There are over 7 billion people on the planet, but if you categorized them, you would still need to separate the men from the women, biologically. According to the CIA, there are 107 boys to every 100 girls. There are also the aspects of sexual orientation, age, educational attainment, location, religion, and language primarily used. Those are only a few of the things you need to think about before you start thinking that there are billions of people in the world but who of them can you, possibly, end up spending the rest of your life with (if the married life is for you, that is)?
True enough that there are a lot of fish in the sea – the question now posed is which ponds you can actually dip into. And that’s not even getting into the question if the fish will bite the bait or not. Water does cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface; so, just how much swimming do you need to do in order to find the one for you?
500 days of expectations vs reality
In relationships today, a probable determining factor in relationships is past experience. As Certified Life Skills Coach Dr. Jacklyn Marcus has said, people are influenced by dealings they have had in the past and that these experiences create expectations that then shape their worldview.
There are some people, especially with this generation, who have had previous dealings with having a platonic partner or a sensual lover of some kind. With all of the “previous experience” gathered, there are instances wherein you might make a summation of all your previous relationships and have certain standards that the other must reach. And it would be the same way, should the tables be turned somehow. You have to be the person someone is looking for and if the statistics are in your favor, that’s the same person you’re looking for.
These standards also work with the crushes or infatuations that you may have entertained over the years, setting up certain expectations for the person you desire most. These expectations may be the result of ogling too many photographs or interviews of famous people you might see in movies, magazine spreads, or on television. Like it or not, these famous (or fictitious) or unreachable people have set a standard for the future partner you might be dreaming of today. Then again, it works both ways. A person you may desire does not necessarily return the feeling or even acknowledge your feelings at all or even your existence.
There are over 7 billion people in the world, after all. Who are you in that equation?
Even with that many people in the world, there is still the factor of segregation by demographic that needs to be done. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica in 2010, 33% of the world are Christians, 16.7% are Roman Catholics, 22.5% are Muslims, 6.7% are Buddhists, 9.6% are Agnostic, 2% are Atheists, and those are only some of the given belief systems. According to the website Global Issues, 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 (less than PHP450) a day. The National Center for Educational Statistics that there were only 18.2 million people enrolled in college. Crunch down the numbers and narrow down the world’s population by the things that separate your expectations from reality and see just how much (or how little) of the big ocean you can actually fish in.
With the standards on your idea of a perfect partner and a perfect relationship, will your previous experience in dabbling with romance before its ripe time affect your hopeful “last”? Statistically speaking, yes. Maybe you might be thinking that, of all the people in the world, your dream partner might exist within that number, somewhere out there. Though the divorce rate in other countries may not signify the happiness of a couple, it is known that your past can certainly come to haunt you – maybe even at a time when you don’t want it to. After all, according to a US national survey, only 1.3 in 1,000 people are likely to get a divorce. So just how much experience do you have to have, how many people do you have to meet, in order for you to learn the right way, find the right person, and realize if the person you think is right for you is actually the only one you think is left?
Some more reality
According to the book Life’s Extremes: Early Birds vs Night Owls, researchers studied two groups, a group of 435 people with ages 17-38 and another group from ages 59 to 79. The two groups answered a survey about their lifestyles, emotions, habits, that have something to do with their health. Results appeared that the older age bracket appear to be the early risers, while only 7 percent of the teenagers are morning people. So the next time you think about chatting up your good-looking seatmate first thing in the morning, think again. Chances are unlikely that that person is part of the 7 percent of the morning chippers.
Still hopeful to find the person left for you through commuting? Based on Japan Guide’s survey, results show that public transportation is highest in East Asian countries, greater than 27% of North American students who use bus or train, or the already-large 64% of European students who use public transportation. One comes into contact with millions of people through means of public transportation; however, did you know that similarly, most crimes occur on the train? According to the Transit Police, as of last 2010 1,267 cases were filed for crimes that occurred at the train. With the knowledge of this, it is better to be safe than sorry. It would be recommended to keep an eye on your belongings instead of making your eyes wander looking for someone to ‘fatefully’ click with.
Another commonly asked question is, “How many spoken languages are there in the world?” Infoplease replies that there are roughly 6,500 spoken languages. Sadly, among those languages, 2,000 have fewer than 1,000 speakers. On their list, Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language with 1.213 billion people in the world who speak that language. Spanish comes in second with approximately 329 million, and English comes in third with 328 million speakers. Now, how many languages must you learn to increase your probability with the person you will end up with?
Okay, maybe the points so far have not crushed your spirits. In your head you are thinking there are still hundreds of factors to be considered like heading to the mall, eating in a restaurant, or taking a stroll at night, or some other hopelessly romantic encounter. Statistically, though, the probability of falling in love is still highly unlikely.
Falling in love with the idea
If there was a time you once had a mental list of qualities in mind to look for in a person, you must have thought that maybe you could magically end up together.
Given the situation that you are suddenly married or acknowledged as a couple, what happens now? Is it time for that movie-script ending that you have always imagined?
Hmm. Let us look at the results of last March 2011’s Cosmopolitan magazine, which made a poll for 1,400 women asking why their previous relationships didn’t last. 39.7% of the respondents responded that they fell out of love, 29.3% said that they were disappointed to find out they were lied to, 29.1% answered that they were always fighting and they realized they should not be together, 21.1% said that once they have entered the relationship, their partner has stopped doing sweet, romantic acts for them, therefore leaving them disappointed. Another 21.1% replied admitting they missed the dating scene. Other reasons for break ups include the following: Not winning the approval of friends and family, lack of passion for work, not looking the same compared to before, etc.
Wait a minute. Perhaps it is better to know who you would know that you truly love someone. According to famous psychologist and socialist Erich Fromm, in relationships one would have to know the other person and the self objectively in order to be able to his reality, or rather the illusions. Basically this means that in most cases, you usually fall in love with the idea of a person. Maybe it is because of the set of qualities you have always dreamed of ever since, or simply because he or she seems perfect the way she is. The ultimate test to find out that your love is genuine and sincere, you have to be “disillusioned” or rather disappointed. It is that moment when you know that your love is real.
Happiness in togetherness?
Today, we all have our definition of what love ought to be, but most of us tend to associate this word with velvety dreams such as it being a spontaneous experience of emotional honesty without regard for the future, only the moment, a ball of emotions intrinsically entwined with passion, attraction, interdependence, and many more words and phrases that project a vision of impenetrable euphoria in our minds. Yet, these are not the reasons why most people get married or get in relationships, for the reality is much harsher than what we blindly believe in and for some it might even be too hard to swallow.
According to the book Sad Statistics of Divorce, it says, “the answer seems to be rooted in a disbelief of the value and importance of marriage itself. Many people are choosing a “de-facto relationship” or “civil union” in preference to marriage. These relationships often produce children who themselves go on to have no understanding of the value of marriage and either don’t get married or if they do they often have problems because they don’t value it. It is also common for a woman, though not necessarily her fault, to bear children to several different fathers, further complicating their situations.”
Some more facts. Writer Annie Bond’s global study of relationships’ perceptions states that as many as 73 percent of Russian women and 63 percent of Japanese and American women believe themselves to be in love. Yet only 61 percent of Russian men and as few as 41 percent of Japanese men think they are in love, too. Talk about unrequited!
Other shocking facts from the study include those saying that 12 percent of married people think they would get divorced, that third marriages that end in divorce appears to total 90% of cases, and that the percentage of people who say they want to be rid of their current partner is 8 percent!
Not a one-way street
A relationship, from any point of view, is not a one-way street. Your partner cannot and will not meet all of the standards and demands that you dream of. The thing is, no matter how amazing you think you are, you are human and you will fail someone else’s standards too. It is infinitely easier to come up with reasons for being loved and believing you deserve this and that kind of fairytale ending than it is to believe that you have your own end of the bargain to settle with.
Even you have to meet that significant other halfway. In due course between experimenting with your heart and letting your mind wander in daydreams, crunch the numbers (what numbers?) and believe that your fairytales will remain fiction. There are no magical escapes or fiery dragons to conquer so you can get married to your soulmate the next morning. Dreaming can only get you so far – you have to wake up in order to actually go out and look. Relationships are a push and pull and instead of sorting out through that 7 billion for that one who can make you happy, why not work on being the one in 7 billion worth looking for?
Even statistics can’t determine the unpredictability of human hearts.