Work-related romances don’t give either partner the benefit of long-term, intimate knowledge of one another in the local community, church or school. However, you often do have an opportunity to watch one’s potential partner in interaction with other people, which gives one some idea about what they would be like as a long-term, intimate partner. Dave observed that Kit “treated people very fairly and had a way with people. You want to be with somebody you like. We started out with a pretty good friendship.” Similarly, many younger couples now tend to hang out in groups for quite awhile before beginning to pair up as couples (remember the TV series, “Friends”). As in the case of Kit and Dave’s work setting, this provides a safe opportunity for young people who don’t grow up in the same community, nor attend the same school or church, to become acquainted and make an assessment of one another prior to beginning a courtship.
What about couples who meet in other settings, far from a local neighborhood or work? Robert and Fiona are just such a couple. Their founding story brought some laughter and embarrassment from both of them, especially Robert. According to Fiona, who was born and raised in England, she had gone shopping in London with a friend. The two of them got hungry so they went into a pub for lunch. She noticed a young American Air Force man at a nearby table who seemed uncomfortable and looked like he was trying to get away from the woman he was sitting with. This airman suddenly turned to Fiona and asked her to show him around the town. He said “please” in such a way she didn’t have the heart to turn him down. Since the English were eager to welcome Americans in those days, Fiona said she would be glad to be an ambassador, and they took off laughing to walk the streets of London, leaving the other two women sitting along in the pub. They walked for hours and finally went to a movie house where they both fell asleep and never saw the end of the movie. At this point in their story, Robert and Fiona began laughing, and he said that now it was his turn to indicate why the story was so funny.