Visualize The Bell Curve: Single Girlfriend Style

Building Relationships On The Far Side of Norm

Feb 23, 2011 by

That’s how I start my spiel about my single status.  It qualifies as a kind of default statement until another theory replaces it. But it has worked as an explanation for some years and I share it with you in the hopes it provides an explanation as opposed to an excuse for your unpaired situation.

And before I go farther, I have to admit I am math phobic, so any corrections based on real math will be appreciated but useless.  It’s the idea here, not the details, that matters.

Here we go: Visualize the Bell Curve (also known as standard distribution).  You remember it, two tiny ‘tails’ on each side with the big bump in the middle. The big bump represents 95% out of the 100% whole. That leaves

2 ½ % on each side. Those falling into those little spaces have been called ‘outliers’ – a nice word, or ‘deviants’ – a not so nice a word.

In my theory, based on a notional version the model, the tail on one side has people who are literally unable to be in intimate relationship.  The reasons could be physical or psychological – your common psychopaths and sociopaths might be there. Maybe people with deep spiritual paths who choose intimacy with a divine being…whatever. And perhaps you’ve had your attempts at relationships with some of those people so you know what I’m talking about.  Your stories are certainly welcome if you choose to share them.

Then there is what I call the ‘big bulge of the Norm.’ The vast majority of people for whom relationship and partnership is chosen and essential. The reasons include all the things we know: biology, sex, kids, family, economics, community, company. All the things that make us seek relationship and make us human.  Those reasons have shadow elements, of course: the fear of being alone, the desire to be protected from want of any kind, giving up of identity so you are acceptable to a partner…  But that is not what my theory is aimed at exploring.

It is the other side of the bulge, the tail on which I think I have always been and know other people, men and women, who are there as well. I am deeply relational. I need to be in relationship with many people. I like intimacy, I like to be sexual (maybe that will happen again in my lifetime!) and I have a romantic streak. But a traditional partnership, day after day with the same person, let alone year after year, has never been really comfortable for me.

The longest relationship I have managed is 5 years and only one of them included living together.

I know that it is easy to read this and diagnose fear of intimacy and a defensive unwillingness to explore vulnerability and submit to the reality of daily living.  That could be. I don’t want to defend myself or make apologies. I think I am a far better friend than a partner. In fact, several of my past partners are good friends. They are all happily married or permanently attached to other people and I am glad for them and like their partners and vice versa.

So, where does that whole thing leave me?  Seeking others on the far side of the norm who are kind, fun, loving, smart, sensual, etc…and who don’t want declarations of ‘forever’ within days of meeting.  Sounds like an ad on a dating site, doesn’t it?

And remember, it’s just a theory. I’m always open to the next one!

More From Rebecca

About the Author

Rebecca Crichton Has Written 40 Articles For Us!

I try to stay aware of one main concept: We see things through different lenses. We get caught in our own belief systems and most of us are pretty attached to being right. I am one of those inveterate Life Long Learners. I like new ideas, new experiences, new people, new challenges.
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  1. I’m right there with you on the far side of that Bell Curve, Rebecca! Thanks for speaking out on refusing to believe that just because your ultimate goal isn’t to get married, that you are somehow dysfunctional. It takes just as much courage and work to be single and loving your life as it is to be in a committed relationship. My motto has always been: “Live next door and date.” – SerenaK

    • Rebecca Crichton

      I love your motto, Serena. I think I would be fine with both a long distance relationship where we meet for travel and other fun, or for someone who lives nearby who has a full life of their own so I didn’t feel either too obligated or dependent.

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