I had eight serious girlfriends before meeting my wife, roughly one a year from age 14 through 21. It’s very easy to enumerate them, because I really never dated casually. I fell madly in love, and I was intensely into these relationships. All eight of these relationships eventually ended, and that was always heart-wrenching.
Anyway, before I met Heather, I predicted her. How did I do that? Through the arcane magic of the Grid of Girlfriends.
Yes, yes. These are the eight girlfriends I had throughout my adolescence, arranged in order from left to right, then top to bottom. You’ll see there’s a space for the ninth, with a bunch of question marks. At the time I made this chart, I had not yet met the person who would fill that spot. But I found patterns.
Row 1 was the “classics,” the first three women to whom I said, “I love you,” all of whom I was sure at the time I would one day marry. Row 2 was a set of three girlfriends with whom I had much more reasonable expectations: I enjoyed their company, had strong feelings of affection toward them, and didn’t really expect anything long-term. Row 3 was completely different…these two were incredibly powerful relationships that made me think there was a depth to love I’d never seen before.
The three relationships in Column A were all imbued with a sense of newness…I was experiencing a sort of relationship I’d never had. Column B all started off with problems; there was a strangeness to their beginning that might have been a clue that they wouldn’t last, in the end. (Column B were also my only three girlfriends who lived in the city of Hazleton at the time.) Column C were, in a sense, the “payoff” girlfriends, with whom I had my best relationship yet. I didn’t really break new ground with them, but explored that ground in a much happier and more fulfilling way. I also met each of the Column C women through a close friend, which wasn’t the case with the other six.
And so, I had great expectations for my next girlfriend, whom I called “3-C.” My relationship with her would be much like Row 3, the powerful and deep relationships, but it would also be a “payoff,” and be happier and more fulfilling than the other Row 3’s. I’d meet her through a friend, and she wouldn’t be from Hazleton. It also appeared that the grid would then be complete, and 3-C would be my final girlfriend.
All of this came true. My relationship with Heather, which began when I was 22, has been mind-blowing (Row 3) and fulfilling (Column C). We met through a mutual friend, and she’s not from Hazleton. I’m also presumably done dating forever…we’ve been married seventeen years now. So I had a pattern of nine girlfriends in nine years…a pattern I was able to discern after only eight of them. Could I somehow have predicted the future? Did I fulfill my own prophecy? There are several options, among them:
- Complete coincidence.
- There was a cosmic, regular pattern to my dating life, and I discerned it just before it ended.
- I unconsciously looked for someone to fulfill the characteristics I’d assigned to 3-C, and deliberately found her.
- I fooled myself into thinking my relationship with Heather had these characteristics.
I know. It’s the first. But come on. It’s kind of cool, right?