Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend...

“Ingratitude is treason to mankind.” James Thomson

Saturday 22 January 2011

Couple-friends: pros and cons.

Quick question off the top of my head: if you are one half of a couple, and you socialise with other couples, what's your take on the dynamic? Is there a love-me-love-my-dog aspect? Beloved dear friend and barely tolerated boor of a partner? Is there an element of marital drama, or perhaps political debate, for which you provide a convenient audience? The lovely man and I have few couple-friends, and when we have dipped our toes into the couple-friend water, we have found it not always agreeable.

We frequently chuckle about the evening we enjoyed a spontaneous takeaway with one of the lovely man's friends and his wife and they bickered all night, culminating in Mrs berating Mr at the table for always ordering too much food. "Oh X! You always order too much food!" she cried, as he decanted all the various dregs of tins and boxes into one container. (In my head, after she leaves the room, he takes an appreciative glance at it all and says, "There! That was just enough," before he puts it in the bin, but maybe I'm imagining that.) Frequently, a satisfying takeaway chez nous is completed with one of us accusing the other of ordering too much, just for the fun of it. I know, it's all quite madcap here.

Memorably, there was the time when we were invited for dinner at the home of (other) friends of the lovely man,* and the conversation turned to the fact that they were no longer having sex. By which, I mean that the husband shared that with us during dinner. I will add that 1) this was the first time I had met either of them and 2) for four of us, they had served no more than a single bottle of wine (while the two bottles we brought remained unopened); it's safe to say I wasn't ready in any way for that level of disclosure, or the manner in which it was achieved.

I'm a little gunshy now.

* Hmm, perhaps a theme is emerging.


  1. my problem is more often with the offspring of friends and wish they'd just give them the hell away instead of sharing the gloriousness that is child rearing.

    i have a few friends whose spouses i love, a few whose spouses i tolerate, one spouse who has, over time, grown on me, not unlike a harmless sort of mould, and i can't think of any whose spouses i despise.

    and then we have one or two couples who function as units and i cannot imagine getting together with only one of them. we're lucky in that. one couple in particular would never, ever, ever, ever, ever put out less than 4 bottles of wine with dinner... to start. i love them for that. and then hate them in the morning.

    overall, though, my mother once told me that to have a friend whose spouse you actually like and who likes your spouse, is like winning the lottery and when it happens, one ought to be tremendously thankful. and so i am.

  2. Iiii have issues with this, but I've learned to overcome. I have a couple friends whose boyfriends or significant others I have not gotten along with and I found them boring, rude, or kind of assholery...and what do you do? I love my friend and don't want to make a stink but don't really like spending time with them both.

    I guess the way I've made my peace is to mention at first...but if it looks like it's a long term thing and the friend says their person makes them happy...then I'm not going to make a big deal about it. I see the friend alone as often as possible, and try not to be an asshole back to the asshole.

  3. Your post is funny and insightful and brings to light a problem I am sure many have experienced. I must hear the end of the no sex story- was there screaming anger, silent resentment, did the wife open the other 2 bottles of wine? Did you make a quiet exit? The suspense is well not killing me but...

    @polishchick- We have all experienced the dreaded offspring of people!

    Cheers, Kelly

  4. I loathe going for long-anticipated evenings out with friends only to discover their monosyllabic pre-teen seated at the table, earwigging on the adult conversation and sucking up the atmosphere like a teenage Black Hole.....

    Ali x

  5. oh, but ali, their monosyllabic pre-teen is the very light of their existence, the joy of their life, the glory of their fruitfulness, and they are merely extending a generous hand towards you and sharing the bounty. i similarly hate conversations about the offspring. i have no interest in them. if we're going to talk about Things I Don't Give A Shit About, might we make it politics instead? or religion? or crotch itch? anything but what the precious darling said and how fantastic they are. ugh.

  6. I see in my absence, as often happens, the comments and conversation have become more interesting than my posts. Thanks for your input folks!