Note to readers: This story is about a year old, but in order to avoid harming the “dating” experience, I waited to tell my story.
It was time. My husband and I were ready to venture into the world of couples dating. We had moved to a new town several years ago but despite my heavy involvement in the local moms’ group, we had not met any couples. There was a really nice mother and father at our child care center who I thought we might try “dating”. Let’s call them the Johnson Family. We had a kindergartener and preschooler and they had a kindergartner and preschooler. Our kids often played with each other at school, but we had never taken it beyond the friendly exchanges and chatter at drop-off/pick-up or at center events. It’s not that we don’t have friendships with other families, but all of our friends are at least 30-minutes away and in no instance do the ages of the kids match up as perfectly as with this family.
And then it happened. The father suggested we get the families together, outside the center. The Johnsons invited us over for an early dinner which would allow the kids to play a bit while we got to know each other.
I found humor in the evening long before we even got together, starting with figuring out what to bring. I offered an appetizer. I had an inclination the family had healthy eating habits (the kumquats and grape tomatoes they sent in for their kids’ school snacks gave this away) so I opted for chips with homemade salsa and guacamole. I went to a local farmers market that grows their own tomatoes so the salsa would be extra special and picked up whole grain tortilla chips. While at the market, they had beautiful flowers so I bought a couple batches of these as well. As the date neared, my husband and I each tried on several different outfits. We didn’t want to overdress or underdress!
Shortly before leaving, my husband and I debated about whether or not to bring a bottle of wine. Is it presumptuous to assume they drink? Was it overkill to bring an appetizer, flowers AND a bottle of wine? I even called my best friend for advice. Ultimately we skipped the wine deciding the flowers were plenty.
The “date” went great. As we left that night, I suggested to the Johnsons that next time we host. But, later that evening, I began to wonder about how to best foster this new “relationship”. How long should I wait to schedule this? We said thank you when we left but should I follow-up with an email saying thank you again? Should I mention hosting again in the email? I ultimately decided to send a thank you and put it back out there in a casual way that we should have them over soon.
Then nothing. No response back. Days went by before I heard from the Mrs. Johnson. 4 days to be exact. Those 4 days were really tough. My husband would ask if I heard back from her daily and we analyzed the evening over and over again. (Occasionally laughing at the humor of “couples dating”) Did we say something wrong? Did they not like us? Perhaps we were not a great match after all?
Looking back, I don’t think it was any of those things. A few months later, the Johnsons announced they were expecting another child and would be pulling their older kids from the child care center to stay with a nanny. We knew this meant we’d probably drift apart rather than get closer. We do still see each other, but the infrequency makes it hard to maintain a relationship. Perhaps our next “couples date” will have different results.