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The Dreaded Double Date (1 Viewer)

StephenP2003

Senior Member
There's nothing that can bring conflict to a happy couple more than another couple. People love to compare their relationships to other ones, but they often make the mistake of desiring more from their significant others, even if they’ve been happy all this time. The double date is prime time for each couple to put on a performance for the other, and that’s when things can go sour for someone or everyone. The other guy might pull out his girlfriend’s chair at dinner and open the car door for her. She might allow him to smoke cigars in the house and stay out all night without calling. He sent her flowers before the date and sang her a love song, and she plans to cook him a huge dinner tomorrow.

Not that either of them would say those things to the other couple outright during the double date, but they might try to work it in somehow. And believe me; the other couple is taking notes – material for tomorrow’s discussion that will probably escalate into a fight. If the couple has learned how to compromise, the conflict might end well, where both parties have agreed to try to be more like their friends. But why?

Relationship experts will probably agree across the board that a couple who tries to mirror other couples will ultimately end up unhappy, as such an act is a sign of deeper problems in the relationship. That could be true, but it could also signify a lack of experience – a “we don’t know how to act, so let’s see what Jack and Betty do” kind of approach. In any case, let’s agree that mimicking the relationship habits of others is not advisable in most cases.

A double date is a social gathering, a public appearance so to speak, but it can sometimes turn into a subtle competition. New couples love to show off in public; it’s the most common form of reinforcing the attraction and showing everyone else that they are, indeed, in a relationship. New couples are just so darned happy. Sometimes that doesn’t transfer well to the established couple across the table. However, it can also go either way – an established couple who lives together, does everything as a team, and knows each other inside and out might cause jealousy in the new couple who wants to fit in like a 16-year-old girl at a college party.

I have received quite a few letters on this subject, most of them complaining about boyfriends and girlfriends who don’t measure up to what seems to be society’s standards. Some of the people who wrote in actually admitted to being happy – “until that double date last week.” What the hell happened on that double date to suck out all the happiness?

Well, one woman – we’ll call her Kelly – wrote that the other guy respected his girlfriend’s views about alcohol; in other words, he gave up drinking for her. But it had been months since Kelly had a long talk with her boyfriend, “Ben,” about drinking. Kelly was against alcohol for religious reasons, while Ben was raised to drink responsibly. Ben, being the good guy he is, tried to quit drinking for her, but he didn’t want to give up a social activity based on someone else’s beliefs, especially since he was never irresponsible with alcohol.

They reached a compromise; Ben could drink whenever he wanted, but he could not get drunk in front of her and he most certainly could not drunk-dial her. It’s a fine compromise that Ben seemed to have no problem respecting. But Kelly now questions the compromise. Why should she have to “lower” her “standards” when other men seem to respect the ideals of their girlfriends?

There are several problems with this logic. First, there’s no guarantee that the other girl’s boyfriend will continue to not drink – or even that he’s telling the truth. Then there’s the issue of how this other guy feels about alcohol. If he never saw drinking as necessary for any occasion, while Ben might enjoy the taste of top-shelf spirits and rare beers (possible, but perhaps a bit of a stretch), it’s impossible to compare the two boyfriends. Kelly disapproves of alcohol based on her religion, but what about the other girl? She could have a family of alcoholics with whom she is forced to socialize during the holidays – half a dozen drunk, obnoxious family members who have abused and emotionally scarred her since childhood. Hell, maybe the smell of booze makes her violently ill.

Just so it doesn’t sound like I’m accusing women of being the sole culprits, here’s another example: I received a letter from a guy who felt he was getting “shafted” by compromising with his girlfriend. Months before that dreaded double date that ruined it all, “Gary” moved in with his girlfriend “Sarah.” When deciding on chore responsibilities, they agreed to the “I cook, you clean” policy. But on that double date of doom, Gary learned that the other couple had a “she cooks, she cleans” policy, while the boyfriend’s job was to do any outside or mechanical work that needed to be done – a traditional household indeed. Gary didn’t see why he had to be in the kitchen at all, since other couples apparently didn’t have a problem with the traditional approach. Again, faulty logic. Upon further questioning, I learned that Gary and his girlfriend live in a one-bedroom apartment. What, pray tell, would be Gary’s share of the chores in this “traditional” household?

Like a snowflake, no couple is exactly the same. Kelly and Ben have their own standards, beliefs, and agreements. They are a couple like Sarah and Gary, who also have their own traditions, and creating a uniform standard by which both of those couples should live would be absurd. So, why should they adhere to the standards of any other couple? If that concept seems even remotely plausible, why stop at that? Maybe everyone should get married exactly two years after the relationship starts and move in six months prior to that. We should all have two children, one dog, and one hamster. The man should work full-time and mow the lawn once a week, while the woman raises the children – and cooks and cleans and feeds the pets and does the laundry. The man should drink Scotch in his study every evening, and the woman is allowed one glass of wine per day. They should agree to have sex at least once a week, and the man should convert to whatever religion his wife is.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Double dates are going to happen to most couples sooner or later, so we might as well make the best of them. Take the opportunity to observe, enjoy, and appreciate your relationship. The other couple will silently judge you, as you will silently judge them. If it makes you uncomfortable to know this, there’s probably something you need to address in your relationship. This can only be addressed to your significant other, as you two are the only people who can decide how happy you are. Internal happiness trumps performance. That couple squeezed together on one side of the table could be better or worse than the other. It could be older or newer, strained or comfortable, sexual or emotional, serious or fickle, abusive or romantic. Et cetera. Et cetera. Stop caring, stop comparing.
 
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Intel

Senior Member
Haha. I loved it! And its so true, no two couples are the same, so why compare? Some people are always looking for ways to improve their relationship based on other people, but if your already happy why try to improve it? It'll only make things worse.
 

StephenP2003

Senior Member
Yeah, I work as an advice columnist for a college-targeted magazine, and I was inspired to write this tonight (er, this morning) after receiving three more letters about couples fighting over what other couples do. I think it's one of the most common questions I get, second only to "how do you know if a guy likes you?"
 

Intel

Senior Member
Can you post something about how you'll know if a girl likes you, and how to get her on a date(yeah, i'm a loser)? :pharoh:
 

JohnN

Senior Member
I liked it, nice work StephenP2003. I find that couples tend to have an image of the perfect couple. When they try and recreate that things go wrong. When they see the perfect couple in others and try to mimic that a break down is likely to occur. people should be themselves.
 

StephenP2003

Senior Member
For Intel:

This is a general article I wrote a while back, so it might not completely satisfy your question. Still, you might learn something from it.

"Dear Stephen, how do you know if a [guy/girl] likes you?”

Oh God, not another one. I can’t answer this question anymore. I believe if every good advice columnist had it his or her way, this question would be stricken from the pages forever. In fact, the phrase “how do you know” might even be banned from existence if left up to me. The truth is, we shouldn’t even ask someone else how to “know” whether someone is interested in us. There are no real accurate signs, but a few relationship advicists have tried to make some up. Most advice given by radio personalities, talk show hosts, and columnists usually falls on filtered ears, so it’s become easier to tell others what they want to hear. Thus, such advice has evolved into generic, frivolous garbage that slips right by that filter and makes the reader or the caller smile and say, “Thanks, that’s what I thought.”

From a generic advice-giver, some of the so-called signs that a person is interested include dilated pupils, excessive eye contact and touching, nervousness, smiling, teasing from friends, overly nice gestures, and I swear someone even told a reader to ask her spirit guide for the right signs. I’m not going to say these are wrong, but they are hardly helpful. It’s like asking someone how to tell if a guy is about to rob the quickie mart. I can imagine the answer would go something like this:

Dear Cashier Without a Clue,

There are many signs to tell whether that mysterious cloaked man is going to rob you. What you need to do, my dear, is open your eyes as wide as your heart before you have to open that cash register! Teehee, I just scared six of my cats by laughing out loud at my fabulous tongue-in-cheek antics. I’m certainly glad I don’t have a husband, or he would’ve thought I was cur-razy!

Now, if you want to really know what Mr. Wrong is about to do in your store, look for these signs:

1) Is he wearing a black ski-mask? This is a red flag. Get out of there and back home to your kitty cats and chocolate cake!
2) Does he show no emotion whatsoever? This might be just because he’s a man, but it’s suspicious nonetheless!
3) Do you see the outline of a gun anywhere on his clothing? He could use a gun to threaten you or even shoot you!

I hope this helps. Now go out there and be a hero!

This elaborate example attempts to illustrate how vague such “how can you tell?” advice really is. I would hope most cashiers know the obvious signs of a suspicious-looking customer, but what about the average Joe in jeans and sneakers who pulls out a gun from his windbreaker? Nothing can prepare you for that. It’s a shame the clueless cashier didn’t ask what to do if she’s being robbed.

I’ll admit that part of my reason for refusing to answer the “how can you tell?” question is fear. It scares me, not only because all people are different and body language and actions vary among each of us, but also because people aren’t always truthful. By that, I mean a person might show all the “right signs,” but he’s really just screwing with your head for the sake of enjoyment. Both men and women are guilty of it.

Give me a few signs and I’ll try to interpret them for you, but you have to use your own intuition. If you tell me something basic like, “He really seems to show interest in my life,” I’ll tell you it’s nice. But I won’t tell you he likes you.

You can tell me he made dinner and delivered it to you when you were sick, and I still can’t tell you he likes you. I can speculate he wants something from you, but it’s not necessarily a relationship or even a date. Hell, he might even want to gain your trust so he can kill you in your sleep. That’s kind of where your intuition comes in. Decide what you think he wants from you, and leave the love doctors out of it.

When a friend of mine entered the singles world after ending a three-year relationship, she brought up the issue of how impersonal the world had become since she last dated other men. Her dates were mostly communicating with her via text message and e-mail instead of a simple phone call. What happened to common courtesy, she wondered. But more important was her follow-up question: Does it mean they aren’t interested?

Well, it could mean that – but again, it’s not safe to make the assumption. I told her that if a guy texts you more often than he calls you, he might not be a keeper. What I didn’t say, however, was whether or not he was interested in her. My friend, through her frustration with texting, had made it clear she valued a man who would take the time to call her. Either this guy really wasn’t interested, or he was just a fan of texting over dialing. Neither of these possibilities was in my friend’s best interest. And I know what you’re thinking: Why not at least give the guy a chance? Answer: Because everyone is entitled to standards. Besides, you’ve never been a picky dater?

No one can, or should, tell you how to figure out who’s interested in you. We’re all different. If a man left you a love poem on your front door in the middle of the night, one person might tell you he’s a sweet romantic who’s madly in love with you, while someone else could tell you he might be mentally disturbed and have a distorted view of his connection with you. Are you going to choose between these two opinions? If you asked me about the guy in question, I wouldn’t tell you his intentions, but rather ask you if his gesture was in your comfort zone. If it freaked you out, that’s probably not a good start. Only you can decide that.

So communicate! Not with me, and not with some other advice columnist who will give you a more satisfying answer – communicate with him. Do you think he’s interested in you?

“That’s the problem; I don’t know,” you say.

Fair enough, but are you interested in him? If so, do something about it for God’s sake.
 

Intel

Senior Member
This makes me a little sad, but its wise. I'm sad because I can't get all the answers to love in a relationship column. I've got to do it myself. But its also enlightening, and self-empowering. I won't make the mistake of letting anyone else control my love affair but me and that other person.

...Now all I need is a date! :D
 

SevenWritez

Senior Member
Dear Stephen

I have just turned thirteen and have noticed some changes. When I woke up this morning it felt like something large had occupied the space dwelling inside my pants. When I looked down to investigate I noticed a horrid beast seven inches in size, hard and bulging and looking as if it were about to bust. Naturally I cowered from this disturbing tumor, and walked the rest of the day scarred from both shame and embarassment. It's been a frequent reoccurence. Every night I go to sleep. Every morning I wake up and there it is. I'm at a loss here, Stephen, I need to know what's happening to my body, and if I should go seek medical help. Thanks!

-annonymous
 

StephenP2003

Senior Member
Dear "annonymous,"

The first thing you should do is calm down. What's happening to you is normal. All young boys go through a stage where they exaggerate the size of their penis due to the misconception that there really are worthwhile women who consider it a factor in deciding who's fit for entering a relationship with them.

At 13 years old, there's no doubt that your penis is hard, and it will probably remain hard with the occasional resting period until you turn 18 or 19, at which point your penis, when erect, may or not shrink to its actual size. You can rest assured that your penis will start obeying your orders for at least the next 10 or 20 years. It's only after this point that medical attention may be required.

Good luck!
 

Newyorkknicks07

Senior Member
I, personnally like double-dating. I have never found myself comparing me and my girl to another couple and i find that the conversation flows much easier.
 

Just Me

Senior Member
You can tell me he made dinner and delivered it to you when you were sick, and I still can’t tell you he likes you. I can speculate he wants something from you, but it’s not necessarily a relationship or even a date. Hell, he might even want to gain your trust so he can kill you in your sleep. That’s kind of where your intuition comes in. Decide what you think he wants from you, and leave the love doctors out of it.
Oh no! My secret evil methods have been exposed to the world!

Seriously, though, this is the second of your articles on dating that I've read and you seem to know your stuff! What's more is that you manage to hold the reader's attention through the end of the article, even my shorter-than-a-squirrel's attention span. Nice work!
 
S

sandy_scooter

no i got it too gabriel, most 13 year old boys know the workings of the male body and may i add the female one, inside out lol
 
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