Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The divorce rate is above 50 percent now. That means that over half the marriages that start will fail.

I put this down to three reasons.

The first is that a lot of people assume that marriage will be just like it is in the movies. Real marriage doesn’t work like that. Things are going to cool off a little and everything isn’t going to be perfect forever. People hit a rough patch and assume that because their marriage suddenly becomes work, that something is going wrong. Nothing’s going wrong, it’s just marriage.

If movies were like real life, Meg Ryan would eventually be chucking things at Tom Hank’s head because he left his socks on the floor again. My point is, successful marriages are equal parts work and fun. Two people simply can’t live together without some friction. There’s no such thing as an effortless ‘happily ever after’ marriage.

The second is rarer than people think, but some people meet, get married and work out over time that they’re simply not compatible. This, I think, is down to the fact that pretty much everyone at the start of a relationship acts the way they think their partner wants them too. Unfortunately, you can’t keep up that act forever.

The third simply comes down to misunderstanding the math.

This one takes some explaining:

Ok, ask yourself how many friends you had in high school. I don’t mean the people you just hung around with, ate lunch with and talked to. I mean the real friends. The ones you could really count on, trust with a secret, the person you call for help when you’re neck deep in the cacky…knowing they’d bend over backwards to pull you out.

If you’re like me, you probably had a biggish circle of friends, but out of that circle you probably only had one or maybe two real, close friends.

Your relationship with your best friend is basically like a platonic marriage. Before any of you think that’s just ‘icky’ and swear blind that you wouldn’t date Bob even if he was Roberta instead…I don’t mean that if you woke up tomorrow and got a call from your best friend saying that they’d spontaneously changed sex over night that you’d want to date them. Think of it as a ‘collection of qualities’

Ask yourself what you like about your best friend. He’s funny as hell, great fun to talk to, likes all the same things you do, always up for a game of Halo, etc, etc. Take all those qualities and put them in the body of a supermodel…isn’t that someone you’d be interested in meeting?

Ladies, imagine a husband who loved shoe shopping, actually knew what he was talking about when you asked him if your new purse goes with your dress and all that other stuff you love your best friend for.

Now we come to the math. There were over 1500 students at my high school. Out of 1500 I got on with about 30 or 40 and had just two people I’d call real friends.

A school is pretty good cross section of the population, which means that out of 1500 people, there were two I’d actually seek out to spend time with. That’s just 0.13%.

Ok, by now you’re pointing out the inconsistencies. Sure, looking at it that way, there’s only 0.13% of the general population that you’re really compatible with…but everyone knows seniors don’t hang out with freshmen, jocks don’t hang out with geeks. If you took the time to get to know everyone, you’d probably find a bunch of people you get on really well with!

Ok, fair enough…now tell me how that’s different from real life? Age differences and cliques occur there too.

Your average working class construction worker isn’t going to the country club looking to meet someone. Nor is one of the country club crowd going to the dive bar to find a husband or wife.

Secondly, 0.13% is a very generous number. 0.13% is just the amount of compatible personalities. Chances are you’re only interested in the opposite sex, so you can cut that number in half to 0.065%

Then, we come to all the criteria we require from a partner but not from a friend. Unless you’re exceptionally shallow you don’t choose your friends based on looks, how much they earn, what car they drive, etc.

I don’t want to sounds shallow myself, but there could be someone out there who is a perfect match for you personality-wise…but you’re just not going to find that out if you’re not physically attracted to them.

So, when we put physical attraction and all those other criteria into the situation, we can probably cut the number of prospective parners by about three quarters, leaving us at 0.016%

The other thing to take into account is that you might find someone you are perfectly compatible with, attracted to and they fulfill all those criteria…but maybe they’re not attracted to you. So, erring on the conservative side, lets cut that number in half again, leaving us with 0.008% of the population.

So what does all this mean?

It means that when you meet someone, there is only a 0.008% chance that that person is going to be a perfect match for you…and a 99.992% that that person isn’t going to measure up in some way.

So, if you actually manage to find someone who you actually enjoy spending time with, and is also willing to put up with you, that relationship is obviously never going to perfect, but is definitely worth working at.

In other words, leaving a marriage because everything isn’t absolutely perfect is pretty much madness because whatever way you look at it, you’re going to have the same problems with 99.992% of the population.

When you leave a marriage because you’ve decided it’s ‘too much work’ you’re basically throwing everything you have away for a 0.008% chance of something better.

1 comment:

Sunny said...

LMAO- Okay, I'm glad you explained what brought that on before-hand....otherwise i would have been a BIT freaked out.

Love you babe....