cracked-pot theory

One morning when I was rushing off to work I accidentally dropped my coffee pot; it shattered into tiny pieces of glass across the kitchen floor.  Already running late to work, I cursed my clumsiness as I mopped up the mess of coffee and glass, all the while feeling relieved that I wasn’t living with a partner at that moment.  The last thing I needed was someone else adding to my already considerable feelings of anger and frustration.  I know, therefore, how I would answer this question on Bella DePaulo’s survey (

“When you have had some minor mishap such as a fender-bender, how do you feel?” The alternatives were “You would be relieved not to have to explain to anyone else why you messed up” and “You want to have a partner to go home to and tell all about it.” [Another lesson from this exploratory research: There should have been an option to tell someone other than a partner.]

The percentages who chose “relieved not to have to explain to anyone else” were

79% among the Yes, single-at-heart

42% among the mostly single-at-heart

22% among the mostly not single-at-heart

18% among the No, not single-at-heart

In fact, I think most of my answers would land me squarely in the “single-at-heart” camp, despite being a moony-eyed romantic for most of my adolescence and early adulthood.  Could this be a case of “you get what you need”?

I know one thing for sure– I have always been incredibly sensitive to being snapped or barked at, and I saw a lot of wives receiving that treatment growing up.  I remember feeling that nothing would be worth putting up with that.