What is Causing My Ex's to Go Insane?
I am sure many of my readers have never heard of the “Three S’s” but they are a widely used barometer to judge the “marriage viability” of women. They are, in order, Smart – Sexy, and Sane. It is extremely rare to find all three in the same woman but if one does, so the saying goes, you should marry her. I have been looking for quite some time and have found a few who I thought met that high bar but, thus far, have found myself disappointed in the end. It seems that I am very good at picking out the smart/sexy women but, for some strange reason, sanity has eluded me. I have begun to think that as they all seemed fairly sane at the beginning of our relationship perhaps it is me who is precipitating their irrational behavior. Could that be? Is it possible that somehow, via my own actions, I am driving the people I date to act completely and utterly without reason? It is a topic worth addressing as it could have major implications for my relationships in the future.
I have taken the time to construct a small graph of the relative sanity of my previous girlfriends versus the % progress of the total time we were together. A disturbing trend is evident. In all of the cases, save for J, the women I date end up dramatically less sane after spending a significant amount of time with me.
At first glance, one might assume a causal relationship between the amount of time a woman spends with me and her progress towards insanity. Fortunately, I have been schooled in the intricacies of data analysis so I am not likely to make such a superficial assumption. Let’s address the possible relationships between these factors point by point.
#1 I am Driving My Girlfriends Totally Insane.
I put this first to avoid any appearance of bias in this article. I take seriously the possibility that I could be somehow pushing the people I date to the brink. Upon addressing the facts though, it seems somewhat unlikely. First, none of my actions are of the type which normally elicit bizarre behavior on the part of significant others. I don’t drink excessively, I don’t verbally or emotionally abuse anyone I date. I am considerate, kind, and caring and always supportive of my partner’s dreams and aspirations. I have never cheated on a girlfriend and am, whenever possible, upfront about my intentions. I can think of some idiosyncricies which might be considered annoying such as bizarre humor, tendency towards being aloof in light of my partner’s interaction with members of the opposite sex, and love of subjects not usually discussed at dinner (i.e. political philosophy, sociology etc..). I may be biased but I just can’t seem to glean from any of these qualities what exactly would be causing my girlfriends to go insane. Thus it seems unlikely that my actions directly are somehow the cause of the mental instability I have observed in my ex’s and so we must move on to other possibilities.
#2 My Girlfriends Aren’t Going Insane, I Am.
This is a distinct possibility. Reality is, of course, perception and as such it may be the case that as the world stays the same around me (i.e. my mate’s sanity) and I change everything just seems off kilter. I will admit to being somewhat insane in my day. I would go so far to state the vast majority of my college years were spent in some form of abnormal mental state or another. As I have gotten older though, I feel that I have developed a much more objective view of myself, and my actions, than I had in the past (Thank you Karl, P, and Tim). In addition one might expect that as I slowly (or precipitously depending on mate – see graph) lost my sanity other people in my life might recognize this and comment on it. The fact that this has never happened may indicate the unwillingness of my friends and family to comment on my mental state but that is unlikely. Why? First, because my Mother alone has no problem in pointing out mistakes that I may be making. This isn’t a negative, it is a positive. She doesn’t do it in a mean or demeaning way, she is the rock of a moral/philosophical arbiter which we should all have in our life. So it would seem that at the very least my family would comment on my progressive loss of sanity. This has not happened although they have in the past delicately questioned the sanity of my girlfriends (Very delicately. My family is loathe to intrude on my feelings when it comes to women although in retrospect I wish that they had sometimes been more active in their objections).
#3 My Girlfriends Were Always Insane and the Graph Just Reflects My Slow Realization of that Fact.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I consider this to be the most likely possibility. I am somewhat of an optimist. I tend to believe the best about people and, more importantly, see in them the things I want to see rather than what is actually there. Does this mean that all women are insane (absolutely not) or, does this study somehow suffer from a selection bias (Not likely as the four relationships on the graph represent the totality of the serious relationships I have had over the past 10 years). Perhaps I somehow seek out unstable women? Superficially I would have to say no. The qualities I find most attractive; wit, intelligence, ambition, and aesthetics seem to be incompatible with mental instability but, the fact remains that most women that I have dated have had at least a majority of those qualities but have nonetheless often acted in truly bizarre ways. The vast majority of women with these qualities aren’t irrational. In fact, I would go so far to say that the portion of the female population which possesses these attributes are less likely to suffer from insecurity, depression, or maladaptive behavior than the population as a whole. So, as much as I do not like saying it perhaps there is something in women who have “a little bit of interest” that I find attractive. My most recent girlfriend was so high-maintenance she made the space shuttle look like a huffy tricycle but I think it just made me that much more intrigued. If this is the case it is indicative of some pathology of which I must rid myself. Looking for a challenge is one thing, dating Delilah with trust issues as deep as the Marianas trench is quite another.
#4 My Definition of Insane is “Whoever Doesn’t Agree With Me”
This is possible. We are all liable to characterize actions with which we can neither empathize nor sympathize as "bizarre" or "irrational". In this case, it is useful to solicit outside opinions about the behavior of your ex. I have to say at this point that there were times when I characterized someone's behavior as insane simply because I didn't agree with it (particularly in the case of A) but, I can also name a number of incomprehensible actions performed by each of these women (I am using the term “insane” loosely in this blog) that any reasonable person would say were not only irrational but also unwarranted.
It’s quite possible that the trend observed in the “Insanity Index Graph” is due to a confluence of all of these factors. In fact, it’s likely. I certainly hope my next relationship bucks the trend though and heads north as we progress towards the 100% mark rather than the sharp drops south observed thus far. If not, I may be making a graph of my own sanity with a zero slope, right at “0” the whole time.