At one point or another, we have all dealt with being the third wheel. Honestly, it sort of sucks, so take comfort there are other third wheels out there.
Is there anything more relatable than being the third wheel? Whether the couple you’re with is being cuddly or fighting, awkward isn’t a strong enough word to describe it. Being the third wheel throws your singleness in your face and squishes it into your hair. Being around a couple can really drain you.
Whether friends with one of the couple or both, it is a lot to take. You may love them to death. They could be your best friends. And you could have a great time with them. Inevitably, they will share couples moments that you feel weird about. Maybe they want you to take cute couples photos of them. Or maybe they want some privacy, but you’re just there.
They may feel fine because they like having you there to buffer them. However, they probably don’t think about how you feel when they go in for a mini makeout session. Being the third wheel gets old quick. But there are some definite worst parts. I know this doesn’t help, but it can make you realize you’re not the only one in this position.
Hardships of being the third wheel
Being the third wheel doesn’t always suck, but when it does, this is why.
#1 Having to sit through a fight. Couples inevitably fight. And in my experience, the couples that insist you come out with them want you there as a buffer. They hope your presence will prevent them from fighting.
But, it usually doesn’t work out that way. Having to sit through their bickering can be exhausting. You’ve never been more annoyed or happier that you’re single.
#2 When they ask your opinion on a fight. What’s worse than witnessing a couple fight in front of you? When they involve you in a fight. Maybe they ask your opinion or they put you right in the middle. They want you to pick a side when that will only end in even more drama for you.
#3 They complain about each other to you. Those odd moments when one of them goes to the restroom and the other complains about them to you. You aren’t just dealing with them together, but you’re dealing with their issues as well. It isn’t enough that you are constantly with them, but even when you get a break, they fill it with their relationship.
#4 You’re always a bit left out. Even if the three of you are best friends, you always feel a bit left out. Whether they have cute nicknames or inside jokes, sitting through that can feel uncomfortable. Why invite you if they aren’t going to include you in their conversations?
#5 You never see your friend alone. If you are friends with one person more than the other, odds are you rarely see them alone. You used to have a friend to rant about dating and other personal stuff but maybe don’t feel comfortable sharing that in front of their bae.
You’ve now lost a friend to their relationship and gained their relationship as a friend.
#6 They try to set you up. When you’re friends with a couple, they insist on setting you up with anyone and everyone. They want couple friends but have you. Not only is it annoying to be set up with the only single person from your friend’s office, especially when you don’t care to meet them, but it is sort of an insult. Are you not good enough to hang out with on your own?
#7 When their partner isn’t there, they still talk about them. When you finally get a night with your BFF to rant and catch up without their partner, they insist on talking about them the whole time. Whether they are missing them or complaining about them, it can feel like their relationship has become the prime focus of your friendship.
#8 They promise you won’t feel like the third wheel. When a couple invites you to join them for dinner you probably hesitate, especially if you’ve experienced being the third wheel before. But, after they insist that you won’t feel like the third wheel, you do.
They say they won’t fight or make out or do anything to make you feel weird, but they are in fact a couple. Those moments are sort of inevitable.
#9 They assume you want to be like them. Couples have this confidence that every single person wants a relationship like theirs. But, they are seeing their relationship from the inside, and you’re seeing it from the outside.
They may think you just ooh and ahh over them when in fact you’re holding back gagging and rolling your eyes. I mean, there is nothing wrong with couples, but when you’re the third wheel, you tend to see the worst of relationships. [Confession: I’m in a relationship but I can’t wait to be single again!]
#10 The couple stuff. You go to the movies and are stuck sitting next to a stranger. You go on a ride and sit in a different row. You drive somewhere, you’re in the back seat. And it gets worse from there. Even if they are trying to make you feel included, they can’t just stop being a couple. They’ll push the hair out of each other’s faces, use pet names, and hold hands. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it can sting when you’re being the third wheel.
#11 They feel bad for you. Even if you’re fine being single, your coupled friends will feel bad for you. They invite you out so you aren’t home alone. They want you to feel included but then make you feel super excluded by being the third wheel. While they pity you for not being like them, you can feel it. Even if you love being single normally, being the third wheel makes it suck.
#12 You’re extra alone. Somehow, being home alone feels less lonely than being a single person with a couple. At least when you’re alone, you have yourself to focus on. When you’re the third wheel, you’re focusing on the couple in front of you.
Whether you envy them or not, being the third wheel shines a light on your loneliness. There is nothing wrong with being single, but when you’re with a couple, no matter their intent, it always feels like there is something wrong with it. Even if you went out feeling good, you come home from being the third wheel feeling like you need what they have, even if you don’t want it.
Being the third wheel mostly sucks, no matter how hard the couple tries to avoid it. Remember, you are not alone. You’re with a couple. Just kidding. Every other third wheel out there is in the same boat.