In the idea that there is one person in all the world that is your perfect fit, your soul mate. This was the topic of the last This American Life’s radio show “Somewhere Out There”. I’ve been thinking about love for several weeks now because I have found something unexpected in myself – fear.
I am afraid of being alone for the rest of my life.
I am afraid of committing myself to a single person for the rest of my life.
Quite a quandary.
On the one hand I keep seeing all these happy couples, all these people forming bonds and building lives together and I am jealous. On the other hand I see all of the compromises people make to have a relationship that continues over time and I don’t want to compromise.
Then there is the fact that good men are scarce and every requirement you add to the mix makes them scarcer. I thought that I would repeat the math David Kestelbaum did during the show last weekend, adding in some of my own requirements, and see what my odds are.
So I took the population of the Portland Metro Area, where I live, and the population of the United States. Then I limited the percent based on the following criteria – Single men between the ages of 35 – 55 who have professional careers and some college, are non smokers and who exercise.
|Est. Total Population||2,000,000||304,059,724|
|% males between 35-55||15%||147,300||22,393,999|
|% some college||28%||18,972||2,884,347|
|% professional career||12%||2,277||346,122|
|% non smoking||77%||1,753||266,514|
|% who exercise||72%||1,262||191,890|
Which leave a possible 1,262 men who meet my criteria in the Portland Metro Area.
My US stats are much better – 191,890 men but then I don’t travel as much anymore so my odds of meeting anyone out of my area is slim these days.
Here is the kicker though – we haven’t even gotten in to political bend, religion, hobbies, or interests. In fact if I limit it to politically aware, religiously tolerant men who are interested in some of the same things I am, I might be getting close to 0.
So is there only one Mr. Right out there for me?
After all we are looking at less than 1% of the population of any given area, 0.063% of the population to be exact. And although I might be interested in them, will they be interested in me?
Now that we’ve mathematically proven that love is hard to find we need to think about timing. Timing is everything. It can mean the difference between a glance and a date, a date and a relationship, a relationship and a marriage. If the timing is wrong – everything else is thrown out of balance.
So what do I do?
Do I play the number’s game and keep searching? I’m not really much of a gambler and I think my odds are even slimmer because I’ve found him once so what are the odds I’ll find someone again? I’ve also had two close calls – men who were so close that if the stars had aligned differently I wonder if they would have been perfect.
I don’t know… but I’m not liking my odds and I can’t tell if this exercise was informative or depressing.
~ Tess Anderson