After being the third wheel for more than I like to admit sometimes, I can say there have been many valuable lessons I've learned and that I will implement into my own relationships.
My sister’s been dating a guy for the past two years and it seemed from the moment they started dating that their relationship was going to be quite formal to the point that he basically is around my house every day. Not only that, at the moment they started dating, I was studying abroad and even then I every time I had a video call with my sister he was already there. So when I actually met him in person, we already knew each other quite well and I became their official chaperone. If you take a look at my past profile pics on Facebook for the past two years, they are of the three of us. It’s like in that episode in How I Met Your Mother where Ted shows pictures of the past Halloween group costumes where Marshall and Lily are dressed as Lady and the Tramp and he’s the big bowl of spaghetti; them as Salt and Pepper while Ted is a big cumin shaker; or my favorite when they’re C3PO and R2D2 whilst Ted is dressed as “the robot Luke’s uncle almost bought from the Jawas.”
That’s basically me, their official third wheel they carry everywhere (almost literally), and although sometimes it can be really annoying and kind of depressing, I love hanging out with my sister, and more importantly, I have my situation as a source of learning about relationships and dating. Not that they are the perfect couple, but actually it’s precisely for that reason that I have learned so many things in the past two years. So, here are the dating lessons I’ve taken from this experience that will probably come in handy for you as well.
PDA isn't as cute as you’d think
Yeah, this had to be the first since it’s actually something that drives me crazy whenever I’m with them and the one I vowed not to do when dating. I mean, it’s nice to show you’re in love but there is a time and place for everything and doing it when you’re with someone else isn’t really the best moment to do so. Not only can people get uncomfortable (and by people I mean us the third-wheelers) but when this is exaggerated it doesn’t even look as cute as you might think. So, I promise my future third wheels that’s not something you’ll have to worry about with me.
Continue arguing when you’re not alone
The same rule applies to this one, I can’t tell you how many awkward times I’ve experienced with these two, and it’s really uncomfortable for everybody. I mean, if you have a problem why would you think that discussing it in front of everybody is going to solve it? More importantly, why should people get involved in your stupid fight? They don’t care, and you shouldn’t invite others into your private issues. I strongly believe that problems must be taken care of in private and that by making them public you end up making it worse. If you’re out with a person, and something bothers you wait until this person is gone and then deal with it. Besides, by giving it time you might actually see that it isn’t that of a big deal or that when you let your head cool for some time, you can tackle the situation better.
Avoid local jokes or intimate anecdotes
Yeah, that doesn’t work either for anybody. I would add, avoid playing truth or dare or any other game that involves intimate stories. If like me, you’re your sibling's third wheel, but I’d say that if you spend too much time with a couple it applies in a less weird way, but still kind of creepy. Anyway, if you’re with someone be a bit more considerate to them and include them into the conversation, I don’t get why insisting on talking about things the other person has no idea about that only makes things weird and really boring for the people that are going with you. I mean, the third wheel isn’t hanging out with you because they really want to but because they care and want to spend some time with you.
So these were the kind of annoying negative things I promised never to do if I have a third wheel around. But actually, there have also been some positive things that I would definitely follow in my future relationships. Well, mostly positive for me.
I’ve seen the things that can make a relationship monotonous
When you become an official third wheeler, sometimes you acquire some skills that can come in handy for the future. One of them is that you can witness how the relationships evolve and what are the things that are making their relationships monotonous. No offense so my sis (who'll definitely read this) but the fact that they always do the same things, like watching TV, prevents them from trying new stuff to spice up their relationship. More than that, you can also learn what are the stages of almost all relationships and what are the things that work or not in each stage.
Listening is key
I’ve realized that most of their stupid fights come from not listening to the other. Seriously, it’s not only a matter of relationships, this applies to everything in life. We miss so much and have so many issues because we don’t pay attention to things around us. But going back to the relationship and dating subject, listening is also related to being there to support them when they need it. After being with them so much time you kind of know how to help them when they have issues and being outside the relationship, you can bring an objective point of view into the table.
As I said, it’s sometimes weird to be the third wheel. Not only because you’re just there in the middle of their dates, but also because at some point they’re also missing some of the privacy they need for a relationship to evolve in a healthy way. And that’s, let’s call it, the bonus lesson I’m learning right now which is leaving them some space just as you’ll need it in your future relationships.
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Images by @jacimariesmith