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The Perils of Woman Math

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By Nina Baltierra
I have a confession to make.  I used to be guilty of "Woman Math."

If you've never heard of it, here's how it works: You have a goal that you want to accomplish by certain date.  Then you plan your life around checkpoints to reach the goal by the predetermined date, and appropriately freak out when things don't fall into place.  I first learned about the term in an undergrad communications course and came to realize that I was a practitioner of Woman Math when it came to love and marriage.

I had decided that I would get married in 2010. The decision was made years ago for the following reasons: I would be 25 years old, and I figured 25 was a reasonable age to get married. I'd be out of college and working on a career or post-grad studies.  Anniversaries would be easy to calculate for my mathematically-challenged self.   Now that I had the goal and the date decided, I engaged in Woman Math.

If I was going to get married in 2010, I needed to be engaged in 2009 because I would like an engagement of about a year for planning purposes.  I would want to date this guy for at least a year before he put an engagement ring on my finger, so I would need to start dating him sometime in 2008.  Since it would be nice to be friends first, I knew I had to meet this guy sometime in 2007.

In late 2005, I reunited with a guy I dated briefly before.  After only a few weeks of being back in each others' lives, we knew that there was something bigger (something magical!) happening.  By January 2007, we had moved in together in Boston.  That spring, the drifter in me surfaced, and I was itching for a change of scenery.  Together, we decided to move to Philadelphia.  It was a natural choice, as he was originally from South Jersey and had family and friends in the area.  For me, the job outlook was attractive.  By October, we had a house and both of us had great jobs.

Right on schedule

As 2008 came and went everything was just dandy.  When it came to the Woman Math, I realized that I was way ahead of schedule. I gave myself a pat on the back for being ahead of the curve.

On New Year's Day of 2009, after recovering from a long night in Atlantic City, he sat me down and said that he wanted to talk.  I thought: "Oh my God, this is it!  A New Year's proposal!  Right on schedule!"

 Instead, he told me that he wanted to see other people.

I was crushed because the news was unexpected.  I loved this guy; we had been together for so long...and blah, blah, blah. But I was even more disappointed in myself for trusting my Woman Math.  One of my good friends in Boston, who knew all about my plan always scolded me, saying, "Don't tempt fate!  It'll bite you in the ass!"  He was right.  I could feel the bite marks every time I thought of my would-be 2010 nuptials.

I considered trying Woman Math again. I thought: "Well, if I meet someone new, and soon, maybe we can get engaged in a year and then plan a wedding very quickly.  Or elope!"

Being single again

I didn't do it. It just wasn't me.  Besides, I took to single life like a magnet to a fridge.

It was fun being the single one amongst my married (or at least highly-committed) Happy Hour friends.  Checking guys out was even more fun.  Sleeping in the middle of my bed was a dream.

But after a while, I didn't just want to be single.  I wanted to be single and date...a lot.  I wanted to sample the smorgasbord of men that Philly had to offer.  So I did, and I met some great guys who were a lot of fun.  We went to amazing restaurants and took advantage of the warm-weather activities that really make you appreciate the city.

After a handful of dates -- some even seconds and thirds -- one guy began to pull away from the pack.  I told my friends about him.  I told my mom about him.  That same friend from Boston touted his cautionary words at me again: "You really should shop around some more. Be single for at least a year."

Well, let's see.  If I'm single for a year, then I'm available again in 2010.  By that time I will have learned so much about myself and...

Whether I use Woman Math to get married in 2010 or stay single until 2010, it's all the same.  So I kissed Woman Math goodbye and jumped into another relationship.  This time, the goal is just to be happy.

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