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We interrupt your convention drinking game to bring you this question of interest: how did you meet your Significant Other? If there is no SO right now, how did you meet your most significant Significant Other?

People meet in lots of different ways. Traditional venues for budding romance are school, work, places of worship, through friends, and at a bar. All of these still work, but as the world changes, so do means of meeting "the one."

Which Brings Up the Question of Whether There is Only One

Randall Munroe, brilliant writer of the xkcd comics, also answers questions for readers. In this question, a reader asks

What if everyone actually had only one soul mate, a random person somewhere in the world?
Munroe breaks it down for us:
The odds of running into your soul mate are incredibly small. The number of strangers we make eye contact with each day is hard to estimate. It can vary from almost none (shut-ins or people in small towns) to many thousands (a police officer in Times Square). Let’s suppose you lock eyes with an average of a few dozen new strangers each day. (I’m pretty introverted, so for me that’s definitely a generous estimate.) If 10% of them are close to your age, that’s around 50,000 people in a lifetime. Given that you have 500,000,000 potential soul mates, it means you’ll only find true love in one lifetime out of ten thousand.
Kind of discouraging if you think there is only ONE match for you. As someone who falls in love easily, I don't find it that bad. After all, as Munroe concludes
Given all the stress and pressure, some people would fake it. They’d want to join the club, so they’d get together with another lonely person and stage a fake soul mate encounter. They’d marry, hide their relationship problems, and struggle to present a happy face to their friends and family. (Of course, this never happens in our world.)

All in all, the world of random soul mates is an even lonelier one than ours. I prefer Tim Minchin’s take on things:

    With all my heart and all my mind I know one thing is true:
    I have just one life and just one love and, my love, that love is you.

    And if it wasn't for you, baby,
    I really think that I would
    have somebody else.

How the Candidates Met Their Matches

Since I am interrupting your convention fun and we are thick in the political season, I thought I'd start with information about the candidates and wives. Here's what I found out:

Ann and Mitt Romney met when she was a student at the private Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Kingswood was the sister school of Cranbrook School, where Mitt attended and the site of the infamous hair-cutting bullying. They met at school, not work. She didn't ever work for pay, as far as I can tell. But they struggled through those early years anyway, though Mitt was forced to sell off shares of stock to make ends meet.

Michelle and Barack Obama met at work at the law firm Sidley Austin in Chicago. They both had paying jobs earned through intelligence and hard work, not through parental or monied connections.

Interestingly, Jill and Joe Biden met on a blind date set up by Joe's brother.

Between all of our candidates, we can cover a pretty wide range of ways to meet spouses. Janna and Paul Ryan met at a party, while she was a lobbyist and he was a congressman.

And Now Back to the Personal

Jim and I met more than 32 years ago, when I was a college undergrad adrift and he was a summer grad student, and high school teacher the rest of the year. Some people could have thought it creepy that I was barely older than his students, but he and I are both old now, and it worked out shockingly well. You can read our story here.

When my girls were in their late teens and early twenties, I cautioned both of them not to marry any guy they met in a bar. They both did. Just goes to show ya how well they listen to me. And for one of them, that worked out well. They just celebrated their 12th anniversary this week. For the other? Not good at all, other than that she has two beautiful children as a result of that relationship. (And now she's married to a wonderful man she met at a neighborhood party. I think they were playing volleyball when they set eyes on each other.)

My son, on the other hand, met his fiancee in school. In junior high at age 13. They started dating in high school during their senior year. Shortly after they started dating, I had a vision. Yes, really. I had a vision of dancing with her at her wedding. Son was not in the vision. I barely knew the girl. He barely knew the girl. But about four years after they started seeing each other, he asked her to marry him.

These days a lot of people meet online, whether using a dating service or not. My sister met her husband in a parents' of Marines online forum. He had two sons, both of whom were Marines, and she had one who was. As her son was preparing to enter Iraq just after his 19th birthday, this kind man, also a former Marine, helped her understand what to expect next. They married five years later.

So, How Did You Meet?

There are so many ways to meet the person of your dreams. Whether at school, at work, at play, or online, these are just a few of them.

How did you meet your significant other? Did it work? Or what were the circumstances your worst flame-outs? Is there any advice you can give from your experience? Tell us your story below.

7:58 PM PT: Heading for bed. Thanks for stopping. I'll be back in the morning to read and respond.


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