I’ve always thought of third wheels like Mariah Carey’s single, “Loverboy”: underappreciated and underutilized. Third wheels have had a front row seat to countless relationships not their own, and an outsider’s perspective is a powerful, powerful thing.
As a self-proclaimed professional third wheel, I feel it’s my duty to share my fountain of knowledge with the world. Starting as early as middle school, I’ve wedged myself between my friends and their lovers, mentally jotting down their every move. Maybe because I was a giant and still not comfortable with my 18-year-old-sized body as an 11-year-old, but I, myself, never had a boy toy at my side. Instead, I kicked back my feet and watched as the horrors unfolded before me.
If I added up all the bad relationships and breakups I’ve been dragged through since then, we’d be in Carrie Bradshaw/Samantha Jones territory. And after carrying the emotional weight of this intelligence with me for quite some time now, I think it’s finally the right moment to reveal the all-too-agonizing repeated themes I’ve learned.
1. If they don’t get along with your friends, they probably actually really suck.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, you catch my drift here. If all the people in the house gang up on one girl for being a psychopath, it’s not because she “gets along with guys better” or “can’t handle the stress of the situation,” it’s because she’s a freaking psychopath. If you plan on hanging out with your current posse while in a relationship, I have an inkling the two parties will cross paths at some point – and it might as well be a pleasant experience.
My friend once had an exhaustingly profound thing of a boyfriend who always rolled his eyes at everything I said and did, and it definitely made threesome hangs a miserable time. Another had a guy, who, when he spoke (or should I say whined), I wanted to tear my ears out and cry into my pillow all night for wasting a second of my precious life listening to him. I’m the one who gives her relationship advice in the end, so you better pull a Danny Zuko, and shape up, sweetie.
2. If they have a criminal record, run the other way.
This was a real matter of concern in more of my third wheel relationships than you’d guess. So like, if they steal your car to, I don’t know, rob a bank or something, you probably shouldn’t take their phone calls from prison. As much as a “bad boy” status might be appealing to you, so is being with them out in the daylight.
3. Girls/Boys nights are still mandatory.
Spending every waking hour with your significant other has GOT to get exhausting at some point. And when the point comes along – and it WILL come – ain’t nobody gonna be there for ya sista. Remember that one night we all went out to get margarita-wasted, but you ditched us because you and your clingy bf were going to do a 1,000-piece castle puzzle together? Yeah, well, the train for Margaritaville has left the station, baby! And it’s never coming back.
Bonus: There’s nothing more annoying than finally getting your friend to hang out with you alone, but then they’re constantly on their phone anyway texting their significant other. Like, uh, sure, I’ll ask you a question and then wait five minutes for a response…
4. PDA is fine (I guess). PDA all the fucking time makes everyone resent you.
I get it, I get it. You’re in loooovee. Whatever. But you honestly don’t need to be touching 24/7. If your boyfriend was somehow forced to sit in the backseat of the car while you drove, and was still holding your hand and constantly asking, “Babe? Babe? Babe, are you okay? Babe?” then you seriously need to sit back and assess your relationship. I’ll admit, I’ll occasionally squeak out an, “aww” or “presh” when I see a spontaneous sweet moment happen, but it’s common courtesy to acknowledge the presence others while you’re with them – and not have your tongues down each other’s throats.
5. Then again, dating for three months with no physical contact isn’t normal, either.
Newsflash: Holding hands doesn’t count as first base. If there’s not lip-lock within the first few dates, they most likely just see you as a friend. In that case, your “dates” should kind of be called “hanging out.” Then again, maybe this person does see you as more than a friend, but maybe there’s something he isn’t telling you. Like, oh, I don’t know, he’s deathly afraid of affection!? If you’d like to eventually get in between the sheets with someone, and you’d like to do it before you hit menopause, drop this dud ASAP. You don’t thoroughly shave before every date for nothin’.
6. If you’re fighting from the start, it’s all downhill from there.
Sure, fighting’s normal. Heck, it’s even healthy. I bet Jay and Bey even fight, and we all know they are, like, the pinnacle of relationship perfection. But if you’re seriously fighting within an hour of the first date about whether or not you think the girls sitting across from you at the bar are from the East Coast or the Midwest, a second date isn’t the best idea. Shouldn’t you be busying your mind with more important things? Like, wondering what they look like naked?
7. Not speaking to them for days is a bad sign.
If you’ve texted, called and left five voicemails for four days in a row without a peep of acknowledgement from your lover, DROP THEM NOW. There should never be a point in your relationship where you go weeks wondering, “Gee, I wonder if they’re still alive…” You’ll probably eventually get an apathetic text along the lines of, “Oh hey sry. Got sucked into video games. Call soon.” Or maybe you’ll get a call from prison (see #2).