My roommate R recently broke up with her boyfriend of three years and has been quick to re-enter the dating world. She started seeing a guy at work, M, who has a history of casual hook-ups and one night stands. Unprompted, he offered up a number around 50. If you catch my drift.
When I see them together, he seems sweet and doting and not at all the sleazy dirt bag I pictured when she first divulged his dating history. They spend hours and hours together and never seem to tire of laughing and talking and enjoying each others company. And I like him. He’s a nice guy. He’s smart and genuine and affectionate towards her – even when others are around – and he seems completely enamored with her.
So, when I told my boyfriend G about their relationship, I was shocked when he calmly said: “I give it six weeks. Tops”
I didn’t understand. How could he be so dismissive of my roommate and her new love? He was belittling their passion by suggesting it was coming to an end within the month.
So he broke it down for me in a little lesson called “relationship economics”.
G explained that in econ terms, the past is the best indicator of the future when it comes to a mathematical trend. Of course, statistically, there are always outliers, but on average, if the trend is consistent, odds are, it will continue on that path.
So if M has a history of casually dating girls and ending things within a matter of weeks, odds are, R is NOT the exception to the rule.
I argue that people are not economically sound. We can’t determine someone’s actions by his past behavior. Yes, it might make sense mathematically to analyze a trend and apply it to the current situation, but when it comes to people and our quirky decision making, I truly believe that no calculations can estimate the value of a human connection.
M’s former women might have been dumb or flaky or bad in bed. He might have been immature or sad or searching for something better. G knows virtually nothing about this new boy and yet feels confident predicting the demise of a relationship.
We decided to bet on it. $5 says R and M break up by Memorial Day.
Clearly, I’m a terrible person betting on my friend’s relationship but….I’ve got three weeks to see if I’m out five bucks or a couple dollars richer.