apartment, helping M with the cleaning and laundry, and helping N with his work. What started as a joking apology (“Sorry I’m turning into your sister wife”) has come to identify our bizarre but wonderful relationship. Spending time with them has given me seriously high standards in terms of what I want and deserve in a relationship – someone you can share anything with, no matter how embarrassing, or scary, or very, very personal (Aside: sometimes too personal, guys. Anecdotes about bathroom habits, while definitely funny, should probably have a line somewhere. End aside).
I was afraid that my relationship with them would change once we couldn’t double date anymore, or that I’d lose myself in single life and neglect my friend because her boyfriend should and will always come first. And sure, there have been a few adjustments to us in the past few months, but it’s all been so, so positive. Someday, maybe I’ll find someone who fits into our crazy marriage, weird anecdotes and all. In the meantime, I’m content to spend time in our (fine, their) king-sized bed, whether it’s Monday television dates or weekend laundry day.
Happy birthday hubs – I’ll leave the presents to your other wife.