Pairing Off: Measuring success in dating

Your batting average gets lower and lower the longer you stay single. In baseball, a player's batting average is his number of hits divided by his total number of times at bat. If we define a single's batting average as the number of successful relationships (i.e., those that end in marriage) divided by the number of total attempted relationships, the only people with really good batting averages are those who got married at 18.

Unless you married one of the first five people you dated, your average would get you kicked out of major league baseball. Even if you're an optimist, it's frustrating when kids you've babysat join your singles ward — and then get married before you do. Being encouraged by your married friends and family to settle down, not to expect perfection in a mate and not to postpone marriage because of finances or education gets really old, really quickly. It's like they think you're trying to be alone.

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