When we’re dating new people, one question that sometimes lurks in the back of our minds is “how many other people has this person been with before me?” Some people call it the “magic number,” but why? And why does this idea have so much power over us? Whatever the reason, this idea continues to occupy our thoughts when we’re with someone new, and so perhaps today’s blog will be useful for shedding some light on that question.
What’s the Average Number of Exes for a Person to Have?
An interesting study that was commissioned to coincide with the release of “The Rosie Project” has revealed many fascinating things about the average man and woman and their dating history before finding “the one” that they end up with happily ever after. “The Rosie Project” is a book chronicling a man’s long journey to find the perfect wife.
The study involved 2,000 people, all of whom claiming that they have already met and are with “the one” in their lives. Among the many interesting statistics, we find the following for “the average” woman:
- She will kiss 15 men, and enjoy 4 one-night stands
- She will have 7 sexual partners in her lifetime
- She will enjoy 3 relationships lasting a year or less, and 2 relationships lasting a year a more, as well as 1 long-distance relationship
- She will have her heart broken twice before meeting “the one”
- She will be cheated on once before finding “the one” but will also be the cheater in one relationship before finding “the one”
- She will go on 7 dates, as well as 2 blind dates and 2 dates with people they met online
- She will go on four “disaster dates” and be stood up at least once before finally encountering “the one”
- She will fall in love twice, and will have lived with at least one of her ex partners
What does the study say about the average man?
- He will kiss 16 women, and enjoy 6 one-night stands
- He will have 10 sexual partners in his lifetime
- He will enjoy 4 relationships lasting a year or less, and 2 relationships lasting a year or more, as well as 1 long-distance relationship
- He will be stood up twice, and have 4 disaster dates on his journey to meeting “the one”
- He will go on 8 dates, 3 blind dates, and 3 dates with people he has met online
- He will have 6 relationships lasting at least a year
- He will be cheated on once before finding “the one” but also be the cheater in one relationship before finding “the one”
- He will fall in love twice, and will have lived with at least one of his ex partners
Is a High Number of Exes a Red Flag?
So, should you be worried if someone you are dating has a much higher magic number than the average? Whether it be number of exes or number of sexual partners, there are certainly things we can learn about others from these numbers, but at the same time we should be cautious before judging or casting aspersions.
Dating Someone with Many Previous Sexual Partners
The first thing that comes to mind for many here is the risk of disease. Those with a rich and varied sexual past are certainly more exposed to sexually transmitted diseases and infections than those who are perhaps choosier about sexual partners. On the other hand, one could also make the argument that those who are sexually active are also those who tend to more careful, being sure to carry protective contraception with them when they go out, making them “ready for anything.”
However, most statistics show that spikes in STDs among the sexually active are not those who are simply engaging with more sexual partners, but who are in a younger 15-24 year-old demographic and often lacking in knowledge and experience to protect themselves. Therefore, while caution is always a good ally when it comes to avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, you should never judge someone with a rich sexual past as an automatic “high risk” case for STDs. It’s unfair, and promotes stigmas.
Having said all that, disease isn’t the only possible red flag when it comes to being with people who have had many previous sexual partners. Another risk is found in their emotional state. What does it say about someone who gets through that many sexual partners and is still activeley searching? Are they unable to commit to others to form a more lasting relationship? Do they even want to? What are the reasons behind the answers to either of these big questions?
In the end, it’s always best to exercise caution, but while keeping enough of an open mind so as not to harshly judge or dismiss people that may actually have something to offer you in your love life. For instance, a habitual one-night stander might have many past sexual partners, but they are also invariably people with whom you can enjoy uncomplicated, guilt-free fun, and that can be great for many people.
Dating Someone with Many Previous Long-Term Relationships
Next, let’s look in more detail at those people who have a lot of exes from previous long-term relationships, which here we will define as being relationships of at least one year. Are there red flags to observe when looking at these people? As with most situations in the world of dating, there are always potential red flags, but also potential misunderstandings.
On the negative side, a person with a lot of prior relationships has a lot of exes in their lives, and you have no idea of knowing how close those exes still are to this person. You also have no idea how they feel about your new dating partner, and whether or not they might come out of the woodwork at some point to haunt your new connection. Toxic exes are either potentially going to disrupt your relationship, or they are going to reveal the reason they became “toxic” in the first place, the architect of which is your current date.
Following on from that point, one might equally turn to the more positive side of someone having had a lot of former partners in steady relationships. If they have good relationships with their exes, it proves a level of emotional maturity in that person. What’s more, having been in many long-term relationships, they are more likely aware of what it takes to make those relationships work.
On the other hand, a high number of relationships lasting a year or more equally suggests that this person doesn’t know what it takes to make a relationship work, otherwise one of those romances would have lasted longer, wouldn’t it? It’ll be down to you to work out which of these sides you date falls to, the negative or the positive.
What If My Number of Exes is Far Below Average?
As a final thought, let’s consider those who might be worrying not because they have too many exes, but rather too few. Is it a problem if you’ve only been with a number of people sexually or in a relationship that is far below the average? We say quite confidently that no, it is not a problem.
Average numbers are just that — numbers. They aren’t always indications of where you should be in life, especially when it comes to matters of the heart and romantic relationships. Some people go through life dating everyone and everything but the kitchen sink before they finally settle down with “the one.” Alternatively, they don’t, and remain a singleton forever. Conversely, there are those who meet someone early on in life and stick with them until their dying days.
There is no “correct” way to conduct one’s love life. As long as you aren’t actively seeking to hurt others, and you avoid situations that could be self-destructive for you, then you are essentially doing it right. Take your time, and don’t get too stressed about the numbers.