How to Embrace Uncertainty in Dating and Relationships
Why you want to predict and control the outcome — and how to stop
I finally arrive at work after an arduous, 75-minute commute. After taking off my winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves, I refill my tea. Settling in at my desk, I pull out my laptop and log in to the network. First, I check my schedule and see that I have back-to-back meetings for most of the day — ugh. I see an email from my boss. He needs information for a quarterly business review. The email has a red exclamation point, marking it as urgent. I start to respond, but then I remember an even more pressing matter that needs to be addressed.
I open up my spreadsheet. Each row represents every day I have seen my boyfriend — ever. It goes back to before we were even dating, when we would meet for coffee after a yoga class. I saw my boyfriend last night, so I put an “X” in the column next to today’s date. We had sex, so the next cell gets three Xs. If we merely kissed, I would have entered two. One X means that we saw each other, but there was no physical interaction. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often. In the activity column, I select what we did from the dropdown. For example: dinner, a walk, a yoga class, etc. I created a dropdown so I could sort it all later — freeform text is not great for data analysis. However, there is a notes column where I can add any concerns I had about our interaction.
My therapist tells me that this tracking behavior is a sign of relationship OCD and not very healthy. She suggests I stop. While I tend to agree regarding the health of this habit, it seems like a shame to stop now — there is so much data; surely, it has some useful purpose. Now, I can calculate trends: Do we see each other more or less? Are we having sex more or less often? What days of the week do I see him most? I could create my own quarterly review for our relationship, tracking its health with a color-coded system. I could share it with my boyfriend so we could talk through strengths and opportunities. We could always be aware of the well-being of our relationship, at any given time. I think it’s genius. If I had more time, I would create a relationship analysis app.