Looking over our recent performance, it’s clear that we’re not going to make it. We’re at different points in our life. We lack that intangible chemistry that’s a hallmark of great couples. We tried, but we don’t have what it takes to be something long term and significant. Which is why I have decided to tank our relationship so I can get a better pick in next year’s draft.
Some say that tanking goes against what romance is supposed to stand for. But those people don’t know what it’s like to date in such a competitive atmosphere. And in this day and age, suffering through a miserable relationship is the best way to improve your odds of landing top talent. Friends are much more likely to set you up with quality dates if you’re coming out of a terrible relationship. You get more sympathy. Better karma. Better horror stories to tell. It’s all designed to increase parity.
There are two ways that your next first date can go. You can laugh and bond about being trapped in a hilariously bad relationship where you would go to an Escape Room, have a loud argument about who is more stubborn, get kicked out, and then argue about whether or not that counts as escaping. Or you can say, “Yeah. It wasn’t terrible. Just ran its course.”
We all want to find the One, but maintaining a “Win Now” mentality isn’t practical. You insist that this relationship has to go the distance otherwise the biological clock keeps ticking and your window might close. All that accomplishes is keeping you in a series of mediocre, also-ran, small-market relationships without ever winding up with a ring.
So this year, we’ll let other couples try to race to the altar. Let them argue about whose apartment to move into and whether adopting a rescue dog is just a beta test for having a kid. Remembering anniversaries or birthdays? No need. Weekend trips to Santa Barbara? Save the money. Our couples book club? I’ll probably recommend that we read The Corrections. Again. Shopping at Costco on the weekend? We can stay in and marathon House Hunters International and continue to mock those idiot couples who make an effort before inevitably falling short.
All of my scouts’ research indicates that next year’s draft class is loaded with once in a generation talent. Like the barista at that overpriced café you insisted we try out. Or the new trainer at the gym where we attempted to exercise together but found it impossible to coordinate two different workouts. There is a whole year’s worth of new people that we haven’t swiped right on. And I need every competitive advantage to gain their interest.
I’m not proud of this. No one wants to purposefully fail, but it’s how you propel yourself to the next level. Every successful couple I know is the result of tanking. My friend Goldie was miserable while dating the worst Bernie Bro in history. After that, she managed to land Steph and then Klay and ultimately she got a ring. Phil has tanked for six straight relationships (including four women named after cities) and now he finally has the confidence to make a run at the top.
By the way, we’ll be spending a lot more time with Goldie and her husband. They never thought we were good together so going to trivia night with them will only help our draft position.
Our friends might not want to sit through another season of us. Why bother supporting me when I’m clearly not trying to succeed? Agreed, this is a rebuilding year, but we at least have to present the illusion that we’re trying. We’ll give two good laughs, a hint at an inside joke and a hug before the night goes to hell.
Sure, it’s not how our parents’ generation did it. They put their heads down and kept competing for the better part of two decades. But that was also back when two couples were perpetually on top and then either Mom or Dad would bolt for free agency the first chance they got.
So we’ll suffer at the bottom, enduring misery, disinterest, and getting dragged to improv shows, but better times are coming. I promise. This time next season, other tanking couples will look at us and say, “Yeah. That’s where I want to be. Now let’s go to the same old Thai place and make a scene as we argue about whether or not healthcare is a right or a privilege.”
Trust the process. At some point we’re going to find the one. Just wait ‘til next year.