This is the second half of an interview with my friend Elizabeth who happens to be dating a couple. Here’s the first half.
What are the challenges and benefits of dating these guys?
We date each other long-distance (3.5 hours) and because of busy schedules, that means about one weekend together a month—that’s it. But we’re very conscientious about communicating online and on the phone every day. I know a lot of people deal with long-distance relationships, but since I can only talk on the phone with one at a time, it requires a decent chunk of my day to keep up with both of them. But I feel very close to them, which is worth the time spent. It does add up, though!
Along these same lines, however—on days when one of them is having a tough time or there’s conflict (granted, they have a solid relationship and talk about everything—no one’s throwing vases or anything), I hear both two versions of what happened without being there to form my own impression, and have to try to get a sense for what went down. That gets tense…but fortunately, they don’t expect me to take sides or negotiate because I would feel super awkward in that position.
Dating two people may involve extra complications—three sets of feelings, more time and energy, more stuff to keep track of—but it also pays off double. I have two people telling me every day that they adore me, that I’m cute, that they’re grateful to have me in their lives. I have two sources of comfort and validation when I’m having a terrible day. They make me laugh twice as much, and I always know I’m being discussed affectionately by two people I’m crazy about.
Yay for women!
I don’t know if it’s because I’m dating a lesbian and the open-minded guy who worships her, but I will never be in a more pro-girl relationship in my life. I think women often feel pressure to downplay or defend their girly traits, like they’re silly or trivial. My gf and bf are each big fans of girlyness and are feminists like I am, which makes me feel more gratified about all my woman business than ever before!
How have people reacted when you told them about this?
I’ve told most of my good friends and my brother, and some have met my bf and gf—most everyone has been wildly supportive in a way characteristic of the wonderful people in my life. Here are a few responses/questions I seem to get a lot: “Soooooooo…pretty hot, huh?” Well, yeah, but not at all in a kinky 70s shag-carpeting, circular bed kinda way.
Men in particular (some, not all) seem to assume at first that this is primarily a sex thing. We have great chemistry, but there’s a huge emphasis on feelings. We are good friends before anything else. Also, my bf would be the first to say he’s a sensitive, non-macho type (I’m a big fan of this, as it turns out), so it’s absolutely not about serving some typical male fantasy of watching two chicks together, nor is it solely about my gf being able to express herself as a lesbian. Everything is mutual—as long as we’re always talking honestly, gender politics don’t seem to get in the way.
Alot of people can’t imagine sharing someone they love. How does this work for you guys?
Speaking of sharing —people seem curious as to how a woman could share her husband with another woman (again, it’s rare that anyone asks how a dude could share). All I can say is that it works for this couple because of her sexual orientation and his emotional makeup, to paraphrase the way they put it. Trust is vital—we’re very open. They’re both privy to anything I say or write to either of them, and nothing sexual happens unless everyone’s included. Sorry if that’s more information than you wanted, but it’s important!
What kind of future does this relationship have?
Fair question—if my significant others are married, where’s this going? Something I’ve noticed since I started dating this couple is the extent to which a traditional relationship is fraught with expectations—little markers signifying progress toward some sort of destination. It’s profound to be in a relationship where affection is given purely for its own sake; they’re not lonely or in need of a mate—they just like me! But the flipside of that is that I have a wonderful bf and gf but no prospect for partnership of my own, which is something I’ll want eventually. They understand this and tell me they’ll be happy for me when I decide to pursue that. For now, I’m content and enjoying myself.
What advice do you have for anyone else interested dating a couple?
Find the second-awesomest couple in the world and go from there? It’s such a unique scenario—but if you meet a couple with whom you want to spend your time, make sure they’re VERY caring, considerate, mature people who want to know you and not use you. Make sure it’s safe—otherwise, it won’t be fun. Be open about it with the people close to you—their perspective will be helpful, even if they can’t advise you from experience. Trust yourself, too—only you can say if it’s right for you. And never say never—believe me, no one who knows me would’ve figured I’d go for dating a couple. Happiness comes in unexpected forms sometimes, I guess!
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