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First Person: Couple In Search of Couples
Finding other twosomes to hang out with isn’t as easy as you might think.
By Sarah Maiellano
Comments () | Published June 11, 2012
The author and her husband—“more Mad Men than Two and a Half Men, more wine bar than dive bar,” she says—have started to find compatible couples online. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

After living here for five years since college, my husband and I have built a great life—fulfilling jobs, a dog named Teddy, a condo in Arlington, a loving relationship. But something is missing: close friends.

Joe and I have been a couple for close to ten years, practically since we were kids. When you’ve been off the market for a decade, being charming toward strangers doesn’t always come naturally. Couples get each other’s jokes, often finish each other’s sentences. They’re so comfortable being together that they aren’t attuned to making friends the way single people are.

In Northeast Philly, where we grew up, almost nobody leaves town and your high-school friends are friends for life. The people we shared a limo with for the prom are the same ones who stood with us when we said our vows. We love them—but they’re not here.

My husband and I have plenty of business contacts and a few college friends in the area, but we’re looking for other young couples to hang out with. Of course we have single friends, but there’s something especially fun about spending time with couples. If three’s a crowd, four’s a party.

But Washington can be a tough place to maintain bonds because of its transient and often partisan nature. So where do “couple friends” meet? Church? Not our style. The neighborhood? Condos aren’t exactly conducive to meeting people. We’ve been on a dozen or so double dates in the past few years. We always have a nice time but haven’t gotten very close with any of the couples. And studies show that one of the primary factors indicating happiness is close friendships.

So I went online. I joined Meetup.com—which helps people with similar interests find one another—and signed up with two couples groups. We’ve been to a few brunches, a winetasting, and a “beach bash” in a restaurant parking lot decorated with leis and beach balls. I’ve become an “assistant organizer” and planned a few outings myself.

Finding couples to befriend isn’t all that different from dating. I admit I’ve kind of “stalked” people who have RSVPed to events to see if they could be potential pals. Do they look fun? Have they been together long? How’s their spelling and grammar?

One pair we met had great prospects—fun personalities, similar tastes, interesting jobs. But then we got the “I’m on antibiotics and can’t drink” line. Any woman my age knows what that means. She’s due in July.

I love our friends’ babies—we’d even like to have our own one day. But last year, for work and pleasure, Joe and I traveled to Aspen, Las Vegas, Maine, Phoenix, Charleston, San Antonio, the Greenbrier, and Florida. We want to get some more European trips under our belts, too. In my experience, babies signify the end to friendships as we know them—impromptu get-togethers, late nights sipping drinks.

We enjoy spending time with people with compatible interests—more Mad Men than Two and a Half Men, more wine bar than dive bar. Okay, I’m picky, maybe even a little snobby. Which makes me glad I’m not actually dating. If I were single, I’d probably be on my third cat.

But things are looking up. More than 300 couples are in the NoVA Couples group I joined, and thousands are on similar websites. We’ve met some great people—couples with similar tastes in restaurants, ones with ties to our hometown, others who, like us, love being a couple too much to have kids just yet.

Besides, when the time comes, there are lots of mommy Meetups out there.

Sarah Maiellano works in government affairs for the restaurant industry. She can be reached at sarahmaiellano@gmail.com or on Twitter at @SarahMaiellano.

This article appears in the June 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

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  • cm

    I think this something a lot of young couples who move away from their home town experience. I'm sure they have very close friends, just not logistically and would like to have that type of friendship with people close to where they live now...This is the time in their lives to travel, enjoy each other and in the process meet new people, and share some quality time with them. They truly seem like a couple we would like to go to a winery with!

  • Sblue1287

    I agree with 100% the comment below by KVG. People are not understanding that this article is not that about the fact that she cannot relate to people anymore in a social setting, or that she doesn't appreciate the life she has with her husband, family and friends. She merely states that it would be nice to have friends who are couples, who enjoy the same types of things that they do, and are close to their geographical location. I think this article is honest and refreshing! Loved it!

  • Luvyalotz143

    Refreshing??? It's all been said and done before. This author seems snobby IMO.

  • KVG

    I think a lot of the comments here missed the point. The article is not about the author not having close friends, or about not being able to go out separately (with their own friends), it IS however about having "couple friends" who you can go to dinner with and go on vacation with. Sometimes your best friend is NOT someone you will want to travel with! Your best friend may let your dog out but may not want to go to a fancy steak house for dinner. Since our life styles are so hectic and impersonal, I don't think most people, especially of the older generation, understand how had it is to find a couple to hang out with.

    And I'm sorry, but if you life "starts" when you have kids that means you spent 20-40 years what "dead"?

    I think this is a fantastic article and my husband and I can definitely relate!

  • Eliag2004

    While I can totally relate to your need to befriend other couples that share your lifestyle, I think you lost touch with what's important. It may be fun to wine and dine with couples you consider to be in your zone, but having friends that are truly there for you and the hubby is what really matters at the end of the day. So have fun, enjoy, but be open minded..... and I think you will one day agree that the friend you can rely on to let the dog out or asks if you need anything at the store while she is out is the most compatible friend.

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